An Open letter from a Boomer to Gen X, Millennials, Z’s, and Alphas
Dear Millennials, and Gen X, Z and Alpha,
Things are not good. I don’t mean global warming, racism, etc. Of course, these are very bad, but I believe you’ve already built the foundations for real progress with these problems.
What is not good is the state of the human mind. As you know we are more depressed and anxious than ever. Our suicide rates are high and climbing. Rates of alcohol and opioid abuse continue to mount.
School shootings and overdoses rob the young of their futures. People are more lonely, agitated, and burnt-out, finding relief in their screens of their devices.
This is the face of life in a modern, technological society.
There are many places to lay some blame. Screen time and social media get the most attention. But we can broaden our gaze to envision a wider span of modern life.
There are two underlying forces within modern life that light the fire beneath our various pathologies. The first, is how technology infiltrates our minds directly through devices and indirectly through how devices change our lives. Second, is how the pace and direction life takes us has shattered our communities, and with it, the web of connections that support us.
Technology forces you to live in your head, not the world. How this taxes our minds in ways we have never experienced as a species is a story in itself and is explained here. Meanwhile, our isolation goes further than making us merely lonely. It takes us away from the social connections and customs which are the building blocks of shaping a life. A deeper look at how our ruptured connections to one another eat away at our mental well-being is further explained here.
Building a world in which we are the masters of technology, not its servants; a world in which we thrive because of those around us, not suffer in isolation, is the challenge of the modern era. Solutions to the technology piece are already taking form. For example, current studies relating screen time and mental health are supplying needed guidance.
What is not taking form is how we rebuild a sense of community. This vital task falls to Millennials and Generations X, Z, and Alpha.