My 18 and my parents 18 were very different. The Viet Nam war which started before I was born, ended the year before I turned 18. My parents were 18 at the start of WWII. Generation gap was a popular term to describe how my generation differs from my parents. Each generation espousing seemingly different views and values than the previous with, let’s be honest, a bit of disdain.
Each generation claims the “collective” we while being individuals. That sounds a little esoteric, but here is what it is. My parents could say “we put a man on the moon.” That scientific feat makes the previous generation who merely did automobiles to replace the horse and buggy sound primitive. And now, well, I can say of my generation, “we gave you the pc and mobile phone.” The generation after that, the electric car, Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah.
The thing is, we’ve confused innovation with evolution. With technology, errors, mishaps and things that don’t work are input, lessons learned, what does and what does not work. We as humans, not so much. Humans don’t change much over a couple of hundred years. The advances in technology are not advancements in humanity.
As much as I’d like to think things are shocking or surprising with recent wold events and celebrity gossip, they are not. Take Adam Levine and the “micro cheating” incident. Dude, sending flirty, messages with 5 different women, kinda not cool when you are married and your wife is expecting your third child. Apparently Adam saw his situation different from other men, like say Anthony Weiner. Sure, it’s different, Adam keeps his job and does a residency with Maroon 5 in Las Vegas. Unlike Ime Udoka, coach for the Boston Celtics currently under suspension for an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate. Did no one learn from Rick Pitino? Nah, sports coaches, who get paid to be successful, whose job it is to analyze mistakes and errors continue to err.
Humans embrace achievement as their own, not failures. In Europe, is it shocking Italy would elect Giorgia Meloni, a member of the right-wing coalition led by the Brothers of Italy, a political party descended from neo-fascists? The current debate, is Giorgia Meloni Mussolini lite?
Political analysts the world over are now busy parsing Giorgia Meloni’s statements to determine if she is a fascist, a neofascist or a post-fascist. Why, they ask, are Italians seemingly willing to consider a return to the politics of their country’s darkest hour?Italy’s Giorgia Meloni is no Mussolini – but she may be a Trump
Does the human psyche default to “not me?” The we of a generation do not accept failure like achievements. Failures make us “feel bad,” Failure has nothing to do with us. Take slavery. The common (yet infuriating) refrain is that slavery was a long time ago, get over it. I didn’t do it, no one is enslaved now. That misses a huge lesson for humanity. For 246 years, human enslavement was justified, rationalized and enforced by law based on a lie. This spin was the absurd notion the Africans were not human contrary to what could be seen and observed as not true. For 246 years and beyond this falsehood has carried weight. For those who wonder how without any facts or proof, 40% of Americans believe the last presidential election was stolen think slavery. Rather than seriously question the belief without proof and the supporting logic that would lead to a different conclusion, people have double downed on a falsehood. Slavery, the lesson we don’t want to learn from. Yet, slavery in America provides significant insight on convincing the masses to support an obvious lie and the treatment of the enslaved highlight man’s inhumanity to man, intentional cruelty and the ability to willing inflict pain no different than medieval times.
Technology can move fast. I learned to use a slide rule1 in high school for calculations. By the time I started university, the cost of calculators had dropped, so good bye slide rule, hello technology. For you, what have been the 5 significant technological advances? During the pandemic, advances in video conferencing came to the forefront. Technology backed services such as online order and delivery became essential. while the two years were taxing, what would the time period have been like without advances in technology. Now, think of history through the lens of human behavior. Think about cave people, the crusades. What about the plague and historical monarchies? Has anything changed significantly around human behavior? This week consider the hypothesis, have we confused advancement in technology with evolution in human behavior.
1 For those who are unfamiliar, a slide rule (see photo) was a way to do mathematical calculations prior to the handheld calculator. For those who are unfamiliar with the handheld calculator, it was a means to do mathematical calculations prior to the smart phone.