The Generation Z.
A New Kind of Wisdom.
Who are we, what do we want. And what do we bring.
As the mid-way son of an interlaced time of generations, I’ve always felt uncomfortable talking about this topic, because it brings with it the feeling that I don’t belong, or that I may actually fail to understand the very concept of a ‘Generation’.
You see, I was born smack in the middle of the Nineties, a moment in History that was so dense, and the prelude to a so intricate follow up, that it’s easy to catalogue it as ‘The End of Something’ but much harder to actually define it for what it is.
It was the end of the Millennium, the Global society, the Internet age… so to be born right inside it means always treading the waters between one place and another, one era and the next.
Am I a ‘Millennial’, one of the people that saw the 2000 in their formative years (although I was in kindergarten then)?
Or am I what comes next, the Generation with no name yet, the ‘Generation Z’?
If you are like me, you need precise information, and precise arguments to back a reasoning, but when it comes to sub-dividing the continuous flow of human procreation into well segmented chunks, well what do you know, it’s quite messy.
‘Generation’ is defined as a period, generally considered to be about thirty years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children of their own.
Biologically this makes sense. If we have to divide ourselves into groups that mature at the same time, the time from birth to giving birth is a nice approximation.
But this is only relevant to small groups, like families. Societally speaking it doesn’t really make sense.
The span of time when people have children is about 20 years, and I know the average is at around 30 years old, but my God 30 years! One generation? Which means that I belong with people born up to 2025? What do I have in common with them?
Or do you mean I belong with people born in the Seventies?
So, it also makes sense to define Generation in another way, one that matters for society at large. Thereby:
‘Generation’ means people within a delineated population who experience the same significant events within a given period of time.
Okay, now we are close.
A Generation is a group of people that experience events the same way. That experience their Times with enough similarities to potentially have similar outcomes.
Now I have a clear instrument to compare myself to a social cohort. And now it’s so clear that this feeling of not belonging is actually shared by most people, who are born in the middle of different things, in different places, and all in all find uncomfortable to be described as a ‘Generation’, for their experiences and outcomes are so different from a gross… generalisation.
Millennials are defined as the children of the Baby Boomers. The ‘9/11 Generation’. The ‘Great Recession’ college graduates. And I’m none of these things.
(Actually, now that I think of it, Millennials have gone through a lot of awful stuff. So it makes me wonder if being aways picked on as the entitled, childish, hippy generation is just another mean event they have to go through. A mean oversimplification of the behaviours that may represent their response to these events, and their refuge from them, without actually paying attention to the underlying causes. One thing is clear, though. I see a lot of Millennial resentment, justifiably. And I see a lot of Millennial anger coming…)
All this aside, people like me don’t belong with this. My parents are X’ers, I don’t remember 9/11 vividly, and I was finishing middle school at the start of the Great Recession. So although official classifications for Millennials are very broad, and sometimes extend from the late ’70s to even ’97 or 2000, I feel 1995 is a pretty good year to end things. And start the new.
The Generation Z.
For all intents and purposes people born in the mid-’90s onwards are Generation Z.
But it’s an extremely blurry image this phrase paints. It’s so new, so featureless, no one seriously talks about it and we are all so consumed with Millennials all the time there’s the risk of making this word synonymous with young altogether.
So what are we?
Classifications, again, are vague, but Z (no name yet) are the children on Gen-X. The ones that were born 1993/2005 to an end date that’s yet to come. The ones who grew up in a tumultuous time and feel insecure about History and the status-quo of the World. We didn’t live through the hopelessness of Gen-X or the Millennial distress, but we inherited them subconsciously.
We are seeing what the generations before have done / experienced, we are seeing the mistakes they’re making, and I think we are boiling down all of this, synthesising our own character, a new philosophy. One that we feel is missing right now. A new kind of Wisdom.
Therefore, while I’m not sure I really belong in this Generation, if I share their views or if I even know what they are, let me sing its praise, and a prayer for the future. May we be the authors of our own lives.
Z marks the end.
Generations don’t matter anymore. We are evolving too much, too fast, and the constant stream of new mind-blowing experiences from all over the World makes us grow in such a disproportionate way that we are not the same person in January as we are in June when it comes to what we know, while emotional development is paying the price of slowing down.
I don’t feel I have much in common with a person born in 2000, and we’re just a few years apart.
