Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Slacker Flatland's Meaningless Surfaces

Philosopher Ken Wilber, on his website and in his book, Boomeritis, discusses the interesting tensions and goals of the Boomer, Gen X/Slacker and Gen Y/Millennial generations. He purports that the appeals of leftist boomers for equality and consideration of all people, viewpoints, religions, etc. impassioned boomers at the time but had the legacy of flattening Gen X and Y to gray. Now, he suggests, Gen X's objective is to escape from "slacker flatland, meaningless surfaces everywhere, irony where happiness should be."

What is a Gen X'er to do? The sex and drugs Wilber uses in Boomeritis to texturize the characters' worlds don't work for everyone. Many teens turn to video games and online worlds (escapist or not?) but there must be other solutions. At the same time there is a growing sentiment that work must be meaninfgul (Daniel Pink's "A Whole New Mind," Ken Bakke's "Joy at Work," Tom Malone's "The Future of Work" and other early 2000s treatises). It's almost becoming a new human right. But the real world hasn't yet caught up with the thought stream. No wonder so many Gen X and Y'ers live at home and refuse to tune into the structured world as it exists even if the paradigm is slowly and unevenly shifting, and in fact requires their participation to evolve.

It's a challenge for everyone - how to be happy, and being responsible for being happy. And how to do and be to achieve the personhood and life we desire.