Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Generation X Has Ideals?

Another blog I've started following is The Gen X Files, written by Dave Sohigian. One of his recent posts caught my eye, debunking seven myths about Generation X.

He goes through the usual litany—we are slackers, we are selfish, we are cynical, we hate our parents—admiriably defending X's unique point of view throughout. But one myth and Dave's response to it really spoke to me:

We have no ideals
We grew up surrounded by talk about ideals, so yeah, we are a bit tired of talking about them. Our generation wants to know how we can realistically change society for the better. We don’t see missing the ideal state as a failure and are willing to compromise ideology for practicality. But that does not mean we don’t have ideals.

I think Dave really hits the nail on the head. Most Xers I know really do want to change society for the better. And most of them are too practical to try and attempt it in any but the smallest ways. That's at least how I've always felt.

But ideals? Dave says we have them, I'm not so sure. If we were to create a list of Generation X ideals, how long would it be? The Free Dictionary says an ideal is a "conception of something in its absolute perfection." Do Xers even believe in absolute perfection?

Anyone got any nominations for the ideals of Generation X?


jen said...

Great post. I'll give this some thought. In the meantime, keep blogging about our brilliant generation! I am a fan of Dave's.

David said...

@Eric - great post and thanks for the shout out. Here are a couple Ideals that I hold dear:

Innovation through Iteration. I am not sure if this is purely a GenX thing, but it appeals to me. The idea that you would construct the perfect vision in your mind and then build that in reality just seems silly to me (and I think many GenX'ers). It is much more "ideal" to build something and test it out, then make the next (and improved) version.

Collaboration by choice. A second important ideal is that we form communities and collaborate by individual choice. This may also be a Boomer value, but I think it runs strong in Gen X'ers in a unique way. Jen (above) is religious, I am not, but we share a bond of our attitudes and form an online community. Each of us chooses to collaborate consciously - we don't have to be the same political party or geography.

So there are two for you...

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