I figure I should try to explain why I'm doing user research about meaning, self, and communities. It's tough to describe the "solution" I'm theoretically evaluating, because it's currently in the form of a collection of theories that may or may not all add up to produce the intended effect. But I can start by describing what I see about the problem space.

I see humanity, and our future, first and foremost. There is nothing else in the universe that we can see like us, you and me, and everybody around us and the society we've built up and the evolution and growth that we humans have experienced. I see the amazing spread of possibilities for the human race in the next couple hundred years; it's just staggering to me when I consider them. We could level up our selves and our systems to almost unimaginable capabilities and incredible increases in the richness and qualities of what we value most. Or, the whole thing could collapse - government, environment, society, infrastructure, wealth, knowledge, life itself. Fantastic richness for all of humanity and our descendants... or devastating suffering and death for billions. And, of course, a million potential timelines that fall somewhere in between. But things are not inherently "likely" to just muddle along gradually upwards - we more plausibly look like we're balanced on a knife's edge, in a period of huge transition and change, teetering in transformation that will determine which way we will roll down steep slopes toward future outcomes. So, existential risk ("x-risk" is a common term in some places already) and also existential opportunity is the first thing I see.

The next thing I see is a society in stress. The culture war, at least here in the US, is eating more and more of what was formerly non-partisan. The evolving edge of societal values keeps progressing, and the conflict between the modern and post-modern value sets is getting more and more intense as the latter becomes dominant. Institutional trust is at all-time lows, governmental systems are being co-opted, politics has become more religious, and there's a major generational religious shift in play as well. With this cultural conflict so hot, the societal direction of governance is in doubt - as conversation breaks down, people reach for more violent forms of interaction, as we see in the authoritarian backswing of the last few years. The pileup of global crises also brings in the constriction of feeling threatened, with biological and ecological disaster looming against any feelings of abundance and openness.

Then on the relational level, I see the human desire for deep connections and belonging. I see how that has been hurt by the incentives and norms of the social media age.  People have fewer close friends over time, which I think has been accelerated by our performative social feeds on our phones, but goes back to about WW2 within the US, and even then American values were already individualistic compared to most of the world. We are social primates, and yet a lot of modernity as a worldview has taken us away from our desires for acceptance and support and making meaning in and through our relationships with others. Beyond our digital disconnection, I see an awful lot of opportunity: can you remember the best friendship you've ever had? What if you could have so much more of that, and a lot less energy keeping up false fronts of professionalism, perfection, or performance?

Lastly, at the personal level, I see so much potential for continuing psychological development, and what a fractally large space of identity and meaning is available to us. I can't claim or express what enlightenment means, but I know now that so much good stuff is waiting for us via greater perspective and awareness. False equalities litter our mental view of our worth, our desires, our definitions, our understanding of our very selves in relation to reality. I want to keep pursuing and reveling in this freedom the rest of my life, and I want to share this dance with anyone else who is curious enough to join in.

Now for the system view: All of these levels of being tie together. The personal, the relational, the societal - they are all profoundly connected to each other. Improving one in isolation without the others would be so limited and futile, if not inherently self-defeating. Being in relationship to ourselves is fundamental to being in relationship to others, and being a self-aware piece of the societal system is fundamental to being aware of our own self. If one of these scopes "goes bad", all of them suffer. But if we came together to find the cross-reinforcing resonances that can steer them all towards better-ness... I see so much potential!

The problem is lack of global coordination. The problem is war engulfing our society. The problem is fear and othering and self-defensiveness. The problem is being bound up in small and self-limiting identity. The problem is lack of awareness and perspective.

The solution... well, may I ask you a few questions in my search towards that?