“War and strife; sacrifice of life- the wounds won’t go away…” (from the song “Turning Away” on The Best of HillTop by HillTop Records)
On a day to remember the war heroes that have passed in the line of duty in all wars and nations, I am frightened of the angers loose in our present day and time. In recent history, we have seen massacres in progress on a barbaric level overseas, riots happening in our own cities, and unrest in the politics at the top of our government. There is an idea that anger should be contained or diffused or eradicated to curtail the damages we do personally, societally, and nationally in the name of escalated disagreements and unresolved conflicts. I have long been a champion of using anger in a more positive, less destructive manner to achieve real results that resolve issues, rather than bowing to violence and force to conquer one another with the “right makes might” mentality that has prevailed in establishing dominance. The misnomer is that every conflict can be settled peacefully. It is impossible to talk or negotiate with a man already using his fists. On the other hand, the price of our anger is destruction that cannot be reversed or undone with an impact that destroys much more than just our enemies that we cannot pacify into some sort of cessation of war.
When I was much younger, I attended a college class that had one problem posed for the entire semester. The question as students that we were asked to resolve was “What is the one solution to never having a nuclear war?” Our class failed. We never answered the question. I have come to believe over the course of my life in “live and let live” as a good philosophy, but I also believe in the value of diversification. I do not think there is any “one way” for humanity to unite in thought, culture, or personal conduct without losing our very existence as human. Perhaps the issue with answering that question was that there should be just “one way”.
To my mind even war can be civilized to an extent greater than behaviors in the current conflicts have reflected. Mankind will not change his and her nature radically enough to eliminate anger, violence, and war. I do not even argue that mankind should, as at times these attributes have been proven necessary for survival. Civilized methods, behaviors, and codes of conduct can elevate our natures to minimize destructive consequences and better wars bow down to this.
The dead of our former wars will not return, but they are still with us. Dishonor of their memories is in every conflict where we do not hear the lessons learned from their sacrifice. We have our own wars to settle. Civilization has always been marked by forward progress. Let us remember the wars and the fights for strides forward; let us not move backward in the name of the price of our anger.
A millennium is quantified as a thousand years. I have heard 1,000 miles of words on the up and coming- somewhat arrived- generation called “Millennials”. Do not take this statement as a negative attitude toward the “Millennial” generation. I do love the younger generations and their potential and motivation is starting to show huge returns on impacts, in all arenas, for the future. Every generation finds a designation.
From “Baby Boomers” and “Flower Children” to the “Me Generation” and “Generation X”- every generation older than the 1940’s (and the “Flappers” had their time)- has had to carry forth the torch with something to define their “code of age” for other generations. I have found this labeling is not just an identity symptom, but that it can also be a tool, a weapon, and a crisis point. Older generations try to define the generations beneath them. With Millennials, much of the popular literature shows that Millennials “have what it takes” and should be “correctly encouraged”. There is nothing wrong with that personification. However, I would caution that Millennials should stake their own claims for their generation and not just ride high on descriptions from the media and images molded to fit.
As with every generation, there will be high profile key players that start to “represent” the Millennials’ signature values and achievements. I would caution every older generation to be wary of this when dealing with Millennial age individuals. Millenials know who they are; they are developing their own contributions; we have no right to tell them who to be. On the other hand, we have defined our own generations from before and those generations are not finished. I feel a peace is needed in pursuing the future together.
As generation succeeds generation, there is a gradual transfer of responsibilities and needs for the generations to come. This passing of the torch is not always easy. Respect is a two way street and the Millennials in society today have shown they have a human respect for others. There are quite a few generations before the Millennials still in play. I believe each of these generations comes outfitted with different needs and points of view. Focusing on one or two generations loses the wealth and wisdom inherent in each progressive decade’s people that have made their contributions. It is my hope that instead of erasing one another, the Millennials and generations still in play in society will move forward in a way that preserves what came before while opening up the potential of the developments and achievements in the years to come.
The next thousand years will come quicker than we knew. Millennials will have an impact that reaches further than most. Segregation of this impact from the influences from generations before is not possible. Millennials are going to make their own mark as well. It is a difficult task, but summing up the past to travel into the future is not possible unless we all walk the paths toward tomorrow together.