I recently listened to a keynote speech by Dr John Izzo, an American thinker, speaker and organisational consultant that ‘s getting pinged around the blogging world at the moment. Its a talk about the challenge to the baby boom generation. He describes us as as the lucky ones, born just after one bad load of shit (the world wars) and just before the next load (terrorism, the meltdown of global capitalism, over-population ………….). Here it is. Now in this aspect, of course he is right. We have been very fortunate. As a matter of fact I can’t think of many other times in world history when such a flowering of economic prosperity, consciousness and cultural growth all coincided. Maybe the Renaissance. Then again, maybe not. Thinking about it, Harold Macmillan was right. In many ways we really had “never had it so good”.
Izzo then describes the challenge to the baby boomers. We have a small window of opportunity to use this good fortune to help the next generations out, to leave a legacy. After all weren’t we the ones that bellowed about creating a better world than the generations before us. We had the education, the tools of wisdom, the expanded consciousness and the moral high ground. Do we want to be remembered as the generation that creamed our own pockets (fat wages, pensions), raped what was left of the earth’s resources (heating, cars, air travel), waged war on those that didn’t share our beliefs (Iraq, Afghanistan,) or, perhaps there’s still a chance to do something radically different, to leave a better world behind?
Izzo doesn’t give, at least in this talk, much of a sense of how we do that, but it’s an interesting question he raises, albeit in a typical American quasi-preaching (he used to be a minister), gung-ho, call to arms kind of way. In fact its become something of a fashionable swipe. Let’s blame the baby boomers.
But just hang on. Life is rarely this simple. After all we were the generation that broke out of the stifling gloom of fifties England, lifted the lid on racial and sexual discrimination, raised consciousness of environmental issues, brought an increased awareness of spirituality, created vast cultural growth in all aspects of the visual and media arts including music and oh yes – we won the World Cup!
Besides there’s a fundamental error in thinking that we, the human species, can alter things that much. We are only a tiny speck in the unlimited universe. Why should we think we can sort out the mess we have made? It is the ultimate expression of human self-delusion to believe we are able to save the world from the awaiting disaster. War, perhaps, famine, maybe, disease possibly – but human will. No way hozay. Obsessed with vanity to the point of building our own ark. That’s not going to happen. The end of the world is nigh. And you know what – it maybe won’t be the end. Perhaps we are living in a film going backwards. Spinning destined towards our beginnings, in the vastness of galaxies unimagined. Or maybe we’ll just hand the baton on to the next breed of sun-worshippers. But whatever we do – it won’t be the fault of the sixties generation.