Sunday, August 20, 2006

Misery and the Me Gen

This particular post by David Wong of Pointless Waste of Time fame has had me thinking a lot of late.

Apparently I'm not the only one. The home page on this blog states that the article in question has recorded 50,000 readers! Wow!

Which goes to prove something about this cynical and rather pessimistically written piece - that it has touched a MAJOR nerve for many people.

And just what is that "Nerve"?

Well! I think perhaps that people are starting to finally realise that the "ME" Generation thing just isn't working!

Rampant individualism in Western Culture has been on a steady rise for nearly 50 years. From the the beginnings of modern Youth Culture in the 1950's, there has been a steady increase in the mythology of the "ME" Identity. We all know of so many people who seem to think that the world "owes" them something for nothing.

There is a cosmetics ad here in Australia that has a tag line that says "Because you're worth it!". Now that might be a cause for some controversy there really! We are worth it! But the truth is that it is ALL of us who are worth it, not just the beautiful, flawless amongst us as these ads portray. By the same token - we need to develop enough sensitivity to our surroundings as individuals to ensure that our sense of "being worth it" doesn't engender arrogance, pride and wilful neglect of ethical behaviour towards others! Being "Worth it" requires a certain self-abnegating humility as well as a healthy sense of value as a person.

To understand the Self is important. Self-awareness and understanding how we "tick" as persons of worth is a valuable study of personal intention, motivation, purpose and validation. I'm not arguing against the need for us all to "examine" ourselves on occasion. I do it here in this blog regularly :)

The Mythology of "ME" is slightly different. This isn't about self-examination and learning so much as about pure selfish indulgence. The generations that have been born since the middle of the last century have become increasingly selfish and obsessed with personal gain at the expense of community.

What this insightful article says despite its rather depressing tone is "Get a grip and get over yourself for a minute!"

We are "lonely" because we have made ourselves so by our refusal to walk in the steps of another. We do not want the responsibility of stepping outside our comfort zones and IDENTIFYING with someone else we are not comfortable with. We want others to identify with US... so long as we don't have to do it for them! This is the "ME" Generation's core theme, that it is all ABOUT "me" not you! Me-ism of the first order! It says "What I want I will have and f*** the rest!"

This crippling and pervasive attitude corrodes and does not build societies. It establishes a system of distrust, dishonesty, tolerance for un-healthy behaviours and a deep skepticism of everything whilst also engaging a strange acceptance of some very wierd and sometimes perverted belief systems. Me-ism implodes like a detonated building in on itself. When we are so focussed on our SELF in this way to the detriment of others, we do ourselves enormous damage as persons of worth and merit. How ironic is that?

No wonder the kids of the 21st Century, as according to this article, are so miserable. What isolated islands of despair we have made for all our beautiful "Me's"

This IS a generalisation of course. There ARE people out there in the world who do not subscribe to the Mythology of "ME" and are genuinely concerned with the world, its people, their communities, families and so on. These people grease the rails toward making life bearable and tolerable through their unstinting generosity of spirit and self-LESS love of others. They are the ones who are NOT miserable nor are they lonely or bereft of love. These are the people - young and middle-aged alike - who are confident enough within themselves to know their value but do not identify too strongly with their "Me" but with their "Us" - no matter how uncomfortable that "Us" makes them feel sometimes.

That is the key to genuine happiness! Stepping outside our comfort zones and engaging in the world around us with all its faults, flaws, difficulties, problems and tediousness. The basic tenet is that the world - and the people who live in it - do not owe us anything but that we owe them everything!

When we build up the ability within ourselves to freely express love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we are in fact immunising ourselves from the misery that this article suggests is rampant in this fledgling 21st Century.

Love yourself but don't go too far inside your "ME" that you forget why you're here; To serve and be served.

No comments: