Prof. Leena Jose T.*
We are living in a new world: A world of the new generation: A world which is being led by young people too. Not only in technology and art, but in politics, economics and, of course, in religion as well. The change has already been started – atleast from the end of the last century. We can say that we are witnessing “not an epoch of changes, but a change of epochs”: an “epoch change”.
Part 1: Accompanying the Young Minds in Traversing the World of Ideologies
Part 2: Many a Paradigm Shift
Part 3: Equal Dignity: the Title Song of the New World
Part 4: We Want to Accompany Your Joys
In the new world a universal philosophy of life is emerging among the youth. It is a social philosophy of life. ‘Global’ in its unity and ‘local’ in its diversity. A universal vision of social life is emerging. An all-encompassing humanism is emerging. It is supra-ideological: above all the ideologies. It has no connotations or sectarian limitations of the earlier ideologies like communism or capitalism; existentialism, structuralism or post-structuralism; modernism or post-modernism; pragmatism or consumerism.
The non-ideological vision of the new generation is the vision of an egalitarian, inclusive, integral life and society. Our young ones -the netizens, or, the digital natives- don’t “waste” time in theorizing or dogmatizing anything. They want love in a humane way – by loving, chatting, liking and sharing. By all their activities and sometimes by their non-action, they try to make a new world filled with the joy of equality and love. Basically this equality is the equality of man and woman. Do we want to walk with them? That is the question of this hour.
I find myself frequently embarrassed at the beginning sessions of many gatherings when elderly people start hurling stones at the new generation and question their morality, spirituality and mentality. Sometimes I have been at pain to show that we don’t understand our new generation. We can call them “irreligious” only if we mistake religiosity for spirituality. The young ones’ egalitarian, cosmopolitan/universal and inclusive vision of life and their life is wholesome spirituality based on integral and solidarity-based humane-ism. This is their only ism. If there is one.
The new generation is ahead of us. To accompany them, we have to catch up with them first. We have to know/learn/understand/grasp/practice their integral humane-ism. Without that, we cannot make sense of their dreams, aspirations, expressions and practices.
I agree, there may be some young men and women who don’t live upto this vision. Also there are some elder men and women who had a conversion to a life guided by integral and solidary humane-ism instead of old man-ism masqueraded as humanism.
The SOCIAL philosophy of the new generations. bridges civilizations/cultures. Since it is inter-religious, it bridges religions. It bridges the religious and the irreligious. It unites the world of pluralities. It unites all the men and women of goodwill. It is the contextualization of the good news of the Reign of Merciful Love in the social life – in the family, workplace, economy, polity and culture. It is the translation of the commandment of love in ‘the here and now’ of our daily life – in all our rights and duties.
To accompany our younger ones in the void created by fallen ideologies, all parents are to understand this emerging social view of life. Then there will be no generational gap. Otherwise we will be waiting for the new generation to bypass us!
In olden days, for people to communicate, they had the medium of conversation only. Then came the medium of mail; after that, the land phone, then the e-mail. Then come the text messages, the chats and the online platforms – the social media. For the first time in the history of humans, four or five different communicational generations inhabit the earth at the same time: The generation which ask others to “talk to me”; the generations asking to “call me”; “mail me”; “e-mail me”; “text me”. The newest generations are those who ask to “like me”; “share me” and so on.
New young minds are ‘universal’ in the truest sense of that word: They are global, ecumenical and inter-religious. For them, all are citizens of God’s own globe. While Christians repeat the words “Jesus is the Saviour” and forget to love even the members of their own community, the young minds irrespective of religious denominations love each other as Jesus did and advised.
So, to accompany the young ones means first to appreciate them; to learn from them; and to transform ourselves. To accompany them means changing our ways; changing our attitudes. Attitudinal change is the core of transformation; the core of metanoia.
* Editor, www.viewspaper.in; Director, Outlook Retreat; Former Member, National Executive, CCI (the consultative body of CBCI); Former Vice-President, KCC (the consultative body of Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council); Member, Central Liturgical Committee, Syro-Malabar Major ArchiEpiscopal Church. Email: [email protected]