“Ours was a generation grown up to find all gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken”
The above is a quote from F.Scott Fitzgerald the American author of many short stories such as what is now called The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but many more will know him for The Great Gatsby. The above quote makes me recall the scene I saw in the cult classic Fight Club:
“Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. ”
I’m talking in particular about the bit in bold. When I became incredibly stressed out a couple months back due to a very high work load of stuff I didn’t love, want or care for in the slightest, these quotes spoke to me. These quotes made me think that there is so much banality, so much pointlessness to life, the quote from Fight Club speaks about this point in greater depth than F.Scott Fitzgerald’s does. Right now I’m at University and I do as much as I can to keep myself content with what I’m doing, sure I have to deal with a bit of shit from time to time but life isn’t perfect, if it was it’d be boring and we’d all come up wanting.
So when I found these quotes they spoke to me, I realised so much about what I was doing and where I was, from several sentences that most might ignore, and in the case of Fight Club completely over look because ‘oh cool that dude punched the other one lawl’. I realised that I was working my ass off, on assignments that those who’d set it didn’t care for and any thought about well-being was non-existent. I realised I was paying more than three times what people used to pay several years back in the UK for what was definitely not anywhere near three times as greater a service – Seriously question what £9,000 is worth and then think about if dodging lectures due to their boring and sometimes not even relevant material is worth that much (hint: 1 penny is already too much). I realised I was basically paying an exorbitant amount of money each and every year, to be quizzed, to be questioned and to be watched to see if I could ‘cut it’ all for a lousy bit of paper. A lousy bit of paper that meant somewhere near 20 doctors or professors, who’d I never met – they knew nothing of my personal beliefs, loves, hates or anything – these people thought I knew roughly what I was doing.
It was a demeaning realisation. That I was just working my way through some system just so I could apply for a job and be slightly more qualified than someone else but being realistic still starting at the bottom. And the time to apply for jobs is getting closer with each passing day and i’ll be honest, that is a terrifying idea. The idea that the work I produce will have to be of such a high quality that I get paid to do it? That’s insane, I barely see myself as an adult and quite frankly I don’t want to. Growing old is mandatory, growing up however is optional.
Everyone wants to do what they love for work. But what happens when what you thought you loved turned out to not be that great? What happens when that love is removed through hours of graft by people you’re paying to test you with the most vague and appallingly set questions? What happens when the love is gone but the bills remain?
I don’t know, and that is very fucking scary.