The economy started to show signs of fatigue ten years ago. We talk about job creation, Bull markets, and Bear markets, TARP, Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers as if they were people we walk by every day. These words, these names, these things paralyze, inundate and consume a new “lost” generation. We have fought wars on expansive fronts across the globe, in cyberspace, at home, in our places of worship, amongst our very own and while the monetary value of our lives diminish in the eyes of Moody’s and Standards & Poor’s the intrinsic value of a moral constitution, of having a resolute courage to attempt a new American lifestyle in direct defiance of a people who seek to maintain the status quo, is worth more per ounce of flesh it embodies then the record high value of gold.
Work is sparse and everyone is hunting for scraps, a beer is literally 50 cents an ounce at your local pub. My fraternal grandfather would have probably flipped out had he lived long enough to experience this world. A good pack of cigarettes is now $14, inspired by necessity, we roll our own smokes now, brew our own beer and even still our own vodka and whiskey. A sight I first observed in a secluded corner of a Brooklyn loft apartment. Resourcefulness in a time of growing prices and access to free information spurs new business as hobbyist monetize their crafts and embrace entrepreneurship in that borough. Brooklyn the young American’s bohemian grove, and Williamsburg is their capital.
While we a generation of hipsters, yuppies, wounded warriors and individuals to cool for affiliation attempt to make work, art and build a collective identity; after witnessing what we were promised crash in the market, in what some consider to be a ritualistic sacrifice of our hopes and dreams in the name of self-preservation and extreme greed, the figment moral majority still holds power, fighting and bickering over the same Baby Boom derivative issues that have resonated and echoed in town halls and congress for almost half a century with little to no resolution.
So what is the value of resolve, to be resolute? Is it to be stubborn and hold true to self-worth in light of ever increasing odds that there is no return to normal, that normalcy only comes with accepting unacceptable losses? Or are the lessons of resolve found not in the haughty stands of our parents, but in that of a young group of men and women embracing old crafts, new experiences, and entrepreneurial endeavors that mirror that of an America long forgotten?
There are some very out of date models of thought playing a critical role in dictating the path this country takes. If we are all fighting for control of the wheel who is driving? Is it human hubris or ignorance to believe that there has been or ever will be any directional control in how this political experiment works out?
We do a lot with a drink in hand, our lamentations lead to bloated stomachs from binging weekends and often week days away. Rarely is there an activity done outside of work with a sound mind. The clothing has changed from the 20′s and 30′s but time has yet to provide new mechanisms to cope, even a yoga health nut has a margarita. The music is loud and debauchery is the anthem. All we need is prohibition to take effect again and the elements would all be there for a proper remake of Gatsby. Or are we already there? While the grandeur of being compared to classics may seem appealing, the pain of being forgotten used and tossed aside for our credit, personal information, free labor and our ingenuity is no different than how Nike abuses its laborers or how Dell treats its customer support staff in Mumbai.
We strive; push forward against daunting odds to find a place of semblance, breaching new surfaces in order to achieve something that is not reflective of our parents and their divorce riddled past. However, as I become more reflective about societal norms and thought patterns of our nations elders I have begun to see the flaws from both ends of the spectrum. They want us to be a part of the hive no matter how bastard we have become to them. Accreditation means everything, we are obligated to partake in a ritualistic rite of passage, through the same fraternal initiations they once experienced, and we too must commit ourselves to monotony and deliver our savings over without question or act of defiance to colleges, and universities for our children as they did for us. To press and mold the minds of tomorrow in the exact same way that has been done since their grandparents attended university. We the children are preconditioned to think about whether or not an individual is enlightened or able minded enough to compete against a college graduate who achieved mediocrity with a 2.0 and has a worthless piece of sheep skin hung on his wall, living with early signs of cirrhosis of the liver from their college tenure.
This time, this economy, this country needs to be courageous enough to think outside of the little boxes, the grids and the tomb shaped dormitories and studio apartments. The value of being resolute does not come from repackaging the same idea in new creative ways but to rediscover what it means to think as an independent. To be proud and stand firm on the ground your feet are planted on and say this is not the way, this is only the same, we too deserve a life to call our own that is nothing like our dear mothers and fathers. The fear of repetition of faltering when given the opportunity to make head way and break new ground is more costly than one could ever imagine. For at this point in our lives we have no choice but to faction off, to embrace a partisan schism, to be defiant, as rebellious actions are not just for the young at heart, or the teenager it is for anyone who puts a value on tomorrows not foreseen on the horizon ahead of us; on the thousands of days to come long after we have departed and become mere dust in this world. Resolute courage in the face of a new dawn, in light of despots seeking to quell new thoughts and innovation is priceless. To become demoralized, to accept the place our elders have established for us sells short natures ability to produce a few that have the ability to under mind the many.
They say too often in this city, that “We will not let the terrorist win”, with an absolution that borders on delusion, things have changed like all organisms we have adapted, like it or not, to a new way of life, but what is more absolute than people clinging on to war chants, is the crumbling of a society unable to extrapolate information in the information age. We have humans living in an international space station; a society that can achieve such a feat should be able to do anything. Yet we falter, we sell short the different, mock dreamers and those aspiring to be a cut above the rest. While dreams is what makes life tolerable, all too often we forget that dreams can become the probable and sometimes possible if you dare stand up for them.