The Younger Generation Knows Best
Old people are always saying that the young are not what they were. The same comment is made from generation to generation and it is always true. It has never been truer than it is today. The young are better educated. They have more money to spend and enjoy their freedom. They grow up more quickly and are not so dependent on their parents. They think more for themselves and do not blindly accept the ideals of their elders. Every new generation is different from the one that preceded it. Today the difference is very marked indeed.
The old always assume that they know best for the simple reason that they have been around a bit longer. They don’t like to feel that their values are being questioned or threatened. And this is precisely what the young are doing. They take leave to doubt that the older generation has created the best of all possible worlds. What they reject more than anything is confonnityrOffice hours, for instance, are nothing more than enforced slavery. Wouldn’t people work better if they were given complete freedom and responsibility? And what about clothing? Who said that all the men in the world should wear dull grey suits and short haircuts ? If we turn our minds to more serious matters, why have the older generation so often used violence to solve their problems? Why are they so unhappy and guilt-ridden in their personal lives, so obsessed with mean ambitions and the desire to amass more and more material possessions? Can anything be right with the rat-race? Haven’t the old lost touch with all that is important in life?
These are not questions the older generation can shrug off lightly. Their record over the past forty years or so hasn’t been exactly spotless. Traditionally, the young have turned to their elders for guidance. Today, the situation might be reversed. The old — if they are prepared to admit it — could learn a thing or two from their children. One of the biggest lessons they could learn is that enjoyment is not “sinful”. Enjoyment is a principle one could apply to all aspects of life. It is surely not wrong to enjoy your work and enjoy your leisure; to shed restricting inhibitions. It is surely not wrong to live in the present rather than in the past or future. This emphasis on the present is only to be expected because the young have grown up under the shadow of the bomb: the constant threat of complete annihilation. This is their glorious heritage. Can we be surprised that i they should so often question the sanity of the generation that bequeathed it?
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