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Kieran Preissler

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The Culture of Want; the Now generation

It is becoming more and more clear that my generation, the generation that is starting to graduate from high school and enter this world, has become a generation based on instant gratification. Although that is nice, I think that it devalues many, otherwise very valuable, products and experiences. My friend has an iPhone but just as soon as the newest version of the phone was released, he was quick to toss aside the magical machine that he had once been in awe of. Like my friend, many people don't have enough time to discover the endless array of innovative apps that are available for download.

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    Jan 27 2012: No only that, but your generation, is entirely certain that it deserves at least 10 dollars an our, meanwhile that phone was built in a facillity that pays 31 cents an hour.... Chinese laborers are literally jumping off the roof of that facillity to commit suicide, and so the company that owns it, put up nets... Yet your friend, probably thinks he's a good person, and there was nothing morally wrong with buying that product.

    My generation is in the same boat (about 10 years older)... We're not the "now" generation... We're the evil generation.
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      Feb 7 2012: If ignorance = evil, then yes sadly -> Good analysis
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      Feb 7 2012: Not to sound ignorant, but what do you suggest we do David?
      A curiosity question.
      Thanks
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        Feb 7 2012: Honestly... I think the global economy, has forced us, as a human race, to organize a global civil, and workers rights movement. I hope we are up to the challenge. We need an international minimum wage.

        In your personal life... Research all major purchases you make. Find out how the products you buy are manufactured, and pick ones based on moral choices, not just financial ones. If you own an Apple product, send Apple a copy of your reciept or warranty, with a letter suggesting "This is the last Apple product I will ever purchase, if you continue to treat working people this way, in any country. Out of sight, is no longer out of mind."

        Do the same with your television if it was made for a dollar or less an hour. The same with your computer. The most powerful tool each of us has, is our abillity to influence consumer behavior at the local level. Talk to your family and friends about how important it is, that people stop letting capitalism be a race to the bottom, where the person who abuses labor the best wins... Its a tough road we have ahead of us.
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    • Feb 6 2012: "Technology does not connect us socially, it only connects us to data. This generation is looking to data to try and answer their socio-emotional deficiencies, yet the thing that has created these deficiencies is the one thing that keeps them deeper in distress. "

      I totally agree with you, Varlan.

      I don't know whether this would be an apt expression or not.
      We, teens, are "thirsty".

      And we have no idea how to quench our thirst, so we are just getting too obsessed with new gadgets and internet.

      We're really missing something today.
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    Jan 25 2012: This is the side and bad effect of our teaching system. Most mass learning instituions and even specialized Life coaches in the developed world have been emphasizing the need to consider self above all else. How to win at any cost have been the highest selling books for decades. Marketing and technology have made obsolescence their mantra for growth. Our sense of achievement is no longer based on a goal but quick change of phone and friend according to social competition. SO instant gratification requires sympathy because it is self destruct and a very basic reptilian response to living. The flip side is faster burn out and todays 30 year old is balding tired angry young man. He or she will live longer for sure and so needs to transition through more mates ( wives or husbands) or more experiences and does not particularly like being tied down. So even kids are not a long term source of joy. I think it is the responsibility of education right up to management colleges who churn out case studies of icons who made it big. Somewhere in the case study instead of showing the principal resource to be TIME invested it is about quick ideas and strategy. Malcolm Gladwell in outliers has established reasonably well that the luck of timing and 10,000 hours of INPUT are the basic common features for most successful individuals. I sympathize with youngsters who are really confused. Our genes have a tribal and rural upbringing but in 200 years we have moved to urban living with no special book to manage urban life. The loneliest person is the one who lives in a building with 200 others and perhaps a million in transition within few square miles while the rural family knew the name of every person upto 5 square miles. We cannot change to go back now and so we must create a better transition to the next way of life based on the experiences of this very recent one.
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      Jan 26 2012: I don't think that there is such a thing as "our teaching system," as individual classrooms, schools, and school districts are truly quite varied in emphasis and in the values they project. In the US, for example, pedagogy very often focuses on groups as the primary unit for classwork. This would not somehow be only in private or cutting edge schools but also in very conventional sorts of school districts.I do agree with you, Uday, that the business of self-help books, seminars, and coaching often elevates the importance of the individual above all other things. I have even heard a coach counsel that we actually all know everything there is to know on earth and only need to remove whatever within us obscures that to our perception!In terms of a culture of instant gratification versus investment in activities with rewards accruing either over time or in the long term, schools surely have a role in giving students such experiences. I think, though, that the habit of seeking fulfillment through purchases is at least as much a result of young people and even older people's not being able to find a meaningful role to play in communities via employment or service. The lack of employment prospect for many (in particular a career or position with opportunities to feel ones contribution as meaningful) and in many locations the difficulty of even finding opportunities to volunteer often makes "things" accessible in a way that rewarding experiences are not. A sense of inequity in access to such experieces further contributes to the problem.
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        Jan 31 2012: so true Ritzie. By education I include what we get from media and society, and perhaps their influence is even greater. On such issues there is no judgement or critique. We evolve and change and so we need new systems to help us do better when socio-economic norms change.
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      Jan 27 2012: "Marketing and technology have made obsolescence their mantra for growth. Our sense of achievement is no longer based on a goal but quick change of phone and friend according to social competition." -- I really doubt that . Technology is something what leads the growth and marketing shows how.
      There is a difference between need and luxury . 30 yrs back An Indian use to wait at-lest 3 yrs to get an ambassador car. Today you can get BMW in one week .That have no relation with mantra of growth.
      The world changes every time. You cant expect Now generation will live their life like people use to live in 1980. Nor 2030's gen will live today's life.


