Talking About My Generation

Greetings, earthlings.

I am a baby-boomer. There are more of us in the world than any of the rest of you generations X, Y, Z, Me, You, Millenial, whatever.

We were a progressive generation that changed the world. We created the sexual revolution, we fuelled the American Civil Rights movement, we invented rock festivals. Hell, we invented rock (actually we didn’t, it was Black blues groups in the 40’s who did that, but we take all the credit).

We created the sixties and seventies.

We had the summer of love.

We tried all kinds of soft drugs, and a few hard ones, and praised their ability to change our spiritual perspectives.

With or without drugs, we opened our minds to Asian philosophies and spiritual practices, and discovered that without them, we probably really couldn’t have quantum physics.

We discovered ecology (it was always there, just most people hadn’t noticed before)

Above all, we were free, free, free.

So What Happened?

Today, we have become smug, arrogant, complacent, and conservative.

The individual freedom we all thirsted for so much has become selfishness and egoism. We disdain community values while preaching them to others.

We criticise our children and grandchildren, claiming they have a smug sense of entitlement which, in fact, is our own even smugger notion of our own supposedly superior positions.

Instead of changing the world, we want to send it back to the stone age.

We want to close the doors, circle the wagons, seek refuge behind an “identity” we would have disdained when we were 20, and shut others out. Tough luck if they die on the open sea trying to escape wars that we instigated and let others fight.

We vote for ultra-conservative, even extreme right-wing leaders who promise things they know they cannot and will never deliver, but whose bombastic simplicity reassures us.

We are the epitome of “do what I say, not as I do,” and then we decry the cynicism of younger generations.

We think we were the last people to invent anything of worth.

“We are old, Father William…”

I weep for my generation.

Author’s note: Nothing in this post is proven, it’s all opinion. My own. I would love for someone to prove me wrong.

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About Ray

Ray Gallon is co-founder of The Transformation Society, a research and consulting company, and owner of Culturecom, a company that provides business process improvement through communication. He has over 40 years as a communicator, first as an award-winning radio producer and journalist, then in the technical content industries. His management experience includes a stint as program manager of WNYC-FM, New York City’s public radio station. Ray has always been interested in the meeting point between technology and culture, and has used his broad experience to advantage with companies such as IBM, General Electric Health Care, Alcatel, 3M, and the OECD, as well as in smaller companies and startup enterprises. He has been quoted as saying, “Since the beginning, I have been, paradoxically, communicating and shooting myself in the foot. I find that this combination leads to fascinating outcomes that have made me one of the most fortunate people I know.” Ray is a university lecturer and a speaker at events throughout the world. He has contributed articles and chapters to many books and periodicals and is the editor of the recently published “Language of Technical Communication” (XML Press).
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2 Responses to Talking About My Generation

  1. Mark Baker says:

    When we were young, we were naive. Now we are old, we are afraid.

    Just like every other generation.

    But because there are so many of us, our naivete reshaped society when we were young and our fear reshapes it again now we are old.

    Under normal conditions, the naivete of the young and the fear of the old balance society between liberality and caution. But we have thrown off that balance with gleeful self-congratulation. Twice.

    We will not live long enough to see things come back into balance.

    • Ray says:

      Mark, I fear you’ve nailed it. Wish it weren’t so, but there you have it. The wheel turns, in the end it’s quite mundane, isn’t it?

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