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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

On this Post-Post Modern Generation: Oscillation into Self-Organization and Out Again

One of my young readers and friends stated that his generation (he is 23) are not Marxists or communists, or capitalists, or socialists, or Post-Modernists, but Post-Post-Modernists. Now, as he is in another generation, that of the emerging youth, I need to think about this. He blatantly stated that his friends do not care about Lenin, or Gramsci, or Obama, even though many of them voted the present president into office. My young friend claims that some of the same youth who voted in POTUS are now Ron Paul libertarians. If he is correct, then his assessment that his generation is made up of Post-Post-Moderns, (from now on called PPMs) is also correct. Why?

The PPMs are seen as a group with an "oscillating" or "moving polar philosophy" which goes between extremes of individualism (games) and group sectarianism (fanatic religions), anarchy (Occupy Rome) and totalitarianism (global markets and global economy buffs), relativism and orthodoxy (obvious), cynicism and sincerity or idealism ( The Daily Show and  EWTN ) and so on. His labeling seems to be spot-on when one examines these young people as individuals and as a group, which is hard, as the hegemony of the culture is gone and there are less and less real groups. Groupings tend to be based on small, very small, precious or keen interests, such as anime groups, animal rights groups, pro-life groups, anti-war groups, and so on. There is not necessarily any overlap of morals, ethics, world-view, religions, or philosophies in these groups. Individuals come together to form these groups for a time and five years is considered a long time. (Youth always thinks five years is a long time). They oscillate until they create self-organization, like the above nano-particles. And, like these particles, their organization may be based on reactions only, and not rational discourse, or even passionate emotions. I have seen this type of behavior in the college classroom, where reactive groups form quickly and dissipate as quickly. Young ones reacting against something rarely have a solid sense of who they are, either as individuals or as a group.

I think my friend is onto something. The PPMs are fluid for exactly the same reason my generation was not. How we were and how they were raised in the home created these mind-sets and ways of life. We were strongly conservative or liberal, country western or classical, Catholic or Lutheran, democrats or monarchists, Marxists or Catholics and so on. We chose to be (we were Pre-Post-Moderns) something, even if it was opposite our parents.

However, the differences between oscillation and surety lies in these facts. Number one, we did not believe in the Decline of the West-we loved the West. We were optimists as youths. Two, we were not relativists, nor subjectivists, but strove for objectivity and the rational. Three, we did not trust our emotions. Four, we belonged to stable groups, such as large families, parishes with continuity in the Mass, schools with Classical Education, and a pride in all of that. Five, we knew who we were. We had a core of being based on our training and discipline in the home. We did not have to totally invent ourselves. Our moms and dads loved us and we knew it, but we had to prove ourselves. We had to measure up and succeed.

The PPMs have to invent themselves. They have not had the core of being created for them and with them in the family or parish or school. They lack a framework for judging between good and evil, good taste and bad taste, the beautiful and the ugly, the true and the false, and so on. So, they vacillate, they oscillate in ideas and taste, like a little boat on the sea skimming the waves in order to find the berth which will give a comfort zone.

I once thought America, and maybe Europe, would see civil wars. Now, I doubt it. PPMs could not support one side for long. But, then, I think not all this generation of  PPMs are PPMs. How do we know if they keep changing? To be continued....
Disclaimer: I do not have a television. I have never seen CC. My PPM friends do and have.