Why does everyone place so much hope in the *next* generation? The idea that the youth of the world are finally going to save the world is prevalent in every ideology that I have come into contact with. I can’t quite decide how much of it is a propagandist call to join whichever movement, and how much is attempting to draw energy from the concept that youth is inherently full of vigor.
It is definitely worthwhile to try to pass on wisdom and helpful knowledge to each generation. After all, soon enough the previous generation will be gone, beyond reach except for what has been written down. Nothing is new that has not been built on what has been learned from someone who learned something previously. The more that can be learned from those with the most experience, the more potential there is for wonderful inventions. However, this may hold true more for the physical use of the world, but not really the philosophical evaluation of life.
It is my observation that while there is an expertise in many concrete subjects that each subsequent generation can build on, there are thought processes about life that each individual has to conquer by themselves. They can learn from ideas discussed, but the philosophies of life are not built on the same way that, say, knowledge is built on to invent computers. These ideas about what life is, or should be, tend to be recirculated with each generation, since the abstract nitty-gritty concepts of life, like love, cooperation, and purpose, never change.
If a young person has relationship with someone of wisdom, they may start out in adulthood better equipped to answer these questions about our existence. This may enable them to make sounder decisions, have a happier perspective, and filter out the twisted logic of others. Yet, throughout history in each generation there have been many people who disdain wisdom. They are only too willing to listen to the empty promises of manipulators. They have no desire to be any more responsible than absolutely necessary. In short, they will try to get away with whatever they can to make other people do their bidding, and don’t mind at all using force to do so.
A review of written wisdom shows me that there have been men and women of high character and deep wisdom in each generation. There have always been voices for what is good and right, both in how we should treat others and how we should pursue diligence. Some may say that technology makes passing on that information easier, and it appears so. But it is also easier to spread lies and misinformation. There is still the propensity of human nature to be careless in evaluation, or the demands of life making it hard to have time to knowledgeably evaluate everything.
On top of that, consider that when anyone is learning new things, it takes more effort to apply them to life. When I was first learning to make bread, I had to concentrate very hard, paying attention not only to the instructions, but to the results of how I was applying them. Now that I have made bread for nearly 35 years, I can do it with relatively little mental effort. Even the physical effort is less, because not only have I developed certain kneading muscles, but I am more efficient in ways that are hard to explain to someone who does not make bread regularly.
Young people, especially those that are of legal adult age, are being faced with a barrage of new things to learn about adult life that they need to coordinate and evaluate. Most are new at managing their own budgets for real survival. Most of them have relatively tighter budgets, due to needing to make major first time purchases.
They are making life-impacting choices about friendships and love. Many are raising small children, who are not only labor intensive, but need gobs of emotional input. In short, life has reached a point of transition so that it seems callous to also expect them to be the ones to *finally change the world.*
Possibly, the desire to impact so-called society through the youth is a by-product of the family having been fractured by government schools and propaganda. By separating children from their parents for hours every day, it is easy to convince the children that parents are of limited value. The children are guided to challenge parental figures in their lives. They are subtly taught that they don’t need parents for more than money. The natural arrogance of youth is fanned into brash disregard for anything mature.
Parents also begin to believe themselves unqualified to teach their own children about life, and soon everyone thinks that anyone over the age of 25 is so far past their prime as to be barely useful. Unless they work for the government, of course. Then, they are heroes. Or so the children are taught.
Maybe the kind of saving the world that everyone is clamoring for really starts with the family; with desisting coming between parent and child; with the parents passing on the wisdom of life; with the government staying out of family life; and with young adults being encouraged in the hard task of adulthood in productive ways. And although history indicates that human nature will continue to interfere with completely saving the world, some of us might be saved from the destructive influence of others.