Just Another Other

***Editor’s Note:  This is an adaptation of a recent talk given by Carrot at a symposium entitled “A letter to the editor”.

“They are Lazy entitled narcissists!”  There is something to this…I am around them all the time you know?

I attended a talk not too long ago given by a colleague and fellow philosophy professor.  The topic was narcissism, it was an informative talk about what the term means along with some discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of narcissism. Once the talk was open to the audience, some in attendance were quick to connect that topic to today’s students…that’s right, lazy entitled narcissists!  In other words, millennials!

“The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now 65 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health; 58% more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982. Millennials got so many participation trophies growing up that a recent study showed that 40% believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance.”1

It doesn’t take long to unearth commentary on millennials, their lack of commitment, their desire for micro-fame, and their lust for avocado toast!  A quick Google search excavated these gems…

“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.”

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love to chatter in place of exercise.”

 “Our youth have an insatiable desire for wealth; they have bad manners and atrocious customs regarding dressing, their hair, and what garments or shoes they wear.”

 “[Young people] are high-minded because they have not yet been humbled by life, nor have they experienced the force of circumstances.

They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it.”

 “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no respect for their parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone know everything and what passes for wisdom in us foolishness in them.”

My grandfather left home at 12 years old, to find work so that he could help pay for his 11 siblings to eat.

My father had a brain aneurysm at the age of 20, which left him paraplegic; he refused Medicaid instead choosing to work for every cent ever got.

And I started working at the age of 14 in order to pay for college, as I knew my family wasn’t wealthy enough to help out.

None of us gave two shits about putting a picture of our dinner on Instagram, you know why?

Because Instagram wasn’t around when we were growing up.  You know what was around?  An older generation telling us that we suck…My grandpa was called selfish, my dad was a hippie, and I was a dreamer.  Yet in spite of these criticisms we all turned out okay.

The problem isn’t the youth, the problem isn’t the past, the problem isn’t laziness, in fact there isn’t really any problem at all.

The world changes, sometimes at alarming rates, older people sometimes get caught in the nostalgia of an earlier time.  Despite the world changing, one thing that seems to be a constant is an older generation that forgets that at one time they were the snowflakes, the hippies, the clowns, or the hinkty.

It’s not the millennials or the 20 something’s, or the youth that change, what changes is the culture, the society, and tools we have access to.  You drop a 19-year-old Winston Churchill in a modern day metropolis, and he’s not leading England to victory, he’s dropping one shots on bush campers in a fortnite battle royale.

Older generations have been pissing on younger generations since the beginning of time, but this pissing and moaning does nothing but prove that one has officially arrived to the class of older generation.2

I’m here today with a simple comment and a plea.  Millennials aren’t real, neither are gen x’ers, or baby boomers, and the “greatest generation” never existed.  We come up with arbitrary time periods and generalize an entire group of people based on the years that they happened to have been conceived…this sounds about as reliable as astrology.  It’s a haphazard and illogical move to achieve some disingenuous end.  And so my plea is simple…make it stop!

When Gen Alpha starts coming of age and doing things that you can’t understand, because their songs and shows and books and movies aren’t as good as yours, don’t shit on them.  They didn’t pick to be born into the society that they will come up in, so why treat them as if they are somehow to blame.

Instead, try encouraging them.  Life can be hard.  They’re people, just trying to get by like every other generation before them and every generation that will come after.

This generation bashing has been going on since the beginning of time, as evidenced by the fact that the quotes I shared (above) are from Hesiod in the 8thcentury BCE, Socrates in the 5thCentury, Plato and Aristotle in the 4thcentury, and Peter the Hermit in the 11thcentury CE.  Despite the on-going codgery, we’re still here.

Times will continue to change, and perhaps the lazy entitled narcissists can be the 1stgeneration that will come to accept it.

Thank you!

Carrot
Carrot (Co-writer)

  1. Joel Stein, “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation,” Time Magazine, May 2013.
  2. This is just as common in the climbing world; you hear the past generations harking back to the “glory days” of looooong run-outs, and bottom up routes.

35 Replies to “Just Another Other”

  1. When I look at how expensive it is to live these days, I feel sorry for young people who are just starting out on their own. And then I remember that it was tough for me, too. I feel fortunate there were older people who encouraged and helped me, or at least tolerated me, from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m several generations beyond and still encouraging our youth to possess a heaping, healthy dose of contempt for authority. It is a virtue, you know. But they don’t. Not like the good ol’ days. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yeah, I remember when all we had were pitons and goldline, etc., etc. Ultimately nicer to embrace change & difference than complain about it. 🙂 [And since the biggest self-absorbed narcissist in the US (maybe the world!) is in his 70s, there’s no need to look for them in other age groups or generations.] 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a fact…why shit on the young when the “role models” are just as culpable!

