What are young people thinking?

Being in the sphere of old age means removal from another world. Increasingly I am haunted by the impression that what I see from my ancient perspective is likely quite different from what young people are looking at notwithstanding the philosophic import of universality.

That young girl for example who speaks so theatrically about global warming and climate change. Imaging that the world is rapidly melting is more than a beach scene for her. It involves the destruction of a way of life for those creatures which survive under and upon glaciers.  The more gripping and cogent scenes are perhaps those of floods and wild fires below the 49th parallel.

On a less disheartening level I suspect an equally popular theme among young people is becoming an overnight millionaire by the production of some new or supplemental social media. It may signify the incremental allure of technology including especially AI. But creating or watching videos of rich kids in cars is not my idea of improvement though it apparently attracts countless others for prolonged periods. What are they doing otherwise?

The political importance of the vote from young people is rampant. From what I can gather the predilection of the youthful vote is not guaranteed. It is common to suggest that young people adopt a liberal or democratic bent but that is not assured. For whatever complication of reasons, youth – whether white, black or Latino – are guided in their political decisions by more than idealism or fanciful philosophy. And I have to ask, How knowledgeable are youth about current politics in any event? My experience growing up is that the political arena is predominantly the reserve of those with private ambitions or nothing better to do. But it was never a big attraction for youth.

Youth are generally very adaptive. Being in schools with what amount to inflatable gun protectors and whatever else now restricts the comings and goings on school property is sadly commonplace.  Learning how to hide from ammunition under your school desk would seem to be equally inhibiting. Yet my guess is that the uninitiated children manage to translate this regimentation to another level of occupation.

And where are these kids getting the idea that storming a school with rockets is somehow normal? We’ve always had cowboy shows, murder mysteries and film noire but I don’t recall the threat or inspiration of an armed storm trooper my own age.

I’ve heard it said that there is difficulty attracting candidates to medical practice in the country; that is, removed from the city. This astonishes me because the medical practitioners whom I have known in the country appear to have had what I would call a successful career. Underlying this shift is what I have heard is devotion of young people to less restrictive constraints than what is customary in private practice.  In short, young people don’t wish to be tied to their professional obligations.  This too is reflected in what apparently abounds among young lawyers who likewise choose limited but more predictable ambition in what are often now global conglomerates rather than the limitations of private practice.

The greater inflation of thought seemingly surrounds retirement in general.  No longer do I hear of young people contemplating working late into life. Instead the popular yearning is for early retirement. This may explain the reputed upsurge of interest in unions (even to the point of attracting the interest of current politicians as a retailable theme). If true the partiality suggests a burgeoning dismissal of the so-called traditional work ethic.  Clearly balance of work and private life is not a bad thing. The only question which to my mind immediately arises is whether the alteration diminishes the possibility of achievement.  Or is it only a change of method or timing?

Meanwhile what appears not to have altered in the least is the affection grandparents have for their grandchildren. My personal curmudgeonly reflections upon youth are predominantly irrelevant. It seems equally likely that neither youth nor old people will change their attitudes for the other. This is so notwithstanding the temptation to employ youth as the platform for a refreshed generation and a second chance.