THE AGE OF ANXIETY
(TRANSPARENTING ~ PART I)
“There are times when a whole generation is caught between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence…”
– Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf
A whole generation.
Caught between two ages.
Two modes of life.
With no standard. No security.
No simple acquiescence.
As parents of the screen-age, we are the narrow, rickety bridge between two ages.
The old age lead a sheltered life.
But it was anchored in predictability.
The new age leads an ever-updated life.
But it is riddled with crippling anxieties.
The old age was bound by its bubble.
The new age is baffled by its burst.
The old age was locked in a stonewall.
The new age is lost in a free-fall.
Life expectancy is stretching out longer.
Yet more people are cutting theirs shorter.
We see lower rates of mass destruction.
But runaway rates of self destruction.
The new age provides GPS navigation.
But it strips us of a final destination.
I don’t believe the old age was a better one. But I do believe it was a simpler one.
Ours is an age of anxiety.
The gods of disruption reign supreme.
The only constant is a lack of constancy.
The old heroes have fallen from grace —
Character. Reverence. Interdependence.
And new imposters have risen to power —
Chutzpah. Defiance. Do-It-Yourself-Ism.
“The old road is rapidly aging…the order is rapidly fading…For the times they are a-changin’”
– Bob Dylan
Our children face unprecedented challenges. Bearing the brunt of much disorientation, disarray, and dysphoria.
Their generation is dying for direction.
And ours is scrambling to provide it.
In the words of Mary Shelley:
“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a clear and steady purpose, a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye…”
But the inverse is equally true:
Nothing contributes so much to destabilize the mind as a vague and unsteady purpose.
As parents of the screen-age, we grapple with the tensions of this uncharted territory. In our hyper-individualistic, design-your-own-destiny, make-your-own-meaning society, it‘s increasingly difficult to pave a steady path of structure and stability.
If we wish to quell the angst of our children, we must first confront the source of our own.
Together we walk this shaky bridge.
And though we know not where it leads—
We’ll, at least, grow closer as we cross.
Because we may not have all the answers.
But we can become willing to struggle with their questions.
And, in doing so, we just may discover —
That’s all they’ve really been asking for, all along.