Will COVID provoke generation “I” to finally self-reflect?
Two generations ago, people in Europe fought for survival, an endeavour which is almost impossible when not followed together with other people. War-induced famine necessitated sharing food with everyone, bombs falling from the sky sheltering in cellars of other people, destroyed houses led to sharing of private living space with complete strangers.
The last generation built up on the ruins, trying to create a wealth large enough to re-create intimacy within families. The dream was a little house just for their children to grow up, a safe haven away from violence, hunger, offering them a perspective to only focus about themselves.
We took our parents by their word. Everything we want, it seems, is about the „I“ — Iphone, Ipad, self-healing, self-improvement, self-determination. Make your hobby your job, become self-employed. Even alleged new-hippie-communities of twentythirtysomethings seem as mere vehicles to propel the individuals within the group — including an increasing commercialization.
The pandemic has struck the youngest generation the hardest, in a sense. The apparent everlasting safety created by our parents suddenly didn’t seem as stable any more. Maybe this will regauge some of us - hopefully without lasting impact on life and health - by showing to us that the freedoms we enjoyed are not self-evident but hard gained and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Some say the golden twenties will come back in a 20th century edition, full of roaring party and endless hedonism. But maybe some young people will recognize the warning shot and focus less on the „I“ and more on the bigger picture.