Some thoughts on being in “the dumbest generation”

I have been fondly referring to last week as “WODAD”- the Week Of Destruction And Doom.

Reasons for WODAD were the three tests I had on Tuesday, project due on Wednesday, timed write on Friday, and SAT on Saturday. But that timed write is really what inspired me to write this.

The prompt on Friday was based on Mark Bauerlein’s book, The Dumbest Generation. According to Bauerlein, anyone under the age of thirty at this time is a part of the generation that knows essentially nothing about the world and its workings. I’m just going to share some of the things I wrote in my in-class essay and add a couple of other thoughts since I, as a student myself, resent the idea that my own generation is “dumb” and looked down upon by some individuals of older generations. 

I grew up reading books, writing stories, painting whatever came to mind; for me, creating things based off what I see is my way of expressing what I have learned. Knowing specific facts has never been my forte, but I can confidently say that I am good at making even the minimum of something out of very little because I can utilize resources in different ways. Though individuals under thirty may have less hard knowledge about the world, they are open to independence and flexibility in what knowledge they do gain, therefore making it impossible for them to be “the dumbest generation.”

In his book, Bauerlein argues that “the advantages of twenty-first century teen life keep expanding… providing miraculously quick and effortless contact.” Bauerlein implies not only that the current generation is heavily dependent on these advantages and unable to be “intellectual” without internet resources that give every answer at the click of a finger but also that intelligence is defined solely by the amount of specific knowledge one has; this is a restrictive way to define one’s intelligence and it does not account for an individual’s independent ability to logically and selectively solve problems.

Ignorance of unnecessary facts reflects choice rather than dumbness. For example, the school system is actually slowly being adapted to accomodate this idea of the choice and evaluation of knowledge before memorizing as many hard facts as possible; it’s like learning the specific definitions of a thousand complicated SAT words rather than learning different word roots that may help deduce context and meaning. Individuals of this generation are more concerned with the latter, and they are independent in the sense that they work towards finding creative solutions rather than relying only on known facts.

A while back, I wrote a post about my own identity as a blogger and how I’ve found that so many individuals of my age around me identify themselves similarly through different creative platforms. The fact that there are so many of these online communities based around sharing personal creations of art, literature, music, and more demonstrates the high levels of passion and intelligence throughout this generation that heavily uses technology; passion drives us, passion motivates us, passion teaches us to learn as much as we can to better ourselves in whatever way possible.

And we respect each others’ push for creativity and individuality; so many of these communities are filled with people under thirty encouraging more and more content and ideas to circulate. Yet, older generation are looking down upon us; this only further proves the idea that the younger generation is more open-minded and receptive to new ideas and methods, indicating the younger generation’s overall intelligence and capabilities.

Those under thirty are said to be “the dumbest generation,” but in reality, we are the ones who are going to take the world forward into a new era of open-mindedness and acceptance. Rather than focusing on specific, rigid knowledge of only facts, we are going to use our flexibility and progress to benefit those who follow us; there’s only one way to go from here, and it’s forwards.

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6 comments

  1. Nirvana

    We are the generation that is more accepting of LGBT communities, people of other cultures, and yet it is us that do not have morals. We are the generation that is more openminded and creative and just. Yes, we have our downs. But you can’t stereotype us. Bless you for this post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. awildroryappeared

    I feel sorry for anyone who defines intelligence as the amount of raw information one has stuffed into their head. Sure, some facts are important to know, but just as you said, the true importance lies in what one DOES with these facts.
    In fact, I think that technology encourages intelligence; if i had to go to a library and search for a specific book every time I had a question, I wouldn’t even try. I don’t have the time or recourses to do that. But because of the massive database of information that is available to me, any time I randomly wonder about the history of the burrito I am actually able to look it up and learn volumes about Pre-Columbian societies’ diets that I never would have known without this recourse (true story, by the way.)

    Like

  3. thefatwinter

    Arya, I love your analogy that connects the importance of knowing a certain word, versus the virtue of actually understanding the context that a certain word brings.

    I’d like to think that millennials are interesting in that we form connections that are wide and far, brief and fleeting, yet deep and meaningful. And I know it’s ironic- how can people form meaningful connections if they’re simply “brief and fleeting”? And I guess that’s actually the question of the 21st century: people form connections over common pools of knowledge that they choose to explore out of interest rather than obligation. And you bring that point up quite clearly: as millennials, we love to encourage each other to push our little bubbles of information out online- into the cesspool of the internet. We’ll do this because we want to, not because our teacher asked us to.

    And anyway…
    Thank you so much Arya for posting this on your blog! I love this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arya0127

      Anders,
      Thanks so much for your comment! I actually really understand what you’re saying about the irony in our connections, it’s something I wonder about a lot as well. It also makes me question the stigma behind forming friendships in general- some friendships take time to develop but others happen in an instant. Things are ever changing in our world 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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