An empty generation


I don’t have many, but one of my greatest and everlasting pet peeves is emptiness. Not a physical emptiness, like that of a depleted cookie jar or gas tank, but one that bears a closer resemblance to spiritual emptiness, such as an empty personality, empty enthusiasm, and empty intention. 

It is from personal experience that I have come to the conclusion that people, especially those who belong to the millennial or generation X categories, have a particularly weak relationship with the correlation between words and actions. Unfortunately, there are so many cases where the connection between “promises” made and actual plans carried out barely resembles a connection at all. 

In most cases, those who create these falsehoods mean no harm. Their casual agreement to meet up or text back or send something is, in their minds, nothing more than just that: casual. But since when did this become acceptable? Since when did the idea of promises become something foreign and unknown? 

Inherently, it is our society that has allowed us to become this way. Social media and its cultivation of a minimal-effort, minimally-intimate interactions is a breeding ground for hollowness. An offhand remark over Snapchat or a thoughtless comment in passing is easy to “lose track of,” as so some might say. But in reality, no, it’s not. 

The solution is simple: don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Although it may possibly be considered one of the most important virtues, being held accountable for your words is a practice that we have lost track of. It is one thousand times better to make zero promises at all than it is to spew false, empty promises directly into expectant mouths. People will always prefer to hear what they want, but it hurts a whole lot more to think you’re getting something that you want only to later come to the crushing realization that these expressions weren’t true. 

Emptiness doesn’t just end with words, though. Media plays a significant role in the culture of emptiness, too. Empty entertainment, in my opinion, can be considered to be one of the most soul-sucking, mind-numbing, depressing activities of the modern era. Why, in this age of fascinating and mind-boggling beauty, do we still choose to sit inside and watch others have fun? Since when did the definition of entertainment become synonymous with playing the role of spectators? 

Watching gets us nowhere. We watch other people have fun. We watch other people make promises to us that they inevitably fail to keep. Mere viewers of our own show, we are watching our lives move past us, and there aren’t an infinite number of seasons left. Unless we start being active participants in our own lives, they may cancel the series altogether.