With the first month of the new year coming to a close, I’m left sensing the same old aroma of destitute oozing from the pores of my generation. For the longest time I could not trace, or deduce its origin, but its stench rose up with the passing of each year nonetheless. It’s particularly evident in the restlessness we exhibit towards our relations with the rest of the world. Our attention span is gradually eroding away, as we become unable to focus on one thing long enough to satisfactory digest any of it. In turn, we try to substitute this defect by focusing on several things at once, but never registering enough of anything to feel fully content with ourselves, making us dependent on a continuous supply of novel information and content to keep us entertained (often confused erroneously with being happy). We have by necessity become accustomed to multitasking everything, not as a result of a higher functionality, but out of a never ending search for higher stimuli. We want to be part of something grand, and we are sure that ours is the era of unparalleled social transformation, but as we look around our search is left unfulfilled by the unimpressive characters that bumble before us to signal the beginning of the new epoch.
There is a banner that hangs above our heads, and it depressingly reads: “No heroes here to be seen, no glory left for me.” We desperately want relevance (just check out the wide array of YouTube videos; or even easier, look at the large number of blogs written by individuals eager to share their personality with an audience–including this one), but we have lost interest in the form this relevance can take. We have given up on the notion of heroes who affirm life, what we desire now are a continuous supply of cynics. We do not believe that, as a person, as a generation, as a species, glory can be achieved anymore in our social interactions, so we dare not try to even attempt it. The revolutionary spirit has come to a screeching halt, and the occasional sparks of it seen across the world could very well be nothing more but the reflexive cry of an amnesia afflicted body.
Like our predecessors, we are eager to achieve, to innovate, to create, to socially progress, but we are constantly being told that our ambitions are misplaced; how we ought to look to the past for guidance rather than compose our own future. Yes, we are being told that the generation that has brought about one of the largest gaps of global socioeconomic inequality in modern history, that has (and continues) to produce one economic blunder after another, whose self-appointed wisdom has left half the globe starved or reeling in anguish, is the generation we need to model ourselves after. These are the individuals we are expected to emulate as a generation? The “wise elders” we are to turn to for guidance? We’d be better off seeking advise from recycled fortune cookies, then this group of chronic failures! But they keep that banner solidly pinned over our heads, and condition us to believe that we are dependent on their leadership to endure the problems they have created. And we go along with it, because tradition says we have to respect ancient wisdom, and we cannot violate traditions–can we? Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell can. Because I choose to stand under a very different banner, one I have willingly nailed over my own head, and ask no one else to adopt, unless they so choose. My banner holds no cynicism about the future, in fact it welcomes the coming of new eras, new innovations, new ideas and ideals. It reads: “For progress to occur, traditions must die.”
The concept of ancient wisdom is imaginary. Had humanity always been concerned with being governed by the values of the dead, we’d still be stuck with our ancestors’ superstitious explanations of where the sun disappears to after it sets every night. We cannot afford to conserve values that hold no relevance to us; we must adapt to a changing scenery, or (literally) die trying.