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02/19/2014

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jonnybardo

Here's a variant to throw into the mix. What if all chimeras were not equal? What if some provided more lasting and/or deep satisfaction?

Perhaps the underlying "chimeric dynamics" are the same, but certainly a homemade, organic meal is more satisfying than a Happy Meal (or at least has less deleterious results!).

Another angle on this is that I've found that there are things that make you chase the carrot and thus impossible to satisfy, and even when you get it you look around and say, what's next? And then there are the experiences or activities that make you feel better about everything. The former is an idea, a chimera, while the latter is a kind of creative engagement. So for instance, the chimera might be "becoming a famous, wealthy novelist," and the latter might be "actively and regularly engaging in the creative process of writing."

The problem is that our culture is so focused on the chimera - its the driving engine of consumerism - and we're dissociated from process orientation, and we want it all NOW and don't want to cultivate the process.

The core of Taoism is simple and Alan Watts described it best (and I paraphrase): Resist the current of the river and you'll suffer, but if you flow with the current, you'll have the whole power of the river behind you.

From that perspective, chimeras are like rocks in the river that we cling onto but, in the end, are inherently temporary and need to be let go of. Yet if we change our orientation, the chimeras are no longer "bad" or even harmful - they're part of the process and augment our experience.

Avo

You have just comprehensively defined practically every exec manager at the University I work at!

I have read that a main ingredient in driving such persons is the constant desire (nee need) to prove oneself. I know my direct line managers continue their quest in justifying their existence and need for more.

I agree with you entirely. Many of the above are youngish, love to bandy their title around but are not interested in the foundation or process of knowledge - just the end result - NOW.

Without foundation of knowledge, there is no understand. Without understand there is substantial risk. Minions are expected (even demanded in my case) to accept what we are told without question. Delivering is not good enough anymore....

herculodge

"Without understanding." I wonder if that defines this current generation or if that's what all older people like myself say of the younger generation.

Avo

My 7 cents (inflation you know), the former. The current generation is the me-generation.

Now in my early 40s, I look back at my youth and my love of radios. The desire to have an expensive receiver (not that I would have appreciated the complexity of what it was) was overwhelming. As a youth, I simply didn't have the money to buy one. Nor would I have asked my parents to buy one for me. It had to be earned.

Today you need only walk around the local shopping centre and see the kids "needing" the newest Nintendo or iPad. A nice little tantrum and it's theirs. No interest on how they get it as long as they get it. The me-generation.

As an adult, I can now afford the "needs" (unfortunately in the case of radios, try and find an equivalent quality unit that I drooled over all those years ago). I appreciate the hard work required to achieve this. It is not simply given to me. There is value involved and understanding on how it was achieved. I truly believe that this is starting to be lost on the youth of today.

Maybe I am missing something as I don't have any kids. But I would like to think that if I did, I would try hard to teach them the concept of understanding as well as the rights from the wrongs....

jonnybardo

I'd beg to (somewhat) differ. I work with teenagers, am your age Avo, and find that it is both - that there are specific qualities of each generation, but also a rather inevitable "kids these days" attitude from older generations in relation to younger ones.

The biggest difference in the current youth, say 25 and under, is that they've grown up with "smart" technologies. Its important for us to remember that the internet has only been ubiquitous for 18-20 years and every teenager today grew up with the internet being a fact, with laptops, tablets, and smartphones being part of daily life.

There's a bit of a crisis going on in education because no one knows what to do, how to relate with it. Some countries, particularly in Asia, actually have boot camps to cure internet and video game addictions.

What I see, though, is that there are the same old challenges of adolescence, but with a new layer of complexity and potential for distraction. But none of this is going away; we can't hope it changes, or try to re-make younger generations in our own idealized image; we have to help them fulfill their own potential.

But I think you're right in that the younger generation is further removed from understanding the process of working for something. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that they've grown up being able to press a button and be entertained. I'm more concerned on the level of creativity and imagination, because its just too easy to replace that with the instant gratification of a video game.

Avo

Yes, that is very true Jonny. I can only dread what my parents think of my generation (although I am sure that the free loving hipster days of the late 60s and 70s had one or two issues of it's own).

Information has never been easier to gain. Even the "older" generation utilise it extensively (i'm an IT manager and will be the first to say that Google is invaluable as a knowledge base for those obscure issues - and encourage the exploitation of this medium with my team). I chuckle when walking from building to building around campus. Students are immersed in their smart phones. One thumb typing. Head down. Floating. The almighty Internet speaketh. All praise the Internet. Hmmm, I wonder if I can get a tax break by putting Internet as my religion........

Perhaps I am subconsciously building a stealth wall of idealism around me the older I get. Reality is no longer reality but just an ideal wrapped in life experience. For better or for worse.

Cranky old man, here we come :-)

jonnybardo

Ha ha, at least you're aware its happening, Avo. A self-aware cranky old man is wise.

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