“That’s one small step for man.” “I have a dream.” Some words
have the power to change who we are and the world as we know it and I want to
share with you a word that will do just that… but first I need to share some
context. If you’re like me you’ve had this thought at some point in your life
about how awesome it would be to live in a neighborhood surrounded by all your
best friends… but then if you’re also like me there comes a second realization
of “logistically speaking that’s almost impossible”. In our society where
it’s the norm to move every few years, where the number one answer to “how are you doing?” is “busy” – too busy to see our friends and family without weeks of
notice in advance where we no longer know our neighbors somehow disconnection has become the norm. You see growing up loneliness was a consistent theme in my
life. I had this deep longing like I believe we all do to be loved and for me
in an Asian American home the way to get that seemed like chasing success and
achievement so that’s what I did… and after walking that path for years past
these amazing high points like getting into a top-tier university, raising
millions of dollars for our startup, getting to pitch richard branson and
other billionaires on his private island, all this stuff seemed to not deliver on
the promise that i thought it would. I realized that I still felt really lonely
and empty inside. And then one day something spoke to me,
and of all the random places, it was from this one scene from the Disney movie
Moana. Moana sets out to see by herself and
feels utterly alone but then her whole tribe comes and surrounds her – ships
sailing right alongside, saying you are not alone. When I saw that I got the
goose bumps and may or may not have cried. There’s a quote from Johann Hari’s
amazing book on the topic “Lost Connections”. “We without ever quite
intending to have become the first humans to ever dismantle our tribes and
as a result we’ve been left alone on a savanna we do not understand puzzled by
our own sadness”. In our quest to make it for ourselves we’ve
sacrificed that which we need the most genuine human connection. So I took
it upon myself to read and learn everything I could on the topic of
loneliness, mental health, and connection and I started to wonder though why are
not more of us talking about this like the crisis it actually is. Suicide rates
are increasing, violence and hate appear in the news every day as people struggle
to deal with the hurt that we all carry with us in some form. Connection is a
fundamental human need and we as a culture have forgotten that. And so for
every child in each of us that still dreams of that neighborhood where we can be known and loved this is the line in the sand… to realize that we have the
power to change things. And to do that I think there’s something we need. I think
we need a new word. Connectionism – well okay technically it’s
already a word used in the 70s to describe a branch of AI study of neural
networks but this definition has since all but dropped off the radar as a word
for computer scientists. So today I’m reclaiming the word for all of us –
connectionism – the belief that we should intentionally prioritize safe genuine
human connection once again as a basic human need. And a connectionist is
anyone who intentionally tries to live that way. So I think a lot about the
minimalist movement – you know the idea that you don’t need stuff to make you
happy. A big reason we began to talk about it in recent years was that we
finally had a word for it. “Minimalism”, “minimalism”, “minimalist” – the
idea was around for millennia but the word “minimalist” gave people a word to
identify by putting an idea – a word gave it wings and see that’s what I
believe connectionism can do for us. It takes an intentional person to begin
prioritizing connection again even when it’s hard. A connectionist is someone who
is tired of the endless scrolling on social media yearning for us connections
and doesn’t wait until they are lonely to prioritize community and check in on
their friends and family. And they consider relationships as a core factor
in weighing life decisions. Fundamentally they realize that in the
end it’s up to us to make this thing a priority. So last month I went to my
friend Rani and Akshay’s wedding and got to see a powerful glimpse of what is
waiting for us when we choose to prioritize connection once again. I watched as the whole community, generations, friends, family, co-workers, all came together and
danced to show them that “hey we’ll be here for you – we love you” This glimmer of hope that said “you don’t
realize that what you’ve been missing and yearning for has been here all along” And so that fills me with so much hope
of what life could begin to look like for us when we begin to prioritize
connection once again. So hello again my friends it’s been a
while since I last posted. I’ve been busy putting all this together
for you I can’t wait to share with you all the cool stuff we have in store coming
up. We’re gonna be diving into the science to see what experts and research
have to teach us as well as exploring the creative ways people are seeking
connection. If you feel me at all on this message, if you resonate in any way, I
just want to be the first to say to you “Hello Connectionist.” Oh yeah and
subscribe and hit that bell so you don’t miss future videos there’s gonna be a
lot of exciting things happening and in the future I hope to be
spotlighting people doing amazing things as well as holding real-life events all
around the world. So sign up for the email list if any of this sounds interesting
to you, to be a part of the movement at connectionism org. Love you all!

53 thoughts on “The New “Minimalism” for a Lonely World”

  1. Great idea man, you have a great gift expressing your ideas, and coming up with ideology’s like this. I’m one few connectionist, thanks for giving such a great feelings to us.

  2. I GOT CHILLS WATCHING THIS VIDEO! What an incredible movement! Loved how you connected your personal story /thoughts through it all! KEEP BEING YOU, friend!

  3. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
    This is great Kevin!
    Like always your videography is FANTASTIC πŸ€—

  4. This wonderful idea Kevin, in this digital world you are bringing up basic human connections and how they are important for our journey together. Wishing you the best in what you do.

  5. It's very incredible movement
    We all need to follow it
    And the Video is really good πŸ‘Œ
    ….connectionism …..
    πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  6. I mean those dance moves Kevin got πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ brilliant idea. Cant wait to see what's coming next.

  7. This was such a cute video. Made me genuinely smile. Kevin you should check out Steven Cutts on youtube- He does pieces on the loneliness in our society. I think you'd really appreciate his work!

  8. Welp…call me a connectionist then! I cant wait to see the science behind how social media has hurt our relationships over the long term making us feel less connected and way more!

  9. Wow, this is amazing! I think this will be a great movement to change human connection or the lack their of! πŸ”₯πŸ™ŒπŸΎ

  10. LOVE IT! Got a few chills at the end.

    Now I am going to tell you a story from last week. I am in a class at my university and that day we were having an exam. The girl beside me asks to use a pen for the exam. I was like 'Ok' and let her borrow my pen and then went on to finish my exam early and leave early. For context, I just wanted to talk to her after the exam. I just wanted to connect with another student and talk about the exam, wasn't intending on asking her out or anything crazy like that – I need to make more friends in university. So, once she's done the exam and gets out of the classroom she returns the pen to me, we exchange just a few words for like <20 seconds. On my way to the stairwell there she is ranting to her friend on the phone about something she was frustrated about during the exam. I let you borrow my pen, the least you can do is have a 2 minute conversation with me lol.

    On the contrary, I was wearing some super nerdy looking glasses at the end of a lab on Friday and had an awesome discussion with another student that I ALWAYS see on campus and he seem being super cool to talk to πŸ™‚

    This connectionism thing is so important in a lonely digital world that we live in today. Some people are so glued to their phones they forgot how to live without them. Great stuff Kevin, hope it works out for you πŸ™‚

  11. Ah, dude! You are great at telling stories through video. Love the idea and the word. Can't wait to see what's in store πŸ™‚

  12. You spoke directly out of my heart. Thank you for this beautiful video. I don't know how, but the youtube algorithm has done sth right this time. Can't believe you don't have more subs! <3

  13. Awesome work Kevin! I'm excited to follow along and also learn more about how to make a difference in my local community. Keep up the great work!!

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