Here's A2Person:

Hey PL,

Thanks again for highlighting the narcissism issue and Twenge's take on it. As a posterchild for Gen Y, I feel the need to chime in here.

Yes, let me second everything you’ve said about the narcissism of my generation and the way we’ve been used by the boomers to buffer them from their unexamined, unresolved issues. Cut off from our higher self aspects, ours is a generation that’s starving for a so-called “beloved community” –something larger than our self interest/indulgence. Tragically, we’re unable to find, or to notice, many forms of generatively and expression beyond consumerism.

AND YET, the silver lining of the millennials/Gen Y is that we’re a generation that has taken a curious, and distinct, approach to issues of social justice, tolerance, and multiculturalism. Previous movements have looked at issues of oppression in a very compartmentalized approach: racism distinct from sexism distinct from classism. What’s emerged, in universities and community movements since the early 90’s, really in the past decade, is a more globalized, more intersectional approach to social justice and a burgeoning vocabulary to discuss these issues. This is best expressed in the emergence of intergroup dialogue programs.

Likewise, while past movements have often had a martyrdom quality to them, the Gen Y social conscience is one in which young people are looking for sustainable careers in that serve social justice issues –from environmental consultants to professional human rights activists. Livelihood and activist need not be oppositional and self-sacrificing.

Yes, what I’m talking about seems to be the ‘exception to the rule’ that you are fond of ridiculing, and, yes, there is something problematic about Professional 9-5 Social Justice Do-Gooders –but there’s something positive in Gen Y that shines outside of the arena of narcissism, or, operates in reaction to that very narcissism. I have to believe that the higher self aspects of the Gen Y’s will, one way or another, start to crack through. (Let's hope not destructively).

Remember it was this generation that elevated Obama to the democratic nomination and urged their parents to do the same. Without Gen Y, we would have seen Hilary vs. McCain. I’ll acknowledge that many of us were simply jumping the ObamaNation bandwagon, however, the Obama-surge amongst Gen Y’s spoke to that unarticulated generational hunger for something transpersonal. I don’t believe this sincerity has completely gone away and I’m curious where it will resurface on a collective scale.

Consider this a sliver of Gen “Y” optimism to go with your main course of alarmism! CHEERS!!

Here's PL:

Cheers to you A2! And thank you for this eloquent and marvelous response. At times on this blog, I highlight a negative to make a point, bluntly, and hope that someone will come back with a perspective that incorporates that negative unflinchingly, yet with a realistically examined silver lining. You have done so excellently here and I applaud you. I know that no generation is truly "lost," even if they regularly watched the TV show by that same name. You demonstrate the potential sense of balance that Gen Y may have to offer.


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