Reflections on the Emerging Generations, Part 1

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Albert Einstein

I keep trying, with varying levels of success, to convince my peers (we pre-Boomers), and Boomers themselves that the emerging generations will simply not do things the way we have done them and that we might wisely accept this as “reality”.  My generation seems confused by this idea while most Boomers seem distressed or subtly aggressive.

Even a modest appraisal of the current state of the world community would posit things have changed rather substantially over my lifetime and I suspect this has shaped the emerging generations in ways that I only minimally understand. Cleverly, many members of the emerging generations have given up on letting us all know that they plan to change things, smiling graciously while internally muttering or laughing.  It has seemed to me that they don’t really want to fight about it, they just know that in the end we will die and they will take over.  When I share this insight with elders, they tend to blanche.

A simple example of this serves. One of the Boomers anthems was “The Times, They Are A-Changin’”.  Read the lyrics from their source here:

In sharp contrast, John Mayer’s song about the emerging generation has a more nuanced title: Waiting for the World to Change.  Read the lyrics here:

(As an aside, the Google search for Mayer’s lyrics provided a myriad of sources, none of the early ones pointing to Mayer’s website so I went directly to his website and never did figure out how to find the lyrics there. I have a sinking feeling that this is one of those generational competency issues. I also found that he has a deep commitment to Veterans. This both pleased and informed me.)

Returning to my example of song comparisons, it is clear that the first is a manifesto. The second is a very conscious waiting in the wings with a surety that “One day our generation is gonna rule the population”.  Notice: no clue to what they are likely to do…

On January 9, 2017 we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone.  I think this is startling.  It only takes a few minutes of pondering to take inventory of all the changes introduced in the 10 years by the omnipresent iPhone. It, or the range of comparable options, appears to be a new appendage of humans. This is a clue to the future.

I called this Part 1 because I will return to this topic…the emerging generations. On principle and with enthusiasm, I support the emerging generations and hope to be of use to them in some capacity, so I start conversations, seek an education from them, listen to their stories, try to grasp their “picture” of reality. Of one thing I have become certain: they will not do things as they have been done in the past, no matter how many “grown ups” are distressed by this fact.