Awareness is key when it comes to the standards of value that you use to measure yourself against. I know this to be true, because I used to compare myself to values almost completely opposite to the ones I hold today. Growing up as a teenager and young adult in a post 9/11 world is a different experience than it was earlier, for instance during the 90’s with its innocence. The political and cultural battle lines have hardened and the downward spiral of Western self-respect has sharply accelerated. Threats that used to external are now internal. Your enemies aren’t far away on a TV screen, now they occupy high offices in academia, the media and in the non-profit sector.
I can understand that young people today that aren’t exposed to proper critical thinking and truly alternative viewpoints must emerge with a warped moral compass. Additionally, their yardstick for measuring their own lives is bent out of proper shape. I used to be one of them. I used to be naive and gullible, surrounded by a decidedly left-wing culture the inevitable had to happen. My own “lack of success” with scoring dates and one-night stands used to bother me. I compared myself to what I perceived to be proper young male behavior. I thought that there must have been something wrong with me, staying home and reading books rather than socializing at alcohol fuelled parties. Had I not been a naturally curious person exposed to differing viewpoints, I still would have had these values.
Now however, I’m thankful that I naturally rejected these pursuits by not participating in them. The “old fashioned” more socially conservative values I have come more and more to adopt are in line with my actual behavior. According to such a yardstick, I was not a failure, but rather managed to navigate my teenage years and early adulthood without falling into the degenerate trap of modern culture. Now when I get a girlfriend, my ability to love won’t have been compromised by short meaningless flings or casual sex. I pity the young people today who have been lied to, that they can screw around without consequences. I doubt that any of them have seen the statistical correlation between the number of sexual partners and divorce rate.
I’m also thankful to have avoided any chance of injury in the trench warfare of sexually transmitted diseases. Combined with the rate of people admitting to lying about such disease to social scientists, the rational response would be to never leave your home again. Rather than lamenting the lack of experiences at booze parties, I have amassed a vast collection of books, podcasts and truly informational material that I have enjoyed. This is actually going to be useful when starting a family and becoming a parent. I never did make someone or will ever make a woman pregnant accidentally. When it happens for me it will be completely intentional and proper preparations for good childrearing will be in place.
The other day I mulled over the term “brain orgy” as a proper descriptor for what I have given myself over the last years. Although there is no inherent value in having a “high score” when it comes to books, I’m proud of the fact that I’m closing in on number 600 since my eighteenth birthday. I imagine what it would have done to me psychologically, if I had my current values ten years earlier. It is not an insignificant amount of worry and dejectedness that could have been avoided. If this applies to me, I imagine that it applies to a lot of other semi-young people in our world as well.