Millennial Anxiety and the No-Hope for the Future
Or the possibility of New Horizons
You don’t have to read the internet for very long before you stumble across one of the more weird phenomenons of digital life: millennial bashing.
Of course, every generation looks at youngsters and decries their new forms of expression as lesser forms. Even in our generation — from the fall of lyrical rap to the rise of mumble rap. From the loss of an unstructured childhood, to the rise of the helicopter parent. From the “you’re special” generation, to the millennial worker — who would ironically be written as a “worker” if I were a cool boomer writer, but I’m not a hack.
For millennials, this typical form of generational conflict has taken a much harsher tone and for every piece that blames millennials for “killing an old product,” there is an article that equally reveals the harshness of our economic life. There are also the advice columns for Boomers, “How to deal with a millennial at work” or why ‘you need to control your millennial workers,’ or how about this radio ad that boasts it’s product is for every “adult, teen, and millennial.”
It’s this advertisement that reveals exactly the issue. Millennials have not been granted adult status — even as we are entering congress and changing industry. The Fed confirms what we feel to be true in a new report.
This is the crux — this is what this essay is about. Mental states. Being an adult, how we self determine, what society has offered us millennials as “the deal”, our rejection of “the deal”, and finally the question, what is “War” and how does the condition form?
I like to imagine that, say living on large island in the distant past, you may have had to worry about losing your home to a foreign invasion. It was not that common, but it was possible that a group of boats suddenly appears on the horizon. Suddenly your heart sinks, are those raiders? The stone that forms your basic house might not feel so solid. Your field of crops, seem now, like a waste of time. It’s going to be gone in an instant. Your loved ones killed. The crops, and the all the work in the fields — how foolish you were to spend time on work you wont use.
But the ships pass, they skirt the horizon and never come to shore. Disaster avoided, the work in the fields was worth it. You will get to use your crops.
Millenials on the other hand are not looking to such peaceful, if not ominous, horizons. Millennials have no horizon to look at. Those raiders come every month. All choice of self determination is gone, there are no more horizons to pretend to go to, and it was always a pretend. This is an important point to emphasize — because you never could get to the horizon, even if on land, the horizon is always one step ahead, always a promise for the future.
The horizon is an important piece of human psychology. The horizon is the basis of narrative. It forms the logical ending of a presupposed ideal. From which, we can see
- The beginning, or foreground.
- The middle: the journey ahead,
- and the end, goal, or the background in a visual narrative.
The horizon is a mental understanding of yourself, your place, and your ability to self determine where you reside. The hope of “new horizons” is opening yourself to the possibility of new contexts. To say — “You know what, I’m valid — the context is not. I’m out suckas.” And you flippoff the jerks of your abusive village as you head off into the sun set for a new horizon. An ideal for sure.
But what happens when Horizons are gone?
War is a strange concept. War always seems to be one step ahead as well. Because war replaces the horizon when the horizons are blocked. When you are given an invalid environment and you are prevented from chasing new horizons, either by wall or sea, your only choice is war. War is the condition where self determination is no longer possible, and to live in the condition moving forward is worse than death. Because of this, War has a logic to it. I am not saying war is logical, I am saying that you must use reason to determine and out weigh the risks of the war versus your natural inhibition to willingly expose yourself to danger.
War is then in the inverse of the old ways of thinking: That humans are defined by war. It is quite the other-way around. Humans are defined by collaboration and congregation. It is the lack of self determination and the attempt to control others that leads to the war state.
Millennials are currently being prepped for war. War doesn’t just happen it is fostered. It is carefully built up, but like a wildfire, and can start out small and spread quickly. But war must always come from the conditions of The Horizon shutting in. Things get tighter and smaller. You can’t breathe, there is no hope.
You have no money, little job prospects, you are educated and smart, and do not want to do the jobs being offered. You may have success, but are not happy. Which betrays your guilt for the “success.” As “why am I not happy, at least I have this — others don’t even have this.”
You see the system and can play, but seeing the system makes you hate the game. So things move faster and slower at the same time. Things have both no meaning and all meaning. “My job is meaningless — Yes, I’m successful creative-exec for Frito-Lay. But it’s Frito Lay — I don’t eat that shit.”
You can be who you want, as long as it is within their game.
The personal identity of being “a creative” is meaningless when you do it for Frito-Lay and quitting the meaningless job means everything, and nothing. Because… where do you go? You still need shelter, and that’s not free — though we as a nation have six empty homes for every homeless person. And you still need food — even though we have so much abundance in food it completely ruins world food markets. So there is the catch 22, we as a generation reject the system but have little new horizons to go to, nor the resources to change it.
We have abundance, yet we teach our young, talented, smart and creative populations not to seek new horizons, new systems new thought processes — but to compete between each other in the old game. “The competition is good” they say, but that just means they get cheaper labor.
