If I had to generalize, the main reasons why the Millennial generation is dysfunctional is because of insulation from competition, organizational chaos around them, and a resultant lack of healthy friendship. This is what people tend to mean when they use terms like ‘atomization.’ It’s not just that people are isolated, it’s that they’re isolated in a chaotic social environment.
People in the business press will often try to explain why millennials need to be treated differently to manage their unusual psychologies.
In the US, we’ve gone from what was once a highly competitive culture into a cut-down-the-tall-poppy culture that’s more common in Asian countries, Europe, and South America. Part of the reason for this is that this is the first generation to grow up with enormous numbers of new people from Asia and South America. The positive spin that’s often put on this is that it’s a less materialistic culture. Well, that may be, but primitive tribes without plumbing are also less materialistic. A certain amount of materialism is what keeps humans out of the trees.
This generation is also the first to really bear the full brunt of feminism and women in the work force.
All of this leads to caginess, social fracture, romantic nihilism, and corporate dysfunction.
This is a generation that, as children, tended to be used as chemistry sets for new psychiatric theories that tend to be developed and discarded in five year cycles. The results of using children’s brains as chemistry sets seem to be, at least from self-reports, widespread psychosis.
People whose formative experiences were having quack doctors tell them all the ways in which they were disabled and deficient (while simultaneously telling them that they were talented and special) lead to people with a strange sense of identity.
We’re what happens when you have classes for middle schoolers that explain why promiscuity is healthy and masturbation is a great idea. This was a bold social experiment, and now we know what the results look like. It’s not just the chemicals, but the pioneering psychological theories pushed onto people without much thought about the potential damage that might be done. Libraries have been filled with books of untested notions, and then those ideas have been promoted at scale at schools, universities, clinics, and hospitals.
The baby boomers get a lot of credit for being the vanguard of the ‘sexual revolution,’ but even those that have divorced tend to have an idea of what romance and monogamy means. It’s difficult for people in the older set to understand how, among young people, even in the upper classes, monogamy has become strange, and even a perverse behavior, before increasingly fewer feel the pressure to go into a sham marriage to satisfy someone’s baby rabies.
While millennials are highly educated, they’re educated in a system that has watered down standards to the point of uselessness. Meanwhile, many of those people with watered-down credentials believe that they are entitled to high positions in the workforce. This leads to frenetically chaotic competition in which employers with limited legal means to discriminate among employees based upon ability have to sort through huge numbers of people who are all desperate for work, without being permitted to efficiently test the capacities of the people looking for that work.
Additionally, many of those people are saddled with debts that push them to compete much harder for work than they probably should be. Demand for labor to repay debts (created ex nihilo, with a ‘native advertising’ campaign called K-12 paid for by the government) displaces demand for labor based on capability and interest to do the job.
That all happens in the larger context of economic chaos caused by Federal Reserve policy, egregious acts like Obamacare, and foreign competition taking advantage of the civil conflict within the US.
Faced with this pile of problems that single people can’t solve, the typical response is to pray for the apocalypse. That’s understandable. It’s also the morally wrong response.
A lot of the common life problems that millennials experience are due to people no longer really looking after one another. Families, which are supposed to fulfill this purpose, have been greatly damaged or obliterated in enormous numbers. It’s sort of like what happens when formerly owned dogs become strays. Their hair gets patchy, they don’t eat good food, they develop weird habits, they have trouble socializing, and they become incapable of doing ordinary dog-like things.
People aren’t much different. Without close friends, family, and spouses, people tend to become unhealthy, erratic, and unproductive. They begin worshiping strange idols, obsessing over useless paths of knowledge, making bad art, and abusing drugs. The people that are supposed to help other people to resolve their problems will tend to instead just do what they can to triage the dysfunction, tell the person who has made themselves worthless that they still possess essential worth, and go on to the next dysfunctional person.
The reason why we hold each other to standards of behavior, health, and appearance is because a breakdown of this process causes the breakdown of civilization: city by city, town by town, village by village, family by family, person by person.
Apocalyptic violence only makes those problems far worse and usually has multi-generational negative consequences. Chaotic civil war doesn’t select for civilized traits. The people who thrive during chaotic civil wars are killers, pimps, smugglers, and whores in that order. The higher arts disintegrate almost immediately, because delicate spirits must either coarsen or escape to survive the conflict. Keeping the electricity running and the plumbing working is a big enough challenge: producing literature and advancing technology becomes impossible.