TheRise of the Self and the Decline of Intellectual and Civic Interest
Twenge(2014) presents a story meant to encourage young people intobelieving in their selves. In this case, believing in oneself is asolution to each and every challenge that comes one`s way. In thecurrent era, the American culture is geared towards self-belief. Manyauthors have included the idea of believing in oneself in theirworks. The authors have used different phrases to emphasize the valueof self-belief. The writers of songs have not been left out in thismove. Many popular songs have focused on the theme of self-worth. Onthe contrary, there has been a decline in the number of songs thatfocus on giving, caring, and moral character. This paper explores howthe rise of the self in this era led to the decline of intellectualand civic interest.
Theincreased emphasis on self-belief has resulted in the decline inintellectual interest. A study conducted among the college studentsto investigate what they value reported a consistent decline ininterest in intellectual and abstract concerns (Twenge, 2014). Thestudy also reported an increase in materialistic and practicalconcerns. A similar study investigated the reason why students go toschool and reported that many subjects argued that they went toschool to create more money (Winograd, 2011). Very few respondentsargued that they went to school to be educated and appreciate ideas.
Therehas also been some decline in civic interest as a result of a highemphasis on self-belief. Even though the persons in this generationappear to support politics and community involvement, the behaviorsand opinions of persons in this era are not in support of theseviews. A study on civic engagement conducted among college studentsreported a decline rate of civic engagement among youths (Twenge,2014). Even though some youths appear interested in the civicengagement, the numbers of persons interested in civic engagementdoes not equal the number in the late 1970s (Winograd, 2011).
Theyouths in this era are reluctant to focus on other aspects of life(Twenge, 2014). For example, the generation of persons believingsolely in self-belief has no regard to aspects like industry. Theyouths do not know the relevance of duty. The youths have alsofocused on self-belief and ignored the essence of academic ability.As a result, a decline has been observed in cognitive performance,intelligence, and in the existence of well-informed citizens. Theyouths appreciate this culture because it has shaped them ever sincethey were little.
Therehas also been an increase in the number of youths who arenarcissistic. Narcissism deals with the grandiose of self-worth. Astudy conducted in this field used three samples to investigatenarcissistic personality among college students (Twenge, 2014). Thestudy found out that many college students had a high score on thenarcissistic personality disorder. What was funny was that thesubjects who had a high score on narcissistic disorder believed thatthey were more brilliant than others, but earned low grades unfairly.
Eventhough the culture of self-belief has had some benefits, it doesencourage people to believe in aspects that deal with the self, whileforgetting other aspects that are on the fence of self. There havebeen negative and positive effects of the generation of self-belief.The negative effects of self-belief affect the intellectual, civic,and academic interest of the young people. As much as the emphasis isput in self-belief, some emphasis should also be put on aspect beyondself.
Winograd,M. (2011). Millennialmomentum: How a new generation is remaking America.New York: Oxford University Press.
Twenge,J. (2014). Generationme: Why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive,entitles-and more miserable than ever before.New York: Atria Books.