Living In A Dying Age

Witness a microcosm of tragedy through the loss of traditions as atomized individualism takes over from culture:

“Young couples starting out don’t want the same things people used to have,” says Susan Devaney, president of NASMM and owner of The Mavins Group, a senior move manager in Westfield, N.J. “They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.”

Buysse agrees. “This is an Ikea and Target generation. They live minimally, much more so than the boomers. They don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did,” she notes. “And they’re more mobile. So they don’t want a lot of heavy stuff dragging down a move across country for a new opportunity.”

And you can pretty much forget about interesting your grown kids in the books that lined their grandparents’ shelves for decades. If you’re lucky, you might find buyers for some books by throwing a garage sale or you could offer to donate them to your public library — if the books are in good condition.

In other words, we now live in a society where the individual is obligated to nothing greater than the individual, which we might see as the ultimate democratic ideal. People live only for themselves, and this has produced a dying age where nothing remains, and all is disposable like Ikea furniture and fast food.

Generation X saw this one coming. We realized that the old traditions represented obligations that the contemporary job market and social situation did not support. As such, we could crucify ourselves trying to keep up the habits of the past, or acknowledge that this society has failed and move on to a minimal, transient life where we obligate ourselves as little as possible to the decline.

The sadness hides in the margins here. Nothing you do will last. Nothing you do will have meaning, either, because you are dedicated only to yourself, and work, of course. You work like a good worker in the worker’s paradise. Everyone is equal, which means no one has anything more than themselves and a dollar amount on the paycheck.

Meaning dies when we become so focused on ourselves that we reduce our thinking to materialism in order to avoid exploring those areas where we are not strictly equal. The nation fades away, replaced by an endless row of apartment buildings and strip malls. Now we are truly equal, entropy has won, and in the absence of meaning we sit and wait for death.

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5 Responses to “Living In A Dying Age”

  1. BlackPhillip says:

    It’s important to recognize that even as everyone around seems to be living in a world dominated by social media, self-absorption, and short attention spans, it is possible to live a life enriched by old stuff like, say, books, or walks through caverns.

  2. Cynical Optimist says:

    It seems there is a longing for tradition, or at least certain traditional things have niche followings, like cast iron cooking and safety razors and such (I’m guilty), or the Timberland style work boots or flannels. But then these are just things in themselves, not traditions, and also they are coopted for the purpose of hipster novelty and individualism…distinguishing the buyer from the masses consuming stupid modern tech. Either way though, its consumerism/individualism! So it’s good to look out for the overt individualism as well as this sneaky kind.

    Someday we will have our own customized Netflix shows so can have the “optimal” isolated experience. “Did you see last nights episode? Oh…mine was different, she gets a buzz cut and becomes CEO in the end.”

    Walking around a college campus, you notice the headphones everywhere…the death of civilization, or at least the radio…

  3. Dr. Evil says:

    All the money goes to $120 cell phone bills these days. They also spend a ton on fancy craft ales.

  4. Ernst says:

    From the article: ‘Buysse agrees. “This is an Ikea and Target generation. They live minimally, much more so than the boomers. They don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did,” she notes. “And they’re more mobile. So they don’t want a lot of heavy stuff dragging down a move across country for a new opportunity.”’

    Isn’t that what the ideologist of capitalism (and big banks) really wanted: free flow of objects, services and peoples, in borderless world.

  5. It’s worthy of noting that no other generation had such an opportunity, surrounded by abundance and relative lack of concern, of pursuing an ascetic life, recognizing that now that all sorts of material pleasures have become so available and abundant, that pursuing them represents no satisfaction.

    But alas, no other generation has put these things on a pedestal such as previous

    We have had hordes of adherents of this and that brand, creating a certain bizarre fusion between the ego and the product

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