“High powered creativity, courage, and energy balanced with humility, and a genuine desire to be taught by others, which comes from an understanding and belief that together we are better than one.”
Ahh, self-reflections. Alway an embarrassing but cathartic exercise. But one of the true functions, I believe, of a blog. The ability to put on paper thoughts that without release tinker and fade.
I am only speaking about myself, but as a member of the Millennial Generation, what I see around me everyday is a deeper connection to those around me that no other generation before us has ever faced. With the advent of the internet, and with that countless platforms for information, conversation, and understanding, I believe that our generation has unique strengths and flaws. I will only talk about three in this particular post namely: Access, Absorption, Communication.
Access. Today I have more access to information than any of the previous generations, possibly combined. If I really wanted, I can pick any random topic in my head and some piece of arcane, esoteric literature will be posted on the internet. With this access comes an enormous responsibility, privilege, and a transformative power that no other generation has experienced without particularly dedicating your life to this goal, and that is a massive expansion of empathy. What I mean by this is simple, I have the ability to read, watch, and listen about or directly to people whom I have never met before. Some of these people will be from places I cannot imagine, nor even locate confidently on a map where they currently reside. But with this “dislocated connection” comes a cognitive opportunity to expand our boundaries of existence. Expand the boundaries of who I include whenever I use the universal “we” in my language. Who we fight for whenever we advocate. Who we live for when we believe in something more than just ourselves. The power of increasing access to the lives of others and to the knowledge of others is self-evident. However, this power brings with it an enormous lash-back or possible danger which brings us to the second topic.
Absorption. Literal and figurative absorption of knowledge, access, and understanding. The way information dissemination exists right now, is mostly through open source domains. Meaning, there are no official omniscient overseer of the internet which brings with it many risks of misinformation, rumors, and just plain stupidity. But without expanding to much on it, the open source nature also provides the truest platform we have now for creative freedom, creation, and expression. While the negatives will never really outweigh the positives of the internet, it is still an interesting point of reflection. Because, what we do with the information we have in front of us is a large part of the puzzle as well. The ability to harness this power, control it, and use it in a productive way is the challenge. And I find that most of my energy is used to solve this part of the puzzle. While the inundated nature of our lives in terms of how much information we are given every day is a blessing, there are days when I feel overwhelmed by how quickly my brain is being molded by the information around me. Which leads me to the last point…
Communication. The ability to speak and interpret another’s verbal or otherwise sensory message is the ultimate challenge. While we have all this access and absorption, if we cannot communicate to ourselves or others the information we have learned, then I wonder where the value lies. But this of course, comes with a serious assumption that life would be better if we communicated to others what we have learned. And very briefly I will reflect on this point further. For me, life has been a process of increasing justified selflessness. While the philosophers from religions and belief system have pondered about virtues and vices, there have been arguments for selflessness being either of these things. For me, the finite abilities of every individual and the limits of my intelligence, access, and opportunity naturally pushes me to embrace selflessness as the only remedy to these limitations. When I was younger, I believed that I had the burden of creating everything in my mind with my own hands. But as I grew older, I realized that on the most basic sense, it is useful to have someone give a fresh perspective on what you may think is “right”. And with this, came a deeper understanding that while it sounds cliche to say that “Many is better than one” or “Together we can do more” – I have learned this to be true.
And so, what I want to express in this post is simple. With my environment changing, relative to previous generations, I feel overwhelmed with conflicting opinions on the increasing amounts of access, opportunity, and understanding which is around me. And I hope that I can continue to strive towards constructive growth by being humble about my own limitations, and truly seeking the help of others while keeping my own goals in mind. And I hope that I can give friends and family members in my generation strength just from understanding the particular burdens we hold. Whether it is an increasingly complex job market which demands expertise in these advancing fields as a side effect of these generational burdens, or whether it is just the overwhelming days we have because of the informational barrage that we are plastered with everyday – I hope that I can continue to comment on this further and expand upon my reflections as each day goes on.