Investing in Precious Metals 101 Ad

Defining the ‘O-Generation’

Login or register to post comments Last Post 7002 reads   82 posts
Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 82 total)
  • Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 06:29am

    #1

    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 2491

    count placeholder

    Defining the ‘O-Generation’

Defining The "O-Generation"

By Joshua Freund

A recent op-ed in Chris' local paper caught his eye, written by someone in the Pioneer Valley he's collaborated with on matters of building resilience. He's asked me to publish it here on the site:

I was born in 1984, and as an official Orwell baby, I’m going to take the liberty to call my cohorts and myself the “O” Generation.

This is in reference to the O-Horizon, the top layer of soil composition, which is made up mostly of decomposing organic matter and bits of debris in various stages of breakdown. This is often the liveliest, yet most vulnerable layer of the soil, packed full of billions of organisms ranging from fungi and single-celled bacteria, to thousand-legged insects and even small mammals like voles and mice.

Life in the O-Horizon is all about resilience through diversity and the ability to survive by drawing from a patchwork of resources that are available in an exposed and ever-changing environment.

So how does this metaphor fit with the recent dubbing of myself and my peers as the “Me” Generation, with the idea that we are a bunch of over-spoiled narcissists living in our parents’ basements? Well, at 30 years old, and having not lived under a roof of a parent since I was 17, I’d like to attempt some perspective.

I currently work three different jobs, and none of them carry any sense of the words “job security.” I teach after-school programs at the local high school, work as a teacher’s assistant for an elite college that accepts only 13 percent of its applicants and hammer nails on the side as a self-employed carpenter. I work hard and push myself to go above and beyond at everything I’m doing, knowing there is a line of people wrapped around the block eager to take my jobs if I fall behind.

Regretfully, I have to utilize food stamps in order to buy most of my groceries, my monthly allotment of which was cut almost in half by Congress two months ago. On average, I work 70 to 80 hours per week and I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t have to use most of a Sunday to catch up on work.

My access to health care is constantly at the whim of ever-changing bureaucracies and my one attempt to purchase dental care, the only dental coverage I’ve had since high school, cost me more money than my rent, utilities and car insurance combined. I have no 401k, or anything resembling a retirement plan and the outlook for Social Security for my generation is looking pretty grim.

What a sob story right? I would be way less likely to expose such personal vulnerability if it wasn’t for the fact that 9 out of 10 of my college educated peers are in an eerily similar situation. We are a generation living on the surface of a society in flux, an economy in decline and the resources available to us resemble more spoiled leftovers, than any sort of well-rounded meal. So, we figure out how to thrive regardless, and become the emergence life on the O-Horizon.

To highlight the difficulties of myself and my peers is not my point, however. Every generation experiences adversity in one form or another and I do not expect any exceptions for mine. What I feel called to represent is the growing capacity for resilience that the O Generation holds.

Given the obvious downward trajectory of the environment and economy, we are forced to step up and create the livelihoods and lifestyles that help to build the communities we want to live and raise our families in.

The phrase “Right Livelihood” is one that seems to be thrown around a lot these days by the O Generation. We are unsatisfied with the options available to us through the failing systems, so we become default entrepreneurs in a new sense of the word. Many of our “incomes” are a patchwork of part-time jobs, back-room businesses, student loans and credit cards that we use to pay off our credit cards.

The concept of Perpetual Debt is a reality that many of us in the O Generation are learning to cope with and even navigate in ways that allow us to invest in our lives with meaning and purpose. What once meant “unemployed” now has the potential to mean that we have the time and energy to create thriving backyard gardens, and callous our hands with as many do-it-ourselves projects as we can manage.

We use our time to make medicine with plants, keep backyard chickens, and invest deeply in friendships that become more like family because many of our real families don’t quite see the big picture. We get to know our neighbors as well as we can by hosting potlucks, and caring deeply for each other’s lives and burdens. We even learn how to bury our loved ones close to home, a timeless and beautiful community ritual I’m honored to have participated in twice in the past year alone.

It is relationships that mean so much to us in the O Generation, because as we look out at the O-Horizon of our lives, we can see that we truly need each other to survive whatever is ahead. What is ahead, we ask ourselves? Pensions? Economic stability? The American Dream? Well, none of us are really sure. The best we can do is base our efforts to what feels right in our hearts, and lucky for us, that seems to be making more sense than we could ever hope for.

Joshua Freund is a community organizer and after-school teacher at Greenfield High School He lives in Greenfield, where he studies Farm and Food Systems at GCC.

  • Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 05:57pm

    #2
    Thetallestmanonearth

    Thetallestmanonearth

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 28 2013

    Posts: 307

    count placeholder

    YES!

