No matter how well off I may be doing relative to the economies of the town in which I live and city to whom I'm near, I feel decidedly mired in the same relative degree of idle misery as everyone around me.
Pardon me as I run down a tangential thought that struck as I pulled into my garage this evening.
Blue collar workers of old, a generation born into companies with clear ethics, morality, and a sense of responsibility for their workers, retired into pensions and satisfying retirement funds, with houses paid for and, today, their children pushed out into what they think is still their world (the one of good jobs with gracious wages for those with steadfast work ethic). But that is not the world of today. That is not the world anymore. We are a generation born of an overpopulated species in a world keen on automation and digital transference (neither of which are inherently bad things in and of themselves). Jobs of old no longer exist. Companies no longer care for their flock. An admirable notion of independence and self reliance entered our rhetoric and our culture, but decades of consumerist leanings allocated nearly all the resources with which to do so in the pockets of an immensely small band of individuals who felt compelled to push their own capabilities and capacity for "winning" so far as to leave all the world at enormous detriment. Not only people of this Nation (of which, comparatively speaking, even the poor do well for themselves), but of all Nations, of all people. And there is no meaningful avenue by which these individuals can undo this damage without enduring significant harm themselves. They are stuck with a global perception as villains whether or not they intended wrongdoing or merit the label. We are stuck dealing with the world in a lesser state than it was when we were born.
Most individuals are simple. Like any species, our brains operate on evolved logic patterns and we can be cognitively "gamed" to tame the unrest that festers in a population saturated with boredom. This is not to say most individuals are stupid, that is itself another relative judgment given the variety of peoples' inherent strengths and weaknesses. I make the statement simply to indicate that there are those of us for whom the game does not work. Whether actively or passively due to irritation, the distractions are shunned, mentally ousted, or simply ignored. And for us unrest is a daily struggle that seems a thing forever unsatisfied in a climate of complacency. Most individuals, aware of the failed state of our lots in life and misfortune of our place in the societal timeline, will seek the passing distraction to afford some contentment in their lives. But for us there is no ample distraction, only the enduring, excruciating idleness of our lives, no matter what mechanisms we employ to overcome the very low glass ceiling.
When the promise and opportunity of the world dried up as my generation first entered adulthood, we still held onto a sense of community, involvement, we went out and did things. As things got worse, we retreated because the world could not harm us more so long as we stayed shuttered within the walls of whatever run down apartment we called home. We're still shuttered behind those walls, no matter how much nicer they may have become over time. We still don't risk the world, living it vicariously with LED heroin. Assuming anyone other than the offspring of those who have collected wealth ever impact the world again, maybe then we will finally be able to risk the world again. But much like the rich hold onto their wealth, we hoard what we have as safely as we can from those who might tempt its surrender and will do so until we're either dead or it hemorrhages from under us like a bleeding wound. A very lightly nicked artery.
We were meant for more than this.