Monday, 12 July 2010

A sociocultural evolutionary view of the Wests generational divide...

The United States of America is in entirely unique and unprecendented waters.  When the baby boomers largely gave up trying to save humanity from itself, they embarked upon creating possibly the most subtle and insiduous empire the world has ever known.  Not that they would see it that way.  To them, they are proud representatives for the heady ideals of freedom and liberty... it's written in black and white.  As with previous 'imagined identities' (and I use the term as described by Benedict Anderson) that were fortunate enough to harness the legitimising power of ink, they have become fundamental truths from which a homogenous, self-referential identity has been created.

Herein lies the crux of the deception.  Western notions of the self as derived from Christianity have, for millenia, bought into and expanded upon the illusion of the existence of the soul.  It omits from popular conscience the very real consequences of identity forming through passive consumption, today moulded by the 'official' narrative portrayed in mainstream media.  The creation of top-down religious or national identity has been a constant throughout human civilisation, maintained through the monopoly of communication technology (be it literacy or cost/access of production).

It was this world that the baby boomers fought, lost and joined.  It was this world that they took to whole new levels of sophistication.  Through the IMF and private corporations the U.S. has created a financial empire that subjugates by proxy, thus keeping from view the unpleasent truths and protecting the vertically imposed identity from mass cognitive-dissonance.  Those that were aware had nowhere to turn, except to local peer groups, utterly disenfrachised from the deluded masses and drowning in the percieved contradictions of words and actions.

Thus was born Generation X.  Devoid of any communication infrastructure able to compete with national media, the disparate, outnumbered and enlightened youths had no way to construct a lasting shared identity.  As outsiders to the mainstream, they were easily ridiculed and dismissed by a public spoon-fed ample ammunition from up on high.  Unfortunately grunge alone, as one of the few national manifestations of the growing cynical apathy, does not make for radical social change.  Communication technology, from the alphabet to the smart phone, is what makes for radical change. Always has, always will.

Now that time has come again, and those few remaining generation X'ers who still hold embers in their hearts are finding themselves stoked and renewed by the emergence of their succesors: Generation Vex.

Every revolution in human history will be seen as mere quantitative differences, baby-steps on the road to universal recognition of equality.  The Internet revolution is the start of something different.  Until now, every imagined community in history has been the result of top-down, few-to-many identity creation - Religion, State and Commerce.  Now, for the first time ever, we have the opportunity to bypass the official narrative and form our own imagined identities without geographical or cultural borders.  We can, if we only realise it, challenge and stand up to state and capitalist injustice and expose the hypocrisies and immorality of the inherent prejudices therein (just as happened with religion during the 'enlightenment').

The monopoly enjoyed by individualised corporate greed through its subversion and assimilation of the state's authority is broken.  The resulting democratisation of our identities is creating cognitive dissonance at unseen levels.  This new generations ability to go viral, to maintain imagined communities of even greater scope than their ignorant 'superiors', gives them an outlet to antagonise and harry the establishment in ways never imagined.  This is Generation Vex, and they are beyond being patronized.  

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