      The loneliest person is the one who lives in a building with 200 others and perhaps a million in transition within few square miles while the rural family knew the name of every person upto 5 square miles. It depends on person to person. A established western guy / girl leaves house very easily as he/she is not allowed to do in life what they want. An eastern person cant.
      So its how you think.
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    Jan 30 2012: There is an even more dangerous aspect to this: To create something takes time. Time and effort. There almost no research or development that can be done "now".

    One simple cannot throw away the value of contemplation. To stop and think. Today's companies are managed in a way that everyone's working 24/7 in an incredible rush and even so nothing works. Things just don't work.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall a Gartner report saying that about 70% of the IT projects would be just tossed aside. They will be paid for, but will not be implemented.

    Being in this area for some time now I can attest: This occurs for lack of structured thinking. Your generation isn't much different from mine (I'm 25), that is somewhat a reflex of the generation before (the Yuppies).

    We are trained since basic school to compete. And to do it fast. Solve problems fast. Write essays fast.

    Nature takes millions of years to perfect any design, we think we should do it before the next quarter closure. And that's why roses and oaks do work flawlessly for their purposes but CRMs don't.

    We are going downhill, without brakes, for some time now. We are starting to hit some dirt (as it goes for nowadays financial crisis) but eventually, if nothing is made to break this vicious cycle, we'll crash and we'll crash hard.

    What our generations need is to unplug. To slow down and look outside. Even our music is contaminated by this "want it now" sickness (anyone that have been to a rave or any event of the sort knows what I'm talking about).

    It is corroding the families, causing immense hurt to labor forces around the world and finally taking away what makes us humans: the ability to look at the world and make sense of it.

    Very good point you've made. Now we need to think of some "how to"s.
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      Jan 31 2012: Kudos for your insight. Seeking instant gratification has become a bane and has far reaching consequences in the modern society. Changing I Phones is a lesser evil, but family bonds with has withstood for centuries are being discarded. With internet and profusion of portals which dish out all types of advices and solution of myriad of youth related problems, the youngsters are distancing themselves from the family, and seeking instant gratifications of their problems, getting encouragement and support by just a click.
      I have witnessed instances of a 20 year confiding in a a 25 year old, seeking his advice, having full faith in what he/she says etc: Family bonding and respecting the elders is one step up.
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        Jan 31 2012: Very good comment. Here is a quote that I often use with young people around me who decide to text instead of talking to the live humans around them.

        "Technology has brought us closer to those far away, but distanced us from those nearby". Author unknown to me.

        A few months back I watched Ramona Pierson's talk. And I started a conversation hoping to see what others have learned from their elders. I invite you to watch the talk.....it has an unexpected twist that many, not having watched it, missed.

        http://www.ted.com/talks/ramona_pierson_an_unexpected_place_of_healing.html

        How sad Asgar, that young people sometimes have to resort to coming here to the internet for advice, instead of talking to their parents about their concerns and questions and observations. That says alot about the family structure.

        Hopefully young people reading these comments will glean some "crowd wisdom" ay.....

