Your environment, participation level & the generation in which you find yourself are huge determinants in the success of anything.
If you want to make money, place yourself either in a place where there is lots of money (tax havens for example) or where there is a lot of easily obtainable demand (the USA being the best example of this, but regionally typically a capital city).
Similarly, should you create some sort of art, you must go to a place which is willing to digest that. Whatever medium you choose to express yourself through, must have a culture willing to welcome it. You don’t get hardcore metal bands in places where only traditional music is considered.
Your participation level is solely determined by you. Either you find your place, which can frequently be different to where you begin & you feel genuinely comfortable enough in that culture. Or, you fake it, assuming you can tolerate it enough. Some people manage this their whole lives, creating vast fortunes through maintaining a role they have carved out for themselves.
My personal experience of this has been within my career, which despite my complaints, is one of the most important things that ever happened to me. The financial impact of said career, had been life changing. However there are a substantial amount of days when I wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life & how much longer I can tolerate it.
The key to maintaining a persona that is beneficial to you, is (much like lying generally) to anchor it somewhat it to a truth.
Either way, participation level is controlled from within, regardless of which mechanism is engaged to get through it. In the old days, this was your only choice. The internet of course, gave those outliers of society (that is, those who rejected participating & were prone to being shunned historically) a way to again participate, at a minimum of assuming an alter ego & utilising the anonymising protection of the internet.
Despite us all knowing the various downsides of the internet, enabling participation of those who were not previously accepted is not a bad thing in principle. No one should be excluded on account of being different & often there are (sometimes serious) reasons underpinning someone’s characteristics. Although I’m not especially old, I do remember from my youth the days without widely available internet & believe me when I say, a lot of things were significantly different. Looking at the popularity & usage of bluetooth for example, I find it hilarious that this was once struggling to be accepted at all & was practically written off.
And this brings us nicely into the modern age & also, the generation gap. Realistically speaking, we all now exist within (barely) four generations, named below mostly as I have commonly found them referred to in literature around the subject.
The War generation: Remember the supportive old couple your girlfriend pointed out to you, saying how ‘cute’ they were because they’d probably been together so long? That’s the War generation; a now very old & unfortunately dwindling generation of people who mostly exist within their time capsule lives as much as they can & understandably so. This generation now is at least sixty five & normally more. The other generations often look at this generation as clueless & not in touch with today’s generation, which may in some part be true because of the huge leaps in communicative technology since then. But in fact, the environment in which this generation usually grew up in (regardless of location) was typified by unchecked industrial booms, followed by depressions & interruptions of war. While some countries were not directly involved in the world wars, the impact was felt internationally & brought about a frugal mindset. There was emphasis placed upon repairing, rather than replacing. And competence in a field was only achieved through demonstrable skill, itself only achievable through access to the information itself (often only available to those with privilege or connections) & then moreover, a perseverance within the field. Often, people just eschewed this & concentrated on simply being happy; an entirety admirable & acceptable goal. Because of this, egos were kept in check as humility came from appreciation of what things people had, rather than bitterness about what they didn’t. A lying scoundrel was normally easy to find out & subsequently shamed, with no means of easily hiding from the majority of decent people. While naturally some women were coveted more than others, a certain equilibrium was maintained among the masses by the aforementioned humility. The act of a man propositioning a woman was valued in itself.
The Baby Boomers: I’ve never really understood why this generation are referred to as the ‘baby’ boomers, but this seems to be the case. I’ll henceforth refer to them as ‘boomers’. These are the people you’ll characteristically find to be between forty & sixty five.
The boomers had the best of everything, with only political manipulation at an unchecked high, as the cold war veered from serious (Cuban missile crisis) to almost playground level; the thing to worry about. Significant improvements were made to day to say technologies as electronics started to be available to consumers. The good & bad influences of the internet weren’t available then as ARPANET became into existence at the end of the seventies & consumer availability was still many years off. Life choices varied from huge potential for financial gains in what of this generation would describe as the ‘golden years’ of the mostly unregulated property & financial markets of the time. Mortgages were easy to obtain. Markets were more profitable for those fortunate to have access to them, with derivative instruments being in their infancy & there still being a naivety in those markets that was embraced; as long as everyone was making money.
If counterculture was more for you, this was the age of artistic & sexual revolution. Free love reigned as sexual diseases were significantly less commonplace & fear didn’t scare people into not enjoying their primal instincts. Sexual exploration was welcomed & it was mostly surrounded in a positive energy. Huge changes were seen in music, as rock, punk & metal emerged through genre defining bands appeared. Hip hop was drastically changed forever as gangster rap exploded with N.W.A & those who went on from the group, starting in the earliest of the eighties.
This generation were somewhat spoilt, in getting everything they wanted in this era. It sowed the seeds of character for a lot of what the following generations have to tolerate; having something & then losing it again is a hard pill to swallow & when the abundance of sex & money dried up by their own hand as greed inevitably took over & recession set in during the mid eighties, the bitterness set in. They felt obliged to become more ‘responsible’ as societal norms evolved. That bitterness was & still is, projected onto others. These people rose into & still hold for the most part, the positions that make theme regulations most people today must abide by. How much money you pay in taxes wherever you reside, is almost certainly ultimately determined by someone from this generation. The boomers were the last true hedonists, even to the modern day.
This generation is likely going to be in power for another fifteen to twenty years still yet, & no real political change is likely to occur while these people still desperately try to recreate through material acquisition, what they emotionally enjoyed in the past. Which is of course, an impossible aspiration.
In defence of this generation, they are probably the last generation who enjoyed, in their prime days at least, a healthy attribute towards sex & dating. They were also one of the last generations to attempt organising revolutionary action, with the formation of many action groups that still exist to this day. Ironic given how most of them now only concern themselves with maximizsng their own pleasure.
Continued in part 2.