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The millennial population is unique with a character of their own. Being at the edge of inclusion, what exactly makes them tick is technology, writes Manojita Chakraborty.
A millennial today doesn’t identify herself as belonging to a particular caste or color, but chooses her associates irrespective of boundaries. And that is where the beauty of these times lie, somewhere on the edges of inclusion. We have come a long way indeed.
A lot has been said about the generation we belong to, namely the millennials. The world we live in, is definitely in a state of flux. Definitions are evolving. Interpretations are changing. Boundaries are blurring. But what exactly makes a millennial tick? How much is technology a driver in our daily lives today? How has technology expanded our environments, as well as shrunk the world?
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These are questions which largely flash across our media outlets. We will probably try looking at some of these changes through the lens of a millennial.
Let’s begin at the beginning, with the time that we live in, the society that millennials are a part of. It wouldn’t be colossally wrong to say that ours is a generation of peace. Most people haven’t lived through trying times. We haven’t been first hand witnesses to war, oppression, discrimination or slavery. Of course barring certain exceptional situations in the Middle East, Korean peninsula or interiors of Africa etc.
Ours is not a generation that aspire for the ideals of revolution, we dream of freedom and struggle to change the societal framework. Often living our lives knowing that there might never be a tomorrow. We inherited a largely stable world order post the cold war, eliminating regional skirmishes (there are definitely exceptions like Kashmir which has impacted a large population for decades, causing mass exodus, spewing hatred).
The ideal of democracy is a natural order of things. Probably something we take it for granted. Freedom of expression is the new struggle where being assertive, opinionated while being cheeky rules the roost. Take for example, the Zomato campaign of an OOH advertising hoarding with ‘MC’, ‘BC’ sprawled across city carrefours (here ‘MC’ is Mac and Cheese while ‘BC’ is interpreted as Butter Chicken). The struggle now is whether these billboards are offensive to sensibilities. Ask a millennial; most probably the answer would be that it’s cheeky and fun. Not in all the cases though, opinions in our world have colors (religious, racial or economic). We will come to that later.
This brings us to the question of technology. How important is technology in the life of a millennial? This is probably a no-brainer. I highly doubt if today, we can wake up and not instantly check our social media feeds. Crawling down the facebook, instagram walls come as naturally as the hygienic need of brushing our teeth. Connectivity is the new big thing. Coming to the millennial age, we have fully utilized the phrase that man is a social animal.
In order to survive our daily grind, we require relationships, and trapped in the compartmentalized boxes, we turn to the virtual world of social bots. Over and above social, today, almost every aspect of our human experiences is being shaped by technology. It may be shopping (online shopping), education (e-learning systems or modules), sport (gaming technology), relationships (online dating), experiences (travel, gastronomy etc), finances or currency (blockchain), healthcare (e-nurses, health apps, bots), almost every dimension is undergoing a rapid makeover, generously peppered with doses of technology.
As a consequence, the world as we see it, is shrinking. Distances are a matter of no consequence. A millennial today probably aspires to a world with Tesla manufactured auto driven cars, SpaceX built Martain colonies, Facebook’s VR Oculus Rift. Her high-points are Apple’s annual product upgrades (iphone range), Amazon’s Alexa launches (AI). As the sizes of desktop slowly shrinks to laptop, then to i-pads or palmtops and eventually to rolltops, it wouldn’t be a misnomer to quote a millennial today, as a truly evolved sub species of the larger frame of Homo sapiens. Whether we mutate from this state, or metamorphose into a hitherto unknown evolutionary pinnacle, is yet to be seen.
Therefore, probably the apt answer to this primary question of what exactly makes a millennial tick is technology. Or probably aspiration to achieve, master and control his surroundings through technology. However, the aspiration to control is not new to millennials. As a species, Homo sapien’s desire to dominate and control has in a way written, rewritten and shaped the modern history.
So, are we as a generation, as millennials, so very different from our predecessors? The only difference I see, is not the erosion of ethics, values or choices, as so many righteous preachers would want us to believe. The difference lies in how easily this segment of the population is shifting through experiences. The sheer pace of it, is sometimes unnerving.
The colors in a millennial’s palette of opinions keep on changing, and that is what is worrying at times. With the advent and influence of technology, camouflage is gaining prominence. Misinformation, maltreatment, defamation, slander, libel is rampant. Right winged politics, sometimes conservatism (religious or otherwise), dogmatic propaganda is being readily picked up by impressionable young minds more readily than ever.
For instance, the affinity of young, educated, dynamic yet radical youth to IS propaganda is truly staggering. Does the rush of young minds to the charred remains of Syria to associate with so called jihad, stem from a desire to save Islam from infidels? Was it a part of the collective millennial dream of making a change, an impact of significance, to alter the world dynamics? Or simply to bring a certain meaning to life as they comfortably view it through rose tinted glasses? A distorted view of La vie en rose probably.
In conclusion, much can be said about the so called frivolity of the younger population. However, criticisms apart, the collective conscious of the millennials is not entirely dormant. With newer times, fresher perspectives are coming to the fore. Slowly but surely the archaic divisions existing in the society are losing their hold. Today, human society is more unified, even virtually. The barriers of race, culture, color, economic class still exist, but they are not so severe.
Oppressive systems of colonialism, feudalism, despotism seem like a distant nightmare. A millennial today doesn’t identify herself as belonging to a particular caste or color, but chooses her associates irrespective of boundaries. And that is where the beauty of these times lie, somewhere on the edges of inclusion. We have come a long way indeed.
Published earlier here.
Image credit Pexels
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Manojita loves to write alongside her regular 9-5. Flair for language, poetry, art etc
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