Friday, September 29, 2006

Philosophical bits

I’m having dinner with a friend tonight and we’ll probably devote it to red wine and philosophical discussions. I’m really looking forward to it; I’ve been in a debating, reasoning and philosophical mood lately, probably cuz I’ve dug deep into works of Giddens, Habermas and Goffman. To fully grasp the notion of “The reflexive project of the self” you really need to active some grey mass!

Also, a researcher colleague and I exchange e-mails over whether there really is an equal sign to be put between one’s self/identity and one’s work (it’s geeky, I know, but I enjoy it a lot). Neither of us is working on finding any antidote to severe deceases, may we still feel proud of what we do? The conception that you are what you do for a living, I claim it’s a very narrow way to look at the notion of work, and I don’t approve of it. I rather try to keep people’s identities apart from what they do in order to have food on the table. But I only need to look at myself for the theory to start decomposing. I work with what I love and that occupies large bits of my spare time as well, namely movies, TV content, interactivity in several areas such as gaming and curiously questioning the world about what they do and why.

This "work-identity issue" sprang out of my colleague’s “turning 30” crisis, and perhaps with this discussion in the back of my mind, an article on how people born in the 1970’s “really are” caught my attention. I rarely fit into neat categories and thus, I felt that the article would only entertain me while reading, that’s all. But I actually recognized myself in the text, which is a bit scary. People my age often think they’re so individual and unique, and thus to see that others are just like you is a bit confusing. According to the article in the Swedish womens' magazine Amelia, and based on studies conducted by Kairos Future, children born in the late 1970’s are mobile, commercial and playing hard to get. If they don’t feel content, they’re off. Ouch, that’s me in a nutshell! Further, according to the survey, the children of the 70’s don’t want to grow up, commit to a family nor a permanent job. Life’s not about getting a gold watch after a long and dutiful 40 years at a single company. It’s rather about collecting experiences, thrills. Freedom is everything. They’re not loyal to anyone but themselves.

I see myself and many friends illustrated here. We’re definitely charmed by the idea that we’re mobile, that any day a great opportunity comes our way, we’ll take it. I’ve done that and never regretted it. I’ve often pondered that the freedom and a sort of healthy ego-individualism seem to characterize many of my generation. Work doesn’t really mean much unless it’s fun and you get a chance to grow and develop as a human being. Lucky for us, the times are what they are, with an enormous freedom to choose profession, place of stay and family mode. However, this great freedom we’re offered is quite stressing as well.

I got curious on Kairos Future, I once attended a lecture a researcher working there held and I liked their studies on youth and their values and attitudes. I googled and found their recent study on what matters to 15-20 year olds in Sweden now. Turns out that entertainment is very high on the list, both girls and boys give second highest priority to partying and entertainment. The same variables didn’t even make the Top 10-list fifteen years ago. What matters is having fun. It’s a shame I didn’t stumble across this study last week, I would have needed recent Nordic research pointing to the fact that people of the modern society are fun-oriented and actively hunt for entertainment.

Hmm, I clearly see a pattern here. I spent the entire day yesterday spurting out words and it seems to continue today. I’d better get to the lab to do a pilot test now before the evening gets here.

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