Monday, August 18, 2014

Exponential Growth Leads to a Battle with Generational Empathy

Insight into each other's lives is how we get along socially. Empathy is important. But what if the very foundation to relate to one-another is challenged?

The empathetic and compassionate understanding vital to inter-generational cooperation is becoming more and more socially unmanageable as the world each generation resides in rapidly changes

In the past family traditions stuck, fathers taught sons their trade and their ways... who taught their sons, on and on... Now sons can become their own people with great choice - leading to greater separation of worlds. 

Think about yourself as a person now. Now think about your parents at the your age. Now think about how you talk to your parents and what about. Take a moment... 

How much of those things share commonality? Most of what filters through is deep-seeded beliefs and personal characteristics, and not much more. 

No longer are the days of parents understanding children's worlds because the two worlds are now so different.

As with the rise of the industrial and tech eras, and the exponential acceleration of the revolutionary, life-changing inventions in those eras, so does our ability to relate to external generations diminish. As economy demands that industry move faster and faster, soon (or already?) the cycle will be faster than a human lifetime causing our ability to relate inter-generationally to fade.

Inter-generational discounting is a prevalent idea and is often most notably demonstrated with climate change concerns:

"The difficulty of avoiding dangerous climate change arises from a tension between group and self-interest and is exacerbated by climate change’s inter-generational nature. The present generation bears the costs of cooperation, whereas future generations accrue the benefits if present cooperation succeeds, or suffer if present cooperation fails. Although temporal discounting has long been known to matter in making individual choices, the extent of temporal discounting is poorly understood in a group setting."

The importance of teaching children how to think and not exactly what to think is more and more important. As your worlds diverge they will need tools they can use in any world, not just the knowledge of yours.