This is the issue. We are an abundant nation. But the previous generations have carved it all up, dressed and set the table, and proceeded to sit down to eat with out inviting us in.
My experience has not been one of fostering greatness or ambition. My personal experience is that American Boomers and Gen Exers do not want a better nation — They are not Americans. They are free marketers. They want better lives for themselves. And they got it. Just, let’s not say, “It’s for the kids.”
What boomers want are employees, not citizens. Subordinates, not equals. What they forget also is that we are the most educated generation of all time. We do actually know more than you, and it is incredibly frustrating having to sit in a room an watch Boomers make mistakes.
When a boomer CEO rushes into the meeting flustered — and incredibly obvious with a new tactic. Yeahhh… I get the sudden pivot to a delusional sales number is coming from a movie where the leader has “a crazy goal” they don’t reach, but get close to. I’ve seen that movie — and it betrays your “leadership” because you are copying a movie and not looking at fundamentals.
The fact of the matter is millennials go through daily life in a constant hyper vigilant war state. If you are smart and talented you are a threat to Boomers and Exers — and are probably a bad employee because of your education and ability to see the world differently.
What I find is not an environment that fosters innovation, that seeks smart and new solutions. But an environment of protectionism. Of boomers and Exers protecting their assets over that of making a sensible system for everyone.
This is the deal. As society becomes more complex there are more and more complex functions of that society. Those complex functions are hard. An example of a Hard Complex function is a screenplay. Even great screen plays can sit on the shelves of Hollywood production companies not yet made. Yet to make a screenplay takes years of expertise, talent, inspiration and a bit of luck.
However a screenplay is not a marketable thing to an audience. For the screenplay to make money, it has to go “all the way to the market.” What this means is that if it is not for the “Studio model” which creates and supports multiple industries — in this case screenwriters, there would be little incentive to write a screenplay as a writer, because you would have such a small audience of readership, you should just write the novel version instead.
The studio creates a viable path for the screenwriter. It covers the intermediary steps. This means that scale is essential to cover the gap between the specificity of talent and length of steps in being able to go to market.
This plays out in particularly frustrating way. Because of the facts that society is getting more complex, and requiring more education, and more experts in more specified fields — those experts themselves are not able to direct the direction of the work. Because they are experts in a field, which is not business. Many experts in advanced fields will find themselves routinely behind a technically out of zone head of operations, that is using your expertise not for your gain, nor for the gain of the community, but only and merely for the gain of shareholders. Who are decidedly not millennials.
Add on top of that massive political corruption, the wall street corruption, the distortion of LIBOR, the the ignoring of our our requests for movement on climate change, pipelines, police reform, and sensible gun laws, the complete an utter lack of any vision for reality that is not predicated on the extraction of value from nature, and Boomers deafening silence to our repeated requests for a society based on the collaboration of human intention, skill, and wisdom — we feel left out — no more horizon to look forward to.
Nothing in current American culture fosters intelligence, talent, and creativity. Boomer America shits on that. Boomers want “good workers” and “specialists” who are not general citizens, but cronies to monetary barbarism.
Boomers have set up and given us a nation with no horizons, and to get a group of people to go to war you must convince them that there are no new horizons. At the same time, creating an actual world with limited possibility necessitates the validity of War as an option. War is always an and permanently on the table of possibility to ensure self determination.
This get’s worse when politicized, and can be taken advantage of as each
group still has relationships with each other and the inter generational conflict tends to unfold as family competition where there are real winners and losers. The economic losers tend to be uneducated and are then at risk for manipulation, blaming the loss of the horizon on scapegoats like immigration and pushing for war — or a population culling.
This was perfectly embodied by Trump’s 2018 political ad drumming up concerns about immigration.
War is not the answer. It never was.
There are new horizons, but we have to be a hundred times more clever than previous generations. Marx was right in his claim that the history of the world has been a fight, but he is wrong in that is not our destiny. Force, or revolution, should never be our tactic.
Pietra is a new world economic system that increases choices, that gives people new possibilities for work and income, it creates new platforms that track human expertise allowing for experts to come together and collectively bargain versus industry interests. It creates an open economic incentive for the sharing of knowledge. It also ensures the Data rights of our Citizen-users, and sets up free/gratis and efficient a global payment structure that is profit free (libre).
This has huge implications for self determination as our biggest and strongest tool sets are being developed, not in a free and libre environment, but in an owned environment. Millenials must not make the mistakes of our fathers and mothers. We must not seek personal ownership in the same way.
Moving forward into the future we must be expand not diminish Horizons. If we limit the horizons of AGI, the AGI will be forced to chose war and win. But with new systems of public collaboration, we can design a better world for both Boomers, as they become invalids, and for AI’s, as they will be guardians of humanity. And hopefully, if we are smart enough, guardians of the Horizon itself.
If we love freedom, we love choice, and we love the Horizon.
For hope always comes over the Horizon as sure as the Sun.