Talking About Your Children and The Me Me Me Generation
September 2010 JP Melville
How do you discuss a distinct lack of power among individuals in a society? How do you discuss the helplessness of those who believe that they have the capacity to choose when they bear children? How do you discuss our extended, perhaps lifelong, juvenile lives?
Take seven days off work. Pull the children from school. Do not spend any money on entertainment. Do not ask the kids what they want to do. Do not purchase any pre-processed foods. Try it. The vaccum of thought, possibility, and imagination will be sheer terror.
Benign tyranny creates unconsciousness. We believe that we are empowered as though we, as individuals, are somehow actualized and present in the world. Belief is not discussed. Belief is expressed, agreed to, and reinforced through routine and peer behaviours. We believe that we are informed, critical thinking, effective citizens. We believe that we are engaged, heard, and responded to through the politics, the economy, and culture of our time.
Just illusion. Me in the world. As though I matter. An illusion equivalent to Plato’s discussion of our lives inside a cave and our observations of our shadows. Our shadows as a chimera of truth.
To be me, to be successful, to have stuff, money in the bank and more, I have given up lateral and horizontal power relationships. I buy, I work, I eat, I sleep through a the corporate world, my job, my boss, my company, a world of vertical integration. I look up for support, not over to my friend or my brother or my wife or my cousin… not even my colleague. So I look down to my children, because I look up. This is not the picture of someone who is in control. It is someone controlled and controlling. Oddly, me, my children, helpless in our sea of control.
In a powerless world, the biological parent has some one thing they can call their own. An unfortunate ownership, because we have no other actual ownership of any other thing in our lives. . When a child comes into our lives we treat them as chattel. We create false premises for special meaning of them in our lives. The children are doted on, focussed on, and deemed unique as a result. All of which, conversely, makes trivial the child’s long term sense of confidence and self in the world. A child doted upon develops no skills to survive for themselves in the world. In this regard, they are not unique. To discover self they need to beat it out in the world, where little if anything is safe, protected, or caring.
Why are our children not putting away laundry, preparing their own lunches, reading classical literature, and managing their own weekends by the age of ten? Because we trivialize them. We maintain a juvenile state. We take from them the pride and power to act, to decide, to own, to suffer, to experience consequence, and to give back joy and love. We take from them what we do not have in our own lives. We take from them the capacity to produce, to manufacture, to own for ourselves, and to redistribute the fruits of our own labour. After all, we do not own what we do not make for ourselves or share among ourselves on our own terms.
This alone is a sad state of affairs for democracy and a just economy.
Which begs the discussion of institutions: family, corporations, and government. With children, our focus is family? One would think so.
Then why the facility with which people separate from marriage or common-law relationships?
In general, individuals do not separate from those matters in life in which they have made a major investment or on which they have critical dependencies. The question which arises is, that if people separate easily from each other, where have they heavily invested and from what will they not easily detach? What is beyond obvious are our attachments to our jobs, pensions, and professional community. We also remain attached to public education institutions. We will divorce, separate from marriage…. but through all the disruption, we keep going to work and we continue to send children to public school institutions. Nope, marriage falls apart but the children are in school next day.
The latter point is an indication of the success of the Prussian school model, in which children are removed from parenting / family environments at the earliest age possible, for the purposes of serving industrial production and the military. Dependences have to be vertically integrated. The model was deeply incorporated into Nazi Germany and likewise adopted by the USA.
As family, we are neutered. We produce for material wealth. We benefit from material wealth. Yes, our kids have stuff. But neither we nor they have self. We take self away from them, because we do not have it ourselves.
Imagine a world where children and ourselves re-become adults – owning the world, not the chattel, in which we live.
Note: This piece came as a response to my post. It is highly engaging and well-thought out; so I decided to post it as a separate piece. MSM