A Genertion of Passivity

December 16, 2007
By Bree VanZutphen, Mesa, AZ

"Me and all my friends
we're all misunderstood
they say we stand for nothing and
there's no way we ever could
now we see everything that's going wrong
with the world and those who lead it we just feel like we don't have the means
to rise above and beat it
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change.”
By John Mayer



When I was little I was glued to the T.V. Everyday I sat at home and gazed at anything and everything: cartoons, the Discovery channel, MTV, and the news. People dying. Global warming. Kids drinking. These were some of the dreadful things I witnessed; however, I perceived reality as entertainment. I told my mom that I was going to be super-woman and solve every problem in the world. Not only did I end up not saving the world, I did absolutely nothing to help it. Similarly, my generation remains inert. Lying to ourselves and believing that we have no control over our lives, we prolong our action. Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world;” pitifully, my generation does the opposite: It embraces passivity.

Our need to conform to society is a passport to our passivity. With a generation full of stereotypes and clichés we feel we must follow, the craving to create positive change is diminished. From bleached blonde hair to smoking a joint, we make the choice to “fit in” instead of being proactive. We are “waiting on the world to change”. Humanity has little faith that my generation could break society’s boundaries and transform our passivity into action. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every generation needs a new revolution.” Forget revolution, my generation probably does not even know what that word means. We just do whatever we need to “fit in” and “be cool” and that’s all we care about. This desire to become clones of each other gets us nowhere; therefore, we remain passive.

Not only can we not think on our own, but also we get everything we want. Spoiled and pampered, we are oblivious to the chaos happening around us. Due to unnecessary luxuries, my generation is self-absorbed. We do nothing. Given everything we demand, we remain inert. Always wanting, always begging, always whining – we have no concern for anyone but ourselves. A generation full of egocentricity forces us to sit on our butts and think solely of ourselves. Thomas Brown, a teacher at University of South Carolina says, “Will the most self-centered, self-absorbed, self-important and just plain selfish generation in history ever stop whining and just grow up?” The answer is no. My generation- that whines when we do not have our own cell phone, that cries when we receive no allowance, or that bellyaches about not getting a new car- encompasses passivity with our self-absorption. We are still “waiting on the world to change.”

Along with our egocentricity, my generation’s laziness sparks our passivity. Today teen’s hobbies are anything but proactive. Playing Nintendo, watching television, surfing on the net – my generation is addicted to everything but action. With such close-minded interests, how can we be proactive? This lethargic generation is busy with pointless interests that we hardly notice any outside conflict. Jules Renard, a French author, once said, “Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. Yet it seems as if we are always resting. Not active but stagnant. Not mending but breaking. Not heeding but disregarding. My generation is so lazy that all we care about is new friend requests on Myspace. We’re not tired any longer, we’re just plain lazy.

Besides our laziness, my generation is preoccupied defying, instead of changing, the world. Dictionary.com defines defiance as, “a daring or bold resistance to authority or to any opposing force.” This could be drinking, doing drugs, or any number of “fun” things. By doing this so-called fun, my generation not only numbs themselves to the world’s problems, but also causes many. We are passive to the consequences that our disrespect might have on other people. Trying to escape from rules and our parents’ commands, we assume we are being adult when our action is actually forcing us into passivity. My generation, as John Mayer would say it, is “misunderstood”. Feeling that we can do nothing to help, we defy - the world, our parents, anything and everything. We justify our actions by saying “we don’t have the means to rise above and beat it [passivity].” Action in our eyes is disobedience; however, this defiance is the basis of our passivity.

No matter how much we listen to John Mayer sing, no matter how much we hear Ghandi’s words, at the end of the day we must make the change. Change laziness, change selfishness, or just change anything at all. If we continue numbing ourselves to the world, nothing will change. Hopefully in the future we will take action; however, for now my generation clings to passivity.

“And we're still waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
one day our generation
is gonna rule the population
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change”


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This article has 43 comments.


on Jul. 22 2017 at 8:50 pm
Tinyperson BRONZE, Farmington, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is nothing impossible to him(her) who will try." - Alexander the Great

YES! I agree with your all of your points completely. Thank you for putting this out there. Very true and inspiring.

on Apr. 29 2017 at 1:08 pm
HereSheIs BRONZE, Wellesley, Massachusetts
3 articles 0 photos 192 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." -Plato

You have some good points, but you're generalizing hugely and using stereotypes about teenagers more than hard evidence and ignoring the ways in which our generation has been quite active and past generations have been less than heroic

WildKiwi said...
on Apr. 16 2017 at 9:00 pm
WildKiwi, Wyoming, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
It all flowed very nicely. Using quotes was a clever way to get your point across and show your thinking. Great job!

Jingo BRONZE said...
on Feb. 20 2017 at 7:55 pm
Jingo BRONZE, Waxhaw, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
I might not protect you by being your shield or armor, but I'll be your dagger hidden below your pillow
-Tsukiyama Shuu

The words flowed as smooth as my tears. Good job to you, bad job too our generation.

Yld777 SILVER said...
on Feb. 20 2017 at 2:40 am
Yld777 SILVER, Tirana, Other
6 articles 0 photos 22 comments
very good!!

