For millennia people have looked skyward for signs of God. But sometimes it is better to look at the ground under their feet to find examples of God’s creative powers.
I was once a Millennial. So were you. So were all of us.
We all passed through our 20s and 30s in some fashion. It really does not matter what that fashion truly is–– 70s or 80s, 90s or 2000s. Being twenty-something and searching for your true self is a rite of passage we all go through.
So it is disturbing to listen to members of my generation and a little younger than the Baby Boomer complain that today’s Millennial generation somehow lacks initiative and/or the life skills necessary to make it in this world. “They don’t want to work a job that isn’t perfect,” the complainers says. Or, “They don’t want to pay their dues.”
Paying dues my ass
You know what? I worked more than a couple jobs that were less than perfect. You know what it taught me? That a shitty job is just that. It’s shitty. And the people who worked there? They were shitty and cruel and inconsiderate. In some cases they were backstabbing bastards and bitches who would do anything to go home on a given day feeling like they’d somehow “won the battle.”
That was true in the blue collar factory jobs I worked as a summer job. It was also true working a supposedly moral organization such as the Boy Scouts of America. There are shitty people everywhere. It often doesn’t pay to stick around waiting for some of these people to get better. Because they won’t.
A whole lot better
I’m not being negative here. I’m being positive. The minute I left those shitty jobs life got a whole lot better. In fact the reason I took those shitty jobs in the first place was by taking the so-called “safe” advice of others rather than sticking it out to find work more suited to my mind and skills.
That summer I worked in the paint factory… loading cans and sucking up blue fumes of turpentine… and dealing with the jerks who purposely shot sponges through the cleaning tubes while I held a hose into a barrel… so that it would soak me with dangerous chemicals from head to toe? All so they could have a laugh.
That was not paying “dues,” as so many people like to claim. That was being the victim of abuse. Accepting that job in the first place was a product of listening to my mother telling me I needed to take a job earning $4.50 an hour rather than selling five or six of my paintings for $250 as I had done that past winter.
The “safe” advice turned out to be a tragic and awful choice. That summer job trashed my self-esteem and my health. I was a wreck going into my junior year in college and fell into an undiagnosed pattern of depression and struggled with my schoolwork and running. Was $4.50 an hour and paying my dues worth it? Not on your life.
This is good for you?
Some might insist that it was a good experience. “Well, you need that kind of experience to appreciate what real work is all about.”
I say Bull Shit. I was a Millennial then. I could recognize shitty work and shitty people for what they were. The people with whom I worked in those positions and several more were small-minded assholes who took perverse pride in hauling people down to their own level.
Later in life if you’re fortunate enough to climb the ladder a bit and work either a better blue collar or white collar job, you just might get to appreciate that not everyone treats each other in such a shitty manner. Yet even in those circumstances, we are all often forced to deal with complete jerks in our work life. Either our co-workers or our customers can turn our lives in a living hell. You wake up wondering “What the hell happened? Why am I so goddamned unhappy?”
You think back a bit to figure out why life went to hell and almost always you can point to one or two people who were either jealous or so blatantly coarse in their worldview that no one can deal with them. Some of those people become bosses through their sheer belligerence. Then the workplace becomes toxic from their ignorance and
Some of those people become bosses through their sheer belligerence. Then the workplace becomes toxic from their ignorant bullying. Yet somehow the company lauds their bottom line success even when twenty people around or under their management know that the company could make twice as much if that person were removed from their job. That’s because companies also often take the “safe” advice and settle for shitty-assed managers who leave skid marks on their reputation as well as their accounting books.
Thinking outside the knocks
Yet companies keep barking about “thinking outside the box” when the very people who do are are considered impractical troublemakers.
If that’s the case, the whole culture can become an insular, crappy place to work. All those “safe” and seemingly productive people are threatened by those who come in the door with a whiff of new productivity about them. That’s why companies hire so-called “change agents.” When management gets safety fever and can’t think their way to the next level of good, “just good enough.” Which is the path to dissolution of course. What companies actually need to do is “think outside the knocks.” That is, work to create a culture that is based on respect, not knocking each other around.
It’s true. Even entirely successful companies can come to believe that only those raised in their carefully coiffed culture are indoctrinated enough for roles in the firm.
Entire industries can get that way. “Oh,” you hear the recruiter say. “You don’t have five years of health care industry experience? We really don’t have a place for you.”
