Saturday, May 07, 2011

Hey Gen-X, remember free-floating societal anxiety?


Hey, remember when we were in our twenties, in the early 80s [I'm addressing the grown-ups in the class right now...], and we never really knew what the hell was going on?

Remember when we were that age when we relied on radio songs to express what we were worried about? And a bunch of them were about this kind of free-range anxiety we all felt but no one really knew how to pinpoint? And remember when we realised that our parents 60s hippie-songs had all turned into a kind of horrible sick, black, ironic joke and that the joke was on us?

Remember when the world and our lives looked like they were on the edge of some huge change and we all sort of had an idea that everything was going to be different, but no one really thought it was going to be different-good? We were all more or less anticipating it would be something horrible?

Remember when we all thought the future was going to be kind of Blade-Runnery? Remember we all thought that there was going to be a lot more technology in twenty or thirty years, but that the gap between people who got to have it and people who didn't was going to become uncrossable, and the price of all that high-tech flying cars and video phones and stuff was going to be a world that no one could stand to live in?

And remember when we thought that everything was more or less out of our control and even though we all felt like we had been pretty much strapped to an out-of-control freight train, there wasn't anything any real person could do to stop it and none of the people in charge gave a damn?

Remember when we, having been raised in the doom-saying, Soylent-Greeny, Mad-Maxian 60s' and 70s, all thought that we didn't really have much of a future, so there wasn't much point in participating in the life of the world? So we kind of just didn't do very much and sort of thought we'd get to just entertain ourselves until it was all going to end in either of the bang-or-whimper scenarios and it didn't really matter which one?

Remember when we used to debate in the back of the cafeteria when we were supposed to be in English class about whether it was going to be a good thing or a bad thing to survive past our thirties?

Remember when we were kids and our parents and teachers convinced us that "society" was all screwed up and that the 60s had been the Good Time when the Young People had tried to fix everything? Remember how they never said it out loud, but that the obvious conclusion was that they'd failed and that there was now no way to do anything about anything and that really nihilism was the only answer... and an SUV?

Remember how we all thought our parents' generation had gone collectively nuts?

And have you noticed that a lot of those things we were worried about have kind of come true?

Did anyone do anything about any of that? Or did we just give up?

Day after day, all that anxiety I remember from that time reappears. And night after night my heartbeat shows the fear. Ghosts appear in my memory and fade away. I do worry about the implications, especially at night. And I worry about situations.

I know I'll be all right. I'm sure it's just overkill.



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