Tag Archives: Forgotten

Awareness in a World Where Your Insignificance is Expected

It has been a common complaint that “this generation” acts with entitlement. I use quotation marks, because no one really has a good grip on the generational time frames and I often make up my personalized group called “The Natest Generation.” Oh, sure, people can make up time spans just as easy, but until there is some real consensus I’m keeping my own. Thank you.

With this stock complaint is the sub-complaint that everything should be handed to us, we need an award for everything we do, and everything should be the paradigm of convenience. That goes along with the alternate complaint that we want to be mail-clerk CEOs, because working 30-40 years for that kind of power is ridiculously long, right?

Regardless that I’m personally an example to the contrary (apparently, I’m everyone’s “exception to the rule”), there might be some merit to those statements but in a not-so-derogatory manner. It’s quite possibly an unconscious act of defiance. The younger generations are unwittingly trying to make themselves stand out. A meta-understanding of self-awareness, if you will.

If we are to sit and review history in the last 2,000 years, we should notice something. How many people are remembered over that course of time? A few, all things considered. There are more forgotten, many, many, many more. How many of them were peaceful, law-abiding, good-natured, well-behaved folk? Even fewer, yes? In fact, people who touted the virtues of non-violence such as Jesus of Nazareth and Mahatma Gandhi were a big thorn in someone else’s side. Whenever I see a bumper sticker that says “well-behaved women rarely make history,” its de facto ignorance of the male perspective smacks of deception. Do you not realize how many “good little boys” have been forgotten in time? Simply put, historical figures were assholes to somebody.

Now that we’ve established it generally takes bratty behavior to be memorable, we should look at the underlying expectations of the last 2,000 years. If it wasn’t feudalism, it was slavery, and then strict social class delineations that were imposed by a handful of people who had power and wealth, whether it was royalty, slave owners, or an overbearing political structure. Society has relied on the majority of people being marginalized through one philosophy or another. The cogs of the machine must be properly installed for the press to operate.

Now, let’s take a look at today. We have a world that’s populated with 7.12 billion people. That, in and of itself, is overwhelming competition for identity. The Earth is settled for the most part. There are no “new worlds” anymore, and I don’t see a SeaQuest attitude about the oceans or a Star Trek attitude about the stars. Just ask the budget-weary NASA. Shocking philosophies such as nihilism and existentialism have become old hat. Culture and art have already gone through multiple phases. Music is recycling melodies and styles from decades ago. This is the perfect storm for another dark age. Anyone who doesn’t want to be treated like a serf has to act differently somehow.

Maybe we’re just all trying to live the happiest life we can, because there is  little in the way of circumstantial developments to be memorable about? What, should we start another war or something?

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Universes Here On Earth

My family wasn’t wealthy, but we weren’t eating water soup* every night either. If I could put it into a neat, little box (Americans love that) I would say we were upper-proletariat or lower-middle class. We did OK, I suppose, if only because we did what we had to do and bought off-brand food. I think a lot of my current-day disdain for branding comes from this. I’m very brand loyal IF they’ve proven their worth. For example, I buy from Honda motors because they have treated me right for 15 years.

There’s a reason for all of this wind up, because I will say we (that is my sister, a few neighborhood kids, and myself) would be allowed to play with the garden hose for a couple of hours in the sweltering heat of Summer. What most people do these days is just go to a water park. Entertainment expenditures were just not in the budget at that time. I also think that’s the reason I am compulsively working. I painted a large section of Stonefield’s siding today, because Labor Day feels weird. Isn’t that a laugh riot?

During the moments when we had the hose, I remember wetting down a section of the patio and staring at it close up. I know it sounds a bit dim, but there were universes in the concrete. Please let me explain. As most are aware, concrete contains aggregate (crushed stone, sand, etc.) to act as filler and give the concrete structure. Well, as it turns out, it also sparkles when wet. It looked like the night sky, when I cupped my hands and only let a beam of light through. Some boys were busy burning ants with magnifying glasses. I was busy staring at wet concrete.

So, when it seemed like I was only laying flat on a patio looking stupid, I was really viewing all of the different colors in the cement. All sorts of colors, and all of them twinkling… like the universe. All of the colors planets, with histories, and civilizations. You see, I also used to stare at the night sky, because I really wanted to run away. Not just from my parents or city, but this entire world. I wanted to find a better place for me among the stars, and would fantasize about space travel. Hence some of my stories are science fiction. It’s a holdover from my childhood.

I’m not exactly sure why I wrote this post, but I do know it was something I recalled this afternoon with little provocation. It was like a moving a photo album and having a forgotten picture fall out. This gave me pause, not because I believe “things happen for a reason,” rather I surprised myself with how much I’ve forgotten. It’s almost like I have intentionally done so.

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* – A can of water soup is the Depression-era Homestarrunner’s form of entertainment, only to underscore the sheer poverty of people in a “first-world” nation. It’s a parody of early cartoon making where outhouses and family’s sleeping all in one bed were still common practice. It was only about 80 years ago, people. That’s still within a person’s lifetime.

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