The Postmodern Youth

The philosophical reflections on the today’s youth show that the youth live in the world of periphery. They only see flowers but failed to see that flowers come from a seed. They are happy seeing a beautiful and colourful butterfly but forgot a cocoon and a worm. They have not patient to wait for a plant to grow into beautiful flowers. They do not want the flowers at the funeral but they want them at this instant. They are afraid to see the core reality and thus they are superficially happy cozily going with the wind in the virtual world.

The nature of the youth turns mostly revolves around the tyranny of pleasure. Happiness and pleasure convey the desire for self realization and the young ones are more and more attuned with this trend. They want to experience the highest pleasure; as a result, they prefer group experiences which are more random rather than stable ones which include commitment and rules. They tend to be attracted to fantasy of immediate pleasure and enjoyment rather than disciplinary or religious nature leading to despise discipline, coercion, duties, routine, formal, etc. They are willing to do only that which is a source of pleasure. They fail to see beyond the bodily pleasure lies the real happiness and pleasures.
The youth are tired with religions, customs, traditions, rules and disciplines. For them these make them growing old. They want freedom and liberty, which clearly expresses in a slogan “it is prohibited to prohibit”. The postmodern culture of relativity barricades the minds to see and strike beyond the appearance resulting in confusion among the youth.

They are acutely aware of their individuality and originality, but at the same time they fear making important decisions, often procrastinating indefinitely. This indecision is connected to a constant change of values. They, therefore, suffer the painful dilemma of wanting without a clear sense of the objectives. This process of liberty deepens in such a manner that a new and true subjectivity emerges. The result is a freedom without limits leading to a post-modern self-absorption which pushes concerns for society to the margins.

With a rapid advancement of science and technology, there is a renaissance of body culture. Libraries are closed and fitness centers are opened. The present models are craved in the flesh on real people. The beautiful and healthy body is adored. Sports draw to a close the picture. They so called perfect body or zero figures are worship. It forms part of the ideology of the body and has turned out to be a passionate form of entertainment. They failed to see the sacredness of the body and thus reduce it to a mere flesh.

The advance in communication technology has also resulted in a growth of virtual world. Through the internet, a new culture and language enters into society. Young people form relationships that alter perceptions of time and space, taking them beyond their own borders. They are able to communicate with others anywhere on the planet in real time. It is the reign of “on line”, of network communications, of chat rooms and face book, tweeter, Skype, etc. We scarcely have an idea of what is to come from this virtual world. 

The growth of science and communication technology has made the world a global village. But the more the world shrinks, the more one becomes distant from one’s own. Modern technology is a double-edged sword. Superficially it links, but fundamentally it alienates. It is an addition to an overabundance of option that excuses one from making an effort to nurture human contact.

In the heart of these, there arises a spark of deep desire for closer relationships in the midst of a society given exclusively to work, to productivity, to efficiency, to making money. There is a carefree attitude, which combines the realization of uselessness of a life filled with agitation due to the excess of activities, with the lack of a vision for the future; many youth enter in the world of drug and violence.

The future seems to be closed because in the past, the traditional professions like engineers, medicine, law, professor, etc. practically assured work for life. Today there is a drastic shift of jobs. Architects become psychologists, engineers study law, lawyers are involved in information technology, and professors leave the classrooms to start small businesses...They hide insecurity and instability. The capacity for creativity and planning one’s life are put to the test. In another sector of youth, the future is like a lottery. Wagers are placed on activities either legal or illegal that will give rapid results: sports, T.V. stars, successful musical bands, drug trafficking. They seek to rise socially through money. The poor tire of remaining honest people when they are only able to attend schools and colleges of lesser intellectual quality. The future to them seems a rather somber prospect. The search for social advancement by the poor is not a new phenomenon, but the context in which it takes place is new. Stable national currencies, technological revolutions, microelectronics, and information technology all have impacted greatly the process of social advancement.

 There are signs of hope. Social and historical perspectives are slowly rescued, bringing about a new commitment to the humanization of the person, of society and of education. We dream of a different humanism that leaves behind the accommodations and skepticism of the postmodern. We wait for new social protagonists – economic, political and cultural – which will bring about a birth of new forms of production. Nevertheless, nothing is totally perfect in any culture. Postmodern youth enjoy the sweetness of liberty with the bitterness of the loss of goals and social references. In the search for autonomy, they forget the need of forgetting oneself and the norms for healthy living in society.

            These rays of hope that beckons us today to strike beyond infinity and look beyond visibility. The realization of this hope connects us to the transcendence of God. The challenge is to continue searching for true ways and knowledge, which philosophical, scientific and theological research will open up a door for the youth to see a cocoon in a butterfly or a seed in a flower or deepest core in periphery. A holistic approach will show us a way and plant a hope in our hopelessness.

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