Our generation has a problem with permanence.

By "our generation" I mean to cover a large age span:  whenever the seeds were planted, they had sprouted by the 1960's, blossomed during the 80's, and are in full fruit now.

For five quick examples, consider how many of the following are now considered unusual, even weird, and perhaps unhealthy?

  • Commitment to one sexual partner, in marriage, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?
  • Accepting a job with the intention of remaining loyal to the same company until retirement?
  • Taking an employee into your company with the intent of nurturing his growth and supporting him through retirement?
  • Joining a local church, determined to remain supportive and active through all the ups and downs, good times and bad, ins and outs, insults and annoyances?
  • Living life in one house, one neighborhood, one community through multiple generations?

I could go on.  Although I think these changes signal a societal character defect of great import, I'll be the first to admit that there's a plus side to each of them.   In addition, they are only possible because of a freedom of choice that didn't exist in the past.  It's no great sign of admirable character to do a good thing when you have little opportunity to do otherwise.

However, I'm not here to analyze, bemoan, or extol any part of our commitment phobia.  My purpose is merely to ask one burning question:  In an age so fearful of permanence,

How does one explain the popularity ot tattoos?

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, June 15, 2012 at 8:48 am | Edit
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Isn't the commonality a lack of forward thought and consideration of the long-term consequences, coupled perhaps with youthful invincibility delusion? "What do you mean, swapping partners can have long-term consequences?" "What do you mean, a tat doesn't look sexy on a nursing home resident?"

Besides, even if long-term consequences are considered, nothing screams individuality and self-actualization like a tattoo. And how could you bear not actualizing yourself!

Posted by Stephan on Friday, June 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Same vein of what I was going to say, Stephan. All my relatives with tattoos (by which I do mean brothers and sis-in-laws...) have tattoos because they choose not to consider the consequences. "If I choose to do something indelible today, that doesn't mean I'm stuck with it" seems to be the mentality. Of course you're stuck with it. Why else would you permanently mark yourself?

My generation makes so little sense to me... :)

Posted by Brenda on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm
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