“Young people need to understand that not all images are there to be consumed like fast food and then forgotten – we need to educate them to understand the difference between moving images that engage their humanity and their intelligence, and moving images that are just selling them something.”
“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.”
I was eavesdropping on two young men who were working out together in the gym the other day.
They were discussing society, capitalism, fair pay and getting paid fair value for effort exerted. I was fascinated enough I even muted my music so I could listen.
Basically they were expressing dismay <or maybe simply questioning why> that the traditional manual laborer earned less than someone who sits <labors> in front of a computer all day.
A charming point of view in that there was a sense that people who worked, and I mean ‘sweat’ every day, deserves to be compensated in an equitable way to someone who may not have to have superlative intellectual skills but gets compensated for being able to provide ‘computer manual labor.’
It was kind of interesting.
While older folk discuss computer skills as … well … highly skilled and having to pay for those skills … younger people <some> are thinking about computer skills as a variant of manual labor … their version of blue collar work.
What I really enjoyed about this eavesdropping session was that I hear so often that this younger generation is all about instant gratification and “if we haven’t reached our dreams by the time we’re 30, we dive into a deep depression” type attitude <which … by the way … all generations struggle with>.
They were reflecting both looking without and within.
They were reflecting on what others see as success without failing to see the journey and the sacrifices that people make to shape their lives <and careers>.
They clearly see what they don’t have … but they also see what it appears society is not allowing them <or others> to have.
Do I think they had a slightly naïve point of view on things?
Do I think their naiveté matters with regard to, or affects, the value of their point of view?
I think what they were saying is indicative of what many people, young & old, think.
Society & entertainment do have a nasty habit of blurring Life to the extent it becomes a little difficult to isolate “what I think” versus “what they think.” I know that sounds a little crazy because I tend to believe most of us wouldn’t hesitate to say “I know what I think” but … well … it is more difficult than I believe most of us think.
It seems like so much of the population is very self-centered and that we live in a very selfish society yet we strive to not be selfish individually <and abhor the thought of being seen as selfish>.
I personally believe this is in part due to our desire to do more, do better, move ahead <and upwards> and be better.
This ambition is a good thing. It is the engine which not only drives many to success … but simply drives constantly improving themselves and their situation.
It is also contains aspects of selfishness <inadvertently creating something we don’t want overall … a selfish society>.
This also means that when we look around we tend to see these aspects of selfishness … uhm … not in ourselves but in others.
We fuss, fume and recognize it is kind of fucked up … but remain frustrated because we can’t go around trying to make people the way that we want them to be.
The two young men I was eavesdropping on surprisingly <and it was a pleasant surprise> recognized that the only person in the entire world they had control over was themselves.
Part of their discussion was their decision to be the example of what they wanted the world to be.
Please note … they did not feel this put them at a disadvantage nor did they feel like their individual decision would be lost in the overall clutter of everyone else.
They fully grasped their decision.
They fully grasped that they were writing their own story … and they wanted to write one THEY wanted and not one that society <or older adults>were telling them it should be.
I found it … well … heartening.
Hopeful in fact.
In my eyes this wasn’t a recognition of self or integrity or ‘revolting’ but rather a recognition that … well … imagery is powerful.
Not just images created from words but real images … and they wanted their image to be as powerful a statement as possible.
I agree with them.
The most powerful imagery should actually be the ones we create ourselves … not what someone else shows us.
“Separate yourself now from the multitude of humanity so that you will be able to control your own destiny.
Remember that what others think and say and do need never influence what you think and say and do.”
These two young men felt like they could not only control their own destiny … but also impact the destiny of things around them.
We are within an odd, uncomfortable, changing space in societal & cultural Life.
Let’s just say we are in the midst of a cultural shift.
It is uncomfortable.
But while we would like to blame someone or something for this discomfort … we do not hate technology, we do not hate capitalism, we do not hate the youth’s attitude and we do not hate society.
We just hate feeling uncomfortable.
And while I may disagree with the ideals and expectations our society forces upon us … we don’t really hate it.
We … well … we cant.
We can’t because we are a part of it.
I know, for me, some of my goals in the future are to impact society … specifically … the parts I feel are mentally and physically damaging towards our youth. The parts that inhibit what they can be.
The way certain beliefs are touted, flippantly accepted and strewn about like leaves in the heart of autumn … all for the sake of trying to tell them how they should live their lives.
I am a 50something contrarian battling stagnant 50somethings.
I am battling 50somethings who, quite frankly, struggle to know themselves well enough to conceptualize what they really want … other than maybe what they perceive they used to have.
“Many of us don’t know ourselves well enough to conceptualize what we actually want.
We conform to the notions and ideals of our society, our family and other influences that can drown out our own point of view. We spend our lives repeating patterns and filling prescriptions from our past that don’t serve us in the present.
To varying degrees, we fail to differentiate ourselves, to separate from limiting outside influences and realize our unique value in the world around us. When these outside forces seep in and quietly overtake us, we wind up seeking someone else’s idea of happiness.
The key to one’s happiness is buried inside the process of recognizing and differentiating from these forces.”
Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.
These two young men <as well as any classroom of young people I have stood before> remind me my battling is worth it.
I will fight for their freedom to find out who they are by shoving aside what society tells them they should be and shoving aside what old folk tell them they should be <or what they should do or how they should act>.
I have faith in this younger generation that given the time and the space they will find a better way of doing things then we did, or do, and maybe find a better Life for themselves.
I’ve walked the status quo path far too many times myself … and if I truly had any regrets … it would be that I had followed my own ideals more often.
I truly believe this young generation sees a future not of despair … but of hope for something better. And I truly believe if we not only get out of their way … but also declutter their path … and on occasion step up beside them and lend them a hand … well … let’s just say that I believe the world will end up in a better place.
And as a reminder … I also believe the younger business generation is kicking our proverbial 50something asses <out thinking us>: http://brucemctague.com/how-young-business-people-are-out-thinking-older-business-people