Certainty of One
We were androgynous teenagers with dyed hair, Walk-Man headphones, Gary Numan T-shirts, peace signs around our necks, pocketful of quarters for Packman and Tempest, synthesizers in our basements and posters of Duran Duran and Depache Mode on our bedroom walls. We all had a dream, had a mission, a vision to express to the world. Our parents instilled in us a desire to make a difference, a need to make the world a better place but many of us were apathetic, ambivalent descendants of the humanitarian fight.
Prepared and primed to go to college but left in the crumbling aftermath of an archaic industrial age, we were left to re-engineer the spirit of man where the soul is virtual and God is now a bio-medical engineer. How do you find humanity in a microchip? How do you find heaven in an endless landscape of glass houses and ATM machines? How do you find the voice of God in the automated messages of voice mail?
My parents were in their twenties during the 1960's and they were labeled Hippies by popular culture just as I've been labeled a Generation X'er and a Slacker. But we all soon learn as we grow older that generations don't create society, world culture creates generations and the ideals and beliefs of the young are repeatedly turned into a TV commercial to sell tied-dyed T-shirts, record albums, roller blades and bottled water.
Today, there is no such thing as revolution, only cultural re-engineering, recalculations to produce the right equation from the available variables. There have always been economists and bankers despite the illusions of social upheaval and they will continue to postulate the worth of soybean or the price of a barrel of oil.
Today, a Nike commercial is seen as subversive and the embodiment of rebellion is piercing your navel or asking for paper instead of plastic at the check out counter. Dolphin safe tuna and recycled garbage. Free range beef and test-free eyeliner. My generation protests our beliefs by being educated consumers, unifying our individual voices by being the most dedicated shoppers in the world.
Beautiful America. Do you love me?
Dirty green pieces of paper pass between hands and credit cards get swiped and the power of speech turns into numbers on a computer screen and a tube of tooth whitener in the bathroom cabinet. Mistakenly, the child blames Mother for the spilt milk and Father for the dangerous broken glass. So we flounder in limbo where there's the brilliant illusion of getting things done. Unfortunately, we're good at this. This is our real history. Keeping busy in limbo. America.
My parents were Hippies whose beliefs were contrary to the stereotypical media portrayal. They were vehemently anti-drug. They didn't drop acid, live in communes or wear flowers in their hair. They weren't sleeping Utopianists who sat on the curb in Height Asbury singing Bob Dylan songs or reciting Hari Krishna chants.
They knew early on that a pocket book was more effective than a peace emblem or a picket sign. They were humanist and capitalist and from an early age I had an innate sense of faith in the world, faith in the nature of man, and possessed an acute discriminatory nature for financial fairness and good will. As an adult, I realize there is no one to blame and no generation is responsible for changing the world, they are ultimately ineffectual, molded by the forces of nature, evolution and economics.