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Dismantling the Social Order

Dismantling the Social Order
April 24
09:35 2018

There was a time when group behaviour was the currency and anyone who deviated from it was socially broke and certain to perish. If you ever strayed from the group, physically and mentally speaking, chances of you being rejected and disowned by your own were real. The times were so risky and sensitive that there was little room for noncompliant behaviour. The family and the village were the main structures of maintaining social order and there were all reasons for coherence.

But fast-forward a few generations and the sands of time have so shifted that the world seems to be in trouble because of the carefree, supercharged, impatient Millennials generation. This generation seeks the jungle rather than fear it. They are driven to seek away from convention. Often when we talk about Millennials, we think of young people with colourful bunny ears dancing at a nightclub. But Millennials include Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Isn’t Democracy beautiful? It’s like cake, anyone can come up with their own recipe and call it cake. That’s another level of course.

Social order can never be a permanent dictator of the rhythm and direction of life. Social order has always been time-specific and throughout the history of time, the order of an era always reached its sell-by date and got binned like everything that loses validity. This is how only a few men and women publicly participate in polygamy today. Women became less drawn to an already occupied suitor over time because it could not be sustained. Polygamy was based on poverty and power, the dynamics of which have changed over time.

This simple illustration is about how the behaviour of living creatures, both human and non-human, is regulated by their realities and not dogma. It is for this reason that no matter how loud we scream at our children, they will not turn out the way we wish they could. There is a reason Millennials, don’t care about what the old call “our culture”. As far as they are concerned, “our culture”, means old people’s culture. And this is what old people’s culture looks like: If you don’t get good grades and go to university, you will not get anywhere in life? But young people today are not scared of things like pregnancy or not being married because they are surrounded by these.

As far as the Millennials are concerned, they can be and do whatever they want and still make it through life, according to their own definition of “making it”. They are not in the old social contract where forbearers were torch bearers. They choose who to follow and follow them religiously, thanks to the information era and a global society. Parents cannot inspire their children unless they can speak to their dreams and show them how to get there, and they may still prefer a short cut once they know the way.

Unfortunately the denialist approach and society’s obsession with being better than the other generation are the blind spots. Following the old social code is not profitable for the Millennials and they are not pretentious about that. The Millennial’s basic principle is “What’s in it for me?” For them, going to a funeral is not about standing with the bereaved unless you are the bereaved yourself. Rather, it’s just another outing with friends if you don’t have weekend plans. They learned from the best that it’s okay to be hungover if not drunk at a funeral and stand as far from the shovels as possible. Being able to post “Situation right now” and get some “Likes” for that is cherry on top.

These realities require society to ask different questions of itself, not “them”, because there is no them without us. Rather than, “what’s wrong with today’s generation?” we should ask “What kind of parents raise such a generation?” This level of honesty starts with admitting that today’s generation is raised by today’s parents. And if we stopped being pretentious about it, we may have a chance to give them safe passage to adulthood and kick them out at 18 to get ready to pay their dues to society, because 21 may be too far. Trying to prove our “success” in life by giving our children everything we never had as kids is unfortunately not part of the strategy.


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