Can Millennials Ever Grasp the Importance of Active Peace?

opinion

Image source: capital.org

Millennials have been researched over and over – by some, seen as the spoilt brats who are never happy, and by others, looked at as the upcoming leaders of our world. Regardless of the stance other generations might (or not) have on us, we are in serious need of getting our shit together. Why? Well, you’re about to read the answer.

We are the Millennials and we are many. According to an UYD report, this generation is represented by 1.7 billion people from around the world, that is 25.5 % of the world’s population. In addition, the Global Conflict Tracker estimates 28 global conflicts currently taking place in the world, 6 of which are critical. Added to that, the number for international migrants abroad was 244 million people in 2015, an increase by 41% compared to 2000 according to the UN.

Now, for many Millennials, the importance of peace isn’t the first thing to think of in the morning. Everyone’s got their own problems, interests and motivations – as for the global questions, well. There’s someone “over there” who’ll take care of that, while we, the Millennials, sit over here and mind our own business.

To be fair, our generation isn’t the only ignorant one – many have come before us to show us the way to walk the walk, by selectively choosing (customising, as they call it) our input. They, as we, in the Western world, have been so busy being independent individuals, up to the point of this global migration crisis actually popping out of nowhere as a big surprise.

It wasn’t a surprise.

Migration has been expected to increase since, well… since after WWII. This is because people from poor cities and countries understood that they could create a better life for themselves somewhere else, so they did and they still do, and they will continue to do so.

You would too.

Now, this isn’t the only surprise, of course. We have the corrupt food industry to deal with, there’s the pharmaceutical corporations selling dangerous drugs without taking responsibility for it, there’s the global arms industry and then there’s the famous criminal trade. To mention a few.

What is unique to us, though, separating us from all other generations before us, is the immense amount of exposure to all of the previously mentioned surprises. We wouldn’t be able to ignore them for long, no matter how much we’d like to, because the internet is here to help us not do it. Our smartphones are here for us, applications pleasing us with everything we never thought we’d have to deal with, ever.

What we’re doing wrong at the moment

Right now, it is more than appropriate to call the Millennials a bit confused, as we are indeed overwhelmed by input from all sorts of sources. It’s quite hard to separate propaganda from objectivity; honesty from manipulation; and critical thinking from radicalised views.

How could we have time for global issues when we hardly know how to make time for the thousands of other things that life is about today? Being responsive to marketing campaigns can be great at times, but as behavioural studies are applied in subjects far beyond psychology we are going to be in trouble.

Even more so, being opinionated 24/7, having the need to belong to loud groups, being pressured by oneself to choose among already defined political ideas – these are all things many Millennials do, and due to them, the outcome is a hysterical media space featuring intense senseless debates, declining personal health and destructive relationships.

Receiving what looks like legit information is convenient; however, it doesn’t mean that this is the case at all. Solely relying on what is presented, without further critical thinking, has contributed to the making of the most ‘not-so-great’ generation right now. Critical thinking isn’t to become radical in your political view, however, much of a nice, fuzzy, unity group feeling you might get out of it.

What’s peace got to do with it?

Peace is a subject for everyone who has ever had the privilege to experience it, the infortune to struggle with it or the tragedy of never knowing about it. For those who know what it feels to be deprived of peace, we are more than responsible to speak up and bring that experience to the public, inviting everyone to speak, argue, listen, disagree, maybe even find some common conclusions.

For those who haven’t reflected on what peace means to them, now would be a great time to do so. What does it mean to you to live in a country with strong institutions, with clear problem-solving mechanisms, where human rights are guaranteed, where you’re protected, where you as an individual have rights?

If this hasn’t been a topic of interest for you, the current weird US president, along with the Regressive Left and global migrant crisis, might have given you some inspiration. For a generation that is easily misled, living in today’s world, and exposed to extreme amounts of information, means not being able to deal with it all is a social weakness.

Our societies become vulnerable to peace-disturbing elements when free speech is being restricted, when some human rights are valued over others, where sensationalism and click-bait runs our media. This is why you will find titles like “top 5 conflicts to keep an eye on,” completely degenerating the level of importance of international issues.

Increased radicalisation, whether religious or political, is an indication of peace not being as important – blaming and punishing other people, apparently is. The next level, adding violence to these ideas, is definitely not peaceful.

Suppressing aspects of society which may not confirm a pleasant picture of reality is another way of not promoting peace. Creating an atmosphere where we’d rather play some cool app games than educate ourselves (so as to be “surprised” by every global event), is yet another great way of breeding ignorant young adults and not promoting peace. Encouraging narcissism in social media while we’re experiencing serious global issues about to hit us hard is not a way of promoting peace.

Everything has to do with peace.

Where we could (and should) be heading 

The biggest advantage of our generation is openness – added to it, is the great level of responsibility. We’re many, and many of us are connected, working globally, interacting with people from various cultural backgrounds. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of this form of interaction and the relationships created online.

As we are, indeed, part of a globalised world, members of interconnected platforms and staying comfortable in exchanging ideas with each other, there’s potential for us to promote peace. Lately, we’ve been so busy running deep into dichotomies and story-telling, desperately expressing ourselves as everyone else in the name of authenticity. If we let go of those narcissistic tendencies and choose to make real lives matter, then we’re promoting peace.

Should we aim to make peace within ourselves, to then be able to work outwards? Would it be a good idea to have peaceful relations with other people, aiming to solve conflicts through constructive conversation?

Millennials have to prioritise in this jungle of data, information, entertainment, political campaigns and manipulative word combinations posing as “true news.” We should see beyond all of this and focus on what really matters – for us, for those who would like to help live better lives, and for those we love. This is peace.

The biggest question of them all for us Millennials is: will we get our shit together? Let’s all do something actively for it to happen.

About Zorana Vuk 10 Articles
I write about all things Security Studies. Often passionately.

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