        Have a wonderful day Asgar!!
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          Feb 1 2012: Thanks Mary. Watched the video of Ramona Pierson and she was fortunate to have the investment of love and compassion of Senior Citizens. She was down and out and had no other option and she readily' gave in' and a miracle happened.
          But the problem is when I am on the materialistic high, good job, fat pay packet, options to leave one job and take another - this is the environment in which the present set is growing up I tend to assume that "I know all - I know what is best for me' and I go out with my upward mobile group. Previously at such group meetings, they had one punching bag - their boss, now increasingly they have one more - their parents and family members. The respect for them is lost, and replacements for them are easily available. Their love interests, which also keep changing provide, what in the past they parents were providing.
          I am amused, when I chance to interact with such set. Their January love interest is the most knowledgeable, most compassionate you name it. Come June the January one is a wimp, manipulative etc: etc:
          This is the cause of great concern and worry.
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        Feb 1 2012: I hear you Asgar. What do we do?

        This is not something new Asgar. This kind or attitude has always existed. However, it is now more prevalent....."these are critical times hard to deal with....men are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power..." Someone said these words over 1900 years ago, in a book that noone seems to give much credit to, describing these last days.

        What will be the solution to such problem? Everyone has their own opinion. We shall have to wait and see who is correct.

        Thank you for your reflection.
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          Feb 1 2012: Seems to me this is not a problem that started with I-phones. This kind of a problem is started from day ONE of someone's life.
          A child is in charge of their life. A two year old is asked, Do you want to take your coat off? Do you want to eat this? What do you want to wear today? When a child demands anything, it gets it.
          The magic word no longer is "please" the magic word is "NOW!"

          We are meant to raise kids. This does not just mean to feed them. It is to teach them what it means to be human. That means they have to be taught limits. Discipline turns into self-discipline, and that's the part that's missing.
          I am not blaming a child for being selfish. The first word they know is MINE! MINE! But that has to tempered and bend to good. Every child has to learn to share. That's why an only-child has a more difficult time learning because there is no one to practise this with. My dad was a head teacher and could, on the first day of school, pick out the only-children in a class.

          If this is not taught early, the work environment is not going to change anything for the better. Companies have exactly the same attitude MINE, MINE and the workers are the last ones on its mind (if it had one :) That's why there are unions, a necessary evil :)
          Maybe I'm negative but the only time you see a politician is during an election campaign.. who cares? [or someone starts a debate on TED and never posts a reaction..]

          Every single human being has to be taught how to be human. It certainly does not come automatically.

          Maybe parents need (better) instructions..
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      Jan 31 2012: @ Carlos I too congratulate you on your insight.

      I will tell you what happens to me when I am around some people who have to rush all the time, they talk fast, eat fast, walk fast......they squeeze 3 days worth of work into one.

      I speak in a very low tone of voice. I take my time with my words. I want to make sure the other person is listening, I look for eye contact, I ask alot of questions to make sure I am able to say what they need to hear.
      And oftentimes, while I am talking, people look at watches...on their wrist and on the wall. It's as if they think that my talking slowly and purposefully is eating away at their time.

      BUT......guess what? I did an experiment. I timed myself against my son. We both said the same thing. He spoke loud and fast, I spoke with calm and clearly. It took him 4:20 to say the same thing that I said in 2:33. How about that??? I was shocked. Sometimes we think we are moving fast, when in reality we are doing the TOTAL opposite and having negative results, like your comment brings out.

      Here's another example......many many years ago I got a ticket (not for speeding). I will never forget learning that regardless of how fast you drive, the most you gain going fast through the streets trying to catch green lights is about 15 seconds. THAT changed my whole view of driving.

      I'll end with the words from a song...I don't know who sings it, but I'm sure you will all recognize it:

      "Slow down, you move too fast, gotta make the morning last......."
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    Jan 27 2012: I only have an Iphone because the 4 year old flip phones battery died and they don't sell that kind of battery anymore. I had to buy a more up to date phone, but I got a $50 discount. I only got the discount because a more advanced Iphone had just came out and mine was already out of date. A woman in my life who is younger said "You're anti-technology. You should've gotten the newer Iphone." I explained "You don't understand. I'm not anti anything. I don't need the latest or newest. I just need a phone that works. I only buy what I need and can afford. You buy because you WANT" and we argued for 2 days on this. She could not understand the difference between buying for need and buying for want. I believe she couldn't see that because she was never taught the difference. "I need a car that runs, but I want a Mercedes"... there's a huge difference in the two statements and I believe that people are just not being taught the difference.
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      Jan 27 2012: I know there is a huge difference between need and want and i don’t think that generation now in unaware of this.
      There is two more things
      1. Is it affordable
      2. Does it worthy
      You need food. you want hamburger . You cant afford both you will go for simple bread .You can afford. You have it.
      And last not least what you really need/want ? All the time the resource is limited. So you have to make your choice.
      A Brazilian kid who wants to buy a Nike football can skip his lunch to buy that . But his poor dad may think its luxury.
      You just need to think in her way .
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        Feb 1 2012: I don't think youi can compare the Brazilian kid to the high-tech geek girl. For a Brazilian kid, the Nike football may symbolize something else that surfaces in the subconscious: the dream of a better life. Billboard ads, football (soccer) players wearing Nike gear, thousands of stories of boys who made it from streed kid to famous player, that is an entire universe of hopes and dreams you are talking about.

