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The Other ‘C’ word – Commitment, The Last Taboo

These guys had commitment...wait isn't that Phoebe's boyfriend who goes to Minsk on the right?
Now these guys had commitment…wait isn’t that Phoebe’s boyfriend who goes to Minsk on the right?

<Warning>

The first 400 words of this article contain clichés and sayings such as ‘IT Guys don’t remember your name’, ‘Divorce rates are higher now’ and ‘People don’t go to the gym enough’. Its not “13 ways you can get your life back on track” and there are no funny pictures of cats doing hilarious human-like things. If you don’t want to commit to reading any further, I don’t blame you. But then again, this article is about you.

<Warning>

You lack commitment. Before you start getting flashbacks to High School, I’m not breaking up with you, its just a fact. We all lack commitment. Our generation lacks commitment.

Think about it, what’s your biggest commitment in life? Let’s start on a daily basis. School, University, your job maybe? The average person will now have changed jobs 11 times before they die, that’s roughly once every five years, and that’s just the average. This is in comparison with other generations, where people had jobs for life and asking a child what they wanted to be when they grew up, actually meant something. So your job doesn’t seem such a big commitment if you know on average you’re only going to be there long enough for the guy working in IT to finally remember its ‘Brian’ and not ‘Ryan’.

Okay so how about on a monthly basis, the gym membership? That’s a commitment right? I mean it sure as hell felt like one when you agreed to go every 3 days and now you’re just paying for a card in your wallet to openly mock you. There’s a great scene in a film somewhere where a guy opens his wallet and in it, there’s just a blank white card with the words “You’re fat, ugly and alone, go do something about it!” and the guy says “That doesn’t cost me 40 dollars a month and its about as useful as my gym card was to me”. This article isn’t going to tread the boring line of ‘people don’t go to the gym enough’ but there’s a reason for mentioning it, I’ll get to that. And on a yearly basis? Maybe a significant other? It’s too much of a cliché to mention divorce rates of first time marriages (50%) or the average number of sexual partners increasing (by 10% in the last 10 years). That’s before we’ve even got started on religion and how few people in our generation make a commitment to God in the Western world in comparison to those even 30 years ago. It’s just safe to say we’re not as committed as we once were. This shouldn’t come as a revelation to anyone, but the reasons behind it just might. Its no surprise we lack commitment when everything in our world is aimed at not showing it.

Connected – with more than just 4G

Our generation has seen changes in our lifetime beyond belief. Do you remember a time when you couldn’t be on the house phone and on the Internet at the same time? Actually, do you remember a time when people used to have a house phone? These changes have supposedly made our lives easier; we’re more connected now than we’ve ever been before. Don’t just take my word for it, there’s a book called ‘Connected: The Amazing Power of Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives’ written in the same vein as all the other popular science books like ‘Freakonomics’ that had a primary purpose beyond that of a book. Namely, to sit on your shelf at University to prove to your friends that you were an intelligent and unique individual. You know, right next to that poster of those dogs playing poker.

‘Connected’ isn’t the best read in the world but it highlights one key topic and I’ll summarise it briefly here so you don’t have to commit to reading it all. The basic thrust of the book is that our social networks control our lives and in our generation, our ‘social networks’ are dominated by our social media.

Everything about social media, hinges on its instantaneousness and in kind, its disposability. That tweet you sent 45 minutes ago? It’ll most probably be never read again. That picture you took on Instagram last week? There were more photos taken in 2013 than in the rest of human history combined. Its no surprise we lack commitment when everything in our world is aimed at not showing it.

‘Maybe Attending’ – for when ‘no’ just isn’t good enough

Let’s go back to that gym membership. What’s the No.1 advertising point on most gym websites these days? “No Contract Necessary”. Even the companies’ who’s sole objective is to get you to commit, are advertising using the attraction of no commitment. Even the way we obtain our news is designed to attract us in without commitment. The rise of Buzzfeed and Upworthy means that now every headline in the Western world must have an odd number in it and generate fake excitement. It belittles the work of the journalist and means the reader doesn’t have to commit to an article beyond the first 5 words.  And then think about your life on a more minute scale. How easy is it these days, to send a text and say “I’m really tired, can we rearrange?” Or to just click ‘Maybe Attending’ on an invite and not have to go through the motions of actually explaining why you can’t really be bothered to head over to that party tomorrow night. We may be more connected than we’ve ever been, but it’s made it much easier to go back on our word. Its no surprise our generation lacks commitment when everything in our world is aimed at not showing it.

Words by Jamie Timson Image Credit: Wikicommons Originally published in Delfinien our Danish media partner

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