Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Potential and Purpose

"I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables — slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." -Fight Club

I've been thinking tonight. It happens that I get reflective when I'm down and a little depressed. I had a rough day, with not near enough sleep, and a teacher determined to screw me.

I was thinking about dropping out, and I asked myself, "Why?"

Why drop out? Well, why go to school in the first place? I wanted to help people. Maybe it's sort of atonement for being a lousy human being. Maybe I can't stand to see folk suffer. Whatever. Throughout the course, all I've learned is tolerance for corporate BS and a toe-the-line attitude. Seriously, you wonder why kids are messed up? I'll tell you why. They got nothing to look forwards to. They go from the hell of high school to the self-inflicted hell of university. What do they get out of it? Not purpose. You walk out of university after grinding out thesis's and studying away the best years of your life, and you have a piece of paper that lands you a job with a tie and a collar and before you know it, you're not a human being, you're a consumer. You're a cog in a useless machine.

Now, I like capitalism. I like the free market. But when all you have to look forwards to is an endless sea of cubicles for thirty years and the kids you spoiled so they wouldn't have to suffer like you did cramming you and your wife into a cut-rate home...well, that affects you. No wonder living fast and dying young has such appeal to kids. At least then, if you're chasing the dollar, you're getting out of the cubicle.

Used to be, folks had pride. Folks had purpose. You talked to them, and the cop said "I keep the folks safe from criminals." The machinist spotted a Studabaker rattling down Main Street, he said "Hey, I built the axles on that!" The farmer smiled and said "You like that corn? I done grew it."

Now, it's all numbers and paper. It's "I'm a techie. I listen to people bitch all day and try not to go crazy." It's "I'm in marketing. I determine whether or not we use teal or cornflower blue on the brand spot."

I realized today that emergency management is solid bullshit. You try to pimp preparedness to an apathetic populace, plan for events that may or may not happen using a pretty standard template. As an actual Emergency Manager in Canada, you herd the idiots in the EOC, not actually go out and do something CONCRETE. You can't tell me that we do. No, we sit with the mayor and try to keep him from doing something dumb. And that's a real punt in the stones. But I'm sticking with the program, because cutting and running is just cowardly.

I can see why kids these days are messed up. They have just as much potential as the kids of the Greatest Generation, of the kids that took Suvorov from Moscow to Italy. They know it. And they know it's going to be squandered in brushfire wars, in cubicles, in endless red tape and fighting the endlessly entropy and hollowness that a solely consuming life gets you. They want to keep their kids from suffering as I said, make their kid's childhoods as awesome as possible. But guess what? When little Timmy wakes up one day in his teens and realizes that he's not going to make a difference and here's going to end up like his dad, slaving away joylessly- and he's suffering to do it- something'll snap. I've seen it enough times. In high school, I knew kids with ulcers from the stress and work to get into a decent university. Kids who after one year of working their asses off for something they realized they didn't want, had mental breaks.

I don't want to end up like them, or my younger brother. He drinks heavily, works at as a fry cook. No prospects. No desire to look. Life is at its best with a joint and an Old Mill and some delinquent buddies for him. It's all depressing to watch. From all this ranting, I can draw this:

Dark times are coming, friends- and they're coming on horseback.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, Well written, and I cannot disagree with you. It is a shame and I hope that we can find a way out of this.