Culture and Commitment
Culture and Commitment by Margaret Mead is an ethnography of the 1960’s and 70’s pertaining to the gap in generations started in the mid 1940’s. It tells of the generation gap created by new technologies such as the nuclear bomb, space exploration, satellites that revolve around the earth, and the planet now being an intercommunicating whole. The effects that these new technologies have had on our culture are explained. Also the hopes and possibly new ways to bring the two sides of this gap back together, or at the very least make it possible for the two sides to be able to communicate with each other.
On one of the sides of the gap that I have mentioned are the elders, born and reared prior to the mid 1940’s when the first atomic bomb was exploded. On the other side, the generation bore after that irreversible date. That day the bomb was dropped is what started the divide between these two sides, starting the “Atomic Age”. Now war was not only able to wipe out possibly an entire culture, but could destroy the entire planet. This is a thought and now a concern that the elders never had to consider, but the new generation would have to live with everyday, never knowing what it was lik
The generation gaps of old were small discrepancies between the young and their elders. In times before, in which Mead used the term, "postfigurative culture", in which the future would repeat the past. As Mead reflects back on the 60"tms, now looking back from the seventies, and sees the new generation now becoming older she asks a question. A good example of this is the parent of a child who was still unborn, would know his or hers child"tms future. This is because they have something shared amongst one another, and they feel as if they can be helped more by their peers, rather then the elders who are mearly on the outside looking in never having experienced what they have. One which could never be bridged or narrowed, but simply spoken across when both sides attempted to listen and truly hear what the other was trying to say. Although Mead gives no definite answer as to how to control the future or save the earth for the matter, she does gives us ideas, thoughts, and options on how to do so. This would be the first in many new inventions and developments to separate these two sides, but not the last. There had been many gaps before it, but none like it. The child would be able to turn to the elder for answers and advice because they would be wise to what the child needed, and was going through. She states that giving one member the knowledge that they are part of a whole that could collapse without them, gives them the power to contribute to keeping us all moving in a positive direction and control our futures. When the generation gap was finally realized in the 1960"tms to be more of a "ditch" then a gap, it was also realized as one of uniqueness and loneliness. In what way can we use this gap constructively to better ourselves To start to try to mend the gap, children could be brought up being made aware of the changes which their parents had undergone, and be treated as people who could make immediate contributions, and not just learners not yet deserving of notice.