Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Generation "Me"

Apparently, narcissism is on the rise. I don't doubt it in the least. From children's soccer games where nobody's the looser to American Idol, our society has kids shouting "Look at me! I am special!" The results can be seen in the popularity of websites like myspace and blogger.

Parents are letting their kids be kids, instead of treating their children like they'll be adults one day. Even schools are avoiding leaving anybody behind. But we live in a world of 6 billion people, where 100 is the average IQ score, where the reality is not everybody is good enough, smart enough, or well liked. This isn't Lake Woebegon.

This self-esteem delusion can backfire. Parents seeking special lables for their children who are having difficulty in school. Telling kids they're smart too often can actually discourage them from skills that require hard work. College kids spend more money than they have with expectations of getting paid more than they will when they graduate. Relationships can come with expectations of "fairy tail romance," and are difficult to maintain when each person is so self-centered. Adults acquire mortgages for houses higher than they can comfortably afford with expectations that their house value will rise.

But there are also benefits to this type of thinking. People don't just see themselves as another cog in the wheel. While being self-centered might prevent one from doing volunteer work, it might also incline one towards believing they can make a difference in this world, and acting on it. And I would also say that the same sense of self importance is also pushing young adults away from that old-time religion.

Atheism is on the rise. Now, this surely has to do with an age when information of all kinds is directly at our fingertips. It is clear that many people who deny evolution just don't know how evolution really works. But I'd say that a sense of independence is just as important to this new wave of people denying the existence of the holy spirit who are not too scared to say so.

Religion is a form of control of the masses; strict rules with strict retribution (in the next life). Religion teaches you that you are one of many, and that you can't save yourself, only god can do that for you. Atheism frees a person to make their own decisions and choices in life, and face those consequences on their own. I think this way of looking

I'd like to think that, as kids grow up and reject the religion of the masses, they will also realize the weight of personal responsibility in this world. As they learn to think for themselves, I'd hope they keep in mind that we are all connected, and that helping others can be a way of helping ourselves.

4 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

This is something I remain steadfast in, Religion typically removes responsibility from the believer almost completely. All they have to do is "Give it to God" and they are off the hook. Whether it's lack of blame because you were "Born" into sin or just fell victim of temptation, or being unable to take pride in achieving something you did yourself since you have to "give" God the credit in everything you do.

However, I do want my son to think of himself as unique, and have a certain amount of personal pride about himself, but that pride should come from learning that he is capable of accomplishing anything he sets his mind to, and just as equally when he fails that he should take note of what went wrong and make adjustments for next time. Not just something he is given for no reason. True value in thinking highly of yourself comes from earning it even if it's just through personal accomplishments.

In my opinion anyway ;)

8:06 PM  
Blogger new.atheist said...

Robert, I agree; kids should have some sense of pride in what they actually accomplish. And I do understand that everyone is proud of their own kids... it's just getting the balance right; everything in moderation.

We often learn more from failure than from success, and kids should also learn how much work success is from their failures, giving pride in their success validation (as you said, truly earning it), instead of the "everybody's a winner!" policy spreading through society. I'm sorry; some people are losers. That's life.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

lol, that is so true. You hit on 2 things I completely agree with.. 1) "Everything in moderation", and 2) "Some people are just losers". As an added bonus some of those same people expect the world owes them something.. but that's getting a little off topic ;)

Always good to read your posts. I think this is one of the main reason I keep reading and posting, it's comforting knowing that your not alone...

6:08 PM  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Well said. I especially agree with this part. "...they will also realize the weight of personal responsibility in this world. As they learn to think for themselves, I'd hope they keep in mind that we are all connected, and that helping others can be a way of helping ourselves."

10:08 AM  

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