Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Other Lost Generation: Final

This is my trip to Butchart Gardens in British Columbia. It is a beautiful garden, but easy to get lost in.
We are constantly wandering through a digital wilderness that looks like this one. It is enticing, but very easy to get lost in. It is simple for one to wander aimlessly for hours through a beautiful garden such as this. It represents various forms of social media such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat

We never really think about who created this digital wilderness. Who created the elaborate algorithms that we see in social media? Did they intend for us to find a purpose in this garden? 

As we search for meaning in these various forms of social media, it is easy to lose our identity and a purpose. Think of the countless hours one can spend aimlessly wandering the web. We are becoming as the lost generation of that in World War I. The Lost Generation of World War I was not physically lost in the world, but they were wandering aimlessly. World War I and other social factors caused them to lose their identity. While the term "The Lost Generation" sometimes refers to a generation of young poets, I am talking about the youth of that generation. Life for these young war veterans was bleak and dismal. Many of them turned to drinking in order to cope with the realities of World War I. Finding a meaning to life was on the top of their priority list, but it just couldn't be done. They tried to lead a rebellion against the established social and sexual norms by creating their own values. In the end their revolution had a lasting impact on their great nation as it pushed them into the roaring 20's. However, they were confused, and I believe it took a Great Depression in order for them to find themselves.

These guys look like the current lost generation. They have no purpose, and are confused. 

 In our case "lost" does not mean completely gone, but it is interpreted as directionless and wandering. Think of the countless hours one can spend on social media. Are we really accomplishing anything? Is it going to take a modern day great depression in order to find our identities? The misuse of technology has created deadbeats like these guys who have lost themselves in the digital wilderness. 
In this book by Strauss and Howe they describe the cyclical pattern that history falls under. They state that every 20-22 years their is a changing of phases. The eras are high, awakening, unraveling, and crisis. They argue that we are currently in a crisis era, but it is not the initial event that defines an era. It is the response to the events that define an era. 

Are we a lost generation that is ever learning? We claim that technology and the digital world is educating us, but we are not really coming to a knowledge. We are losing ourselves in the pursuit of whatever you want to call it. The prime characteristic of the Lost Generations was confusion. I believe that we are just that, confused. 

As Kevin Gilbert states, we rely too much on the digital world. We rely too much on the pictures that we take and upload. It is creating confusion and chaos, because we do not know how to navigate through this digital wilderness.

I submit that as a society we need to begin searching with a purpose. We need to be mindful of the time and direction that we are going on social media. If we search the internet with a purpose we are much less likely to lose ourselves in this generation. When we know where we are going we can more fully keep our identity. This is a guard against becoming as the lost generation. 

My coterie (roommates) frequently discuss the impact that social media and technology has on society. Most of them are gamers and thus are naturally good at critical thinking. Most of them disagree with the claim that I have made saying that social media is good for society. That it helps us to find ourselves. My group in class, "Patterns of the Past" argues a different way. What sayest thou?  

1 comment:

  1. I really liked reading through this post and how you strongly related it back to history. I also liked that you used pictures of your roommates as well. The only critique that I have is to offer a solution to the problem. I understand your claim that we are lost in the digital universe, but I was hoping you would offer a plan to use technology to solve this issue.