Hazel said...
on Feb. 6 2017 at 9:18 am
All of this, every comment about teens society today and that song too, is so much part of my life. I feel this way every day and I always feel like I am the only one. Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one.

on Dec. 9 2016 at 8:00 am
Sparaxis SILVER, Saint Marys, Georgia
7 articles 4 photos 268 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you keep on picking on me, I'll mess up again. This time, on PURPOSE."

I live with passive people. They complain about everything going on in the world and expect ME to change things for them.

on Sep. 2 2016 at 3:57 pm
vanessa.ochoa BRONZE, Gilbert, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"After a hurricane comes a rainbow."- Katy Perry

I really like how this piece relates to me and many other people. It has a meaning to it that really explains what many people go through. Good job!

on Sep. 1 2016 at 11:01 pm
Littlemustangfilly BRONZE, Mesa, Arizona
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you hear a voice from with in say "I cannot paint" then by all means paint and that voice shall be silenced -Vincent Van Gogh

I really like this and I think there's a lot of truth to it and it feels like the few of us who want to make changes have our voices drowned out by those who are busy blaming others for the world's problems or are telling us we can't make a difference and should quit before we even try. My old school liked to use a quote by Margaret Mead. It said ," Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world;Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." The people who go around trying to blame other's for the worlds problems are wasting their time. We shouldn't be trying to point fingers. That too is passive because it's an easy way for people to make themselves feel better but all it does is create new problems and with all of the world's issues, we cannot afford more problems.

on Sep. 1 2016 at 7:43 pm
YoungGreenShoot GOLD, Ithaca, New York
10 articles 0 photos 2 comments
This is perfection. You mention surfing the internet in a negative light though, remember, the internet is mostly beneficial- after all you posted this on the internet!

Izzy777 SILVER said...
on Aug. 22 2016 at 9:09 pm
Izzy777 SILVER, Tampa, Florida
9 articles 0 photos 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I always wonder why birds stay in one place when they can fly anywhere around the world. But then I ask myself the same question."

Wow!!! So great

on Jul. 8 2016 at 12:14 pm
TheShakespeareSpeaker GOLD, Durham, New Hampshire
12 articles 17 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I can sum up everything I have learned about life in three words: It goes on."
-Robert Frost

Painful to read, but it is very true. Keep writing!

on Jul. 8 2016 at 12:14 pm
TheShakespeareSpeaker GOLD, Durham, New Hampshire
12 articles 17 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I can sum up everything I have learned about life in three words: It goes on."
-Robert Frost

Painful to read, but it is very true. Keep writing!

Natt_ said...
on Jul. 26 2015 at 11:49 am
Natt_, Bangkok, Other
0 articles 3 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Answer this yes or no answer. Is it possible for you pull it off? Yes? Then do it."

I'm even more afraid of the next generation to come. In the future, technology will be so much more advanced and that will make it so much easier for kids in the future to be passive. Parenting will be so much harder too...

Megan said...
on Jul. 13 2015 at 5:20 pm
I loved this it hit me like been smacked in the face
I could really feel the passion whilst reading this

on Jul. 13 2015 at 3:59 pm
mylifeasapincushion GOLD, Redlands, California
14 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Extremist have shown what frightens them most: A girl with a book"
-Malala Yousafzai

I don't know... I just can't help but find my self disagreeing. Just from the people on this website I have seen the voices of our generation and they are far from passive.

KylieK GOLD said...
on Aug. 14 2014 at 5:48 pm
KylieK GOLD, Mt. Washington, Kentucky
11 articles 0 photos 270 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To love is to surpass one's self."

I'm SO glad to read something like this!  You are spot on!  "Action in our eyes is disobedience; however, this defiance is the basis of our passivity."  Brilliant, just brilliant.

on Aug. 13 2014 at 2:16 pm
The_Book_Thief GOLD, Brownville, Nebraska
18 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"And when you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Finally, someone who spoke up about the falling standards of normal in this time! I am so glad, cause i though my friends and I were alone! I try to do what I can, and I told my best friend to do what is her.

on Sep. 6 2013 at 12:26 pm
LegendKeeper DIAMOND, Unadilla, New York
60 articles 2 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"What is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27

Whoa! I'm not the only teen who thinks this way!!! Awesomeness!!!!!!!! (Me, in my house, thinking celebratory music, with maybe the epilouge version of 'do you hear the people sing'.)  

on Aug. 11 2013 at 3:33 am
EsmeraldaValiente, Los Angeles, California
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
-Maya Angelou

I really agree with you. I feel as if I can't fit in with others for this reason, I worry too much about how this world will end up in the hands of my messed up generation. I am aware that there will always be exceptions to this, which I am really thankful for. Seriously, is it really too much to ask why the students/young adult around me implement change in the world now rather than wait for it? This frustrates me so much that I want to truely start a revolution of my own in which I find a way to encourage people to actually go against this passivity to actually find their passions that can also help save this generation and future ones to come. I do admit that I've hadn't really implemented much change on what I'm passionate about, but after much thinking, I've decided that maybe this is the way to start. I feel so ashamed by how blind I was before becoming a sophmore, my apathy to everything around me, even though I had the resources to find out more. I hope that this illuminates many more adolescents that have the priviledge of reading the omnipresent truth.


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