I got this job on craigslist, where I was given a folder full of glossy photos of people, and then was paid 100$ cash to hang out near where they might be, if I recognized them I was to address them by name, and tell them what floor the meeting was going to be on. It was for a marketing company that was working on a new facial recognition software.

Panopticon and Religion

For those of you that know Foucault’s Panopticon, you may skip this brief explanation I will give for those who have not. Picture this, a doughnut-shaped prison in which all of the cells are facing the center where there is a massive guard tower that can see into all of the cells. The tower is completely illuminated so none of the inmates can see in, but the guards (or presumed guards) can see out. This was his basic idea, that the prison could virtually have only one or two or even no guards watching over the inmates because the inmates would watch themselves. Because the inmates could never see if there were guards watching them, they would simply assume they always were. This “watchful eye” would then be supported if every-so-often a sign of a guard being there was shown, but that could also be done without anyone actually being there, such as a recorded announcement or footsteps or innumerable things. In more contemporary terms, look at the cameras on the corners of “dangerous” streets. The idea behind it is that people will see them being there and not do illegal things such as steal or murder, in case the police is watching and will find them. Maybe there is someone who holds power watching the cameras… Maybe not. Now, put this in context of religion. We are told by our preachers, or in our younger years, simply by our parents that there is a man in the sky always watching us. So, we learn not to lie, steal, cheat, or masturbate. This watchful eye stops amazing things from happening, and it doesn’t even exist. But the church has gotten people to believe so fervently that he always is that people will go against their own human nature to stay on his good side. And for what? A seat next to him in heaven? So, they wont have sex with the person they actually want to, they wont kill the person they hate, they wont go after that job they dream of, all just in case that guy is watching them. Of course, a question comes up of why the church would want that? Well, why does any establishment make rules? To keep order. They don’t want people to kill, so they say its a sin to murder. They don’t want people to steal, so they say it is is a sin to steal. They want society to have equal duality, so they say its a sin to cheat. They want to populate the earth with more people like them so as to further these rules and traditions, so they say it is a sin to masturbate and have homosexual relations. It really is such amazingly simple concept, so why don’t people think of it? Well, why didn’t you? Because it IS so simple and because we live in the society that does it. Only when you look outside, read outside texts, make EVERYTHING into an issue and into something to scrutinize do you find the pervasive, sickening truths about our societies. Climbing the rabbits fur, if you will. And you always should.

“But the kids today don’t have that luxury; they must produce just to participate in society.”

Whenever philosophers decide to take it upon themselves to deign that society, or, more appropriately, Generation Y is doomed from the start simply because we are different, we are adapting, we are seizing the things that are in front of us–the arguments tend to fall a little flat. Generation Y was born into a dynamically changing world where the norm is flux, the death of the American Dream, and post-modernistic thinking oozes from English classes to collect in the societal consciousness of our college educated youth that call upon their collectivity to change the world. The power lies in the diversity, the rapid flow of opinions between those who have and have-not, those who are here and not here, those who can do and those who cannot do. This addition of the pervasiveness of perspective to the cultural hodge-podge that built itself up from the breakdown of certain master narratives that defined what it meant to be “American” or “college-aged” or even “kids” gave us the impetus to singularly rotate situations one-hundred and eighty degrees and attack them from an angle once not thought possible.

It’s not a disadvantage to those who tackle it. So stop telling us that it is.

Faulkner was driven to write about the human condition, because nothing else was worth putting the pen to paper to describe. There was an endless amount of depth, detail, and viewpoints with which to experiment–and the result was a disorienting, challenging discourse of the state of life summed up nicely in the incredibly dense works of “the politics of storytelling” based firmly upon Michel Foucault’s life works. The decay of personal history, the presentation of the voices previously unheard, the inter-connectedness of human lives, and the flow of human thought as an inroad to progressive dialgoue–

“Because if it were just to hell; if that were all of it. Finished. If things just finished themselves. Nobody else there but her and me. If we could just have done something so dreadful that they would have fled hell except us.”

–are not simply the works of a modernist, but also the bread and butter of Generation Y. The way that we think, the way we don’t think, the simply diversity of thinking is a powerful tool that can turn what was once hopeless into something full of possibility. We are the Generation Flux, Generation Change, Generation Lost-After-College–but we are our own and we answer to our own, glorifying clarion calls, shouted again and again on various platforms to say that we are all unique, in our own ways and we’re going to fight for that diversity. Some would say it is not a prison, but rather, an unlocking of potential and need for self-fulfillment that can look like folly.

But then, it’s all a matter of perspective.