The Millennial Murmur
I’ve recently started feeling the cold clammy hands of death in a much more profound way than ever before. I realize this sounds incredibly dramatic and I am painfully aware that it’s not. Like a lot of my friends who are currently waking up to the reality that time has passed them by and that the things we were all meant to achieve hasn’t happened yet, I too am headed down the path of existential crisis-isms and in a desperate bid to reinvent myself for the umpteenth time, I’ve decided to start a blog and see where the wind takes me.
How’s that for an introduction to whatever this is?
To give some context. I was born in 1987 in one of the wealthiest countries on planet earth. I have lived a life of access to such utopian things as — free medical care, free education with the possibility of getting paid whilst doing it, things that to others around the world seem like the craziest things ever — but to us, up here in the cold north, is just how things are. I am, for better or worse, a millennial and what hits me about that definition, is that I don’t like it. I can’t exactly put my finger on why I don’t like it. Maybe it’s the immediate association to self-entitled kids who pay hoboes to fight each other over a sandwich, or that the term millennial seems to not convey how old I feel. After all the millennial shift happened only 17 years ago and I was barely aware of the world around me at that point.
“I am one of these self-entitled people who have a hard time integrating themselves with the reality of the world they inhabit”
But I am a millennial, for better or worse. I am one of these self-entitled people who have a hard time integrating themselves with the reality of the world they inhabit. I have all these ideas about how we can make the world better, but I also have an expansive Netflix queue and a total lack of knowledge about how the working man gets by. No, actually I don’t have a total lack of knowledge, I’d describe it more as a kind of disdain. A disdain for blue collar workers who, in my mind, spend their entire lifespan inhabiting the world of the lowest common denominator. A world where anyone with a little bit of mental fortitude is looked upon as wise guy, a sort of self-professed prophet of social change, here to take away the rights of the working man and grant it to someone not worthy in the name of change. In my mind, the world of the blue-collar worker, the average Joe, has always been a world of racism, sexist humor and a complete apathy towards personal liberation from the bonds of capitalism. It’s this belief that drove me towards considering academia as the path of the righteous and for the longest time I wandered around enlightening the brutes about the importance of understanding things at a higher level, like some kind of social change Prometheus who brought fire to the common folk. In this mental analogy, I was Prometheus, the mortals were the blue-collar people and the rock where I would be chained for my sins was made of apathy towards my teachings. Like Jesus before me I would cry out to the heavens “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do” as the vultures of the right wing would pry open my body and pick at me with their beaks made of racist arguments. I believed in all of this with no small amount of zeal and I was, of course, a fucking idiot for doing so.
What I realize now and what could have been helpful to realize a little bit sooner, is that I am indeed another one of these self-entitled pricks. While I would never pit one homeless person against another in a no holds barred death match for something as basic as food, I do go around trying to tell racists on Facebook how incredibly wrong they are and while there is nothing wrong with trying to broaden horizons and discuss the important topics of the day, I do see a massive problem with the way we go about these things.
“…if I try to relate this to anyone in an appropriate forum online, I’m more likely to get shit flung at me by the primate colony”
Go to Facebook, right now. Find any odd debate group about one of the hottest topics of the day. Feminism, gender equality, black lives matter, religion and so on. What you will witness isn’t necessarily what I would call a debate, but more like a shouting match where people continually ignore each other’s arguments and just repeat whichever pre-prepared statement that fits. Trying to argue with anyone on Facebook is bound to devolve into this insane debacle where you’re either super smart and well-argued or a complete fool with no thoughts of your own. Hell, in most cases you will have these compliments thrown at you simultaneously and my guess is that you will focus on the positive ones and disregard the negative ones. It’s not that we, as thinking people, are dumb as shit, it’s that we have a problem with accepting that we can be wrong or even that other opinions and world views are available. Failing to realize this traps us in an echo chamber, which is one of those terms that have recently gotten as much mileage as snowflake or SJW, but from both sides of the spectrum. It’s not exactly rocket science to figure out that people tend to agree with whatever corresponds to what they already believe and vehemently oppose whatever doesn’t. I consider myself a mellow fella and I don’t exactly see how religion is somehow fucking it all up, but if I try to relate this to anyone in an appropriate forum online, I’m more likely to get shit flung at me by the primate colony, than getting a pat on the back for thinking about these things. It’s how it’s always been and probably how it’ll always be.
