Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Time And The Generational Continuum

                      Yesterday afternoon I was making a pit stop at the local Wallgreens in town for a brief errand. After this errand was complete I glanced over at the periodicals and noticed the time magazine cover you see above here.  It was quite a bit different than the the other articles about celebrities and other nuggets of naval gazing. Of course the cover story for this article,written by a Joel Stein,is intentionally sensational. When I started reading the actual article while in the store,it's first point was the most obvious. That each and every generation in American history has characterized the one after it in the same way as this was to characterize the millennial generation-according to this article representing those born between 1980 and 2000. This is a vastly different age bracket for this generation than I've heard.  And puts me squarely within it. As I stated in another blog I just wrote, who is ever prepared emotionally to read the cover story on a magazine while shopping and be utterly insulted? So was I concerned with what I read? Absolutely.

                    Mr. Stein started off claiming to have date and statistics to prove that the current 20 something generation,known as the millennial generation are heavily prone to the phenomenon of what he calls narcissistic personality disorder. This would seem to treat the fairly average behavior of adolescents as pathological-in the manner of a disease. It measure the baby boom population,themselves accused by the generation before them of high level narcissism, now of 65 years and older rated far lower on something called the narcissism scale than most people in their early 20's. The article than revealed its true agenda by evoking the age old cliche about entitlement: that in the 1980's especially children told they were "special for being them" ala Mister Rogers Neighborhood would think of themselves as entitled their entire lives. Not only did this officially bring out that its still the extremely right wing organizations that seem to be controlling the media,but also that there's no articulation that people under 30 have much right to be on the planet.

                      Now lets turn the tables and talk about the realities of life for most people between he ages of 20 and 35. For example, at present its extremely difficult for me to write this blog because I'm not exempt from the stresses faced by this generation supposedly afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder. The economy demands people have a career to earn some money,go to collage,etc. On the other hand,finding ways to get both is a long and arduous journey of waiting and rejection notices. While the physical world itself is quite a beautiful place,a person who buys something in a store-such as an electronic item of any sort,cannot seem to find the accessories they may need for it. With all the information and availability in the world,the accessibility of what we need often completely eludes people-especially young people. So the idea that millennial generation people are materially obsessed is absurd. Half the time their basic needs are unavailable to them if they happen to be outside the wealthy 1%. 

                   And if someone of this age group is physically or emotionally disabled? Even more difficulties. All one such person has to do is read the papers in their communities to see that the first programs most local political figures want to cut out of the budget are social services. It is appropriate somehow for the local elementary school football teams to have fresh new uniforms every year. But if your someone who depends on a SNAP card,housing programs or social security you might live just as much in fear of losing everything as a senior citizen would. Its too big a thing for anyone to face. Therefore,as I believe all this chaos has lead people into different forms of denial. The elderly want to blame the young for societies ills,and vice versa. Some people deny it by living with anti depressants,or a level of alcohol and caffeine use bordering on abuse. Add to that the fears that religion implants into society through the media,fear of ecological problems such global warming,even something as trite as fear of wheat gluten and you have an entire generation where inner harmony and enjoyment is a very big luxury.

             So where does all this leave the lazy,entitled narcissists who still live with their parents? Who are more interested in fame and fortune than anything? The question to ask is why will they save us all? It is clear many people see this generation as being very shallow and perhaps stupid. Is that healthy though? If someone of any age perceives that the world has little to no expectations of them due to behavior patterns that are sometimes necessitated ,are such people going to be in any position to improve? The reason I am stating such heavy issues here is because I personally live with them every day. Even though I am in my 30's I am still referred to often as a "kid" who behaves "childishly" by some people. And its apparent I am not alone. This is a society based on social neglect. With all this technology in our hands to bring us closer together,the fact is,people treat each other more horribly than they ever did. Can this negative situation be fixed? Of course it can. And it should be. We just need fewer soul destroyers and criticizers on all ends of the generational continuum.

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