About a fortnight ago, a tearful young lady had put a message up on facebook complaining that she was tired of being disposable, that nobody had any feelings anymore and she did not feel that she could live like that.
I very quickly replied that her generation had been brought up for a transient existence because transience is good for the economy, and that if she expected to change anything, she was just going to have to rebel. She did not reply. A good example of this symptom of the Western economic disease is one of IKEA’s campaigns, which entreated the viewer to get divorced and buy some furniture. This is a fairly advanced gag for the European market, but an important one.
I am sure this phenomenon, of personal disposability and the need to continuously upgrade yourself, started during my generation or even earlier in the USA, but in the UK even people two years younger than me show a marked difference to people of my own age. The sublimation of cultural influence is so finely tuned now, that even 20 odd months make a difference. Where I got much the same post war creative children’s programming as my older peers, I noted as far back as the 1980s that colours in newer TV shows were more akin to sales signs and children were being discouraged from actually making anything in favour of showing off another purchase. I was met with dismay in the 1990s when I made a serious complaint to the BBC about it.
It is very sad, and very bad for fulfilling personal development that we are now training people to despise menial jobs and assume that the answer to all ills is to purchase happiness. It is equally sad to destroy the sense of commitment that, despite sacrificing a sense of day to day contentment, provided people with the stability required to move beyond Candy Crush Saga, to discuss more important things and perhaps volunteer to do something about them instead of assuming powerlessness. Being serious is now considered to be something undesirable and unattractive. People like this poor girl feel that their emotions are somehow unacceptable, and that feeling anything renders them worthless. Compare this with even fifty years ago, and you will see exactly how much you have been manipulated.
Post 90s babies may not even have access to people who remember when it was OK to have feelings and make lousy Valentine’s cards (or whatever else) for each other as it now seems to be desirable to throw the elderly into a care home. Boys are now deprived of the company of their fathers, fixing broken items or inventing new ones, because the traditional skill level has been depleted for the benefit of the Political Economic Paradise we are so fortunate to live in. Now they are supposed to jump into the second car and buy something new to keep somebody somewhere (else) in work. All so that your government can show you another couple of percent growth and keep you voting for them. You can also count yourself responsible for perpetual war and student loans, since these are also part of the economic machine that is running out of steam.
I, perversely, count myself lucky to be in a position to show you exactly how much you have been conned. Time is money – no, money is time, and time is worth a lot more than cash to you if you know how to use it effectively and have sufficient motivation to do something with it. Nobody is powerless, and nobody is worth more than you just because they are good at extracting cash from their employer or anybody else they do business with. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise, stop comparing yourself to them and stop worrying about what people might say if you actually care about something. You may well surprise yourself.