Before, priests spoke from the pulpit. His voice was heard. Now only the faithful listen: a minority. Politicians also spoke from high tribunes, who are no longer listened to by the masses, but only by enthusiastic militants. Leaders and militants applaud each other to encourage each other amid general indifference.

It might seem that now, in the pulpit, influencers rule. There they are, in the infinite hypermarket of the internet: one next to the other, like cleaning products, cookies or bottles of wine. Each current, trend or tribe finds its prescriber on the networks, who reinforces its ideological prejudices, helps it to dress and put on makeup, to diet, to enter one or another identity brotherhood: racial, national or sexual. But influencers lack the ability to frame societies as they did, in times past, school, religion and politics. On the contrary: influencers contribute to fragmenting society, divided into thousands of bubbles, isolated from each other.

The great characteristic of our time is the disappearance of the common word. The temple and the agora are empty. There is no one in the pulpit. Yes, there are plenty of fashions, bubbles, currents. But nothing binds us. No words, no meaning, no objective brings us together.

Young people are the most affected by the lack of meaning and collective bond. The psychoanalyst Massimo Recalcati points out the common denominator of his young patients. They experience various problems (eating disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts, gender changes, apathy, refusal to leave the house). But they respond to a common problem: lack of desire. Recalcati points out that in our time when we talk about desire we refer to the everyday pleasures that we have at hand. Like the child who hesitates in the ice cream shop when faced with the many possible flavors.

We are consumers. An immense range of products awaits us. We can choose from a thousand flavors. In reality, we spend the day looking for sensual satisfaction (what is called hedonism: food, traveling, series, pornography, festivals, games, adventures, etc.). But we have confused the satisfaction of specific pleasures with the objective of existence, the meaning of life. Nothing makes sense today in Western societies. There are plenty of theories, ideologies, and speeches. But what creates meaning is the example, and not the speech.

It is not necessary to point out the easy case of politicians to confirm that examples of coherence between what is said and what is done have disappeared from the social showcase. On the other hand, there is never a shortage of examples of cynicism. Blatant selfishness, narcissism, betrayal out of interest, cunning are in fashion. There are, certainly, examples of sporting or professional sacrifice. But always with a view to success. Vital effort is subject to success. Without success (minority by definition), sacrifice does not work.

Psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger, pioneer of existential psychology, described depression as a station without trains. No future. When talking about the depressive epidemic among young people, he insists on the lack of prospects for an economic future. This absence is never talked about: that of the trains of meaning. We grandparents and parents of the current generations decided that the meaning of existence was an ideological fantasy to be deconstructed. Work done. Those trains don’t pass anymore.