We live in a fascinating world where older generations look up to the youth with renewed hope, unprecedented respect and great anticipation. The younger generations carry so much potential for real change, more so than any previous time in history. It is no secret that I am a big fan of those young spirits who desire change and possess the tools to effect it in ways totally foreign to generations before them. Between the mastery of new technologies, the timely activism, the unquestionable desire for freedom, and the great opportunities to make a difference in our world, the upcoming generation has got it all. Why is it then that time and again we are faced with the grim image of their unfulfilled results? Why is it that youth is unable to move forward? What is holding them back? Could it be that nothing is sacred to them anymore?
I’ve had a few existential experiences lately that shed some light on the status of what is known as “Generation Y,” I will call it for the purpose of this writing, “Generation Why?” This generation that is supposed to be leading us into the future seems to be lost in an abyss of confusion about self, mindfulness, spirituality, economics and politics. You ask anyone who is 20 something who s/he is, what they stand for or what they want to achieve in life and you get tirades of self-admiring self-congratulating rhetoric to impress the best of us. Explore them deeper and you get even more narcissistic visions of their power, their influence and their place in society as they imagine it. If you remain in their life long enough to test their convictions and their drawn paths, you realize they are shrouded in superficial ideologies an fluffy beliefs in.. Nothing!
When the upcoming generation achieves a little, it feels invincible. When it feels invincible, it stops listening to any voices but its own. They underestimate the experience and pride of others; they throw in the garbage “the other” and what that other stands for. The bottom line becomes activism with cheap goals such as closing down a business or teaching someone a “lesson.” They come up with ad-hoc statements and conclusions based on the extremely green experience they have got and many things learned from articles or books read or not even read sometimes. The result in many cases is a complete shutting down of systems instead of changing them or improving them or making them work to their advantage and that of others around them. It is becoming much harder to support youth movements and youth activism because it turns out most of them lack direction and focus. They also lack faith in a better world for all. It is becoming more apparent that a great number of young people are becoming more narcissistic and less community oriented. They want the best for themselves, but not necessarily what’s best for the community.
Without community, an individual is just that. S/he might as well live in a cave or cut off ties with society, because that is effectively what they are doing by isolating themselves and living in their own bubble. I usually advocate seclusion to help one think, regroup and come up with real solutions to move our world forward. In this case, my disappointment stems from an alienation in the spirit of pompousness and an inflated sense of self-worth along with a dumbing down of anyone who does not share those groups’ beliefs and does not constantly applaud and support them blindly.
If you think this is about you, you are probably right; I hope you take my words with the love and concern they come with. If you feel, like me, that your hope in the upcoming generation is fading like a dream too good to be true, join the conversation and let us wake the true fire in the hearts of those who want change and know how to achieve it by negotiations or by force.
We are in need of a revolution, a real one this time. Not the kind born out of oppression, but the kind born out of a genuine desire for life in dignity, freedom and prosperity for all.