Thank you Joshua for so succinctly painting a real picture of our generation.  I was born in 1985 and I although I don't share all of your struggles I have had a number of my own obstacles to scramble over due to similar circumstance.  The promise was that by this point we should be established in our chosen careers, starting a family and working on our nest egg.  Most of us know (either intellectually or intuitively) that a 401k plan isn't going to do us a whole lot of good and that we will outlive the mechanisms of social safety, security and cohesion.  We're living with a foot in two worlds. Simultaneously we're spending every available hour trying to participate in the old paradigm to "make a living" (secondary and tertiary wealth) well at the same trying to learn all we can about primary wealth (land, food, skills, relationships and healthy ecosystems etc). And if we're lucky get our hands around some of it before the money economy abandons us to our own devises.

Like every generation we have our losers, but I will not be shoe-horned into a category of computer-addicted lazy and unmotivated youth. That doesn't describe anyone I am close with.  We didn't create the problems we face, but we're going to try our best to solve them.  My strategy is local community and something resembling Restoration Agriculture on a home scale.    Greer talks about the important of dissensus (the opposite of consensus). We can't know what strategy will work in the unraveling future, so it's critical that we have small groups of people trying all different things.  That is what I see from my generation.

  • Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 06:25pm

    #3

    cmartenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4476

    count placeholder

    A very good description

Joshua has done an incredible job of writing about the frayed social contract that younger people face today.
Lets have a rousing good conversation from both sides of the generational divide….

  • Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 06:49pm

    #4
    Thetallestmanonearth

    Thetallestmanonearth

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 28 2013

    Posts: 307

    count placeholder

    generational divide

Hi Chris – Thank you for sharing this article!  I worry a little bit about the idea of a generational divide.  We hear a lot about it these day especially with the occupy movement and similar popular, youth driven waves that are growing in intensity and frequency world-wide.  It's human nature to point the finger at the "other" people who caused all our problems.  I am even guilty of it in my last comment "we didn't create the problems we face"….. The truth is that the baby boomers didn't either.  Most people alive today were born into a system with so much inertia that it would have been hard to stop.  The system rewards those who participate and discredits its critics.  That's exactly the reason that many of us here can enjoy conversation about the problems with a growth model then turn around and reply to a work email from our growth dependent jobs.  It's the reason – I believe – that the hippie movement faded into corporate america.  The idea that there is a divide with each side holding opposing definitions of themselves and the others can lead to dangerous and selfish places.  I hope my generation can rise above scapegoating when it's time and rather than fighting over the scraps of what's left, work on planting the seeds of something new.  We need you and you need us.

  • Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 08:38pm

    #5
    treemagnet

    treemagnet

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 14 2011

    Posts: 279

    count placeholder

    I’m sorry,

Really?….."We use our time to make medicine with plants, keep backyard chickens, and invest deeply in friendships that become more like family because many of our real families don’t quite see the big picture. We get to know our neighbors as well as we can by hosting potlucks, and caring deeply for each other’s lives and burdens. We even learn how to bury our loved ones close to home, a timeless and beautiful community ritual I’m honored to have participated in twice in the past year alone."

I mean, thats cool – but this isn't close to the generational aspect I've encountered.  In no way does that mean anything – but if we're talking about generations and generalizations, this statement is a load of fertilizer for that topsoil.  But for sure, that generation has been doomed by the boomers and the silents – and they know (both of them) it if they're paying attention.

 

  • Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 11:10pm

    #7
    Thetallestmanonearth

    Thetallestmanonearth

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 28 2013

    Posts: 307

    count placeholder

    treemagnet, I hear what you

treemagnet, I hear what you mean that on the whole most people are not as forward thinking as that quote might suggest, but I would argue that a lot of us are.  I think it's more about a personality type than it is about generation though. 

My wife and I recently went to a potluck dinner with five other couples our age. A lot of the people there have backyard gardens or chickens. A few exchanged homemade gifts. I recently got a home scale oil distiller to start making my own herbal medicines out of our garden (once we get it planted) and people were interested in learning more about that.  A few of us talked at dinner about the false promises of health care and social security.  None of these people are peak oil aware or nearly as obsessed with trying to read the tea leaves as I am, but we all know intuitively that something doesn't add up.  Some people are learning to make their own beer, others are trying to start local currencies.  I see a lot more people thinking about how to create a better future than you might think at first look.

  • Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 11:38pm

    #6

    Wildlife Tracker

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 14 2012

    Posts: 405

    count placeholder

    Great summary, but I agree with magnet

I make medicines and forage for plants myself, but by no means is that a majority. In fact as you state treemagnet, we are very much a minority who are interested in such things. 

Also, as Chris knows being a former drug-lord and all, plant medicines really don't compare to anything we use today. Like at all. They are supplementary beneficial, but not solely reliable. Most of it is just nutritional.

