I received a fair number of comments, suggestions, and complaints after yesterday’s post about the obedience-entitlement matrix and how different generations might map onto it. Unsurprisingly, all of them were from Millennials. I was glad. If someone puts your generation in a quadrant with the word “Slaves”, I hope it rubs you the wrong way.
There were two motives for yesterday’s post. The first was just fun. I find categories and paradigms enjoyable as intellectual playthings. No research went into it. I’m experimenting with different ideas to see if they entertain or enlighten in new ways. I wouldn’t even say I stand by whatever labels and descriptors were there in any way, except that I fully admit to finding the exercise useful.
The second motive was to rub a lot of people the wrong way. Not to actually upset anyone, but to leave all readers feeling that the categories put forth fail to accurately capture many people, and especially the reader him or herself. Stereotypes, categories, sweeping generalizations, and even concepts like generations are made up. They have no objective ontological status (may my philosopher friends correct me if I’m using these words confusingly). Like all myths and symbols, they have truth value in that they convey truths, but they aren’t true.
I hope every time you see the world broken into a few big categories it makes you feel a bit like you don’t really fit into any of them neatly. Disassociate from collective categorizations and see yourself as exceptional. Collectivism is one of the most pernicious outlooks in the history of man and is responsible for untold evil.
This balance is to use groupings, categories, and two by two matrices as tools to enhance your experience of the world and improve your interpretive and predictive powers. Don’t actually believe them. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who accept being lumped into two groups, and those who don’t.