I know you’ve seen them: the “memes” all over the internet that humorously attribute trivial and petty problems as “first world problems.” And while they’re generally hilarious, the truth in them is almost embarrassing. Growing up in the United States, I, as well as my peers, have had the luxury of not experiencing first-hand war, political unrest, and an overwhelming state of poverty usually found in third-world countries. This is what, obviously, distinguishes us as first-world country. We have entered into a wishful era where we, mainly my generation, believe war is obsolete. That we are truly are the closest to “world peace” than we have ever been. War, just like love, and jealously, and multitude of other things, is part of the human condition. And it is this disconnect with this human condition that leads to my generations desperate grasp for anything revolutionary. The desire to be a part of something. Any movement to get jacked up about. See the Occupy Movement.
Let me back up just a bit. War was a very integral part of the lives of my grandparents and great-grandparent’s generation. Right around the turn of the 20th century, the world was still pretty unstable and everyone was just trying to float along, for the most part. My parent’s generation was a bit of a bridge. Raised in strict, conservative households, it was finally acceptable to break free from those norms. Hello, the counterculture! And yes, there were demonstrations and protests against the Vietnam War, and then the less known Korean War. But fact of the matter is that the United States has been in a war pretty much since WWII. And somehow along the way, my generation is unaware of what happened in Kuwait. Or Bosnia. Or that the US presence in South Korea is what keeps the South Koreans safe. Not to mention the uprisings, and civil wars in the Middle East and Africa, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq invading Afghanistan. To describe this as merely conflicts is derogatory in the least.
Our ignorance is what has led us to become preoccupied with inconsequential circumstances, to our “first world problems.” We’re unaware and unaffected by what happens in the rest of the world, a complete contrast to our previous generations. Don’t get me wrong: I myself indulge in my first-world lifestyle and sometimes get caught up with frivolousness. I’m honestly neither saying this is wrong or right. But I just merely wish to point out the interesting progression of mankind. This is just my observation of how we’ve gotten to this point so far.