Read the green tea leaves, boomers
(No. 93) Gen Z owns the world now, by Stephen P. Williams
Photo by malith d karunarathne on Unsplash
In today’s newsletter:
Gen Z revolution.
Reading slows dementia.
Disgraced billionaire does one thing right.
How to sleep well. Ha ha.
Old gays on Father’s Day.
I’ve seen it all, but I haven’t seen this
In my life I’ve seen 772 full moons and just as many waning. Does that give me any particular insights into what is happening right now with our economy and society? Like most older people, I think it does. Ha ha.
I’ve seen it all: threat of nuclear war throughout my childhood, political division, environmental catastrophe (imagine this: when I was a kid the government had to put up billboards to tell people not to throw their trash out car windows onto the highway), rampaging viruses. We’re still here. Yet I think us olds are deluded to imagine that we have especially helpful insights into the modern catastrophes we are experiencing.
Most of us have lived in relative prosperity our entire lives. We haven’t learned from hunger. Contrast that with previous generations.
My grandfather did legal work in exchange for chickens during the Kansas dust bowl. I can’t imagine any lawyer doing that today — and how many chickens would it take to satisfy their $600 an hour fee? We olds are obsolete, unprepared for whatever is coming next.
The Gen Z solution
Our world will immediately improve if we turn over all the governing and problem solving to younger people, especially Gen Z geniuses, with their high EQs. They’re the ones who see the future more clearly, unsullied by the 60, 70 or 80 years of “progress” us olds have witnessed. They’re the ones who can shape our present into a trajectory for a sustainable, manageable future. Possibly with many fewer things for us to play with, but with much more joy, as we learn to live forever.
How to preserve your stories
Apparently, people’s ability to tell complex stories diminishes as they age. (I’m trying to figure out how that jibes with the fact that so many people seem to talk a lot more as they age. But maybe they feel like they never quite get their point out.) A new study in the journal, npj Science of Learning, finds that aging people who read — books, Twitter, mayonnaise labels, whatever — and write — grocery lists, epistolaries, manifestos and Tweets, whatever — are better able to form well-connected narratives, which is a talent that decreases as we age. Disconnected and repetitive narratives can be associated with dementia. The study’s authors say this effect is especially important in poor communities where literacy is low. But for all of us, reading builds brains.
Disgraced old billionaire has good taste in books
How to sleep well
I have not slept really well since having my first child, in 1995. With kids, I was often