The Ping Pong Effect
I’ve spoken on this before briefly in my earlier posts: The idea that man is a reactionary creature, progressing from generation to generation by reacting (either embracing or more often rejecting) a convention by the prior. But this is something that is so relevant to the affairs of today that I think I should revisit it.
The Silent Generation is comprised of our grandparents and great grandparents now looking at the twilight of their lives. This generation was brought up under tenets like “hard work” and “children are seen not heard” (hence the “Silent” in their moniker). These are the people that furthered ushered America in the dominant economic force that it once was. Their idea of happiness revolved around a life fulfilled on the job. A man was to go out and provide for his family, a woman more than likely stayed at home or supplemented income. This generation held on to old tendencies that now seem archaic to us… They were the “blindly” religious, the “blindly” political, they believed what the government said, they took immense pride in their country’s heritage etc. They went to work to work, not to find some metaphysical actualization via their job.
Our parents, the Baby Boomers, reacted to their parents in a variety of different ways. Whereas many of the Silents were born into indigence and moderation, the Baby Boomers were the children of American surplus. Riding the economic waves of WWII, the industrial work ethic of the Silents created a world of abundance that has driven the ‘Boomers for half a century. The ‘Boomers reacted to the Silents via being more outspoken and wanting more from life. Their culture brought in such change as Rock ‘n Roll and the beginning of ethnic integration. They wanted college and more from their lives. Blah blah.
I’m going to skip Generation X and go straight to ours, Generation Y or the Millenials in colloquial terms. Growing up as one I can see just how much we’ve rejected our parents and grandparents while creating whole new platforms. But man where do I begin….
Millenials are also children of privilege. We were born at the dawn of the Tech Era, so as we’ve grown up, so have the variations of instant gratification. Most of us remember being young and learning the Dewie Decimal System. Then everything became automated. We remember the ancient MacIntosh computers, then everything taking a quantum leap in the late 90s. The world seemingly grew smaller as we grew older. Everything was more attainable faster. We became masters of negotiation, expecting the world to bend at our will. “Hard work” wasn’t what it used to be. The world was automated to fit in the ready hands of the competent user. Jobs weren’t our identity like Silents, because we had been pushed into a world of near infinite options.
We were Pre Quantum Children.
We were pushed to go to school, but since few of our parents or parents had gone they didn’t know what to expect. We were told we could be anything, but few of us could be guided due to various powers that be. But what we did become keenly aware of (just like generations before us) were the discrepancies and hypocrisy of our parents.
We stopped revering religion blindly. Especially at cultural vertices like Los Angeles or New York. We stopped believing politicians, especially well into the 2000s. We stopped hoping for love, as we saw fathers beat mothers, women cheat on men, and attitudes of selfish non commitment reign supreme.
Now into the second decade of this quantum century, we are in the throes of confusion as the world constricts even further. Social Networking, evolving from Myspace through Facebook and onto Twitter, has effectively brought the world even closer to the user. Now at any point in time there is a cacophonous disarray of opinions and perspectives often pandered as ultimate truth. There are far too many suspicious influences and red flags and the themes of generations before have mutated completely. For instance:
God. For nearly two millenia in Western culture God was the Abrahamic God of the Judeo Christian tradition. As atheism and agnosticism gained popularity, New Age Thought came in and began redescribing God not in terms of one particular religion, but a blend of many. Now, God is synonymous with The Universe, The Air or any other elemental descriptor. Religion, as with most “institutionalizations” has become a taboo word as most people opt for the freer word “spirituality”. Church, perceived as a bed of hypocrisy and lies, has been replaced with spiritual centers etc. These are a few examples of this human generational reaction…
So what’s my point? As usual I’ve typed far too many words and lost far too many of you, but to those who have hung in there I’m bringing it home. Every reaction to the prior stasis is imprecise. Its a guess as to where a culture or age will find happiness. I have intentionally refrained from going in depth about music or entertainment for this reason. Our music is a reaction to what we saw and often times popular culture is a guess at what consumers will find cool. Far too many of us talk about how “stupid” the next person is (I’m hopelessly guilty), yet fail to understand the cycle of action/reaction couples. The upper echelons began many years ago entrusting brilliant individuals to create ways for them to remain in power. Public relations and mass marketing are a couple examples of this.
It is no accident that most people care more about Kim Kardashian than Ben Bernanke. In a world of sensationalism and pure instant pleasure, the media gurus have ensured our ignorance by feeding us bullshit. As every generation reacts and acts, those power elite make sure that those couplets are controlled enough to maintain the status quo. They slap a nice looking ethnic face on a corrupt US government and we all say “hurray”, then go back to Desperate Housewives. We’re driven into the worst economic crisis since the Depression and watch the folly on Capitol Hill first with fear, then with sorrow, then anger. We’re like puppies and we have biscuits and treats over our heads to make us jump to distract us from the kennel they’re putting us in.
So my take home point, readers, is shut up, stop yelling about stupidity and ignorance and begin to truly arm yourself with knowledge. Understand yourself, your environment, and the vast unknown outside your comfort zone. Don’t take ANYTHING at face value, not even this post. Go out and read, research, and reflect on as much as you can.
We can fix this constant reaction/action coupling. We have access to so much info that we can take a ridiculously effective step forward. But we MUST embraceWisdom and we must avoid toxic herds and their handlers who have dumbing us down for decades. Know thyself. Know thy Spirit. Know thy Guide. Know thy Kin. Know thy God.