From the Hoover Institution, Nebraska Senator Benjamin Sasse joins Peter Robinson to discuss his book The Vanishing American Adult and the growing crisis in America of “prolonged adolescence,” the necessity of productivity despite now transitioning into a consumption-focused economy, the lagging of virtues in what has become a preeminent first-world society, and the passivity commonly shown by millennials in the face of this unfolding reality and what can be done to instill better habit formation so as to build a work ethic as well as to learn to appreciate the values our nation was founded on.
I can dig much of what Senator Sasse is putting forth here, old-school and traditional as it can’t help but be. Not that all or even most traditions are wholly useless or obsolete to where they deserve to be discarded in the dustbin of history. In fact, we’d better learn more about those traditions and what all they encompass and why they came into being before jumping to the conclusion that they no longer serve a useful purpose or matter. This is me saying this, of all people. Some things can’t be brought back once they’re gone, and we humans have a bad habit, nowadays especially, of assuming we know more than we do. Thinking we have the right answers when we don’t. Getting caught up in modern life and not taking the time to explore in depth what we’ve historically and evolutionarily come up through.
Life is a massive puzzle that we’ll never be able to completely figure out. But now we do tend to act (at all age levels) as though if we can dream it, we can then somehow bring it into fruition and that will necessarily be good. We’re naive in that assessment, IMO. It’s a grand assumption, very often wishful thinking rooted in nothing but hopes and ideals. If we can’t or won’t seriously grapple with who and what we are—as individuals, groups/tribes, cultures, nations, and overall as a species—then how valuable and realistically applicable can we expect our dreams to be?
An untold number of generations have come before us struggling through entire lifetimes while striving to comprehend life and living, to survive and gain wisdom and insights to pass forward so as to give each subsequent generation a little bit more to work with. Yet we like to act nowadays as if all that’s come before is dwindling in relevancy, archaic, impractical in this day and age. I used to feel the same way when I was a younger. Admittedly still do to an extent, especially when faced with religious fundamentalism and the dogmatic extremes exhibited therein. And yet also I more and more feel drawn toward lessons already out there and articulated, wanting to learn from them instead of stubbornly refusing and attempting to reinvent the wheel. I need to focus more of my own time investigating and familiarizing myself with what has come before. Hard not to feel tremendously ignorant and humbled when confronted with so much information and ideas and observations generated and recorded in the past, just waiting for us in the 21st century to conscientiously engage with it and see what springs forth.
Aristotle sounds like a good place to start.