The millennial life has become so far removed from the gritty, survivalist generations that have come before us. I suppose it would depend on where you come from, as some cultures on the planet are more advanced and civilised than others. But particularly in Ireland, there is a clear divide. My parents tell me tales of their past, from going out to milk the cows in the mornings to making their own cream and butter. My grandparents, it would seem, made their meals entirely from scratch. Not the ‘from scratch’; that we are familiar with today, which would mean throwing ready made meats and sauces together and saying you made it all by yourself. My grandparents used to stuff pig intestines with pork meat to make their own sausages. As a kid, I would have recoiled from even the thought of it. I’m part of a generation that sees nothing of the process. We go into a supermarket and we can buy whatever we need, which is great but there’s no backstory. You don’t see the actual meat until it’s perfect and ready for commercial sale. There’s no blood and no killings for us to see.
The capitalistic crusade has given us a standard of living that usually would have been reserved for royalty. Today the average person is more well off that some of the wealthiest people who walked the planet in the last 2000 years. Maybe not when you put it in context of the era but certainly in a blind comparison. And not in terms of wealth itself but in the standard of living. Today we don’t even have to step foot outside our house to survive. You can have a whole months supply of food delivered right to your door, it won’t be long before a drone drops it off on your front lawn. Or we can have ready-made meals delivered to our door, so we don’t even have to know how to cook. I suppose that is effective time management, reduce your menial tasks by outsourcing them and pour all of your time into something that you think will bring value to your life. It’s a far tale from the mettlesome generations before us. Whether that’s a good thing or bad is up to your own interpretation, but it begs the question, what will it be like in the future?
What will it be like? Or rather, what could it be like? A better question in my opinion. Or rather…who cares? Now that’s one of those questions that breaks the boundaries of everything we believe in. A simple question that has become a common answer and my god does it bear fruit. What is the meaning of life? Who cares? What is our purpose? Who cares? Why do we do immoral things? Who cares? Other than a few overbearing nutjobs not many people do care. Not many indeed. But this begs another question. Why do we not care? Why is it that all we only care about material and carnal perceptions. We are slaves to the mind. The double-edged sword that threatens to go full seppuku* when we are out of our comfort zones. Our thinking is controlled by neurological drugs that make and break us. We try and break free using logic and reason but the sub-conscious rules all. We cannot find meaning from the depths of our physical conscious. We cannot find purpose from the outer workings of the mind. We cannot do moral good when we fill our heads with immoral things. Immoral in the sense that we become removed from the evolutionary standard, so maybe not immoral but unruly.
We forget our nature. We forget where we came from. And I think that can be just as damaging when we forget the lives of our ancestors as when a newly successful ‘claim to fame’ celebrity who rose from the poor poverty-stricken favelas to dine in riches and after a while goes apeshit because it’s simply against they’re nature. Maybe that’s why we see such radicalism and dissonance in the postmodern world. We live like kings but feel like peasants. Whatever we have is not enough, it’s never enough. It can never be enough. We take pleasure in un-pleasurable things just because it’s said to be pleasurable. If we have become this far removed from our true nature then how much farther removed can we become?
Virtual reality might be the next thing that alters how we perceive the world. It probably has some very good uses, but the other side looks a whole lot darker. I imagine people using VR to escape. Social media is subtly addictive in the way that it takes advantage of our reward systems, so whats stopping someone from doing the same with VR. The parents of my generation are always talking about how much time their children spend staring at their phones. My generation will probably talk about how much time our children spend in a virtual world. What happens when the virtual world becomes more comforting than the real world. All this controversy about PC culture and ‘safe spaces’, as long as we have freedom of speech that will never exist in physical reality. I could, however, easily see it becoming a reality in the virtual space. People will become so weak and fragile because they face no adversity, no one to challenge their beliefs, which I have always found more rewarding. The more you argue your beliefs and ideas, you either change them or they become more concrete.
The future looks wild. But as I write this I keep thinking about how we always seem to overestimate the impact of new technologies. Maybe it’s just that it’s new and different and as a result it is intimidating. So maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe we won’t become too far removed. Only time can tell.