On the “fear of missing out”
My friend Dominique wrote me in the middle of the night:
“I’m reading Fear of Missing Out via the The New Yorker app”.
I answered her in the middle of the night:
“Ahhh … is it good … one fear I do not have … would be too late … just beavering on.
The “fear of missing out” is dramatically responsible in infancy and early childhood for trying to jump important steps of development. “Staying behind,” in my thinking, is something to learn to bear and tolerate and in the end develop and cultivate. “Staying behind,” for me, is essential for “doing one’s homework”. The world and the consulting rooms of psychoanalyst and millions of other Psys is full with clients who missed out on missing out, staying behind, doing their homework and learning the ropes. So many oft them have to be helped to “stay behind” and “miss out” for some time to “catch up” with what they had not been able to develop at the right time in their lives. To sum it up: The toddler who thinks and behaves like an adult and convinces him or herself that there is no difference between him or her and mother and father needs to be helped to see how much work is necessary to get from infant to grown up. However, and here lies the crunch, so many of the grown-ups themselves have avoided this insight and are the worst examples. How can one learn from someone who “fears missing out, staying behind, doing the homework” and understanding that jumping essential steps of development will leave you very unhappy when it comes to looking at your life at later stages?
Enforced “isolation” might be a unique chance to catch up with “staying behind”. No amount of interpretations, so often, can produce “real psychic change” because it is not only reason which persuades or convinces but crisis and catastrophe.”