During the economic downturn in the United States, some companies were heard to claim, “We can’t hire anyone that has been out of work for more than six months.” Talk about an evil, cruel and sick brand of insularism.
With that mindset we can wind up with entire industries whose insular practices and values come to represent the opposite of goodness. For example, we still hear stories about how pharmaceutical companies push drugs on doctors who prescribe them to patients that don’t even need said drugs. In some cases those drugs are even harmful or fatal to the wrong patient.
Yet the profits made from the drug-pusher system typically cover legal costs of malpractice and even wrongful death. It’s all part of “the system” if you’re on the side taking pay for practice.
So the cycle grows even larger. More people die and medical practices become pawns of the pharma companies and their outrageous costs. Medical costs skyrocket as a result, and insurance companies jack their rates to keep pace. The upward spiral puts the cost of medicine completely out of reach for millions of people. Yet when someone comes along to try to make a correction the pleading cry is to “not mess with the system!”
This is a really shitty way to do business. Yet it happens all the time. Health care is not alone in its push and pull shittiness. Speculative bidding and holdbacks on demand push gas prices up and drive entire nations to war. All so that a very few wealthy people can enrich themselves at the expense of others.
Into this world wades a new generation of young people who question these stupid tactics along with the shitty work ethic of those who seem to think it’s funny to demand that Millennials “pay their dues” at the hands of a system that is clearly fucked up.
We can turn to none other than John Lennon (no Saint, but wise…) for perspective on this fucked up “system” into which Millennials now wade. Lennon was perhaps the original model for a pissed off hipster Millennial if there ever was one. Here’s what Lennon had to say about the way the world works, and has worked for quite a long time:
Here’s what Lennon had to say about the way the world really works, and has worked for quite a long time:
“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”
The tactics of such insane people have become ever more evident with the advent of social media. Now we can see, in real time, the quotations of politicians claiming that rape is not really rape, and that the principles of so-called “less government” strategists are include imposing laws dictating what a woman can and can’t do with her own reproductive organs.
We see slogans such as “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” when the only reason guns were ever invented was to kill. We see Presidents lying to take our countries into war for ideological purposes and both sides of the political aisle blaming the other for why the system doesn’t work. But it’s simple. Everyone is in it for themselves. That’s how we get war profiteering. Human lives become expendable.
Global companies come to view “human capital” only in terms of dollars and cents, and are willing to completely gut the economy of a nation such as America if the company can make more profit for the shareholders. Those harmed by this lack of loyalty are simply categorized as collateral damage.
Then the very same political and business idealogues who execute said rape and pillage (of person and economy) set to work to pass laws that categorize corporations as “people too.” The entire notion of personhood is thus turned into a perverse euphemism. All that remains is a system that benefits the few and trumps all other priorities.
The devaluation of human capital by granting corporate personhood to impersonal entities is the huge weight on one end of the delicate balance that props up the ugly system on which conservatives have labored for 40 years or more to bring to fruition. Starting with Ronald Reagan smashing the air traffic controller unions, conservatives with an appetite for debasing labor in the name of unmitigated profits has gone through all kinds of transmogrifications. But the end result is the same. Disempower the common man so that there is no resistance to profit-taking.
The newest euphemism for stealing labor is the so-called “right to work” movement. This unfairly grants companies the ability to ignore principles enacted through law that have protected worker wages for decades. Republicans also have fought the minimum wage increase over the years, claiming it would bankrupt businesses. That has never happened. But workers have not kept up with the cost of living while corporations and their executives grab ever more of the economic pie. The transfer of wealth has been massive, almost deadly to the economy as a whole.
This has been abetted and further perverted by investment companies that have invented more efficient ways to transfer wealth and call it freedom of choice. The entire movement to privatize programs such as Social Security are nothing more than a blatant grab at billions of otherwise protected, safe money that will be there for the workingman’s retirement.
The love of money is the root of all evil. And these are evil times indeed.
In the name of religion
To make things even creepier however, the people who run this system are all to happy to recruit the name of Jesus Christ to justify it all. It’s their way of normalizing insanity and maniacal behavior. This is the approach of a sociopathic society. It is a fascist worldview that confuses nation with God, or profit with personhood. Jesus did not come to bring any of that to the earth. Human beings bring that upon themselves through selfishness, greed, avarice and lust for money.
