Contours of Individualism according to How Generation Me

Generation Me – the generation born between 1970 and 1990 – is a generation that is at once infuriating yet inspiring, disturbing yet enlightening. What else can you say about a generation that is self-centered, apathetic, narcissistic, self-destructive and rude, yet tolerant, non-discriminatory, enlightened and ambitious? The bad traits and the good ones come together to define this generation, and these traits are really all branches of one larger trait, and that is individualism. Individualism can be summed up by one phrase – “the world revolves around me.”&nbsp. Therefore, no authority has any sway, no traditions have any meaning,&nbsp. and all differences are accepted.&nbsp.

Individualism is a mixed bag. On the one hand, individualism leads to rudeness. Witness the truck owner who takes up four spaces in a parking lot on a rainy day, the woman who leaves a shopping cart in a parking space, a man who talks loudly on a cell phone in a bookstore where people are obviously trying to read. On the other, individualism leads to large societal change – because individualism by definition bucks conformity and convention leads to great change.

Perhaps no other term is more appropriate for Generation Me than individualism. Generation Me sees him or herself as special and unique, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They also discount the opinions of others, which is sometimes a bad thing. For instance, they are resistant to authority. (p. 28). Where previous generations were taught the value of God, church, and government, Generation Me questions all of these institutions. (p. 28). They also question the expertise of instructors, believing that they know as much, if not more, than their teachers about the subject at hand. (p. 28). Because of this, they are generally resistant to criticism about their work. It is, therefore, no doubt difficult for them to improve. Related to this is the fact they are more likely to cheat in academics, which also makes it difficult to have the same qualitative learning experiences as those in previous generations.