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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: 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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