        As for the high-tech geek girl (no offense, I am a geek myself), I strongly agree with Tom. I have a smart phone of a different brand and yes, but all I really need it for is to check emails and my social networks whenever I want. I don't have tons of apps, so I wouldn't necessarily need an iPhone. However, the iPhone as a brand (or Android as a platform, together with two or three other big names) is so dominant that many developers don't bother creating innovative solutions for alternatives, because they have sort of been defeated by the wants of the tech generation(s).
  • Jan 26 2012: In terms of transition, what if we developed a teaching structure or education structure that emphasized patience as a learning tool? Almost like time released learning process. We could set up an experiment where students have to make a choice every day. Over the period of a month, if they made choices along the lines of instant gratification, their future choices would kind of suck. Where as someone who carefully made decisions and thought about the future, would hopefully have a more optimal set of choices in the future. However, the consequences shouldn't be known until the end of the experiment. This might help develop patience in students as well as reinforce a more thoughtful choice in future endeavors.

    Perhaps in terms of your friend and his iPhone, if he decides to toss it away, snatch it and give it to someone who will enjoy it. Donate it. Or kick him repeatedly until he does so. If we're going to toss such wonders away, we should give them to those who don't have access to them. That way we build social capital and prevent a sort of negative social hierarchy of wealth. I think Malcolm Gladwell's study is also important.

    Actually, I'd like to try an experiment on this comment thread for anyone who wants to try it.
    Take 10 seconds to draw a human being.
    Take 10 minutes to draw a human being.
    Think about the differences while they're side by side.
    • Jan 29 2012: Hey and hi Zac. I drew a stick figure in 10 seconds. ( ya know, hang man type ) 10 minutes, I drew eyes and a body and hair! I suck as an artist. I get your point. Very sad. :(
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      Jan 29 2012: "Perhaps in terms of your friend and his iPhone, if he decides to toss it away, snatch it and give it to someone who will enjoy it. Donate it. Or kick him repeatedly until he does so. If we're going to toss such wonders away, we should give them to those who don't have access to them. That way we build social capital and prevent a sort of negative social hierarchy of wealth. I think Malcolm Gladwell's study is also important."

      If I understand you right you are saying that we should give our old things to those who dont have access to them, this is one of the things ive also thought about, however i threw that thought away for the near future, if we want to make this work we first got to change our values...
      opposed to what you say this would lead to 2 Classes of people, those who got the "first" class stuff and thos who have the "second" class stuff, with both knowing that the first class people actually donated it to the second class people -> thus the first class people would be somewhat superior to the second class people.

      Its a nice idea indeed but our values need to change (im happy with old stuff, not one of those who always need the latest this or latest that) inorder not to let this become a mess.
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    Feb 9 2012: As Krishnamurty said, we are programmed. The program offered to our society during the last 60 years has been about "Consumming". Television openned up to commercial that will invite you to have just anything proposed in a way that there have been parallel between having and being. Thus, wanting to be mutated into wanting to have, conclusion: I am if I have. So it has become "legitmate" to want everything and now. A real dilemma...
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    Feb 1 2012: Here is another observation/reflection on this topic.

    Many years ago, when I was a student, I don't remember my teachers ever giving me rewards for my good school work. The A on my paper was reward enough. Today, teachers give out stickers, candy, and all sorts of goodies out of treasure boxes in the elementary classroom.

    I even remember a teacher getting into trouble for giving a sticker to the students who got good grades, and one parent came to school to complain that the teacher had left her child out. Never mind that the child had a poor grade on her work. The teacher was forced to give the child a reward. Sad.

    I was so amazed that such parents exist.....and also, that some teachers are way too generous with the rewards.

    Keeping up with the Jones' is also a very big incentive in the culture of want.....people envy, and/or are jealous of what others have. They want it too.

    We were not raised that way. We choose not to raise our children that way either. Not every kid in the U.S owns an iphone, not every adult has a cell phone, not every house has internet or cable. There are the exceptions.

    The key is balance. Balance is everything. We have to love people more than things. Materialism is an illusion. It cannot provide true happiness. Everything material passes away......

