Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Boomer Nation...

I was giving more thought to the Foley incident last night. It appears that a lot of people around my age, a bit older or a bit younger, are involved in scandals, using drugs, can not seem to hold on to a relationship and an assortment of indications that many baby boomers are perpetual adolescents.

After poking around on the web for a while looking for some statistics on this, they all appeared to be clouded by political agenda so I still don't know whether this is because there are just more of us or whether there is actually more of this behavior going on than ever before.

Dr Al Mohler had this to say: ""I hate the Baby Boomers. They're the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American history . . ."

As a baby boomer, I have to admit that it fits a lot of us. At least I can admit that I had the longest adolescence known to man, woman, child or beast. Most of my friends seemed to be just about the same. While our ancestors spent time building families, working their asses off and trying to find a higher purpose, we determined that we are our own higher purpose.

The traditionalists yap endlessly about how we should return to "old fashioned values". I don't believe this is possible. How do we unring a bell? Anyone know how to do that?

It would also imply that we should go back to an age when minorities had to fight for an equal place in the social marketplace, that women had to be satisfied with a home-based life whether it fit her life or not, that we had to comply with a back-breaking work ethic and that, above all, we had to be conformists.

That ain't going to happen. Thank Ghod!

We baby boomers started out with the right ideas. We believed we could change the world and we did. Unfortunately, we went too far. Instead of creating balance, we determined that we shouldn't be burdened by responsibility to others and that we should get our way, simply because we exist. We believed we had to redefine everything, even the good stuff.

I personally believe that we all need responsibility to others to feel whole and connected, that mothers should stay home with children as long as possible so they will have parental influence instead of state influence and that we all need something bigger than ourselves to be content in life. There is only just so much personal gratification we can seek before it seems hollow and meaningless.

For many years, particularly right after I got sober, I lived a life in which I was free to pursue anything I wanted. I answered to no one and took guidance from no one. That stemmed from the belief that "all the answers are inside ourselves" as we were taught in the 70s, and that I was entitled to this freedom. After all, I exist! (As I've said before, Janis Joplin was right! Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. More on that another time.)

I wonder if that is why so many of us are hungry now. Personally, I've tried just about every consciousness movement in the history of this country. At one time or another, I've been involved in radical politics, fundamentalist religion, Esalen, EST, Native American shamanism, New Age spirituality and conservative politics. (Boy, was that last one a mismatch!)

Was I doing this because I was a dillettante?


I was doing it because the core of me was empty and I was looking for something to fill it up. Each one promised that my life would be worth living, that I would be fulfilled, content and satisfied, as long as I followed their lead without thinking too much about it. With the exception of NA shamanism, all of those things demand lockstep compliance. They did not allow expressions of doubt. I doubt lots of things and am always looking for the underlying goal of any movement. It's my nature. I want to stick my finger in the wind.

Naturally, I have no evidence that I am typical of my generation. From what little I've read on the subject, there seems to be enough commonality to create at least correlation, if not connection.

My decision was to look outside my own culture and examine others. I found one that fits my natural instincts without having to cram pieces of me into a little box and it has the balance I want. It is sensible and time-tested. My searching is basically done. I am satisfied that it's the right thing. I'm not so arrogant as to believe it will be right for everyone.

What about the Foleys of the world? Rather than condemning them, we should study them. (This is not to say they shouldn't suffer consequences for their actions.) We should get inside their heads and find out what goes there. What are they looking for? Obviously, he wanted power. What caused his sexual wires to get so crossed that he would find satisfaction in such a sick manner? Why can't he deal with adult relationships? How much of it is uniquely him and how much is cultural? I believe having answers to this sort of thing is the only way we can predict it and change it.

I hope social scientists will really examine this. I'm sure they are. Unfortunately, I will probably be dead before the study is concluded!

May all have a day free of craving ~

Thailand Gal


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