Friday, February 11, 2011

Generation Me

Passion. Success. Recognition. Materialism. A mediated culture. Why is it that the phrase: "the meaning of life" had no meaning- significance- about 100 years ago. Was it because we got what we wanted, and realized that it wasn't valuable enough? My question becomes: do other cultures, namely, ones who aren't as well off, have the same drive that Americans do in finding such things? It was mentioned in class that there seems to be the greatest discoveries when we are at our breaking points, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, which in a sense, could essentially be one in the same. So how low do you have to go?

I found a summary of Generation Me by Steve Eubank that had some things to think about:

"Students are less likely to recognize the authority of teachers, presuming instead that their perspectives and opinions are on an equal footing with the experts (pg. 29)."

"GenMe individuals are more willing to share their experiences (positive and negative) in explicit detail with anyone who will listen (pg. 37)."

I had been thinking about this before. Why people don't tell their stories? And why they tell them to certain people and not others? Thinking that they just don't have anyone to tell... maybe this thinking is from being in this generation. Wanting people to tell people their stories... maybe this emerged even more so with things such as YouTube and other social networks as they created a blank canvas to share from.

"“GenMe is also less willing to follow the rules of organized religion” (pg. 34). She notes declining church attendance since the 1950’s, and particularly low attendance percentages for 18 to 29 year olds. Twenge references Jeffery Arnett from Emerging Adulthood, describing “the belief systems of young people as ‘highly individualized’, which he calls ‘make-yourown’religions.’ He found that only 23% of young people are ‘conservative believers’; the remaining 77% were agnostic/atheist, deist, or liberal believers (who believe in a religion but question some aspects of it)” (pg. 34). The churches that have experienced growth are those that “promote a very personalized form of religion” (pg. 35). ...These churches’ emphasis on Christ as a personal savior who has a plan for your life play into the individualized culture of GenMe."

Then what? Depression, "enormous amount of pressure on us to stand alone," lonliness and isolation, pressures on college and career choices, internality and externality. And Twenge's advice for society? "Abandon our obsession with self-esteem, and be honest with children about their success and failures. (pg. 223-227) Give better advice, including the idea that not everyone should go to college. (pg. 227-228)"



1 comment:

  1. 1. What the stink does "well off" mean? Recently I've been having this enlightenment to the ambiguity and, frankly, ethnocentrism of the terms we use to describe the global North and South, the developed and less developed countries. Who are we to decide what makes someone "well off"? Who are we to decided where the world SHOULD be going (development as defined by the western world)?

    2. A wonderful life-giving, joy-imparting lifestyle change I've been enjoying recently has been that new tendency towards community. We've talked about this. Maybe I didn't experience community in the past because the values with which GenMe indoctrinated me. Maybe I didn't experience community in the past because I was not sure enough of my own identity. Maybe my parents' control over my life: my curfew, my location, etc. as well as my friends' parents prevented US from experiencing community.
    Life ought not be lived alone.
    Theologically, I strongly question the idea (which I have heard all my life) of a "personal Savior." The Bible talks about Jesus coming to save ALL people. It never once, that I can recall, uses singular nouns when speaking of saving grace, etc. The Christian faith has been twisted from original context of the Bible to fit the tendencies, desires, and culture of GenMe.
    3. Perhaps people do not tell their stories because they are afraid they do not have significance in relation to Hollywood and to the sensationalized and exaggerated or exceptional accounts as seen on TV. Perhaps people do tell their stories because they ARE afraid that, if they don't, they will be neither remembered or counted as significant.