(Originally posted March 19, 2022. Updated and revised.)
Many years ago, I had a conversation with a gentleman I will call, Greg. He was a mechanic.
We were talking about the younger generation and our perception of their viewpoints regarding life.
It seemed that the expectation of being an individual was being compromised by the need to conform. The younger generation is being trained so that they can conform to corporate expectations and values. They are taught not to question what they are told, and so are able more readily to conform to societal pressures and norms.
If they were being asked to increase workloads, juggle personal and family lives, they would do it. And, in return, they would be given only superficial tokens of supposed appreciation for their efforts.
Statements like “work-life balance” supplant the reality of their busy lives. Companies expect work performance in spite of personal needs and pressures.
“The one thing I noticed,” I said, “is that it destroys the dignity of man.”
Greg looked at me and began nodding vigorously. “You said that right! And it’s stopped people from thinking and taking responsibility for themselves. 32 year old grandmothers, parents who want to be their children’s friends. I’m 60. My 30 year old daughter has a son. I’m a grandfather…”
He shook his head and sighed. We both understood the thought that we shared.
The concept of legitimate autonomy and doing the right thing had gone awry.
The modern problem…
“And another thing,” he went on. “These new technologies are all designed to make people spend more money. You can’t fix these small cars anymore. It’s all for greed.”
I had to agree. Being in the computer field for 30 years, I have seen computers evolve from doing simple tasks, like calculate numbers, to take change people’s thoughts and beliefs using multi-media marketing and advertising.
These once expensive, massive machines, computers are now in the hands of nearly every western citizen. And most people have become fixated to them every moment of their lives. The dependency to these small tech devices has created a new level of addiction.
It has become an opportunity for those who want to create a new direction for society to simply change the narrative available online. And large corporations can generate huge profits by low cost marketing campaigns that reach millions at a time.
All this in only about the past 50 years.
But with it comes risks…
Today’s technology has brought with it many problems. It disturbs the average person’s sense of privacy. Man can no longer do simple tasks like math and spelling without the aid of technology.
Few people even think about questioning anything today. Even less are just able to think.
If someone were willing, it is nearly impossible to perform research anymore. Most of the documentation and papers available are only online now.
And the younger generation doesn’t understand how to know what to look for. Unless it’s on the top of a search result, in Wikipedia, or summarized in an AI synopsis, they do not search any further. They do not know how to dig deeper and do investigative journalism. The human ability to reason is being trained out of them in schools.
Research has become untenable and difficult…
All this has essentially created a culture of laziness. Each person, like in the book 1984, has become a good worker bee. Individuality has been hidden underneath the stronger push to conform.
Manual labor is no longer in fashion. Farmers and manufacturing workers are at an all-time low. And the ripple effect in cost of goods and services has resulted in because of the diminishing labor force.
And there has been a singular lack of desire among the young to even make the effort to question the reason for all these changes. Simple life has now become complex. Being human is not longer in fashion.
Sadly, the older generation have fallen prey to these addictive devices as well. They have forgotten the simple life that existed only 50 years ago. And they didn’t pass it along to the youth.
We have now become homogenous society of unquestioning, conforming individuals. Each of us has our own uniqueness and individuality that we could bring to the table. But we can no longer do so.
And all this modernization and progress has created a loss of one very important thing:
The loss of human dignity. The dignity of man.
Fixing the problem…
It is time we must learn to accept ourselves, our neighbors, and our responsibilities toward all. To question all that prevents us from being to express our uniqueness and our beliefs. And we must embrace the gifts we have to give to mankind.
It is time to be human again. It is time to relearn the simple ways of life. Embrace what is important. Find out what each one of us have as unique talents. And relearn the joy of learning for ourselves.
That’s what it means to be fully human.