Image by Michael Winkler from Pixabay 


A provoking notion, brought forth by philosophers and re-imagined by coming of age thinkers, has been pushed in the perpetual vortex of building, breaking and rebuilding (that we call society), mostly through popular culture. It says that the very nature of human conscience is inclined towards the concept of duality- a binary entity. Individuals, as a primary instinct, have been wired to deal in absolutes regardless of the subject. Our thoughts tend to jump merely towards the terminals of a spectrum whose complexities could be of paramount significance. Therefore, it is my moral obligation to inform that I have reached an impasse wherein I must generalize the characteristics of my generation into two factions for the sake of convenience and unbiased assessment only, urging the observers to embrace the limitations of the human mind and go about their ways with an open outlook.

My generation, the infamous millennial and the generation Z which followed, is the privileged one, with at least as much at our disposal as possible for a particular individual within a particular circumstance, and there is absolutely no doubt about it. Our fathers struggled for a place in the new world, their fathers built the new world, and theirs fought for it. We, the fortunate sons and daughters, are the ones enjoying the sunshine and rainbows. For them this day and age are as fascinating as is frightening. However when it comes to us it seems the sun could always be a little brighter, the rainbows more colorful. Our parents believe this is because we slept through the darkness while they had to live through it, clinging on the hopes of a new sun. But, in the spirit of surpassing binary thinking, we must also delve further into the matter and recognize the very real problems that our generation faces, the likes of which cannot be fixed by materialistic privilege.

The Cons

Then again, my generation is not as fragile, in any sense of the word, as is portrayed by contemporary media. We welcome newer ideas and concepts. We analyze, criticize and eventually accept them. And if not acceptable as dictated by the unwritten ‘rules’ and ‘traditions’, we leave them be- open for anyone’s and everyone’s introspection. Perhaps we cannot make sense of the old world system, just as the old world has trouble understanding ours, but we are tolerant towards it- a courtesy that, I am afraid, has not be extended back to us. My generation, who is accused of not being able to love, holds lesser hate for those who are laughed at, abused upon and discriminated against. It is impossible to chart a balance sheet for the physiognomies of the millennial body for the pros may outweigh the cons and vice-versa. It is only wise to work to strengthen our goodness and destroy our evils. Having said that, it is essential to primarily recognize and then address said evils, as well as the virtues, which can only be done through honesty and transparency.

Social detachment- It is undoubtedly the most popular of our vices since we have been practically labelled as the socially detached generation. We prefer not to bow down to our seniors, religion or rationalism. We have given our unsolicited devotion to anything that speaks the language of one’s and zero’s. With time this man-machine relationship has become all the more intimate, so much so that we have become reliant on it for minimal survival- as our elders have satirically pointed it out as a ‘bond of holy-matrimony’. However in this case, unlike an ideal conjugal relationship, one party has dominated the other, an occurrence which is beautifully depicted in the popular web series ‘Black Mirror’. To go to new places and interact with new people, participate in local customs, make small talk with the person driving our Uber or serving our food, communicating with the opposite sex outside social media, spending time with our parents, crying with loved ones, laughing with strangers- we have become lifeless puppets while I our masters lie in our own grasp. It is the sad truth and prevalent in majority of us. A vice, I can safely say, exclusive to us.

Dampening of aesthetic senses - “How you maintain your wardrobe is how you maintain your life”

Students of this fine generation are infamous for wearing dirty clothes, disregarding basic hygiene, ignoring proper physical presentation beyond the frame of camera- and that’s just a Monday. The privileged amongst us do not have to worry about laundry or room service. Even our lifeline, our beloved electronic gadgets, our computers and laptops are seldom cared for. Our ideas of recreation involve Pub hoping instead of a good stage play. We regularly numb our senses with substances beyond the scope of harmless fun. What used to be guilty pleasure has become our necessity. We cannot relish the quietness of a chirping bird, or the flute player at the park, or the tranquillity of a cool lake. Our senses have dampened. Then again, arguments arise that this problem is class specific. The rich get spoiled as their silver spoons never fade off of their luster. As a counter argument I say, one of Bengal’s greatest poets had mentioned in one of his works, “The farmer who ploughs a vast land all day, buys rose seeds in the evening, to sow in his little garden”. Karl Marx dreamt of a world where the man who reaped seeds in the day, would sit by the fire in the evening and cherish Shakespeare.

