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I have heard it said that young people today care only about what they want. In fact I have seen good qualities in this generation. They appear to be interested in big causes, and they appear to be of an intense disposition and are willing to passionately embrace important issues.
I come from the former Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, people were taught to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. They worked and sacrificed, only to find the fruits of their work wind up in Swiss bank accounts. They sacrificed themselves for absolutely nothing.
When I came to America with these same values, people were calling me an egomaniac and a commie. Then they decided that I was selfish and that they were not. This is beyond ridiculous.
With altruism, we see many people not only not encouraging it but in fact attacking it. A New Age guru once told me that altruism is based on being three years old and having his whole existence depending on other people. A man with lots of psychological knowledge said things to the effect of that if you don't have high self-esteem you have nothing to offer anyone else. So we have situations such as one I've seen a long time ago, in which a naturally altruistic woman said that if she cannot live for herself she can't live. This is completely wrong. There are many things to live for besides yourself; and the people who say that you not only should, but must, live for yourself are wrong in every way that counts.
Now I, being obviously such a commie, am perfectly willing to work for the benefit of things other than myself. But I do not want my work to be wasted. I would not sacrifice myself for the greed of a bureaucrat. If I am to sacrifice myself for someone or something, it better be something good. And at this point this appears to be God.
When people have attitudes such as ones expressed by the New Age guru, what we see is people being taught to be jerks. A question that one may ask is, Why would one go to war to defend people who have such convictions? According to some in New Age, everyone makes their destiny with their consciousness. So does this mean that the 500,000 heroic Americans who died in the Second World War caused it through negativity in their consciousness? Once again, why would one be willing to go to war to defend people who believe such a thing?
The baby boom generation started out altruistic and for a long time made an ideology of selfishness. As they become older and more infirm they may recognize that they need others, and that they need to be good to them. It is wrong to claim that altruism is somehow infantile. It is wrong to demand self-esteem. And it is completely wrong to claim that people must live for themselves or else they cannot live.
So of course the young people these days have been fed this foolishness, and any number of them absorbed it. However there are others who have more of a clue. I feel closer to this generation than I do to my own, and I think that they are excellent. And I sincerely hope that their rightful efforts bear good fruit.
Some good points as always.
The comment about new age guru saying altruism is somehow 'infantile' [a 3 year old or some such]...I think perhaps I understand what he/she might have meant. It is far easier to be a 'nice or good' person with a full belly [my grandma used to say but perhaps a cliché of old, not sure].
As I studied economics, I used to ask myself what might be the root of evil [many have conjectured on that]. Scarce resources surely comes to mind; but yet, one might wonder what life would be like with unlimited resources. I think perhaps there needs to be 'contrast' for existence; some negativity, some shadow for light to exist [as it were]. If one does not have to 'work' for something [to strive, struggle at least some], then the EXPERIENCE of it's gaining becomes empty [I think]. Still, such thinking could lead to justification of hardship on life, which obviously is not good [a hungry belly is hard to bear]. So, it seems the question arises of 'balance'; to experience just the right amount of struggle that one gains the deepest appreciations for life's rewards. Ha, good gig if one can find it; usually most of us caught up on the 'struggle' of things 'too much' it seems.
The other thing I wondered a to being a root to evil was what was termed 'imperfect information'. This exerts inefficiency upon markets of course, but more, it leads to some people having unfair advantages over others. Information IS power.
Lately, I've been perusing Carl Sagan's Cosmos series for the umpteenth time [a true masterpiece overall], and my consciousness arises [once again] to the privations of knowledge that our forebears EXPERIENCED over time, the led to horrible things, like wars or inquisitions or social oppression of one type or another.
Today we enter another era with SO MUCH information, it far outmeasures my own brains capacity [that's for sure], and leaves us going in all sorts of directions trying to find NEW MEANINGS to life.
Sacrifice [for others] comes easy...but ONLY by way of a particular 'state'; a TRAIT we have as a creature that is rooted [IMHO] to our 'mammalian nurture' capacity [now evolved to become a high emotionality of outreach to our environment...and each other].
But, it is NOT automatic; it is not something that a 'state authority' can simply DICTATE; to say, that we SHOULD sacrifice [for whatever]. Many people do no get to experience this 'state' often, or all that much unfortunately; for it's measure is directly related to our own nurture along the way [that investment by other humans, especially parents and teachers].
Unfortunately again, our overload of information [as much as the Carl Sagan's mean well], we are brought upon times when JUSTIFICATION to feel is being delineated under scientific conclusions of 'random meaninglessness' in that Cosmos that Sagan so adroitly describes [see his pale blue dot dissertation].
I am of the opinion that GOD is not only vital, but MANDATORY to our continued survival as a creature; an INTELLIGENT creature, that will ONLY continue to amass information, which ultimately annihilates any capacity to FEEL [for anything other than self; and that only because PAIN exists, and fear of death of course].
But with the gargantuanism of present visions of just how humongous creation is, this universe is, and how so infinitesimally small we are...the dynamism over time where we go from being the 'center' of that universe to now, next to 'nothing' at all...leaves INTELLIGENT consciousness 'scrambling' to find any justification at all [again beyond personal survival...to stave off that pain and fear, ergo, ONLY the stick to motivate the donkey [us] losing the 'carrot' altogether over time].
DNA finds a way [so we say]. And one of my fears is that it may ultimately seek it's own end [as the intelligent experiment] IF...IF we cannot find that justification so necessary for this continued sense of hopefulness that drives us to better tomorrows.
Materially...Technologically...all good; Emotionally however, not so sure; especially with our intellect now 'destroying' just about everything that was once wholesome and necessary for social sustenance of life [by way of that simple and quite vital HUMAN molecular building block, the family unit].