Gertrude Stein, in the presence of her fellow peers, once said “You are all the Lost Generation”. This referred to the generation that came of age during World War I, who became disillusioned and cynical about the world as a result of materialism and individualism. Famous members of this included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway and of course Gertrude Stein who used their literary works to criticize the indulgence and extravagance of the Roaring 20s.
Alternatively, in Britain, the ‘Lost Generation’ referred to those who died in the war, which creates haunting parallels between those subverting social norms to others buried in their graves. Following WWI the world was facing monumental societal depletion that had obvious effects to the people however, one would assume that decades later at a time of technological advancement we wouldn’t be facing the same problems that we did in the 20s. Recently, we have once again started to use the term ‘Lost Generation’ which was coined by the UN alluding to the ever-growing population of South Sudan’s children out of education and in the battlefield of a prolonging civil war. UNICEF have now reported that in January 2018 over 70% of the children are out deprived of basic human needs such as schooling and it is now feared that after the civil war ends, this young country devastated by war, will not have the intellectual generation needed to rebuild South Sudan. Much like the Lost Generation in Britain after WWI, mortality rates in South Sudan are at their highest and a quarter of the country’s population of 12 million has been displaced in conflict. This has had catastrophic effects on agricultural production which acted as a foundation for South Sudan’s economy as well as oil imports which have been cut out as a result of internal conflicts.
In the same exact world where this subsists, coexisting is a western society of materialism and overwhelming wealth that in itself has the funds to fix economical outbreaks throughout the globe. However it is in their selfish logic that only profit and power can flourish in their worlds while inferiors suffer its consequences.
How can a world where such depravity exists also hold some of the most privileged and affluent countries to date. The gap between rich and poor has never been greater and we are living in a world gripped by corruption. Throughout the decades, we are best depicted by the phrase ‘Lost Generation’. We are lost in our greed, lost in our own self-entitlement, and lost in our unwillingness to evolve. We have stretched human nature to its extremes of morale and bred ignorance like it’s our own source of oxygen. A parasitic virus that has consumed us in thick black smoke, infecting our veins and poisoning our very source of life.
“You are all the Lost Generation” I say to you now.
And boy she wasn’t wrong.