The environment becomes yet another victim in all this extractive and exploitative behavior. Then, if people gather to protect and conserve nature for its own sake, they are branded “tree-huggers” as if that were a negative connotation. Religion is again dragged into the mix with people claiming that God gave human beings “dominion” over the earth as if that were enough reason to excuse rape and pillage of all creation with no consequences or obligations.
A better way
There is a better way of course. Business is not by itself an evil entity. Nor are corporations. There are many organizations that conduct business in good conscience. Some become leaders in the movement to enhance people’s lives through their profession. These companies encourage employees within the organization to treat each other with respect.
So we should not settle for the idea that Millennials are wrong about the world and just need to grow up. It may in fact be quite the opposite. It may well be that it is those embittered Baby Boomers and other social critics that have ceased trying to change the world for the better. These may be the true and complicit evil at work in culture and the work world. That goes for all those entrenched in anachronistic religions that place fundamentalism and literalism ahead of practical human knowledge. If you don’t join their team they try to beat you any way they can.
Shitting the bench
Because if you’re a nutter on a basketball team when a star freshman shows up for practice who threatens to show you all up, it is not in good conscience to convince them they are better off sitting the bench with the rest of the miserable scrubs that have quit trying to improve. And worse yet, don’t try to call them “bitter” or “spoiled” if they ignore you and go about the difficult process of actualizing their own abilities. Some would rather quit the team and try something else rather than put up with a bunch of selfish ball hogs and nutters.
That goes for religion and politics too. We’re far past the point where churches full of small-minded creationists and bigots should get the chance to represent themselves as the face of God. If this entire essay seems a bit harsh and impatient it is because there are many who are sick of the crazy-assed conservative, supposedly “safe” bullshit of being told what to do and how to do it by people who claim to know how the “world really works” when it’s clear the only they know is how it works for them.
That’s not good enough. Nor is it fair and right to all those people trying to create sane and considerate policy against a veritable tsunami of idiotic, selfish, Fox News-driven demagoguery and bully pulpit enculturation.
Just stop with that crap. Millennials of all ages are sick of it. No, I can’t pretend to speak in fullness or insight for all people in the so-called Millennial generation. But I can speak against the prejudicial accusations of people who seem to so poorly grasp what anyone is about, much less people wise to the world before their years, and willing to deny the bullshit that stems from it.
The dynamic that impoverishes the intellect while gutting the culture for insanely selfish purposes is backed by powerful interests.
Yet we can also recognize that the worldview also recruits believers on basis of fear and creating conflict between sectors of society.
That can be a highly popular way to draw followers. Yet their net methodology requires that we all adopt a worldview intellectually equivalent to ignorant children. They juvenilize the political and culture progress of the nation by seeking to ban science and intellectualism as a foundation for public discourse and education.
They also treat women as inferiors through legislative action and in speeches rife with dog-whistle threats and controlling behavior. They speak out against equal and civil rights for blacks, gays, minorities, immigrants and anyone else that does not fit their typically white, male mold. Even the lone 2016 GOP black presidential candidate Ben Carson is tone deaf on the rights of other minorities.
This is cognitive dissonance at its worst. There’s not an exception among the bunch to these methods of disaffection used to gain electoral support. The Tea Party was a similarly astroturfed attempt to rally anger and disillusionment into a political whole. But the fractiousness and contradictory nature of political, social, economic and religious conservatism denies its verity at the core. Plus all four defy the foundations of the United States Constitution, which by definition is a liberal document.
Divide and die
We can be assured of the ultimate apocalypse of this worldview because it ultimately depends on isolating one group against the other. Certainly that has been a recruitment method for a cabal of loud-mouthed idealogues barking about how persecuted they are because their prejudices and jingoistic view of God and Country no longer hold water under rational inspection. Yet one by one these embittered souls are going under. The formerly powerful Rush Limbaugh has already begun to dig his own grave through falling ratings and stations abandoning his sick brand of dishonesty. Sean Hannity won’t be far behind, and Bill O’Reilly has recently spun himself into the ground over his many lies and spins about his own journalistic integrity.
The days of these so-called “realistis” are numbered in an apocalyptic sense. The world can no longer afford to sustain such dangerous ideas and anachronistic woes. The apocalypse of the anti-Millennial is already here.
The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age