We are doomed to this unyielding night until Baby Boomers are no more.
It is the only explanation that makes sense: Baby Boomers, the largest living crop of humans around, must be suffering a subconscious trauma, an abstract pain of dangerous proportions. It's for this reason our society seems in a perpetual funk, unable to escape the brooding and malevolent cloud lingering above us all.
I'm sympathetic, for sure; indeed, were I to suffer such so much repeated disappointment as this generation, I'd be feeling blue too.
After all, it was this generation which was sold the promise of the space age; children in the 1950s and 60s marvelled at wondrous technology newly-minted marketing professionals promised would not only fire an era of interstellar exploration, but also eliminate inequality, racism, hunger and want.
It seemed so plausible.
We Can Put a Man on the Moon ...
Sadly, much of this promise evaporated; where's my jet pack? these same Boomers now ask. It's not just fantastic flying machines that have yet to materialise.
For the politically radical of both sides, the lack of achievement is all the more acute. For the Left, utopia has not come; the gains in women's, minority and gay rights have been bought in blood. Who can and can't love each other remains, even in 2010, under the purview of our legislators.
For conservatives, their own gains from Reagan, and then Bush, have yet to bring the Rapture, although I suspect the Right has come frighteningly closest of the two sides to its promised land.
For the rest of us, locked in interminable political fratricide drowned by dogma, there's little idealism left to cling.
Baby Boomers can't help but feel this incongruity, a cognitive dissonance resulting in an intangible malaise they can't quite quantify. In short: they are bringing us, collectively, down.
It's the only explanation.
It's the End of the World As We Know It
Despite it all I'm perfectly excited about the future. I reckon I'm bullish because the magical technological gains I've seen in my lifetime were pleasant – sometimes unexpected - surprises, like some never-ending Christmas morning, with each new gee-whiz revelation more delightful than the next.
Yet the internet, DNA sequencing and the rapid advancements in biomedicine have not been advancements by right, as promised to previous generations, but a privilege to witness and enjoy. I have no jet pack to miss.
Of course Baby Boomers need not die in order to change things; but it will take a massive collective effort to turn around a lifetime of disappointment, to once again see the world anew, without expectation and free from the bitterness of so many broken promises.
Maybe we can help? To all the Baby Boomers in your life, it's time to give them a reassuring hug:
There's no jet packs. We've no colonies on the moon or Mars. The age of plastic consumption you modelled to the world has imperilled us all.
But you burned bright and hot, lighting the way for successive generations to follow, with your free love, activism and Woodstock. Thank you.
Now get over yourselves. Get out there. And get happy!
It's a brave new world.
Image credit: !!WaynePhotoGuy