’s Lack Of Permanence Essay, Research Paper
Nothing is Forever
“Generation X” is the term used to describe and define the generation born after 1970. Although it is given as being this age group, Generation X is more of a mind set, than an age. Described as lacking morals, ethics, and diligence, elder generations look down on Xers as if they were willfully deceitful. While truth may lie in some of these accusations, the roots extend far deeper. Generation X lacks a perception of permanence, which causes problems when functioning in the real world.
Psychologists have long known that a child’s upbringing has a profound affect on its behavior later in life. Today, steady streams of stimuli entertain children, requiring little or no thought on the part of the child. This “mind candy,” as it has been dubbed, causes short attention spans, and conditions the children to being fed their entertainment. In fact, the television has become a sort of mass surrogate parent for today?s youth. This “surrogate parent” is a fickle one, with MTV fashions changing faster than the seasons, children are left with very few permanent roll models. Sadly the most lingering figures are those like Kurt Cobain and Tupac who die young. This combined with the glorification of violence caused by Stalone style movies causes a decrease in regard for human life.
Hand in hand with television violence comes the violence of the video game world. Games like Mortal Kombat and Doom, where blood and killing are displayed graphically and repeatedly, can cause desensitization to violence, and the recurrence of the killed characters later may create the illusion of death as a temporary state. The acceptability of violence is not the only myth spawned from the digital world. In video games, “good guys? and “bad guys? are well defined, with no middle ground. One of the more cliched differences is that life has no reset button. The presence of a “reset” button adds greatly to the delusion that making mistakes is not a big deal, because afterwards, a fresh start can always be achieved.
In contrast to the fast paced, stimulus-pumping world of unreality, the real world seems very boring. Thus necessary, but mundane, experiences, like school, seem boring and unbearable. This academic lack of attention is not purely the fault of the students, however. Teachers often focus more on ingrained memorization of facts than on actual comprehension, and busywork is often given which increases the stress a student feels, while teaching them nothing and turning them away from other, more educational assignments. Also, die to curriculums and graduation requirements, students are often forced to take classes which conflict greatly with their areas of expertise, instead of other, more enjoyable, and possibly more educational courses.
The education is also prolonged; thus it takes “longer than previous generations to fully enter
the adult world. It is as if a new “pre-adult” life stage has developed” (2). Along with the
prolonged education comes over-specialization, students are forced to choose their majors, and thereby their futures while still trying to find their own identities. Even once education has been completed, employment is by no means guaranteed. College graduates are working for minimum wage at McDonalds. For this reason, people no longer feel free to pursue fields of interest, rather they believe they must go to more lucrative fields
One of the areas which Generation X members feel the most confusion about is love and relationships. Because of the aforementioned mind candy fixation, Xers generally mistake the endorphin immersion of infatuation for true love. Usually it is only after marriage that people realize that what they had was not love. The other problem that arises in modern marriages is the expectation that after marriage, one person will change to suit the other. Men of Generation X are brought up with pimps, gigolos, and playboys as heroes. Pop culture is not entirely to blame. The parents of Generation X, the Baby Boomers, have not put up an adequate example for good family values. When a generation grow in households torn by divorce, it won’t know how to raise families of its own.
By not having adequate parenting, today?s youth is growing up lacking a respect for authority. Besides the parents, other roll models are missing. America’s government is so over-scandalized, over budgeted, and over criticized, that no one has faith in them anymore. The media has made a frenzy of this search for corruption, both in real life with the Clinton/Lewinski affair, and cinematically with films like “X-Files”, “Wag the Dog”, and “Outbreak”. Today?s heroes are not government agents, but people rebelling against the system. Their cartoon hero is Bart Simpson, not Bulwinkle Moose.
In a society where the popular idea is to diverge away from what is popular, large groups go in different directions to establish their individualities. By buying into a genre or clique, young Xers establish a form of identity and belonging. An interesting point is that most of these groups can be defined by modern musical styles. Dave Mathew’s band, Phish, and similar items define one group. Hip Hop and rap define another. And Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie, and Marilyn Manson define yet another.
Elder generations generally look at these bands as having no musical talent, and/or being verbally offensive. Some groups, like Marilyn Manson define themselves as being offensive purely for the sake of being offensive. The idea of finding popularity in being unpopular is a bit baffling, and can lead to complications. For instance, at one point in time, a navel piercing was risque, now they’re common, and tongue piercings are even becoming more common. The problem is that, as the range of acceptability broadens, those who attempt to live outside that realm must go to further extremities.
The Satanism of Marilyn Manson and some of his more devout followers is one of
the reasons that Generation X has been dubbed “godless”. Even without the rebellious factors, however, there is a rise occurring in the number of atheists. Scientific technology is progressing rapidly, especially in fields like disease, and genetics. With cures for diseases being produced, and breakthroughs like the cloning of Dolly the sheep, the borders of what powers belong to god, and which belong to man is blurred greatly.
Along with the loss of religious faith comes a loss of meaning in life. The crusade to find this lost meaning brings together people from many walks of life. Because of this, Generation X is more diverse and more accepting of diversity, whether it is defined by ethnicity or sexual preference. Generation X embraces its diversity, and welcomes open discussions of opposing viewpoints. The Internet is an excellent medium for such discussions, as skin color, religion, attractiveness, and nationality have no relevance there. Instead, it is a transfer of opinions and information.
This instant access to information and supersonic communications is one example of how the world of Generation X is different than that of its predecessors. With the new technologies available to humanity, it is essential that philosophies and ethics develop accordingly. Children must relearn to empathize with one another. They also need to be able to set sights on a goal, and achieve it.
Generation X’s greatest asset is its ingenuity, and ability to discover new ways of solving old problems. Once its members learn patience and diligence, they have the potential to make some of the greatest achievements this world has ever seen. After overcoming the disbelief in eternity, it is possible to leave a legacy for which the current generation will be remembered throughout time.