Building a box

November 8, 2006

You know when you’re asked to think outside the box?  are you really being asked to do that, or are they trying to force you into a new box?  I’m wondering if it’s even possible to escape the box.  A theme I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is the idea that we’re trapped inside ourselves.  My mind or soul is trapped into the biochemistry of my brain.  I believe (don’t quote me on this) that the shape and size of the different ares of our brain distinctly affect our attitudes and emotions.
As well how I think is directly related to the conditions I was raised in.  I’ve realized recently that so much of my thinking is the direct outcome of how my parents raised me.  Ideas they transmitted through discipline and conversation are ingrained in me.  I can’t escape them, but is this a bad thing?  I’m not sure how to answer.
I guess part of the whole part of the teenage rebellion is your answering that question.  So in my instance I accepted that my parents had taught me the right things.  Therefore I didn’t rebel in any big way, though you’d have to ask my parents how they feel about that statement.  So than here’s the question that follows.  What is the reason that so many people in the last century have rebelled to the point of no return from their parents?  Is it because we think we’re being lied to?  Is the very reason that en masse we’re rejecting our parents values because instinctively we think they’re wrong?  Than consider this, in the last century, and especially among our parent’s generation, atheism (explicit or tacit) has been on the rise.  In fact our parent’s are the most unchurched generation in a long time.  I believe it becomes plain that our devaluing of ourselves is the direct outworking of their belief that life has no purpose and no meaning.  I have more to say about this, but I’ll save that for later.  Just think on this, is the reason you dislike your parents morals because they have no spine, no frame that holds them up?  Something to consider.



  1. Well said, Li.

  2. I’m with your dad on this one Liam – good question, well stated.

    Have you read the Christian philosopher Van Till? He dealt a good deal with the ways presuppositions frame our interpretation of experience and facts. Maybe a resource for you?

    Keep stirring the pot and shaking what can be shaken – that way, what can’t be shaken will remain.

    And…keep creating,

  3. Liam,
    I’m of your parent’s generation, so take this for what it’s worth. I believe your question can be answered on an economic, educational, political, social, philosophical, and spiritual level. At the heart of the answer is the severing of the ties that individuals have to the past, to society, to family, to values and to anything that places any constraints on their ambition or sense of identity. The result is that we each must stand on our own as masters of our own destiny. We have rid the world of any determinism. Just “name it and claim it” and you can be anything you want. The reality is that this leads not to fulfillment but to alienation and dissatisfaction with life.
    So, why do some families sustain the connection to the past with joy and honor? I think it is because there exists in the parents genuine, humble love that is both honest and circumspect. Having faith is part of it, but there are many children of faith-filled parents who did not follow them. It maybe that what we as parents must do with our children is talk lovingly about the choices that they must make. Then stand with them as they make their decisions. Thank you for asking this important question.

  4. I’m looking into Van Till on Amazon, thanks for the suggestion and feedback Michael. Ed I agree with you and hadn’t even thought about the aspect of genuine, honest love. I guess that’s something that’s really missing. We’ve been living in a culture that is so self absorbed that kids don’t even feel their parents love, even in Christian communities. I guess I lucked out.

  5. Not luck, just divine genetics.

    Since we are recommending books, check out Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. I think he’ll make some sense about some of the issues in the background of your questions.

    I hope you will still comment on this topic.

  6. You might look up William Strauss and Neil Howe’s “Generations.” It’s worth it to mention, however, that there are rebellions generations all throughout the Bible. I don’t think this is specific to our own time.

  7. Er, rebellious.

  8. It will be a while before I can claim to be an expert on the scriptures. However I do believe that most of the generational rebellion in the bible is rebellion against God. What I think my generation might be rebelling against is the baby boomers rebellion to God. We don’t realize it and so instead of going back towards the source of meaning we push deeper into the sex, drugs, and alcohol to try and numb this feeling. Where this leads I’m not really sure, however I do believe that more people in my generation are waking up to this. However I have no research or anything to prove these things, their just thoughts. Which I guess is the beauty of blogging, I can share my thoughts and have people point out where I’m wrong and where I can get more information. Thanks Veronica, I really appreciate the comment.

  9. […] I had no idea that this would spark the conversation it kind of has. It is something I think about quite frequently and apparently it struck a chord with a few people.  This, from Barbara Nicolosi, brings up the same idea in terms of pointing it out in a movie that, after reading her blog, I probably won’t watch. […]

  10. A new generation visits the Generation Gap

    Liam Kinnon, son of Bill and Imbi, Canadian college student, asks a profound question about how the generations relate to one another. Here’s part of his post:I’ve realized recently that so much of my thinking is the direct outcome of

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