The young are struggling to adapt to a chaotic and competitive world they haven't been prepared for - Politics | PoFo

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I saw this long opinion article from The Telegraph.

Do you agree?

I'll share some excerpts:

The young are struggling to adapt to a chaotic and competitive world they haven’t been prepared for

I used to believe, like many people, that Britain’s mental health epidemic is merely the symptom of a snowflake society. That is until I heard about the mysterious phenomenon of cowboys driving their trucks off the mountains in the American frontier. In my curiosity, I travelled to Natrona County, Wyoming.

Nobody has a definitive answer to why so many Wyomingites are struggling with their mental health. But what seemed to be behind so many of the tragic stories I encountered were grand life expectations that had crumbled in contact with life’s harsh realities. I spoke with mothers whose perfect sons had entered the adult world armed with prom-king looks and entrepreneurial animal spirits, only to suffer breakdowns when their businesses ran into trouble or they lost a job or a house.

Hyper-competitiveness is not just baked into the economy but into every aspect of life for the young. Take dating, where the app-based Disneyfication of romantic expectation intersects with cutthroat algorithms aimed at subscriber retention. This has created a deranged world where the delusionally desperate endlessly chase after the delusionally fussy, who endlessly chase after an elite who strictly date within their own pool of perfect specimens. On Tinder, it has been estimated that the bottom 80 per cent of men chase the top 20 per cent of women, while the top 80 per cent of women chase the top 20 per cent of men.

There are physical signs that the struggle between the ideal and the real is resulting in disturbing behaviours. Take the outbreak of “bigorexia” in the gyms of South Wales, as insecure young men with limited future prospects pump themselves with steroids, and fall into a spiral of body dysmorphia. Or the incels who are sinking into a dangerous kind of entitled self-loathing, as they succumb not only to suicidal ideation and self-harm, but an extremist ideology that teaches that women who refuse to sleep with men are committing “reverse rape”.

Our country (UK) is also tortured by its own spin on the American Dream, a diabolical lie that ours is a compassionate, kind, “fair-play” society in which even someone who coasts along can expect a quaintly comfortable life. These days, this myth is instilled from childhood through various practices – from the trend of teachers marking homework in “neutral” colours rather than red pen, to non-competitive sports days where it is the “taking part that counts”.

Britain might be more accurately described as a proletarian nation overseen by a cosmopolitan elite.

Decently paid manufacturing jobs have been replaced with cashier and call assistant roles. Degrees no longer function as certificates of education, but rather elite passports – with only those bearing the stamp of the most outstanding institutions gaining passage to the interview rooms of the top firms. Economic stagnation is making things worse.

I left Wyoming with the impression that it is a place where expectations of life and reality have become alarmingly divergent. On the one hand, it is the cradle of the American Dream ... But it is also one of America’s most stagnant states, battling poor growth, job losses, and outmigration.

An even more basic take is that, if misery springs from a disconnect between expectations and reality, then logically it follows that either expectations must be lowered or reality must be improved.

Endemic misery is pushing the UK towards a civilisational catastrophe, Sherelle Jacobs, 22 April 2024

related threads:
Lack of opportunity for independence may be causing children's decline in mental health (in Health & Education, 12 Mar 2024)
Younger adult generation shows higher suicide rates amid rising financial pressures (in North America, 18 Jul 2023)
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