Monkey see, monkey do - “Don’t be the second someone, be the first you”- obscure stationery advertisement. Even though the message intends to inspire us to be the best version of ourselves by not succumbing to the pressure of measuring up to a preset standard, we have interpreted this to suit our self-obsessed narrative of being the best. This has led to a false sense of entitlement within us. More often than not, we display this dangerous arrogance in front of people with knowledge and experience far superior than ours. Strangely enough we do worship certain people as our icons. Unfortunately, most of the times, it is the wrong kind of people. Western culture has influenced the youth drastically, as it has them. However American T.V. shows and movies have shaped our minds to see only half the picture. The youth of most third-world countries have a tendency to mimic their lifestyle- their McDonalds, their Starbucks, their Jordans, their old age homes. My highly impressionable, even vulnerable, generation although thrives to be different falls prey to the corporate monotony of routine packaged as the ‘good life’.

Difference in values- The generation before us knew the value of the resources provided to them. They were not ‘privileged’, or so they say. Still, “privilege’ is a relative word. “ I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” – Mahatma Gandhi. We have everything and they had nothing- they say. You have everything and we had nothing- we will say. The key to be able to keep our ideals and values in place is to be happy with whatever we have been provided with. For instance it is common to see a millennial waste food, water or electricity just because he or she has paid for it. The difference is that someone from our previous generation would make sure it had got its money’s worth, which is often considered to be cheap or ‘uncool’ by us. They also wanted to make sure we know what everything was worth and how to value it. This is a way of life. There is no relativity to it. This way of life is essentially what lacks in us.

The Pros

These few points bring forth a glimpse of the vices eating away our generation. But one must see the white when the black feels all-consuming. It is true that our lives are trapped within the screen, that we are impatient and insipid, sometimes ignorant and thoughtless, and most of the times unappreciative of our privilege. But these points are as true as they are false. Even though we assume that these vices exist amongst some, it is empirical to assume that they do not in others. And just like the bad, the good is not exclusive to all and thus in that spirit we must explore the virtues.

Without probing much into politics, it is safe to say that my generation has been the vocal champion of minority rights. Be it a classicist, racist, sexist or religious division, we have been the undisputed voice of the weaker communities. We were not only there for George Floyd but also the forty plus African-American citizens who died because they ‘looked’ dangerous. We were there when the Indian government tried to implement questionable bills regarding citizenship alienating an entire chunk of the Indian community. We were there when Syrian refugees needed a place to stay. We screamed “Je suis Charlie” when he was shot for exercising his, even though insensitive, freedom of speech. We admire the LGBTQ community for we believe it is far too arrogant for us to ‘accept’ a choice that does not hurt anyone, or is not ours to make in the first place. We believe in premarital sex and we believe in live-in relationships. We believe in inter-racial bonding and same-sex marriage. The only thing we do not believe in is walls. Yes, we live and we live to the fullest, but we also want to let others live with whoever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want.

Greta Thunberg, the ‘outspoken’ Gen-z environmentalist, often considered as naïve and uninformed of the allegations she tosses towards the leaders of the world, is a classic example of what our generation represents. Not naiveté, but confidence. There is a disparity between her words and her actions, and most of my generation recognizes that, but what she preaches is morally and statistically correct. Instead of mocking a concerned citizen of our future world, people have taken to discredit her with mockery. Greta, a brave representative of my generation, is gullible and undoubtedly so, but she is right; righter than anyone pointing fingers at her.

A lot of the youth has participated in the vegan movement. While it is considered as a healthy lifestyle choice, some of my generation tends to address this as a moral issue- the right to take the life of an animal or even exploit it. And we are not doing it because of a misplaced sense of karmic bliss, because we realize it is our soul at stake; the very essence that makes us human. There are, however, those who are not forced or even asked to be a part of this, but still take it upon themselves to mock the idea. Why? Because they believe that vegan agendas are propaganda. Agendas like curbing capitalism of the meat or dairy industry, although these are subjects for experts to asses and comment on. Not all of us who support it have to endorse or embrace it. We who admire vegans do eat meat and drink milk, but unlike their adversaries, we do not claim that being human is the zenith of virtuosity and having ‘humanity’ is ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’. This is not our humanity, or at least we do not want it to be.


There are instances of progress in the actions of our generation which are too many too pen down. Our thinking is much more progressive; we are assertive in our approach and understand the difference between authority and tyranny, we believe that age is not a measure of respect.

The crux of our identity is not a binary concept. We are good and we are bad, and we are everything in between. So I can conclude, quite confidently, that my generation has something in abundance that our priors did not - Ambition.

For Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of history is towards justice” and my generation shall see to that.

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