Thoughts on an observation of the older generation: the resignation of old ideals

Here’s an interesting observation I made:

The other day, while waiting in a restaurant waiting room, I began to look at some of the older generation of guys.  In actuality, they were only about 10 or more years older than me, mostly in their fifties.  They all had white or whitish hair.  As I looked at them I noticed a look in all of them.  I described it as a look of “resignation”.  At first I thought it was a result of getting older . . . they are resigning themselves to the fact of old age.  But as I looked closer I felt this was not the case.  Something told me it was something else.  As I thought about it I began to feel it was something else.

First of all, I mentioned that this group of guys were all part of the cold war generation.  They were brought up with individualism, optimism, the power of the person, and that they had control of society (democracy).  This hopeful optimistic look was prevalent in their faces but, yet, they seemed to have a downcast-like look, of disappointment, of frustration, of being forced to accept reality.  In effect, the “resignation” I saw seemed to be a result of resigning themselves to the fact that this reality was not true.  I felt that they had found certain facts such as:

  • That the individual has no power.
  • That they have no control over things.
  • That society, and conditions, have developed a life of its own, independent of them, and in which they have no influence.

In other words, what I felt I saw was a generation that saw that the ideals of their youth, which they so emulated, actually were not true.  They now found themselves having to accept the ‘facts of life’, resigning themselves to the reality of conditions.  In many ways, it is a demonstration of how the cold war ideals were not based in a realism but in an idealism, of how they wished things to be, caused by the unique conditions the cold war created.  Now that the cold war is over these ideals have come crashing down and now they must resign themselves to that fact.

This fact, I know, has been devastating to the white American male in particular.

———

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Current affairs and events, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, The Cold War, The U.S. and American society and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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