Affluenza is what you get when laziness, expectation and lack of struggle take over. It’s luxury killing tenacity and breeding too much time to develop mental health issues and self-obsession. In short, it’s a rich person’s disease, and it’s getting more and more common.
You might think so what, rich kids getting a little problem big deal. However, with social media spreading this kind of disaffected, lazy thinking around, if you’re growing up around any level of money and provision, you’re going to be wrestling with some degree of this problem.
What is Affluenza?
In the last half-century, there’s been a curious problem plaguing the richest parts of the developed world. Teens and young adults who have wanted for nothing their whole lives, who’ve always been on a path to success, veering off into depression, aimlessness and mental health issues.
It’s long been true that rich middleclass kids rebel through music, clothing, whatever, but more than ever, that association is with mental health issues, depression and drugs. Suicide amongst wealthy teens isn’t uncommon, and according to the consumerist attitude to life, this is beyond inexplicable.
This is affluenza. The problems that stem from really wanting for nothing and having nothing to rebel against. No real goals and no real triumphs. A generation of rebels without causes, struggling to find meaning.
Lack of Struggle is a Struggle
This is going to sound incredibly trite and nonsensical to anyone who’s grown up working class or who’s dodged these issues completely, but it’s true. Not having anything to struggle with is very much a struggle.
Genghis Khan took a unique approach when it came to conquering the world. He swept through, destroying every city that wouldn’t pay tribute in his path, and yet establishing no real settlements. A rag-tag bunch of horse nomads from one of the harshest climes on the planet defied the whole world. Yet he never built a Mongol city in his lifetime.
Why? Because he knew what people who grew up in the soft protected embrace of the city were like, and he knew that people who grew up on the steppes of his home were different. He understood that comfort and luxury is really just the beginning of weakness, loss of discipline and laziness.
This can be seen here. Everyone needs a purpose in life, but if you’ve got a lack of strength and determination, borne by an overly privileged upbringing, you’re going to lack the steel to really develop a purpose in life. This is going to result in suffering and lack of direction. This is how lack of struggle becomes it’s own meaningless struggle.
The Modern World Doesn’t Help
We live in a world that venerates people who’ve achieved things through luck alone. Models and socialites, born into good looks and wealthy families. Business ‘success’ stories, like Donald Trump and Khloe Kardashian, born into massive wealth yet commended for becoming rich and successful.
There’s no logic to it, beyond appearance being all that matters. In that shallow philosophy, so common to materialism and consumerism, hard work, determination and true grit lose all value.
At least there used to be the American Dream cliché, where anyone who worked hard and determinedly enough could expect some modicum of success, supposedly.
Now, in the public eye, we’ve almost returned to an age of aristocracy, with the success stories and fame belonging mainly to those who ended up there through luck more than anything else.
Of course, this isn’t completely true throughout society, and luck has always been important, but for teens growing up nowadays, it definitely plays a role. It all comes down to the social media mind-set.
Massive Social Divides
Another element that really doesn’t help is the continued widening of social divides. There’s billions of people living below the poverty line worldwide, and they’re all willing to work much harder and much more intelligently than people raised with everything they could have ever wanted.
At the risk of incurring tiny violins, this makes it harder for those growing up in privilege. It highlights the laziness and lack of focus, the expectation and ingratitude.
What’s the Cure?
The cure is a simple one, it’s just hard to implement completely. Gratitude and goals. Big goals, and the determination to achieve them, is key when it comes to becoming someone who’s actually happy and well-balanced in the long run.
continue to part 2