An idealism grew into a country, which grew into a concept.
Your beliefs about this country, about the world, is wrong. You immediately want to challenge that statement, go after what is wrong with it, or me, or what I am trying to communicate. Looking for any word, or intonation that you could use to make my statement incorrect, full of crap, or just written off as nuts. Yet, as you do that, the challenge itself is correct. You paint your world through your accumulated existence, as does everyone else, and you as well as I know, we don’t live the same lives.
Yes, that other person you may meet, or see on the news, has a very different life than you do. They don’t know the same things, they don’t care about the same things, they don’t have that collective of memories and experiences that you do, they can’t. You don’t have theirs either, you can’t. How could someone say that? How could someone do that? From the hula hoop circles of networks and contacts, to family and friends that create our everyday’s, people live in very different worlds. All of them exist simultaneously, touching the essential societal commonalities either full on or not at all. When national news, like the shootings in Texas and Ohio happen, those worlds collide. The collective experiences of a people show up in the same places all at once. In the process, the way people construct their realities is fundamentally challenged. When that happens the human condition is programmed to go into a fear mentality kind of protection. That mental chemical cocktail will paint even the starkest truth with deniability.
That reality, the one with all of them, is plainly evident as the comments and reactions of the masses explode. The corners of the imaginations, and lack thereof, is splashed all over the internet, all over their real world comments, and their class, and types of reactions. One of the things that happens when you grow up intuitively mistrusting what is being said, you either grow into a huge and grumpy ass; Or you practice the mechanisms from the first paragraph, apply patience and tolerance, and wait to see what is really expected of you. So when big news, or controversy appears in our societal web, I don’t bite, I get emotional as anyone else, but by getting to the emotion part, my practicing kicks in and tells me to pay attention. I know my facts and my reality, I am trying to find out where yours are? Where are theirs? In that practice, this country and its people paint a dystopia of realities, all of them true, great and tragic, hopeful and hopeless, the American dream.
America is a construct. It is a construct of ideals and systems that are meant to ensure the greatest possible freedoms while protecting the greatest possible amount of liberties. Those two concepts work when applied fairly and equitably, but that has never been the case, even from the beginning. History has shown us all that this human species occupying the planet right now is inherently destructive, not only to own own species, but to our planet as well. America is a big part of both of those equations, between the destructive human capabilities to the planetary ones, we have built the present day much in our image, pushed upon the world much the same. It is one of growth and great achievements, staked between those great achievements were, and are, great tragedies and madness. The blueprint of the freedoms that built the world, was burned away by the liberties that were ensured by it.
I write this culpable, a part of the problem, a part of the very things I deem unworthy. I am also inherently aware of it. But this overwhelming alt-heimer’s, that somehow denying that something happened, or trying to spin it into something else, leaves me helpless except to express it through other’s words. An older woman posted about the youth of today, and how they don’t have a work ethic, and are lazy. A male friend of the same generation commented on how they need church attendance. These kind of comments tell the real story here, the real reason why the realities of millions of people don’t exist in anything like the real worlds of others. There has been a generation gap that thinned the fabric, and a stunting of our future, our children and grandchildren, that will leave the chasms of communication wide. The commonalities that weave a cohesive societal fabric are being staked to a derelict past that is pulling us by the neck as the months and years pass by. The very thought that somehow hard work and regular church attendance is going to fix the problems that face the present, or future, is the very thinking that has led us here.
While on Jury Duty, a well heeled woman had great insights into the lack of common sense expressed by our youth. My reply was this; “You know they say the same things about us?” Which was met with a harrumph of silence… In this exponential growth that we have accomplished we also jumped the evolutionary shark. This is by no means an opinion, but one of scientific studies and conclusions. The IQ’s of younger generations are lower than they used to be. This is by no means a knock on them either, and doesn’t mean they are dumb at all. It points to congruent generations of affluency and technological development. My nephew went to Technical School, but had to quit because he couldn’t do simple mathematics. He graduated High School, but they had always used calculators and college wouldn’t allow it. Now for my generation, that’s utterly shocking, it’s also a point to make about worlds, and the world not being the same at all. Can’t they just?… Fill in the blank? Well, no they can’t, but you can’t seem to manage your basic computer settings either, can you?
This goes well beyond just the technological aspects of differences. The stakes that were placed, the ladders we had to climb to get to this point or that one, are antiquated and too narrow. The life-steps that we feel important and necessary, don’t mean the same things anymore, they don’t bring about the same ends. A High School diploma of a 50 year old is as good as a basic degree in the educational realms. Toss in some computer skills and it becomes exponential. While today’s generation has more applicable skills, they are lacking the ability to grow that I.Q. as well as we could. We are way too late to raise awareness of the very different world we created when we opened up this connectivity box of Pandora’s worms, the least we could do is be more understanding of the problems we have created. While most of us did this blissfully unaware, there were warning signs, and places of interest that should have alarmed more of the adults of those times. Just like I am trying to do here, once you discover a flaw in the works, it’s best to say something… Right? A fly in the soup is one thing, but changing the stock into chicken and expecting a beef flavor… Well your expectations aren’t going to be met, are they?
