I just want to make one observation on the murder of Australian ball player Chris Lane by three bored, black teenagers in Oklahoma last week. Sadly but I guess to be expected, people are making all sorts of hay out of this terrible incident. Some are using it to point out the hypocrisy they see in the media’s coverage of violent crime. Others point to the need for gun control. To each his own hobbyhorse.
Searching for meaning in their lives is a human necessity. Some find meaning in parenthood. When you ask a young woman without economic prospects why she had a baby out of wedlock as often as not it’s not because she didn’t know about effective birth control but she wanted to give meaning to her life.
Others find meaning in their lives by affiliation. It’s one of the reasons that young men join gangs.
For centuries, possibly for all of our history as a species, people have found meaning and identity in their work and their work relationships. I don’t know whether this is something that is learned or something that is innate but I know that it is true. It is not something that will be easily changed or replaced and, as the murder of Chris Lane suggests, there is no guarantee that the substitutes for work that people use to give meaning to their lives and establish identities will be benign.