Purpose is the cornerstone of discipline. I'm pretty sure that a lack of purpose is why my generation is so absolutely fucked. A liberal upbringing has taught that working with your hands is something akin to slavery, and the purpose of warriors is to oppress or be expended in brushfire wars in Godforsaken countries that should, for all intents, be allowed to wallow in hellish conditions. We're brought up to chase cars, whores, materialism instead of purpose. Self-gratification over self-fulfillment. So what's left for most people? Hocking shit, or being a cog in some giant corporate machine? Hell, that's something to give your third-best at!
When I joined the military, life became simple. Enjoyable? Maybe not in a conventional sense, but I felt I had a purpose. I was the Smart Guy. I had a role in my platoon. I had buddies who I would fight and kill for. Die for, if need be. My purpose was clear- give advice, and overall help those I could. If that meant killing bad guys, all the better. Now, I'm out in the world, going to school to learn how to deal with whiny and spineless politicians, beg for money in a budget, and deal with a media whose primary purpose is to entertain, not inform. I look around and all I see is wasted potential. One of my best buddies is lead vocal in an above-average metal band. He's not all that bright, but I suspect that has a lot to do with extensive weed abuse and quite a few blows to the head. I mean, the guy is a talented singer, decent lyricist. Better than decent, from what I can hear.
He bounces at night and drives a school bus by day. He's fucking Otto from the Simpsons.
If there was something worth working towards for him, he probably would have done it. He can run a warehouse (and more or less did at times, before he got owned at the beginning of the recession) without too much trouble. Problem is, there's no jobs for him and he doesn't see much point in looking. There a hundred dozen people with more experience and better records fighting him for a job that's more work at half the pay. I can see why he gives up before he even starts. And that's what it largely comes down to, across the board. People my age and bitter and purposeless. There's not a whole hell of a lot of jobs that don't involve paper hats for them. They're competing against older returning students for spots in colleges and universities.
I know the general attitude is 'sink or swim, bitches!' across the board. Hell, I don't have a lot of sympathy for the people who give up and slink back into mama's basement with the Xbox. I'm thinking, though, that once you get a certain concentration of disaffected youth, society as a whole starts to suffer. Once people lose purpose, discipline goes. Then goes drive, and so forth. People go from asking 'what the hell am I doing with my life?' to 'who the hell's fault is all this shit?'. And that's shitty all around.