Thursday, November 20, 2008

Generational Musings

Depending on how you classify such things, Obama is the first Generation X president. If you are a member of that generation, this fact excites you, makes you feel old, or scares you. Regardless and unfortunately it does not matter much… the way these generational history-is-a-cycle-that-repeats-itself things work means that Gen X will always be a secondary player. It is the Boomers that are the driving force of where we are headed, and the Millenials that will step in to pick up the pieces.

At least that is the way things work if Strauss and Howe are right in reading patterns. They have studied history from a generational perspective and claim to have discovered a pattern that holds true for the past 500 years. It seems that history is driven by crisis after crisis fed and maintained by generational dynamics.

Think back to the last crisis the world faced—the Great Depression/ WWII. Baby Boomers were born after this crisis and with no recollection of it. As a result, they rebelled against the establishment born out of this crisis and have conducted the world on their watch in such a way that they have driven us to the doorstep of the next great crisis. Like clock-work, every 80 years or so something like this has happened—in our English/American history anyway.

Whether they are right or not, they have hit the description of us Gen Xers right on the head: The thirteenth generation of American history; they are pragmatic, perceptive, savvy, amoral, and more interested in money than in art. They are negatively perceived by older (and maybe younger) generations. As Strauss and Howe point out, just look at the movies that came out as Gen X was being born: Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Omen!

1 comment:

  1. Jay talks about this book quite a bit. Very interesting!

    ReplyDelete

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