On Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials and Gen Z ...



In broad terms, the world is currently made up of Baby Boomers, Generation X (like me), Millennials (aka. Generation Y) and Generation Z.  To begin, each and every one of these groups, during their formative years, were the most progressive generation that has ever been.  Their experience of the world during that period will influence their idea of what the ideal world should be in order to provide maximum personal happiness ... how can anyone anticipate the possible happiness that they would experience if the world were different?  

Now this is not across the board of course, people who's experience of the world is more challenging will identify those items and passively or actively try to change the things that created their discomforts during their formative years.  This is what's know as "progress" - this is also presented as social justice, equality, liberalism and many other names ...

Why is this important?
  • The world functions on progressing experience and continuous change.  Essentially, as we experience life, we gather wisdom and then we are given an expanded domain of influence and responsibility based on the knowledge and wisdom we gather and the actions we demonstrate.  This is how job promotions work - and some jobs have a sphere of influence that is so large it can impact how others experience life.  Governments, big industry, religion and family set the rules and limits on how we live and experience life.
  • As the world population grows and we interact with more people and absorb more information, and as we advance technology that allows us to see the experience of others and see the day-to-day challenges of other by proxy, we become aware of the systemic challenges that face others, we feel empathy and we want support their need for change (to the extent it doesn't impact what we feel makes us happy).
We've all heard the saying "High School are the best years of your life!".  We all know, or tell, glory day stories from high school (Bruce Springsteen even wrote a song about it).  Then we move on from being that big fish in that small pond - we interact with more people, our "ranking" slips.  We're no longer the 3rd smartest person in our graduating class - we are now the 150th smartest person in the company because the top 5 student from EVERY school in the area are now in our pond.  It hurts, but that's life.  But unlike 5 years of High School where your rise in rank and influence changes year over year (your world is only 300-500 people at that time), you're now in the real world where your rank and influence change at a much slower pace - over a 40 year work life, and in relation and competition with a much larger pool of people (millions in fact).

So what we are left with, in broad general terms, is a conservative point of view - the belief and feeling that the state and values of the world should be the same as what they were when they experienced the best days of their life.  Then there are the progressive points of view - those who did not experience "the best days of their life" and can identify the actions and systems that cause stress and pain, and they wish to change them so that others who identify with them can experience the best days of their life.

This is a great debate - but as the pace of change accelerates, the divide between the conservative view and the progressive view widens.  The delta difference in the life experience between baby boomers and Gen X was smaller than the gap between Gen X and Millennials.  A key example of this can be found in our education strategies - The Baby Boomer and Gen X school experience was about learning some general theories and then memorising a bunch of "fact" (in quotes on purpose - more to come on that at a later date).  Millenials, and to an even greater extent, Generation Z, have all the theories and facts available through Google on a device that fits in a pocket.  Every point of view, on every event, is available in milliseconds.  Where Baby Boomers and Gen X has to consult encyclopedias and bound published books for "facts" - which had undergone editorial rigor and therefore considered correct (although they clearly represented the bias of the publisher) - Millenials and Generation Z have to learn to filter through all the view points, self-published by self-proclaimed experts, in order to find a "fact".  And, outside of math, there are no facts, only points-of-view and interpretations designed to invoke an emotional response, a feeling of trust, and a sense of community by rallying around that point-of-view.  

In a world where "might makes right", the more people that feel the same way you do, the stronger the group becomes and therefore the more "right" that idea is.  But then anyone who's experience is different than yours, and therefore feels more kinship with a different community is considered wrong and in need of correction.  This lack of acceptance of other points of view and the denial of other interpretations of history leads us to pointless conflict - destruction and death over something that is infinitely debatable ... and in another 100 years of progress will be absolutely pointless as the world will have moved on far beyond our issues.  Those people will look back at our time and go "well, obviously that the right thing!  I can't believe that was even a debate in 2020" ...

Keep the right perspective and be kind to each other.

#genx #millenials #change #generations




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