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PHILLIP MATTHEW ROBERTS

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 7/15/2016 |



Songsoptok
TALKING WITH PHILLIP
GENERATION GAP IN THE AGE OF GLOBALISATION

SONGSOPTOK: To which generation do you belong? To which generations do the members of your immediate family belong?

PHILLIP: None of the above.  I view each example of this construct as arbitrary and artificial.  Generations X through Z or even the "Baby Boomer" era is merely a lens through which maybe social scientists find useful though, I however do not and therefore refuse it.  In short, the only generation I belong to is a mortal one and that, I'd argue is universal no matter what year a person is born. 


SONGSOPTOK: In your opinion, is generation gap a myth or a reality? How would you define generation gap?

PHILLIP: I haven't the slightest insight as to whether it's a myth or not.  If "gap" refers to a lack of knowledge or understanding between the generations then I'd argue that has to do with the rate at which technology advances; something Richard Buckminster Fuller refers to as the telescoping increase of the science and knowledge.  Go back one thousand years, then 500, then 250 and so forth and one will note how acutely these changes become evident.  An example being someone born in the early 1900's could theoretically witness a telephone being installed in their home and much later, the first rocket launch that put artificial satellites into free fall around the earth's gravity.  However, if "gap" refers to increases or decreases in birthrates then this is a question for an actuary.  Myth or no, I'd still argue it's an artificial construct (albeit perhaps a useful one for some people) that helps a layman grasp all these varied differences between the various age groups. 


SONGSOPTOK: Have you personally had problems with your previous generations? In which domains specifically? How did you react to it then?

PHILLIP: I've never wanted to reproduce and am grateful that I have not.  And rarely would I regard any problem as being germane to any group rather, an individual.  Bear in mind though, this is an answer coming from a misanthropic recluse. 


SONGSOPTOK: Have you ever heard “You won’t understand” from the next generation? Do you remember the specific situations when you heard it? How do you react? And do you remember saying the same words to your parents / elders? In what context?

PHILLIP: If someone does not understand then I attribute that either to laziness or the inherent limitations of someone's cognitive abilities.  "Understanding" in this context seems synonymous with the human condition and this hasn't changed that much since the Egyptians, Greeks or Romans. 


SONGSOPTOK: In a globalized world all generations dress alike, eat alike, dream alike – is it still possible for generation gap to exist? Or do the reasons for the famous gap lie elsewhere?

PHILLIP: Not sure I agree with the premise.  I dress the way I prefer, eat what I prefer and have no real choice about what I'll dream.  And any "gap" in any context I'm certain is, to reiterate, attributable to something artificial and arbitrary germinating from the mindset of the softer sciences. 


SONGSOPTOK: Given that in this age of connectivity, it is easier for parents or guardians to keep connected with their children or wards (keep track of their activities through Face book, Whatsap or whatever) – also make them aware of their own interests and individualities - do you think “generation gap” still exists? If yes, why do you feel so? If no, could you please share with our readers on the ways that you remain connected and how does that help you overcome the gap.

PHILLIP: The only promising connectivity between people is their willingness to invest themselves in other people's lives and you can't force folks to generate interest in others--either it is present or it isn't and no advancement technology (other than perhaps by way of some kind of Huxley envisioned "enthusiasm pill") will this happen.  The only difference today perhaps is the volume and rate at which a person can become connected if they so choose. 


SONGSOPTOK: What do you think – is generation gap a gap between two individuals of different age groups or is it really between two generations? In this context, what role can the parents / elders play to bridge the gap if it exists?

PHILLIP: The only "gap" I know that plays a pivotal role between any generation, parental or otherwise, is indifference or interest.  And as to how one should raise their children I cannot say and am relieved that this isn't my burden.  That being said, love is the only worthwhile thing to impart and imbue to any generation. 


SONGSOPTOK: Do you ever face troubles created by generation gap outside your family? Especially in office, educational institutions, market etc.? How do you react to that?

PHILLIP: Not that I am aware of and if I do or did, it'd most likely be a problem between individuals without any need for the scaffolding provided by social scientists. 


SONGSOPTOK: We feel that generation gap starts creeping in as we age – on one side we try to acquire new things from changed times and on the other – we try to cling to our own inheritances. Do you agree? What would be your advice on how one can overcome this contradiction, if at all?

PHILLIP: Uncertain if I agree or not.  Other than noticing advancements in technologies I still try to winnow and weigh what's truly important and relevant.  Something akin to adaptation which sometimes may seem cruel when really it's just an excising ability to evaluate, perhaps even surgically so and in truth, I care hardly at all about any acquisitions though I do value a few objects.  Ideas are the only truly valuable things in my life and that's what lasts and is passed along to the next generation whether they're garbed in sleek technologies or stone tablets with the Ten Commandments chiseled into them. 


SONGSOPTOK: Please leave some parting words for the next generation, your generation and the previous generation that reflect your thoughts on this topic.

PHILLIP: Anything possible already exists even if only as ideas in the a priori ether.  Whether one comes to terms with this notion through Plato's forms or by way of sentient machine intelligence that will soon burgeon into reality once the "Singularity" becomes viable, the main thing is to know you're neither unique nor special.  In truth, our existence is probably nothing less than a design of the holographic universe embedded inside another and another much like Russian nesting dolls that runs as a computer program.  This doesn't mean that our thoughts, feelings and actions aren't important rather, some questions are so amazingly complex that it required this program to be created and operated in the first place and we are part of that cosmic design. 

Note: what I've tried to impart in these closing statements are evidence of my own failed  distillations from reading the works of individual's far smarter than I am, namely: Douglas R. Hofstadter and Nick Bostrom. 


We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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