Just read a post from the crowd-sourced diary of narcissists – thoughtcatalog.com
Please read it, because this blog post is a reaction to it.
Let me quickly summarise here the intent of the post anyways. Its a self congratulatory essay that crowd sources validation for a seemingly ‘crazy’ idea of the author. And apparently there is a moral to the story. Curious thing to note – the gratification is pre-action – the author has not actually done anything of note yet. He plans to. Maybe. and that is why this post is such an important artifact defining the current times.
The author is an adult. (atleast 30 years old. Also the fact that he owns a house that he can sell. and in his words “I’ve officially notified everyone who works in my office“.) But not quite. (the entire article. Also, he mentions the word ‘motorcycle’ gushingly 6 times.)
Some of his gems.
1. “People are legitimately awesome!”
This realization came to the author when he saw people encouraging him.
yes sayers = awesome.
2. He has a plan where he will
“try to be a coffee farmer in Jamaica with a man named Thunder, attempt to build houses in El Salvador, and try to work at a Sky Diving school in Utah”
He plans to try. these awesome hipster things in third world countries/ state.
He is planning his facebook feed, not his life.
3. “They said they wanted to follow my blog.”
He is building viewership for a reality show that has not even started yet. The objective of the project is not traveling. It is the spectacle, it is the image. That is why he already has an idea about what he will do in his travels – farming in Jamica with Thunder! planned!
Where is the uncertainty? The author has already read ‘the alchemist’, ‘Siddhartha’ and such. He already ‘knows’ what he will learn.
He is already far into the future where he will write his illuminating experience. In the future, he will be looking back at social media mentions and pop philosophy books to inform his eyes about what to see, ears about what to hear and mind to what to experience.
4. “sharing dreams that they had and plans they wanted to make” –
The N-generation wants to make plans. Not necessarily execute it.The thrill is in the plan and in the acknowledgement that others know of your plan. If there were no others, there would be no plan, no thrill.
The joy is crowd-sourced. The plan is cowd-approved.
5. “off the cuff speech about following dreams”
a. Appearance of spontaneity is important. (off the cuff) For a generation that is neck deep in images, the biggest concern is about authenticity. Hence ‘get real’ black music. Hence clinging to brands for identity. Hence organic. Hence ready outrage.
b. Author mentions casually about his ‘speech’ (college kids?) where he exhorted them to follow their dreams. Obviously, the author places himself firmly at the center of the universe. Has he achieved anything? Has he created anything? No. He is merely planning to try to build houses in El Salvador. may be.
Why is he going all TED on poor college kids? Isn’t ‘following dreams’ a tried old message that everyone hears about 1548435024 times a month at least?
Has his ‘following dream’ served him any good? why should he talk on the subject?
Its not about the students or the institution. Its about his image of him sharing his wisdom in an institution.
6. The prof. who coordinated his little talk “emailed me and shared so many awesome things that she was doing and things she wanted to accomplish.”
a. He finds needs validation. from his coworkers (“come into my office with tears in their eyes”) and more importantly, a professor – an authority figure. Obviously, he subscribes to the educational authority. That is why he is maybe planning for a PhD. For quite a few confused souls, PhD is an excellent break (atleast in their heads before they enroll for the course) to postpone their life – to push confrontation with life’s issues even further. To evade adulthood.
(Maybe planning – that deserves a separate post altogther. Something that I am guilty of too.)
b. In author’s narrative, the prof. rushed to share her accomplishments and wishes with him. Because in his narrative, the authority has been subverted. In his world, now he is the authority in whom the prof. wants validation.
8. Then the author meanders through old lame complaints before getting here – “When a person bottoms out they start from zero. They get to recreate the rules.”
Our generation is in desperate need of ‘bottoming out’. We want an antihero who would bring down the ‘system’. But as TLC says, the problem is not the system, the problem is you. (Read the blog cautiously. Very insightful stuff, though cloaked under a high amount of sarcasm, smarty aggression and American references that we might not always be aware of.)
We don’t want to build incrementally or bring in a revolution. We want to ‘recreate the rules’.
9. “So to everyone who is just now inheriting the world…”
Inherited the world. INHERITED.
10. “We’re going to create something. We’re not hippies. We’re something new that has yet to be determined.”
We are desperate to build an identity. But we just can’t choose. So we start with exclusion. ‘we are not hippies.’ We are afraid of concrete realities. Hence we are ‘something’s. We are ‘new’ and ‘creators’. Everyone is an artist.
30 and still a man-child. that’s the N-generation.