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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 a lot of money to spend and enjoy more 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. Events which the older generation remembers vividly are nothing more than past history. This is as it should be. 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 do not like to feel that their values ??are being questioned or threatened. And this is precisely what the young are doing. They are questioning the assumptions of their elders and disturbing their complacency. They take leave to doubt that the older generation has created the best of all possible worlds. What they reject more than anything is conformity. Office hours, for instance, are nothing more than enforced slavery. Would not people work best if they were given complete freedom and responsibility? And what about clothing? Who said that all the men in the world should wear drab grey suits and convict haircuts? If we turn our minds to more serious matters, who said that human differences can best be solved through conventional politics or by violent means? Why have the older generations 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? Have not 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 has not 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 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 they should so often question the sanity of the generation that bequeathed it?
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