Enlightened Conflict

a simpler past, now, 50somethings & lostness

October 20th, 2015


past simpler -tense


“How many people long for that “past, simpler, and better world,” I wonder, without ever recognizing the truth that perhaps it was they who were simpler and better, and not the world about them?”

R.A. Salvatore








This was going to be another rant, or criticism, of 50somethings … but … I just watched a fabulous documentary on cartoonists and cartoon strips called “Stripped” which details the past, present & future of cartoons and it made me … well  … scrap my rant and begin over again.



The documentary made me think of 50somethings and how today’s “flux” found in the massive business transition taking place is affecting this generation gap you-are-not-lostunlike any other generation gap in memorable history <we can look back in time and see others but not any we have lived thru>.



I imagine while this may be about ‘letting go holding on’ I think it is more just about recognizing the sense of ‘lostness’ that can be found in any flux.







Facing progress is one thing … facing massive cultural change is another.



One permits someone to ease their way into the progress and, in some cases depending on what you do, you may even be able to ignore the progress and still maintain the life and work life you currently enjoy until you decide to stop working.


On the other hand, massive cultural shift cannot be ignored. In addition the people within the shift are bombarded with an uncomfortable sense of ‘what is happening ?’ … because there is no well-defined horizon <the shift will define it in the end>.






In the documentary some of the older more established <very popular> cartoonists just looked … well … lost.


where are you lost guide

And, frankly, I think a lot of 50somethings are lost in the cultural flux created by the technology-driven/hand held technology driven Life.



This doesn’t mean that 50somethings don’t embrace the features <the smartphones, the tablets, the wi-fi> … it is just that they struggle to see or accept all the benefits.





And it reminded me … there is no “guide to benig lost” manual you can pull off some shelf.






In this flux time many of us 50somethings want our cake and eat it too.



We want the new … but don’t want to lose the old.






This ‘holding on’ aspect is truly a reflection of not only ‘it was always better when I was younger’ <and it is worse now than it was before> but also an underlying desire to have something solid underfoot … like ‘the benefits of the way it was done before’.



Admittedly … this holding on aspect can take on some aggravating & ‘difficult to deal with’ aspects … like … they sometimes think they are living in the present past simpler nostalgia<their perception> by implementing what is comfortable <the past> therefore their behavior is incredibly difficult to impact because their mind is telling them what they are doing is actually different than what they are actually doing.



Sound complicated?



You bet.


So complicated this attitude is next to impossible to change or impact.



And it gets complicated even further by the fact this 50something generation has made a lot of money doing it ‘their way’ <kind of proof for the method>.






For once I am actually defending the 50somethings.


Not sympathy … just some understanding.



This just isn’t a normal every day future … this is an uncharted future. One I which more of ‘the past’ is being shelved than we have seen for many generations.





“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

L.P. Hartley





It is like going to a foreign country where they may use the same words but many of them have new meanings.

where are you lost hand


They may live in a culture which values different things.


And, well, say you have been drinking coffee all your life … and … they only drink tea.



That said.


So, when facing the difference, you may know you are in a different country … and you may want to respect the way they do things … and you may want some sympathy, or help, as you get lost … uhm … but … after a period of time you start reflecting on ‘how much better this foreign country would be if they would do it our/my way.’



That’s natural.


And inevitably … as time goes on … and you get farther away from what you were comfortable with and what you know … the more you feel … well … lost.






Where I don’t have sympathy or understanding is … well … I do believe many 50somethings are lazy … not in terms of working hard but rather they accept what they know at the moment as ‘what is’ and remain cynical of all that … well … “is not.”



And, worse, they believe their laziness is earned … earned from years of accumulating information and knowledge and money … as well as earned because … well … it was successful <and we were successful>.



And then?


We 50somethings place a value on this ‘thing’ we feel we have earned over time as if it was some product that had been manufactured and was ready to be sold.



The problem?


It is almost like we 50somethings have forgotten that if someone is paying you a $100 they should feel like they are getting something more than $100 worth.


Maybe worse … we think the past learning <even though a lot it is no longer relevant> has a higher value than it does.





Uh oh.



Maybe the worst?


indulge pointless hsit

It seems like we have forgotten that knowledge actually naturally diminishes without some constant nurturing <therefore the value is actually depreciating over time>.



When will we 50somethings recognize that we really have earned little <okay … less than what we think> of real value to the emerging world … unless … we unlearn some aspects of what we know and reapply what we do know to encourage a better future.






Let me go back to defending the 50somethings and their lostness.



Unlearning is tough <and unsettling and … well … often scary>.



Massive flux is tough <and unsettling and … well … scary>. Many of us 50somethings are just lost. We know we have value but the current value looks an awful like ‘none to limited’ value as everything swirls around us.



I would also point out that I do believe many 50somethings would gladly reapply what they know to make things better if someone could just show them the path or tell them where to go and what to do.





‘Show them the path’ and ‘tell them what to do’ … well … attach that to my point on ‘believe they have earned’ … and you have the formula for holding on tightly.


If unlearning is tough imagine how tough it is to give up control when you believe you have earned the privilege of controlling.



I was reminded the other day that I don’t often give 50somethings credit or the benefit of the doubt.



They may be right.



The documentary reminded me that ‘lost’ is an incredibly bad feeling and when felling it … well … it often doesn’t bring out the best in people.



Which makes me ask.



If we invested the energy to help the 50something generation feel less lost … would we all benefit from how they responded when they knew where to go next?



Nostalgia, or viewing the past as something better, is one issue … but ‘lostness’ is something completely different.



Maybe I have been looking at this wrong all along.



All I do know for sure is that I may give my 50something friends a little more benefit of the doubt.



Look.pschiatric help




If you even partially agree with me on his ‘lost’ thought … think of the numbers … think maybe 75% of 50somethings working in the cartoon business, television business, stock trading business, travel agent business, book business <libraries, publishing>, newspaper business … well … this could become a fairly long list … a shitload of 50somethings in a shitload of industries with a shitload of quality experience … is in a shitload of hurt.


They are … well … lost.



They know their craft well. And, yet, they don’t know the world their craft lives in anymore.




This is no excuse for the curmudgeons holding on tight to the past and the way things used to be done … it is simply an explanation for why so many of them are gripping the past with white knuckles.



Enlightened Conflict