GenX, Virtual Reality and Wokeness

When I was young there was an outcry that video games and rock and roll music were evil. It was said these things were doing bad things to our brains by implanting satanical messages into them. At the time, most people laughed at this, turned up the hair band music and went about their business. I have to wonder though if there wasn’t some truth to what they were saying. Perhaps generationally the effects of our lifestyle choices back then really did foster this belief that we can live in virtual reality.


Sometimes it feels like we are all walking around with these virtual reality goggles on. If we take them off we see an ugly world, with pain, suffering and hard work. However, if we have these special goggles on things seem better, we are happy and we can play out life like a video game where we just refuel and go about our merry way according to some prewritten code that makes everything work. That’s what this wokeness movement seems to me. A virtual reality where these individuals have not experienced the pain and suffering of real living so they don’t understand why things are the way they are in the world. The idea that if anything is too challenging, then someone else can take care of it for us is not how life works. In video games and real life those types of situations kill us, take away something we’ve worked hard for and hurt.


I understand wanting things in life to be easier. I also appreciate the idea that the scale of fairness isn’t always level and there’s maybe some room for improvement. Unless though we come to terms with own reality we cannot effect change that accomplishes either of these things long term. The call for change is more than just screaming things are unfair and tossing down our goggles to the ground, demanding a new pair. Change actually occurs when we begin the process of re-attaching to real life. The grit, grime and ugly things in our world that we often ignore and working through rebuilding it better. Believing that rich people are bad while wearing a $10,000 dress painted with Tax the Rich doesn’t while at an elite charity event misses the mark.


This is where I believe we start to see the disintegration of society through virtual reality. We have lost touch with reality in the sense that we don’t understand how these bad things in our world are happening and yet they are being done by our own hands every day. Is it truly the video games that burned our brain cells to think morally, realistically and ethically or is it that we started giving trophies to all kids for participating in baseball? I think it is both and that squarely falls on the parents. Seemingly nice people trying to give their kids a better life than they had growing up who wanted to do a better job than their own parents. Video games really did play a part of that, I believe.


At what point though do we really stop blaming our parents for our troubles in life? I grew up poor, in an abusive home, started living on my own at 16 and never looked back. I always knew I wanted better in my life. I accomplished it for the most part too though it wasn’t at all easy either. Raising my own son now, I think about how I grew up and how it has shaped how I think about things or see a problem. How could it not? The circumstances of growing up in an abusive home makes you less trusting, less likely to be in healthy relationships and susceptible to repeating the cycle in your own life. These are statistical facts that only 1 in 9 people change significantly in their lifetime. I am that 1 and I deeply appreciate it. Most don’t because of a lot of reasons. My sister and now her daughter and granddaughter didn’t get so far from it.


We can see this as sad and unfortunate. What I have realized though is a better way to look at is it consider why most people don’t change their own story. It isn’t that my sister had any less than I did. We both started from nothing and the same abuse, dysfunction and chaos. Our reality was brutal growing up. The fact I made it better in life than she did isn’t because I was given more favors, hand outs, or special things because I definitely did not. The simple difference was in my own mindset and choosing to not live that way in my own life. It was a lot harder to do than the way my sister chose. It is these choices, decisions and our own determination and grit that change reality. Not the charity, social programs, hand outs, equitable distribution of goods or anything else. It is us individually.


No one wants to be poor. No one chooses to live as homeless either. These are circumstances from a variety of experiences and events. It is however what we choose to do about it that changes reality. Some things are definitely out of our control but for everything else it comes down to us and what we are willing to do about it. No amount of taxing the rich will ever change that. If you give a man all that he needs to live like a king it doesn’t mean he knows how to lead people, set rules or be a king. He is still the same guy just in a Mercedes and overpriced ugly dress screaming at the unfairness in the world.


As a GenXer I still disagree that video games and music were the cause of what we see today. For one at least the music was better than it is today. What I do see as the issue is the out of touch mentality of the woke movement. Their virtual reality does not reflect real life or real people they claim to be defending. There is no unity either. I believe this is the condition of living detached. It is the reality scarily described in the 80s song by The Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star. We are killing each other through our own detachment to each other and real life. It is when though we can’t even look beyond ourselves and our own reality to realize how much harm we are doing as a result that is most concerning to me.


It is not the fault of our parents, society, the rich or anyone else. Perhaps it is generational thinking but I believe life is what you make it for yourself. If you want to have a good life, build it, work for it and appreciate it. If you want to help the homeless and poor or some other worthy cause do it with your hands instead of your words. Action spurs more attention than words ever will. Live your reality in peace and harmony. Be the change you want to inspire. That cannot be done if you don’t take off your VRs and see yourself and the world as it truly is. Chances are you will find the world not so bad as you though and as for yourself well there’s still hope to actually be woke.


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