So I think my Generation Z happened to be named as what it really is going to represent: the end of the traditional and quite useless ‘Generation Chain’, and the rise of a new system. One that is faster, more fluid and more in tune with the human development on a socio-psychological level, not just reproductory.
One in which the Values of a group are not a byproduct of its initial cataloguing, but its very element of commonality.
We have the chance to leave an intellectual mark for a long time. We can develop a new system of thinking that will guide the chaotic masses after us, and placate angst. We can set our ways as the benchmark for the future, just like the end of Classical Greece left its mark for the next thousand years to come.
And to do it, we have to come together on our common themes. To find these new Values we identify with and be better than the generations past.
We just need an initial guiding light to break through the chaos and the stale routine.
We can do it. And we can start from here.
What is the Generation Z.
This generation is about Clarity. We’ve seen society, politics, culture and economics flourish, being exploited, oppressed and broken apart.
We’ve seen the World getting smaller, enemies closer, old securities dismantled.
New tools have arisen for communication, play, war, control, life an death. We didn’t complain, we didn’t ride the tide. We were born in this World.
Our World is dominated by Old people that stand to preserve the old ways, a Middle generation that has been crushed by this old system, and the Young adults that harbour a sense of rebellion and suffered injustice more than anyone before.
Yes. Millennials are about Justice. They have been threatened by disparity, and they are coincidentally the first generation with enough knowledge and instruments to understand just how pervasive injustice is in the World. They have seen money, race and chance being the Great Divide between the lucky and the oppressed.
They struggle with identity, because they have to find a new theory where those elements are not indicative of a person’s worth in life.
They are the first generation of 30-year-olds who’s worse off than the one before.
So they are fighting, and will fight for Justice and Equality for all. Millennials will become the leaders of the World in the next decade, and they will lead with Justice in mind. But also Retribution.
This is why we Z-ers need to counterbalance this blind push. Because pursuing justice, equality and respect without a systematic philosophy or discretion of thought takes us to dark places. It makes us act by reaction and obsessive. It makes us always answer by gut, without a genuine innovative proposition to follow.
Gen-Z is about Clarity. The evils of the World cannot be confronted without a clear distinction of intent, a clear new ethic. And they are no match for the damages of chaos.
We know that good intentions are but the seeds of goodness, and we prefer to act with a hopeful disposition, but act for real. We don’t fall for rhetoric, we don’t fall for ideals for the sake of ideals.
The only question we ask is: does it make sense? Does this new thing make our path clearer? Our life meaningful?
We are not the generation of Special Kids, because we’ve seen that being special is not indicative of an automaticly good outcome in life. We know we are special and unique, but we don’t act on that alone. We act to prove it.
We yearn for Wisdom. Because we’ve seen that there is not much of it to go around, in our parents, our leaders, our icons and culture. We dream of a World that acts on its ideals and makes them a sustainable way of life, instead of proclaiming them while living a life of survival, with a ‘get-the-money’ mentality.
Everybody needs to get their money, but just existing on that concept is a victim’s mentality.
We look for meaning in our behaviour, thought-leaders to inspire it. We want to shape society to be the incarnation of our desires.
We want to live, not survive.
This is why we don’t take refuge in entertainment like the Millennials, we pour ourselves into it. We make it ours, we dominate whatever spends our time.
Millennials will lay the grounds for a new Justice. We will build the new Wisdom.
We seek Spirituality, as opposed to blind Religion and blind Skepticism. We seek Ambition, as opposed to pure Oppression and pure Collectivism.
We don’t take offence, we ignore the opinions that can be ignored.
We look for inspiration, and something magical about the future that makes it vast and full of opportunities.
We don’t take nourishment from nostalgia, we don’t fight to keep the past alive in style hoping that it comes back in sustance, with all its safety of outcomes. We live in the future, to make it as good as we need it to be.
We dream with a chisel in our hand.
If you want to know the Generation Z before we make a noise, this is the basis.
Because we know that we’re all different and generalisations don’t matter. But we also know that these are the things we share due to our common experiences.
And I like it.
I’m excited about the things this generation will invent and bring to the World. I’m excited for our new way of thinking, of acting, doing business and creating culture.
And if we are really to lead the way for a long time after us, I’m happy that it’s come to us to do it.
Because we have learnt so much, we are thankful, but we’re also determined.
We are no-bullshit and in search for a deeper meaning.
We will work hard …
… And we will bring you a new kind of Wisdom.