The contrast seems to be increasing every day as I scan the headlines and media. On one hand, everyone seems so fascinated by the totally artificial, opposite of the real-world, Burning Man festival. On the other hand, pretty much anyone else, living anywhere but here, is dealing with real-world problems, strife, conflict, families lost to poverty, famine and war.
I see articles talking about millionaires and billionaire Silicon Valley peeps all heading out to the desert for a week of complete abandonment. I mean, good for them – there’s nothing wrong with a big party. But these articles are juxtaposed alongside stories about Syria; terrorism; women and children dead from rockets fired by state-actors who have been fighting since before I was even born; another black child gone forever; entire nations of families losing themselves to disease and famine…
I came of age at the same time Ferris Bueller appeared on the big screen, to try and define (and explain) my American generation for all of history. And I remember the scenes from Ferris and similar movies, where all the kids in class are being lectured to about all the useless political games, the Cold War, pollution, famine, the global population explosion, nuclear winter, and more - and all the kids are so overwhelmed that they just completely tune out. Many of us tuned out back then.
We were kids then. But now we’re all grown up – and we have no excuse. My generation will very soon become the next “previous” generation. Well, maybe not that soon, but sooner than we want. It’s already been nearly three decades since Ferris Bueller was released – and everyone who even knows what a Ferris Bueller is, are probably a bit shocked that so many years have already come and gone. And the years will only keep ticking away. Meanwhile, all the problems we’ve ignored have only gotten worse. So, how’s that whole “tuning out” thing worked for us? It hasn’t.
Anyway, the point is… It’s time to tune in again. And, as the great Ferris Bueller once said:
If you (we) don’t stop and look around once in a while… we might miss our opportunity to actually solve any problems in the world - leaving the next generation to feel even more overwhelmed and lost than we ever did.