Staying the Course
To many a frazzled elite Xer, tired and hag-ridden with worry, things sometimes seem to be falling apart. The glue that keeps society together looks weak, as if it may not hold. The social system feels wobbly and about to lose its equilibrium, its parts moving in opposing directions or rubbing angrily against each other, heating up and seemingly in danger of breaking down. This is not a far-fetched possibility. Indeed, at times eventual breakdown seems certain. For when people perform their social roles negligently, when they airily dismiss society's rules and customs as mere nuisances, and act on the urgings of their own characters in ways that disrupt society, stress and strain are inescapable and breakdown a genuine possibility.
We have looked at the sources of strain in the elite Xer's life, and there is no need to cover this ground again in any detail. Still, in this final chapter it may be useful to note again a few of these tension points and add several others, so that we may understand why some Xers are thinking of withdrawing from society or, as they put it, escaping from the box society has put them in. To begin with, there are the terrible pressures a fiercely competitive society puts upon anyone competing for success—pressures exerted by competitors, by members of the opposite sex, by talented immigrants, by an ethos that measures individual worth in dollars accumulated and merit badges garnered and treats failure with cold disdain.
There are other sources of tension worthy of mention. One is the rapid increase in population, caused mainly by the nation's new
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Publication information: Book title: Masks and Mirrors: Generation X and the Chameleon Personality. Contributors: Bernard Carl Rosen - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 157.
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