Wednesday, August 24, 2016

An Aquarium of Millennials

One of the things that Linked In is moderately useful for, other than keeping track of my various work acquaintances, is the various and sundry articles it posts on Millennials, what they do, what they value, and how to manage them.

I am (if you have not figured it out) not a Millennial - to be honest, I am not quite sure what I am.  But I have had plenty of coworkers that are and interact with them at church and even out in the real world.  And they are the new bloc about which so many are concerned commercials and politically (one wonders how the Gen-Xers are feeling at this point).

In reading of their values and concerns and issues, I am struck by the fact that the Millennial "way of life" (if there is such a thing) reminds me rather of an aquarium:  it works, but it assumes a particular set of circumstances to make it work.  These could arguably include things like an urban environment, a technological society a soceity where things like food and energy are to be purchased rather than generated, and a rule of law which expects people to be bound by it even if they disagree or it negatively impacts their life.

I compare this with my parents generation, the one slightly before the Baby Boomers, where they enjoy the fruits of a modern society but functioned at one time without them - and could probably do so again.  They took jobs that may not have represented the ideal but were a way to earn a living.  My perception - if my parents and their friends are any indicator - is that they went about doing their job and living life, regardless of the circumstances or how the felt about things.

Yes, I am aware these are somewhat sweeping generalizations and by no means is this a call back to the Halcyon Days of yesteryear (when many terrible things did go on).  But I think the principle still holds.

What matter, someone may ask.  After all, new societal groups have always emerged and come to dominate their day.  True of course - but for some reason these strikes me as different.  This is a group which, it seems to me, is highly dependent on a certain set of circumstances to exist and thrive - less of a Roman Commoner or Japanese Farmer than a Samurai or Highland warrior, a group that existed as long as the circumstances that supported them existed.

I am not sure what to do with this, only than to make the following observation:  aquariums allow us to keep and view tropical fish that we should never otherwise see - right up to the point that the heat and light go out and the fish can no longer sustain themselves.  

At that point, it turns out, the common goldfish is the fish of choice.


LindaG said...

It is funny that you equate millenials to Aquariums. There is a lady on facebook, Andrea Hawes who has written a book entitled "Escape From Aquarius!"; which is about the problems of the millenial generation and how they were raised.

What matter... Made me think of Clinton and her "What difference does it make now", comment on Benghazi.

I absolutely agree with your observations. The Millenials are certainly not "The Greatest Generation".

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Interestingly Linda, they are capable of great things. The part that strikes me as odd is that in order for those great things to happen, a certain environment has to exist. And like many other specialized creatures, a change or destruction of the environment creates issues that allows no such things to be done.