In a world where the only fixed value is the constant change, who should you ask for advice? Who should we talk to in order to understand and become more aware of the times?
Ask the young people, is often the answer given. Young people are the people of tomorrow, they possess the magical knowledge of the future. They sense or know things old people do not understand. They hold the path to knowledge. They are the future.
And that’s how it’s been since the 1950s. Then we had the so-called youth revolution, where a large proportion of young people for the first time in history had money, and could, for example, buy a car. They simply could afford to be young and waste their lives on nothing for a few years. Self-realization it is sometimes called. The introduction of the pill, sexual liberation and women’s movement escalated the trend, as did the events of 1968 and the Vietnam movement.
It was the young people who controlled the social trends, they had the right clothes, the music, the attitude and even the right political angle, which too often pulled to the left.
This had not always been the case. In past times, the elderly were often asked for advice and wisdom. In our European sphere of culture, there was often a council of elders who ruled in the background. In ancient Sparta, the ancients could even set aside the kings if needed. Old people had long life experiences, and it was natural to ask them for advice. But this has changed in our world, where everything is constantly new, new and new. There is no place for old men.
Or do we get fooled by the highly polished surface? Maybe behind the glitter the world is actually the same as in years past? We have the same kind of conflicts, wars, political games, and even the technological development seems to have slowed down.
So why should we ask young people about tomorrow’s trends, the climate, music and politics? They are so young, they have very limited experience of life. They know almost nothing.
Asking the youth for advice should therefore be regarded as something mythical, magical and almost religious. It is a kind of purification ritual before we dive into the misty sea of the future. And maybe we should stop asking them?