      I love when I see pitons left on some routes, it’s like a piece of history, there to offer a sense of humility.

      Like

  4. Exactly the same things were said of my generation. And now it is my generation saying it. Human nature doesn’t change, just the environment those humans interact with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was funny to think of Socrates saying this about Plato, and Plato about Aristotle…just a bunch of losers that will probably never amount to anything!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Can I get an “AMEN” to this post! I love it! I’m right in the middle of raising one of these “lazy Gen Z-ers” and I have the same sentiment as your post. They’re all just kids, who are different than us because the times are different than ours. Pure and simple. There’s no personality trait that people born within a made up grouping of years were all born with. These kids are going to grow up to inherit this earth and do amazing things. And I personally can’t wait to see what they all come up with. The future is bright with these kids!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. But seriously, avocado toast is the best. Who can argue against that?

    A touch of narcissism can be useful, especially in the workplace or hierarchical environments. Would you follow a leader with low self-confidence? Would you trust a shy, self-doubting river rafting guide? Sure, any psychoanalytic category could be detrimental when taken to the extreme, but a touch of narcissism could help you ace that job interview!

    Keep up the awesome articles. I’m digging your blog 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. In truth, it’s our brains that change. Ever heard the term “grumpy old man.” It’s biological. The good ol’ days are really just the musings of chemistry.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I absolutely love this! I’ve felt this way forever, but haven’t seen many people share that sentiment online.

    I’ve got a piece in the works about labels that is in the same line as this: less divisiveness, more unity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am looking forward to reading your piece! I think it’s really important to talk about things like this if we want to open up a dialogue the brings people together!

      Like

  9. Reblogged this on Aria van de Paria and commented:
    Hoe kom ik nou bij mijn onbekende pagina?
    Het is het bekende probleem waarmee ik weer worstel .
    Zo een kort uurtje bijpraten (Social media club 3.1) dat is toch eigenlijk maar weinig in twee weken. Ik weet het, het is al moeilijk om dan mensen te vinden die bereid zijn hun tijd te verbruiken met wat men als onzin beschouwt, maar toch …
    Ik denk dat tweewekelijkse frequentie het er niet perse beter op maakt. Een keer in de maand, op een vast moment wat langer en wat meer ‘gedecoreerd’ bij elkaar komen, het zou beter kunnen uitkomen.
    Overigens wil het niet zeggen dat een tweewekelijks ritme perse niet werkt. Zo was ik gister bij een bijeenkomst waar het ging over kwetsbaarheid en waarom die term vaak verkeerd gebruikt wordt. Het wordt namelijk vaak ingezet om te verklaren waarom sommigen niet meekomen in deze maatschappij. In plaats van de ‘schuld’ bij iemand persoonlijk te leggen, of zoals in dit Engelstalige artikel bij een bepaalde groep, kunnen we ons namelijk ook afvragen hoe normaal eigenlijk normaal is. Wordt de ‘diagnose’ ‘kwetsbaarheid’ niet vaak gebruikt om te verhullen dat ‘onze’ samenleving zich eigenlijk alleen maar kan handhaven door het kwetsen van van die norm afwijkenden?
    Mensen die zich storen aan het ‘vluchtelingenprobleem’ zouden zich eens af kunnen vragen waarom mensen van ‘daar’ naar ‘hier’ vluchten.
    Niet alleen omdat het daar niet meer uit te houden is, maar ook omdat er ‘hier’ wordt gepretendeerd dat het zo een ideale situatie is, ten opzichte van ‘daar’. En in het artikel wordt volgens mij aan “generatie”generalisatie gedaan. Het ligt niet alleen aan mijn leeftijd dat ik vind dat er sommige dingen beter waren geregeld dan nu. En soms is wat eerst als een verbetering wordt gezien, dat misschien eerst ook wel, maar later niet meer zo.
    Dat wil niet zeggen dat we terug moeten gaan naar hoe het vroeger geregeld was. Bijvoorbeeld omdat slavernij eigenlijk nog wel degelijk bestaat, hoewel het officieel afgeschaft zou zijn, betekent dat niet dat ik pleit voor het weer officieel in de wet als acceptabel op te nemen.
    Dat soort ‘gemakkelijke’ oplossingen, zoals wel in de politiek naar voren gebracht, gaan voorbij aan veranderde omstandigheden .

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Don’t forget about beliefs which younger generations often show, the “Life is different now, you don’t understand” or “I know it all” the problem is that both generations often hate on each other, older ones don’t try to understand but younger ones are not seeking any advices either, often we’re unwilling to take advise. The work should be done on both sides, for better results all individuals should try to understand another and be able to admit they might be wrong

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What I recall most in your discourse is, the notion of a modern day Churchill, lanqushing in a video game. That would be bad.
    Somehow, I just hope the drive to create a better world won’t perish in battle royale.😎

    Liked by 2 people

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