One of my biggest fears is actually Lyme disease. I have no idea how detrimental this disease will be if we can no longer effectively make antibiotics to treat it. It terrifies me.

Maybe I should go hangout with this hippy Joshua a few hours away from me, or maybe I should just drink myself into a stupor. 

  • Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - 01:43am

    #8
    treemagnet

    treemagnet

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 14 2011

    Posts: 279

    count placeholder

    Sincerely,

really, I mean this….give 'er hell!!!!!!!!!! 

I'm a huge fan of holistic medicine, and have no doubt theres a subset of yutes like you folks taking on the mantle of change often and early.  Go get it.

  • Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - 03:27am

    #9

    westcoastjan

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 04 2012

    Posts: 177

    count placeholder

    Treemagnet, re your first post

I mean, thats cool – but this isn't close to the generational aspect I've encountered.  In no way does that mean anything – but if we're talking about generations and generalizations, this statement is a load of fertilizer for that topsoil.  But for sure, that generation has been doomed by the boomers and the silents – and they know (both of them) it if they're paying attention.

I had to smile at your post for it reminded me of past posts you have made when we are on the subject of generational differences. I seem to recall that I personally balked at you painting all of us boomers with a wide brush in your generalizations about that cohort, and you came back with this:

I respectfully disagree.  We use generalizations everyday as a tool to navigate our lives.  Political correctness has blurred the lines where even a statistic can get you labeled a bigot, racist, etc.   Go tell a salesman not to generalize when talking to prospective customers – if you can't size them up, and I mean like RIGHT NOW, how are you going to get them to identify with you – thats the key – and spend money with you?  I'd be out of business in a month.  Now, if you work say, at a local/municipal/power co-op/state/fed/university gig, and get paid regardless of the outcome of events and advance by not standing out and being no where near controversial……well, I think we know where 'ole treemagnet ain't gonna make a go of it!   Profiling is a variation on the theme and it too, has been labeled 'wrong' by the political correctness police (respectfully sorry, aka boomers).  Its one of their most unique (and useless imho) social inventions.  Thats a fact, not my opinion.  But its all good.  Profiling is what allows a good cop to see something not right, something out of order.  Identify the threat, deal with the threat.  Thats a good thing.  But you are more than entitled to your opinion, and I can and do respect that.

Source; https://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/82071/field-report-italy-greece-turkey-and-croatia

So I guess it cuts both ways when it comes to not caring for generalizations. There are some, like this article, that you cannot relate to or agree with as applying to you. There are many generalizations about the boomers that do not apply to me, and that I resent, but I still get lumped in with them. I have no illusion that the writer of this article is of a minority in your age group. But nevertheless it is nice to see how some people in your generation are adjusting their attitudes and developing the kind of skills and relationships that may see them weather the oncoming economic storm better than most.

I did read the Fourth Turning and found it both interesting as well as (likely) prophetic. If Strauss and Howe are indeed correct in their hypothesis around the turning cycles, then one can almost surmise that our circumstances were pre-destined; by virtue of being born when we were born we have been pegged into a fate that is out of our individual control. We are powerless to stop the cycles from un-folding, save for the idea that everyone will get together to prevent that next fourth turning. But we all know that is not going to happen.

So, we watch, we plan, we share, we debate, and each of us individually tries to design a route for our own particular circumstances to enable us to navigate the difficult path ahead.  Your circumstances are perhaps a 180 from Joshua, and then another 180 again from me. But that does not mean that we cannot learn from each others predicaments, or share in each other's experiences/anger/pain. This goes to the emotional intelligence that we often discuss here. Like you, I have days when I am so angry at the world that I want to say f*** emotional intelligence. But it never gets me anywhere. So I am slowly teaching myself to adapt more in the manner of Joshua, for at the very least, it leaves me with less stress, and more peace in my heart.

You my friend have a tough row to hoe with the mess that is being left for your generation to deal with. You are allowed to be pissed off, and royally so. There is nothing I can say to make that any better. I wish it were not so.

Jan

  • Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - 03:31am

    #10
    exomatosis

    exomatosis

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 02 2014

    Posts: 35

    count placeholder

    Don’t fall for this trap

[quote=Thetallestmanonearth]

The idea that there is a divide with each side holding opposing definitions of themselves and the others can lead to dangerous and selfish places. 

[/quote]

Exactly!  Those who fan the flames of generational divisiveness are being played perfectly as dupes by those who benefit from such thinking.  Whether based on age (i.e. generation), gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, economic systems, religious or spiritual beliefs, race, ethnicity, wealth (or lack thereof), etc., such polarizing thinking is exactly what has historically created conflict, oppression, and misery in the world.  Isn't it time we stop falling for such foolishness?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 82 total)

Login or Register to post comments