    Kieran, I hope you step in here and let us know what you are thinking about our comments. Alot of us want to know.
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    Jan 31 2012: I appreciate the conversation/ debate! When I daydream sometimes(well, quite often), I wonder what it would be like to be a millionaire. Would I want more than one car? (I don't think so right now) Would I want a huge house? (I don't think so)
    Would I want a 10,000 wrist watch? (I have no idea) Would I always buy the latest and greatest technology? I watched my father buy a flat screen television, that is already outdated...

    I don't think it is just your generation that is involved. The baby boomers are the same...I have seen so many gentlemen buy the latest and greatest golf club...but their old golf club still works better.
  • Jan 29 2012: The notion of instant gratification is one that is becoming more apparent as subsequent generations are entering into a culture that has orientated itself around the rapid consumption of material possessions, without contemplating any regard for whether there is a need, rather than just an absentminded want for accumulating a surplus of objects.
    • Jan 29 2012: Yep and yup! Down side, their elders created this mess! ( hi Mathew )
  • Jan 29 2012: It's funny that you think that an iPhone actually has value.
    It is a device which lets you waste more time than ever before on stuff you don't really need. I see 'young people' every day who think that unless they have a 'multipurpose phone' on 24/7 that they will miss out on life. Meanwhile they are so consumed looking at the screen that the real life passes them by.
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    Jan 28 2012: I completely agree with you.Being someone from that generation,i know what you mean.Everybody is just walking around with their' new' iphones and ipads etc.. and when a newer version comes, their now 'old' ones are tossed aside..which actually is worring since with technology there is always going to be new versions of gadgets...then when will we be really 'satisfied' with what we have? this cycle will never stop! We wont be 'satisfied' because this technology will never give us what we all really need...happiness.We seem to seek happiness outside wheras its actually inside ourselves.To reach it ,we need to eliminate our hunger for the better and appreciate what we already have.
    • Jan 28 2012: Hi Beste,
      It's a really nice comment :)
      I couldn’t agree with you more!

      Btw, as for myself, I don't have any iphones or ipads.
      I'm just satisfied with my-- kinda old—phone (you know a folder phone) even though all of my friends in Korea has at least iphones or ipads. But even with those "cool" things, they don't seem so happy, but rather they are getting too obsessed with those new gadgets.
      There’s no “my own thing” in their vocabulary.
      They always want new things.
      By unconsciously seeking them, they unfortunately miss a lot of essential things.
      A pause for pondering about the meaning their own lives, a moment for gratitude, and a moment for sharing not only their ideas in facebook, but spending their time with their loving people.
      What are we missing “now” by trying to grab ”now”?
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    Jan 28 2012: Learn how to use a compass and map to navigate. Why you ask? Because a GPS won't always work, and when it doesn't if you don't know how to navigate you'll get somewhere. It's called up s**t creek without a paddle!!!!
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    Jan 27 2012: I agree that the youngest generation is a culture of want, and want now. There is also a kind of value that this generation and mine (I'm 27) have for intangible things. We have, and have had, access to the internet from early school days, and this has diversified us. The fact that there are more apps than you could ever discover is wonderful, but the down side is the lack of wonder these highly technological devices create. We've become detached from how difficult creating something so incredible can be, similar to how our parents became detached from where our food came. We don't give processing a second thought these days; the same is happening with electronics; and I'm sure future generations will see a similar pattern with something else. Technology will always advance, and being a culture of want when technology makes things easy to get isn't all bad. It's only when we disregard what goes into those immediate gratifications that they start to lose value.
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      Jan 28 2012: I agree with this wholeheartedly and think that one solution might be to generate awareness of the difficulty and complexity of making such a device (see making my own toaster, great talk). I have worked as a machinist and woodworker, as well as butchering my own animals (with regards to your processing point), and feel that I do have a lot more perspective as far as the need for instant gratification simply because of my experiences. On the down side, I have no idea how to use anyone's I phone. Hell, I don't even text.

