- The Millennials: they have no compassion.
- Remember when we were the younger generation and what the older and wiser said about us?
- You think there are no differences?
- Sure there are. Those who came of age in the year 2000 and after are
more social, cooperative out of self interest, are less political except
in protection of their freedom and demand for tolerance.
- They are ambitious.
- In a word. But do you know why they lack compassion?
- They have no stories.
- Everyone has a story.
- Are you sure? There are only a few kinds of stories: those that end in
death, those that are of wandering and returning home, those that are
of falling in love and making a home. Do you see anything in common?
- What do they have in common?
- A story is an account of movement from place to place. A story ends
when movement ends, when there is no longer any reason or possibility of
movement. When we were kids the talk was all peace, love,
understanding, beauty, truth...
- I remember.
- These words refer to states of inaction: they are reflections, bring to mind awareness of a good relation to the world.
- They tell us we are at home. I get it.
- To feel at home requires character, requires that we have a certain
character that the place we find ourselves in suits perfectly, suits so
perfectly we don't have to do anything. These feelings are the end of a
- But what is character?
- Habit. Habits are strengthened by repetition. Habits give us capacity
to do things, but also take from us capacity to do other things. A body
builder does well lifting weights but not at ballet. Ambitious people
aim at achieving freedom from the restraints of character. To be able to
do whatever is required to succeed, whatever is asked of them by others
without shame or hesitation. They have no character, and consequently
have no home.
- But they do have homes. They are about the only people these days who have their own place to live.
- Millennials seek freedom. They'll do what's required to get rich.
There isn't a special place or person for them, because being changeable
themselves, so are the places and people appropriate to their different
selves changeable. What kind of stories can they have if there can be
- They can still die.
- But the significance of death in those stories was in the failure to
get home. Dying without trying to go home is not a story.
- Then what happens?
- Why do people want freedom? To have the power to do things. What do
they want to do? Presumably not satisfy desires, that's not the
Millennial type. Millennials are ambitious. They want to acquire things,
not for the pleasure of use, though that comes along with it.
Possessions, and especially money, are sought as symbols of power.
- They want political freedom to exercise power to acquire symbols of freedom to exercise power...
- A circle. They distract themselves from sight of this meaninglessness
with entertainments, games, intoxications. For them homes are geographic
places with walls that protect these activities. They go from activity
outside the home to activities inside the home. They don't stop, and
they don't notice they don't have a story because they keep recycling
activity with others outside the home to recovery activities within the
home. Ambition however can have a kind of story.
- What's that?
- Deliberately acquiring more and more symbols of power and freedom.
- If we don't have any reason to acquire power to be free for its own
sake what reason can we have to acquire more power to be free for its
- None. But you see, there is a kind of character to the ambitious,
despite their claim to be entirely flexible in their pursuit of more and
more symbols of power. They get good at the politics of acquisition,
but get very bad at everything else, finally reaching the point that the
words describing what we feel when we are at home have no meaning.
- Love, peace, truth.
- On the other hand when you feel yourself struggle on your way home
you don't want to be free of the demand to go home. Taking such freedom
upon yourself means a loss, means literally the loss of home. Once you
know what it means to be unfree and struggling you can share what people
feel who are in similar circumstances. You don't blame or dismiss them
as losers in the game of acquiring freedom and power, don't pretend they
are practicing an arcane form of freedom unfamiliar to you. You
certainly don't blame anyone for not having the character of acquiring
more and more symbols of the power to acquire, which is a deviant,
deformed character that can never find a home.
- The only people who have compassion for others, who can see them in their stories, are those who have stories themselves.