Using One’s Own Strength (The Prince Chapter 13)

Often it seems like millennials are unable to use and build on their strengths. Machiavelli uses examples of rulers losing power after making use of auxiliary or mercenary troops. I think as a result of the information flattening and social subsumption of the smart phone era millennials are unaware or do not trust their own agency in taking action.

This has several results: Some millennials avoid risks, avoid thinking creatively (even while believing they are creative because their participation awards all said so), avoid taking on responsibilities they perceive as complex or prone to failure, and believe they are not appreciated enough just for showing up. These millennials tend to be in the bottom half of performers, and have worked hard to develop the skill of anonymity and camouflage necessary to avoid trolls and social destruction. They can be very loyal if given guidance to develop a niche, and often have insightful institutional and systemic wisdom because of their time observing from the periphery. They are also prone to form disaffected groups that meet under the proverbial bleachers to bitch and break the rules. Given too much space and not enough supervision, these millennials can be poisonous to an entire working team.

Other millennials conflate the flatness of information with the flatness of value of that information. This has several results, some positive, some negative. Millennial culture has a significant degree of anti-elitism, as few millennials get their news through traditional sit-down TV news hours. This loss of ritual and shared bedrock cultural facts has contributed to the return of the “No Nothing” attitude. These millennials have put in the time and effort to develop a labor intensive skill and are successful in their social media realm. They have disdain for tradition and tend to be wholly ignorant of the historical context in which they live. This conflating of flatness with value can also give rise to political and social action that is ostensibly for the better, as discussed with regard to the rise of Bernie Sanders.

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