      Point though, colleges require PE and things like that. Why not make shop a requirement or something in that sort of vein that makes you proud your capable of actually making something useful, not just buying it from a factory. Or even just promote some sort of make your own stuff movement. Just a thought.
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        Feb 1 2012: I agree with both of you (and the "making your own stuff" reminds me of the global village construction set Talk). I am 26, so I know what Chris is talking about. I grew up in a rather small city (20k inhabitants) in the south of Germany where farming still had (and has) a great importance for the local infrastructure in the surroundings of my hometown, so I experienced the differences between "makers" and "consumerist city-people" as well. I think the educational approach must be in both directions: people who are not used to technology need to get used to it in order to not alienate themselves. I agree that downloading applications on an iPhone is not necessarily a key competence, but ordering stuff online, or dealing with customer services / administrative issues online are skills that come in quite handy in certain situations. On the other hand, I agree that the "make your own stuff" approach is very, very, very important for the < 30 generations (Digital Natives, gen x, y, z, you name it). I really WANT to understand what it means to develop a new technolology, so I am devouring all TED Talks that show me just "how things work". But TED doesn't cover everything and not everyone knows about TED. Yes, I think integrating these practical things into the curriculum would be important (while I am still angry about humanities and extracurricular activities being reduced to a rdiculous minimum...) -- and it could be achieved simply by collaborating with local farmers, workers, companies. When I was 16, I asked a few companies (ok, advertisement, IT, and marketing, but still) if I could just come for a week and look over peoples' shoulders -- and that really helped me to understand some of the processes. Plus, I am sure many people working in non-tertiary sectors would be happy to explain their work in order to foster a deeper understanding for the processes... which might result in a different attitude with less "wants".
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    Jan 25 2012: when i think of are future i sometimes get scared having thoughts like this, but the best way i feel to stop the want and need feeling is to relate back to nature we are very spiritual beings and with a little time we will all realize that technology and materiel objects are not the way of the future, the future is going to be about the spiritually enlightened ones.
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      Jan 27 2012: "technology and materiel objects are not the way of the future"-- yOu are kidding right
      • Jan 27 2012: Anything can be the future. Especially material objects.
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          Jan 27 2012: TECHNOLGY IS ALWAYS THE KEY . it can be old ox cart or todays wireless network .
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        Jan 28 2012: i like to use my carrier pigeon to send my mail:)
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          Jan 28 2012: That is honestly quite funny Spencer. However, Arnab has a point in saying that the future does lay within the continuing development of technology. We can see that from the trends in world history. Civilization depends on the continued development of technology.
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          Feb 1 2012: Reminds me of the debate on technological determinism (technology is an unstoppable force that will 1/continue to develop itself 2/create social responses and change the nature of society) and socio-constructivism (technology is created based on the needs of society and it is society that determines what will be built).

          We should not forget that technology itself is neutral and that it is *the way how we use it* which has positive or negative effects. So it's not the iPhone's fault that our generation wants better, faster, high-and-higher-tech tools. Civilisation does not depend on the continue development, but technology is a result of the development of civilisations.

          Means that if we change our attitude towards technology -- as we are currently changing our attitude towards ecological behavior, recycling, and sustainability! -- different technologies *could* be the result.
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    Feb 11 2012: The culture of want is an interesting topic to consider, whether or not you delineate it by generation. Each generation shares common experiences and contexts in which they grow and develop, so, in this regard the experience of culture and how it shapes perspectives is unique across generational lines, but the overall culture of want and instant gratification affects us all. Yes, the technologies that younger generations are growing up with contribute to their unique experiences and perspectives as a cohort, but I don't see this culture of want as unique to this generation. We live in a society where our success is often measured in terms of material possessions and outward manifestations of wealth rather than by personal integrity and accomplishments that fall in line with personal value systems. While this can (and should) contribute to our personal definitions of success, social definitions and measurements of success are often determined by what we possess in this culture. This, in my view, is one of the major contributors to the culture of want. In our quest to be "successful", we try to possess things. Many things. Fancy things. The nicer our possessions, the bigger our houses, the newer our cars, the more we project success to others--whether or not we can afford these trappings of success.

    If we could establish a social mentality/cultural definition of success that was not reliant on possessions, we could potentially free ourselves up to define success more personally and express it publicly in a way that lines up with our personal values. This mentality--this culture of want-- reflects a privileging of an economic perspective...and addressing it in the way view success can be a starting place in challenging this bias. I write a bit about this kind of thinking in my blog http://kathy-momphd.blogspot.com/2012/01/challenging-economic-privilege.html
  • Feb 11 2012: its hasnt 'become' a generation based on instant gratification --- like it was a natural process ---- its been MADE a generation based on instant gratification that is bombarded 24/7 with multi million pound advertising that DEMANDS that you have the lastest must have or you are not worthy of being human. if you dont have it you might as well be unemployed and not be ABLE to have it. Show your employed and worthy and BUY it - even if you dont want it, it prooves your not scum. So you buy it, it prooves you can if you want too .. then you have it, and it doesnt bring you what you thought it would, you could be second rate and buy apps for it OR you could have this NEW one instead -- everyones buying it, you must have it to proove you are employed and worthy, you buy it, you have it, it doesnt bring you what you thought it would, ....... we have a NEW thing ... and on and on and on it goes ... till someone says 'ya know what, i dont want it, and i dont want that, and i dont want the other either, it ISNT prooving anything, it ISNT bringing me happyness, its NOT doing what they said it would, its just making me spend money and bringing me short term gratification, its ALWAYS a catch up game that you can NEVER win. technology is not the issue, its the marketing and the separating of the 'haves' and 'have nots' that it brings that is the issue in my humble opinion. x
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    Feb 7 2012: I want therefore I am. I buy, therefore I'm good. I'm poor, therefore I don't exist. Legit?
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      Feb 8 2012: Almost, if I may: I'm poor, therefore I shouldn't exist.

