John Mayer has a new album coming out this month, just in time for autumn. The lead single is “Waiting on the World to Change” and it’s one of those songs that has a socio-political message and inevitably it got me thinking about what’s been happening lately. This isn’t one of those philosophical incoherent ramblings rather a sincere attempt to understand the message that has come to define our generation.
It used to be that social revolutions were inspiring, an insurgency, and a sight to see. We read about them in history books to the point that we believe the ability to change the status quo has always lied in the values alive and kicking at the citizenry. The ability to attempt something revolutionary has its degrees. It can be angry mobs, coup detats or editorials; revolutions have come in all sizes and packages with the fundamental outcome: change. I am not talking about political revolutions or the overthrowing of governments; we’ve had plenty of those in the past half century that resulted in fairly little. I am talking about the people; the revolutionary ideas that planted seeds to create flourishing minds.
Many of those ideals described to our generation in history books have all but died. Perhaps the advancements that have happened in the world have left less to be desired from change. Did the industrial revolution kill the social revolution like video killed the radio star? There is poverty, war, unemployment, diseases and disasters of both a human and divine nature, but one can argue there’s less of it all around. Our generation is living in a better world than what had existed a century ago. Rapid advancement has created a generation that is less inclined to rise up against the status quo. If people are angry with the world today what must have life been like before air conditioning?
This is just one reason though; there are many others that attempt to explain why our generation has been pretty lazy despite all the new outlets to voice our opinions and discontents. We have comparatively less to fear from oppression and censorship.
Instead we feel useless, like there’s nothing we can do to inspire change. Even wars these days have done little to mobilize the masses. The revolutionary idea and the revolutionary movement has been commercialized, whittle down to a Che Guevara t-shirt.
What’s worse is we expect a lot from the world but do little to challenge it or push it along. We tend to blame leadership or lack thereof as the source of all our problems. The two characteristics that have come to define my generation is the ability to blame others as well as the tendency to rely on others to get things done for us. Everything has become automatic for my generation and we’re willing to pay for it like pizza delivery. If there were “revolutionaries for hire” they’d make a fortune and we could all sit back and watch them do their work on live television. Perhaps all future revolutions will have to be televised.
I don’t have the answers but it hasn’t stopped me from wondering about the causes; wondering what ever happened to that spark that lit the world on fire. Perhaps it’s the media, perhaps its apathy, perhaps we’ve been spoiled, and perhaps we’re waiting for inspiration.
I’ll be interested to see what will finally be my generation’s tipping point but meanwhile…
We just keep on waiting on the world to change.