A close friend of mine shared these two screenshots on social media, and tagged me to share my views. At first, I wondered whether it was true because the author was factually correct. It got me thinking as to why our generation, even with a much better quality of life, is suffering? The author says:
‘In the old days, we seldom heard of someone suffering from depression’.
Definitely, lack of awareness and need for social conformity would feed to that sort of an observation in the older days. The author goes on to say ‘such people have a very weak personality’ because they have never struggled and adds a list of supposedly “petty” reasons that people get depressed over to compare the current generation’s struggle with the “real” struggles that people of his generation faced in their time.
Hence, concluding that the current generation has ‘run out of patience’ and is becoming ‘less tolerant’. While I agree with the technical logic presented by the author, I would add the conclusion is inaccurate.
The reason being, understandably, that “anchoring bias” has crept in. We, as humans, have always understood the magnitude of any variable by relating it to a “standard”. That standard becomes the “anchor” and the variable assumes a “relative value” through which we understand if it’s more or less as compared to the anchor.
Now, if we speak about emotions, our mental priming is based on the kind of environment (society and its construct) we are subjected to. That becomes our anchor and any emotions hence, get compared to that anchor to determine their “toll” on our mental health. When the author speaks about how things were back in his days, we have to understand that environment was much harsher back then, life was tougher back then and the society was more conservative back then. Hence it wouldn’t matter to them if they fail in an exam or get rejected in an interview. They had bigger fishes to fry. Or maybe we could also say they had “different” fishes to fry.
As the society progressed, humans started easing in to life. Suddenly, privileges back then started turning in to basic human needs of now. Only the rich had a mobile phone 25 years ago, let alone an internet connection; yet even a rickshaw-wala can afford a phone and a 4G connection right now. These are not the war times where even having a life used to be a privilege. Now as our living conditions have improved, we have “smaller” problems to worry about, but mind you, problems nonetheless.
So you see, our anchors have changed. We now compare our problems to a different, much better standard of living. To us, our current generation, our problems are still relatively bigger to the standard of living we are used to. So we do expect to have night light when we sit to study and we do keep expectations from our parents to support our quality of living.
Does it mean our current generation has ‘petty’ problems?
Does it mean our current generation has a ‘weaker’ personality?
But, does it mean we should not enjoy our privileges that seem to be pretty basic and keep asking for more?
This is where I tend to agree with the author, we have forgotten the fact that much of what we have now, much of what we think is supposed to be there by “default”, is in fact a privilege that we don’t share with our older generations. We need accept the fact that our life’s much easier, much more comfortable than what people were used to back in the older times.