Individuals in modern society tend to be isolated, estranged from community and family, with a limited sense of their own capabilities and limited access to the means of personal development and self-expression. When we perceive people as being disinterested in the issues of our times or hearing them say they just want to be left alone or watch people getting swept away by the vicarious thrills of reality television-lives-of-the-rich-and-famous-sports-viewing or find people spending countless hours caught up in social media, we are glimpsing alienation—or responses to alienation.

Counters to such alienation involve the work of many nonprofits, including community- and faith-based organizations, and include such notions as grassroots organizing, empowerment, social consciousness, community solidarity, and self-actualization.