I love your post and can feel the strength of your willingness to be a change agent for your generation / cohort. I think you are correct to realize that Integral theory will be a supportive structure to help answer the questions you are looking at right now. I also think you have already correctly identified a few things that would make a big difference if more broadly accepted as normal. Your pointing to mentoring for instance. So good news, your faculties are working great and you’ve found some theory content and friends to support your continuous development!
Ken coined the AQAL label to help new people remember that we must examine everything from the all quadrants, all levels and lines perspective. Allow me to be so bold as to try to use your introduction to point out the AQAL analysis style. You popped out of your previous self. You had an Awakening and connected to new levels of yourself. That pop (realization / transcending while including) was interior singular (your upper left quadrant) growth. Now your new self is alive with a desire for all beings to be more alive and free. That would look like a culture that shared your new perspective (lower left quadrant). You are looking around at your generation with concern for their interiors (a higher level of care is alive – a psycho-social line of development advancement). You are also looking at a system that might support that, mentoring. A system is external plural (lower right quadrant). A system of mentoring is a line of skills development. No one is qualified to mentor at all levels or for all skills. Everyone is both a teacher and a student. Age or generation is not a good measure of who can mentor for any particular need.
The situation now is to control your attention (upper left quadrant). As in meditation, return and return to calm emptiness, wisdom, care, clarity, possibility, and all of the qualities that brought you to the person that could write that introduction. Stay future focused. Stay alive to bringing the possibilities you see into substantiated forms. Forgive the state of everything. It is, in fact, the way it is. But it is not fixed and never was and never will be. It is better or worse in some places than others. Pledge to be a part of improving everything.
Controlling attention is the hardest task. It is almost impossible not to look back with judgment and regret at your own life, or the larger life of humanity, or at God and creation itself. That capacity for judgment and regret is hardwired in the nervous system (upper right quadrant) and therefore it impacts perceptions. You have now experienced that the hard wiring can be overridden and seen through. Now the challenge will be to keep seeing through. You will need that brain and body (upper right quadrant) on this journey, but it is not always trustworthy to the Awakened path. The qualities that lifted your spirit and that sense of a deeper, interconnected self are trustworthy. Return your attention to these qualities for inspiration and guidance for actions.
The situation is also to pick some skills to master. Choose several domains, Realize that skills (upper left and upper right quadrants) are a more worthy possession than any tangible object or role. You are blessed to live in an unimagined time where almost all past knowledge and helpful teachers are literally in the palm of your hand (smartphone). Balance learning, sharing knowledge, and doing good works. Be the mentor and the mentee at alternating intervals.
Now let me look specifically at those questions:
- Why is it that so much of today’s youth follows the crowd? We are mammals and pack animals. Staying with the pack is safer. Learning and moving with the pack is safer. Hard wiring of hundreds of thousands of years (maybe millions). Creativity and breaking free has never been rewarded by the pack. Never will be.
- Why are there so many that feel unmotivated, insecure, depressed? Choice pollution. The opportunities are unlimited in a way that no generation before has ever imagined. This is a transition time for our species and the way forward is unclear because the choices are too broad. Also, many I assume stand in the recognition of the many awful human behaviors that have created a mess of the planet and that we are in an illogical conversation about how to address them. There are countless other individual circumstances that can lead any individual to the state you describe. It would be irresponsible to think these could be counted, labeled and addressed in some broad stroke fashion. Everyone needs to be cared about within the circumstances where they find themselves.
- What actions do we take to help empower our youth? Be an example of the next possibility of being human. Look for and advocate for people and programs that are doing good works. Look through the Integral perspective and realize that any instance of a human may be at any level of development in various lines of development and there are no one size fits all answers. That said, large movements exist today to become more aware and active in our experiment in self-governance (democracy), to gain more clarity on respectful action and speech (#metoo, being Woke, politically correct speech, climate crisis awareness…), and so on. Recognize these are the larger shifts in consciousness and cultural norms (lower left quadrant) that need more people to experience and align with. As your awareness deepens, work to translate (gross) and transmit (subtle) those experiences and realizations to others.
- How do we prioritize healthy upbringings at homes, schools, and society? Vote for Progressive politicians. The society moves our leaders and our leaders move our society. These actually are the priorities of American society, and Western culture in general (at least for the top 10% measured by financial wealth). It is over shadowed by a strong sense of individual autonomy and a perpetuation of bad behaviors and ideas that just no longer fit the world we live in. It is hampered by conservative political thought in countless ways that trap the blind into leading the blind.
- How do we stop the trend of needing to heal, and help propel our youth to having lives that are more pure from the start? Only a deep realization and escape from victimhood can override the slower path of healing from trauma and the chaos of the varied tyrannies that must be negotiated. Look for ways to be a part of both helping others with healing and championing the possibility of deeper realization. Every day, millions of babies are born. Most will never have any opportunity to see as clearly as you are seeing. Be grateful and humble. Allow the care you feel, the essence in you that asks this question to always give you hope and strength to be a part of solutions. There are partners out there. Keep asking questions and you will find them and take your place as a mentor and mentee in the Life project.
Thanks for inspiring me to think about your possibilities and to write these remarks.