      Worse than being ignored is being hated and assertively being treated like garbage.
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        Feb 9 2012: When I was a young girl, I grew up (miraculously) in a neighborhood of extreme wealth. We lived in a single parent household and we were also on Welfare. I remember being looked down on and the children of the school, for the most part, wanting nothing to do with me because my family did not come from wealth. Luckily everyone wasn't like that. I felt ignored, looked down upon, and dejected. I resented my mother for our financial condition and turned to stealing the wealthy girls clothes to fit in. TERRIBLE TERRIBLE. Now I realize that I was wealthy in so many other ways that these children would not see. Those things were hard to ignore then and now they are cherished! I understand what its like to drink powdered milk with cereal. I will forever be grateful for that!
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    Jan 27 2012: As i think today we have civilization like this because from 3000 BC all the now generation had a culture of want. As the time has changed present now generation wants something else than previous . But same is true for previous. Who dont have food he want food .. Who have food wants liquor.. who have liquor wants Jack Daniels :). Its normal .
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      Feb 1 2012: I sort of agree that the innate want for (instant) gratification is "normal", as in "human". However, the accelerating speed of technological innovation has somehow exponentiated the possibilities of being rewarded and thus heightened our demands. Whether it must be a certain brand of x, or a distinct benefit of y (or the impression of a benefit... as in different versions of iPhones): we seek more, because we know that more is possible.

      I also wonder if this is related to the gamification of our lives. We do something, we want an instant reward. Checking in on foursquare, posting on Facebook, leveling up in an online game -- it all seems to build on conditioning humans for seeking positive responses to their every action.
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        Feb 1 2012: I agree with your points . And i really support your point "So it's not the iPhone's fault that our generation wants better, faster, high-and-higher-tech tools." and "we seek more, because we know that more is possible."
        But as a gadget and laptop market resercher i have seen a patern for the love of technology .

        US and Europe is Iphone crazy . They go for hype & brand rather than technology.
        South america is very specific about what they . And they dont have a very high population to set world wide patern.
        Aisia shows two kinds of patern . One middle east who wants to follow the US & europe as they have got lots of money from oil and tourism and they have only two class rich and poor . Rich can afford evry thing poor cant afford any thing.
        China and south east asia looks value for money .
        From these patern we can find out one more thing its the excess money that makes people crazy about stuff they dont need.
        For a college going student latest IPHONE is more than a status simbol than needs. Its true all over the world.

        If u see last qutr result , no of laptop shipping has been decreased due to financial crisis. But Pad/ tablet sell has been doubled.

        So its the excess money and ability to spend is taking place.

        Now there is one more point . every generation have its own iphone . In 70's automobile was the key like todays gadget . Every one wants to have that .Today also evry body wants but its no more a luxury its a need.

        According to Noriaki Kano todays luxury will become tomorows nessecity and a new luxury will take that place. Todays youths luxury is gadgets. .
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        Feb 1 2012: As you said ". I grew up in a rather small city (20k inhabitants) in the south of Germany where farming still had (and has) a great importance........., so I experienced the differences between "makers" and "consumerist city-people"
        I am also 26 but i am not lucky enogh to enjoy the country life but i dont think city people and relly consumerist . I know small cities producess stuffs for big cities. But that doesnt mean the peoples are also same. Just the kind of work they do is different. But both do for livelhood.

