I'm eating a burger as I write this.
It's a pretty good burger... 50/50 wagyu and elk, duck bacon, mozzarella cheese, some kinda spicy barbeque sauce but not nasty and sugary like southern style, more southwestern. Bun's a tasteless disappointment of gluten-free "bread", but that's hardly anyone's fault other than my own digestive system.
Nicest thing about it is that someone brought it to my door. I just clicked some things on the internet and someone brought me food, and I can concentrate on writing weird stuff for you deranged monkey boys instead of driving my ass downtown or even talking on the phone with some minimum-wage retard who doesn't speak American.
So why the fuck am I writing an article about my lunch? Have I finally lost the plot? Am I about to start taking restaurant selfies and posting them on instabook or facegram?
I'm talking about food (and more importantly, food delivery), because last time I talked to ya'll, about something a little more fundamental, a sizeable number of people choose to "agree" with me by recapitulating the Yorkshiremen Sketch, like this:
A large problem with today’s society is we’re a bunch of wanters. Everything is so instant...messaging, food, online shopping.
Instant gratification is the death of character, and self respect.
Indeed. You become addicted to gratification.
This shit is eternal. Every time society starts working right, or simply hasn't stopped working yet, technology advances. And every time technology advances, old farts decide that young people have it "too easy", and either it's going to ruin them, or it already has. I'm sure that at some moment in prehistory, Angrinak thought that Tholo was ruining his character by hunting aurochs with these fancy new Clovis points.
So I'm here, having polished off my instant-gratification-and-duck-bacon burger, to rant at you why, yes, there IS something wrong with young dudes right now (as if we would be here if there weren't), but, no Dr. Van Winkle, your diagnosis is not correct.
The average timid, depressed millennial who limps into TRP looking to fix his life has not been broken by the presence of instant gratification, but by the absence of non-instant gratification.
Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay whut? Whisper, you just said the same thing twice!
No, I didn't.
It doesn't matter that I can make someone bring me lunch right away so I can write. What matters is that I have things to work on that are neither so easy that I can succeed instantly, nor so hard that I cannot ever conquer them. Real goals that require long term work give life what most people call "meaning", although it can be better described as a sense of achievement.
It doesn't matter whether the average millennial can summon lunch with one click, or images of naked nymphs with another. He's not depressed, hopeless and ineffectual because everything is too easy. If everything were too easy, he would be getting a lot more things... easily.
No, his problem is that he doesn't believe in his ability to succeed at difficult tasks eventually. If his initial effort doesn't lead to success, he doesn't give up to avoid hard work... he gives up in the belief that hard work would yield him nothing. He's not being lured away from real girls by images of naked sluts... he's using the images of naked sluts to anesthetize his feelings of hopelessness of ever succeeding with the real girls.
How did we get this way?
Well, to grossly oversimplify, around about the mid-1970s, a bunch of middle-aged harpies with PhDs in Education (from the French "Edu", meaning "like psychology", and "cation", meaning "but with even more bullshit"), decided that there was a thing called "self-esteem", that "self-esteem" was really important for children to have, that constant praise and celebration of everything about them would bolster children's "self-esteem", and that failure would damage or destroy it. So they adjusted public school practices, and "expert" advice to young parents, accordingly.
Well, it turns out that scienceism isn't just dumb... it's dangerous. Consider the work of this negligent mass-murderer, for example.
And so, like so many of the projects of scienceists and ivory-tower intellectuals, the action they took achieved the exact opposite of the intended effect. Each succeeding generation of young children, constantly praised, and sheltered from any difficult task which might lead to failure, did not develop a high self-esteem. They hated their participation trophies, they knew their accomplishments amounted to nothing, and yet they were terrified to try anything difficult, because all of their young lives, they had been graded on avoiding failure.
Self-reliance (a very different thing from self esteem) in adulthood comes from the repeated experience in childhood of trying a difficult thing, and succeeding through sustained effort. Without this experience early on, the later adult will be very afraid to try new things, believing failure to be both inevitable and permanent. This continues the pattern of deprivation of challenge, and lack of self-reliance.
Thus, the problem we see is not one of general excess and abundance, but of specific scarcity and starvation in the very midst of that excess.