There are stories that have come out after I started writing this one; They are about the communication gaps between generations. They don’t speak to the issues in the same manner, too pandering and afraid to make a decisive point. We have lost contact with each other, we have no idea what our stories are anymore, let alone that of even our closest neighbors and friends. We have lost that construct of generations before, that ability to connect at some point to that other, younger one, and theirs to ours. The stitches used are loops of wandering threads, far from the whole of the fabric, but a part of it nonetheless. The lifetime bridge that I have crossed makes these things more than apparent, the generational differences are growing faster than we can mentally accept. They are also tasking our future generations, for their lack of place. That connection to the feeling that we call security/home/homestead, the We part of this all, is more and more, not a concept in their worlds. That is not their fault either… The divide, the tear, is being caused by the stuff that snags and anchors that fabric to something that doesn’t move.
I told my wife, that just for argument sake an eighteen year old had a baby. That eighteen year old’s world is a generation away from a twelve year old. Now, the generation of a six year old and a twelve year old are different too. We did this, we got this ball rolling with our affluency and societal pressures, ebbs, and flows. So as that eighteen year old is raising that child, who is in yet an entirely different set of generational parameters, pressures, and flows. This leaves the eighteen year old with less of an understanding of what the new child is going to have to go through. This sounds plainly basic, and it is, but here is the point that my generation can’t really see yet. These generations and worlds that I speak of are actually vastly different. Technology alone outpaces the human learning curves, information and communications platforms are in such abundance, and each with their own types of languages, it is impossible to list. Place in there a good amount of learning from the other parts of life, besides familial experiences and pressures. It is no longer some angst years that will settle into a life that we know and recognize. The worlds and realities of those generations are increasingly cut off from those other generations because of tactile differences, expectation changes, and a good amount of attrition.
The Modern Age, The Atomic Age, The Information Age. Each one of these era’s have and continue to impact our everyday lives. The Artificial Intelligence Age is upon us, and let’s be honest, there are those among us that live and base their experiences and life events from all of those those previous ages. Like I said before, this churning of societal gears, sped up and normalized through innovations and corporate needs is not the same as generations that came before us, not in the least. When we began this information age, a veritable fourth dimension to our 3D world, we didn’t just add another side, but opened up a human complexity with as many facets as the best cut diamond. As much as it opened up information to its creators, it also brought with it the curiosity and realities of millions of minds and thousands of influences. When that is given freely to a populace, one that holds views and expectations from all of those beliefs, all of those generations of other ages, there is a cacophony of humanity and an explosion of realities.
When people immigrate to the United States, our constitution stipulates that they make a reasonable assimilation to our culture, our lifestyle. But that very same notion, that act is not taken when we take giant steps in the realms of social and technological advances. Traditions are seen as being under attack, mindsets are seemingly poisoned by outside influences. These are the assimilation’s that are being retrofitted onto other generations more and more. The green is purple doesn’t work when there are examples of the colors for anyone to look up. The ideas and mindsets that allowed others to succeed in one time frame does not apply evenly, or equally to this one or the future. All I ever wanted was a job at the Mill, like my Father and his Father. Work my life, live it small and that’s it, make no noise beyond that of a nice life… That never happened, the jobs of that nature were few and far between, companies didn’t hold onto workers beyond what their quarterly audits allowed them. That nice life is more luck and happenstance than hard work anymore, forty hours of work, or eighty, the caste system of employment doesn’t allow societal ceilings to be broken often. Why is your version of work worth more than their version of work?
This cultural misappropriation of responsibility, of culpability, and of views too narrow for the age they inhabit, are on us. The generation that just doesn’t get it is not the younger ones, is not the ones we have deemed to blame for this, but us, the older and supposedly wiser ones. The term generation gap is used to describe this phenomenon. It is as antiquated as the mindsets that espouse their realities as the only ones that create this American construct. We are all of these things we have created and the things that come about because of them. We are ill at ease with our affluency and the hands that were supposed to pull up the rest were yanked away from the masses, the discomfort and responsibility too great, the consequences now seen, too dire. When the culmination of all we have amassed meant more diversity, more acceptance and more hard work; We shrunk from those stated ideals, we huddled in our tribes of supposed traditions, supposed beliefs, and chastised the world for experiencing… time. We cannot see this, we have built a system to ensure this is not evident and clear. The term generation gap is a concept as ancient as the dinosaurs, and a common thread may be the meteor that wiped out not only them, but our own generation.
We are aloof, and just plain stupid in our affluency, to such an extent that it has removed that visceral connection to the rest of humanity. The old saying that nature herself brought about the idea of God, has been lost almost altogether. The nature in, and of us all, is being casually and callously wiped away from our collective conscious in this misguided grasp at survival of the fittest. We owe the world much, and the gifts we deemed good may not be viewed the same in the future. One where the world changed around us, it grew beyond a construct, acceptance and understanding were at the forefront of a new and very different world. When the myths and legends are not those of an Atlantis, but those of finding America.