        As I grew up in one of the worlds most higly populated city and lived at the silicon vally of east , One thing I have understood. Its very hard for a city people to know each other than country side. Life is complex too competative and always demanding in metro cities.Its not that we are unsocial.And also not that we alwasy want .
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          Feb 1 2012: I think it's somewhat arguable that you point out that not all the city people are the same, when at the same time you tell me that "US and Europe is Iphone crazy . They go for hype & brand rather than technology." etc. -- you really can't make this general assumption for all Europeans and US citizens either. I am not really happy with the way you argue, but we just have two different point of views on the issue... and I think we are both curious to see what's next in tech!
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        Feb 1 2012: I am sorry for that kind of approach. But i am just trying to find a pattern. I didn’t mean to hurt any of US or European citizen. But you can’t ignore the fact than they have more financial ability than eastern people.
        As Intel is pushing really hard to make Ultra book a hit product and Dell HP Lenovo Nokia are releasing at least 30 new products over next two years in tablet and ultra-book genre. I think for the next 3-4 yrs. ultra book and tablet is going to rule the market. Maybe surface technology and gesture recognizing tech can take over after that.
        • Feb 6 2012: Heres a name that doesn't fit with the more finanical ability of the west than east. Saudi Arabia. Or Japan. Also making any generalization like yours has its faults because there will always be exceptions, I believe this is more the point than making it about the east, basicly it is faulty, therefore making your argument or part based on that assumption makes your conclusion and argument questionable.
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    Jan 26 2012: "I bumped into my friend today.. We both just kept looking at our smartphones and kept walking."

    I think you open up a deeper subject of how busy we as a people have become.
    So many people are so busy running from home to their job to picking up the kids to making dinner to sleeping (and rightfully so, you have to maintain a fast-paced life in order to survive in our time), that we forget to stop and smell the roses. Sunsets are beautiful; and I'm not talking about the available sunset desktop background for Windows..

    It's amazing how technology is chipping away at what the world has to offer.. but it's also amazing at how much technology has to offer and how simple it has made our lives here in the first-world.
  • Feb 24 2012: Wernher von Braun, in the aftermath of World War II concluded, quote: "science and religion are not antagonists. On the contrary, they're sisters." He put it on a personal basis. I knew Dr. von Braun very well. And he said, "Speaking for myself, I can only say that the grandeur of the cosmos serves only to confirm a belief in the certainty of a creator." He also said, "In our search to know God, I've come to believe that the life of Jesus Christ should be the focus of our efforts and inspiration. The reality of this life and His resurrection is the hope of mankind."
  • Feb 16 2012: I prefer "will", it's more positive to "want". And we should change our way of thinking.
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    Feb 14 2012: I do not believe this problem is specific to this generation's nature; it seems a common human condition. Herbert Marcuse wrote about this in Eros and Civilization, which is a philosophical critique of Freud's psychoanalytic theories.

    You mentioned 'instant gratification', which comes from Freud's pleasure principle. Marcuse argued: "The scope of man’s desires and the instrumentalities for their gratification are thus immeasurably increased, and his ability to alter reality consciously in accordance with 'what is useful' seems to promise a gradual removal of extraneous barriers to his gratification. However, neither his desires nor his alteration of reality are henceforth his own: they are now 'organized' by his society. And this 'organization' represses and transubstantiates his original instinctual needs. If absence from repression is the archetype of freedom, then civilization is the struggle against this freedom." I would agree, for the most part.

    Marcuse also argues the "reality principle" is the force that works against the pleasure principle; he also says the hold of the reality principle over the pleasure principle is never complete or absolute. I agree with that as well. What we are seeing -- it seems to me -- is a fundamental renegotiation of the relationships among person, society, state, and nature -- even self.

    During this renegotiation, the pleasure principle will try to reassert itself. And, why not? After all, we've progressed from the times of the Godkings and the despots to an age of some reason. I think an awareness of this process is prudent, but this is nothing new and I see no reason for this to cause alarm. Perhaps the amplifications of technology increase the severities of our social dysfunctions, but these all seem problems that we can correct with patient, responsible cooperation.
  • Feb 11 2012: I agree on your "The Now Generation" post. If more people would forgo the constant upgrading of their Iphones and use some of that money toward education tutors for slow children it will be an investment in the New Generation that will have many lives of its own.
    Pass this along. Steve Adams
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    Feb 10 2012: I think that is precisely that easiness in getting everything that is causing the lack of moral values and desinterest in school because people see no point of working hard and fight to achieve anything since they've got all in their hands so fast and so easy.
  • Feb 10 2012: It's as simple as this: either you like Iphones and you buy one, or you don't and you save your money for something else. There is not more to it, as long as we respect other people's choices and stay away from lecturing them.
  • Feb 9 2012: oh that's very good u known wealth does not able to bring the happiness..it comes from our hearts...
    in India we believe in live to happiness......


    kanishq14@gmail.com
  • Feb 9 2012: I am an enormous fan of instant gratification. I breathe in, I breathe out - I am gratified.