William F. Ogburn, perhaps the most famous sociologist and statistician of the 20th century, was the first to introduce the idea that culture inherently lags behind technology. A sort of economic Freudian, Ogburn asserted that humans base their decisions off a series of economic motives, which ultimately, and immutably, set apart the private and public sphere. But Ogburn's writing, although at first-glance so dry and matter-of-fact that it seems to just be one more credo incited by America's economic woes, soon begins to blanch under searching eyes, and melt into one, large, white flag of surrender.
The problem lies in the fact that Ogburn did not see, or want, to find out a solution to the lag. He was scared of eccentrics, of lavish living and not-so admissible pursuits. To him, happiness was recognizing the delayed action of human beings and being able get-by, make a living, have a family, play golf. Be Normal. Nowadays, normality just won't cut it in the long-run, but still the current social climate points toward a worldwide acceptance of defeatist tendencies. People are letting their aspirations and talents slip by the wayside because they are scared to fail, and yet they still complain of not having a reason behind their unhappiness, or an identity as a whole.
If only we could let go of the stigma of living in a "post-postmodern" world and accept that we are in the midst of what can possibly be deemed the true “Era of Inspiration,” without it actually seeming uninspired. Sure, technology has alleviated some of our hardships, and stirred up the tempo of day-to-day living, but it has not yet matched the greatest machine of all: the human brain. There is still so much to discover, and now is the time when humans should reap the benefits of having access to knowledge on a grand scale, and simply create.
So, Generation Y-ers, take the earbuds out for a while and look around. The motive is not to trump the technological powers that be, or to try to take them down, but to take a minute to place everything- yourself, a computer, a hero- underneath a critical eye, revealing inconsistencies and neglect. Should you still bemoan it all? No. Take action, and the gears of change can begin to function, straightening priorities and fulfilling the wonders that surround us. Teach old Ogburn a lesson: that happiness is not found in resignation.