But why is this? Why on earth can’t we agree that women are equal to men, that its insane how most of our jokes about criminals tend to assume that the criminals are all black. Why can’t we just all work together for a peaceful world in which everyone is equal and everything is bliss? My conservative friends will claim that terrorism, Islam and immigration is the root of the problem, while my more liberal and equally as naïve friends will claim that capitalism and religion is the problem. Whatever the argument for the state of the world is, it’s always made abundantly clear that it’s the other side who wants to keep the world locked in conflict.
As I’ve said previously, I am a self-entitled little prick and I can see how my attitude towards blue collar workers and others I deem as non-intellectuals is doing more harm than good. While I’d probably never have admitted it previously, I am one of these echo-chamber dwellers who can only hear you if you’re saying things I agree with and that’s the fucking root of the problem isn’t it!
This whole idea that somehow you’re a complete moron if you don’t desire a master’s degree in anything, that you have pudding for brains if you believe that the world was created by a divine entity or that you are a racist bigot if you don’t like the idea of immigrants coming to your country in a time where global terrorism is a very real threat to the safety of everyone. There’s nothing wrong with believing the things we believe, even creationism has its merits and it’s the total absence of understanding for the merits of all things that drive us into these heated non-debates where we think we are getting smarter, but we are just repeating the same bullshit arguments over and over because we want to appear clever, in order to drown out this nagging fear that we all carry around. The fear that the walls of our echo chambers will crumble if we don’t keep the sound of self-entitlement reverberate constantly. The fear that we are wrong and the others are right, but we can never admit to that because we are overtaken by a sound, a low frequency hum that reverberates through our echo chambers and reinforces itself time and time again until it transcends the shielding of the chamber and manifests anywhere we go.
“I’ll call it The Millennial Murmur, this sound of endlessly repetitive arguments getting flung around inside the echo chamber to such an extent, that they end up manifesting as objective truths.”
I’ll call it The Millennial Murmur, this sound of endlessly repetitive arguments getting flung around inside the echo chamber to such an extent, that they end up manifesting as objective truths. It’s the kind of lack of appreciation for anyone but yourself that is at the heart of this seemingly endless gap between the wings of this great political albatross we’ve strapped ourselves to. It’s the murmur that creates people like Tomi Lahren, who will defiantly oppose anyone she doesn’t agree with. It’s the murmur that made Trump president, that created this idea that Breitbart was a legitimate news outlet. It’s the murmur that made it so that being white and fancying dreadlocks became cultural appropriation, the murmur that created the more belligerent segments of the Social Justice circuit. It’s the murmur that made our differences insurmountable, and it’s the fucking murmur that made us all forget that we aren’t that different.
Though I might not agree with the Donald, I do understand why he is president and I do see somewhat of a potential for greatness there. Though I absolutely abhor Breitbart news, I do understand why it appeals to people and that there is something to be gained from reading it. While I think of Tomi Lahren as a textbook millennial, I also realize that her and I aren’t all that different.
“They are what happens when we begin to apply religious zeal to our arguments, rather than trying to explain ourselves in a way that makes sense.”
It’s the murmur that made it so we can’t ever find a common ground or agree on anything. This idea that there’s a very tangible right and wrong, even though we all know there is no universal truth, just a difference of opinion. The murmur is what made me look at blue collar work with disgust and rationalize everything to a point where I could believe in a black and white world, even though I knew there was no such thing. We need to start cutting each other some slack and begin looking for common ground, we need to start learning to accept that some people don’t want to vaccinate their kids for fear of imaginary things, but we also need to learn to accept that others don’t want their kids exposed to the perils associated with non-vaccinated kids. We need to look for the places where we are similar instead of different and start bridging the gaps between us. Listen to the Tomi Lahren’s and the people who will tell you not to micro-aggro in their safespace. Listen to the Ken Hams and the Alex Jones’ of the world, but also listen to the Dawkins’ and the TTIP supporters. We need to listen to these people because they are a product of the murmur, they weren’t important in the time where we tried to be a people, rather than a bunch of tribes trying to gain moral superiority. They are what happens when we begin to apply religious zeal to our arguments, rather than trying to explain ourselves in a way that makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, extremism in any form has disaster written all over it, but if we don’t start to try and engage with the extremists and actually listen to why they say what they say, if we don’t try to remove ourselves from this crazy bias we have against invaders into our echo chamber and try to see the world from the perspective of others, then we won’t accomplish anything and there will be more Trumps, Lahren’s, Jones’ and so on. There will be more violence across the wings, as the murmur intensifies and the manifestation of it outside of our echo chambers will be even more aggressive, heinous and extreme than it is now.