Will we ever get any wiser?
At times I think to myself that despite the often referred to ideals and idealism of the sixties there has not yet been a generation that leaves a such an incredible mess to next generations as my generation, that of the so-called babyboomers.
In yesterday’s paper I happened to read a somewhat entertaining article by one Lisette Thooft, a publicist who also calls herself a mythosopher. Though she is quitte a bit younger than myself (2 yrs to be precise) we both belong – together with a formidable tribe of peers – to that loathsome generation of babyboomers that according to some by pure chance got lost in the land of milk and honey and have been playing big spender eversince.
That is to say that is what they know how to do best: spending. They are also rather proficient in counting, grabbing and minding their sole self-interest. (for those who think so; the reactions here – in Dutch again – may provide a slightly different insight)
Anyway as of 2011 the western world is about to see masses of new and fresh pensioners who, eager to enjoy many long and pleasant last years, will pull a heavy swittch on general funds and budgets. Healthcare, social securities and all of society shall notice that we have arrived!
You may come accross them all over the worldwideweb: pro- and con-sounds, resourceguides, a webring, a startpage, blogs and what have you. We’ve become a global issue.
But let’s return to this article by Lisette Thooft.
She is the author of the soon to be released book: Spiritueel door de overgang or Spiritual through transition. What transition that is we will have to guess until the book is there. (Booh, pun completely lost in English as she is obviously referring to the menopause; why don’t you read Dutch)
Anyway the aforementioned article has the hopeful title:
Babyboomer gets wiser
Let’s hope so and isn’t it about time are my first thoughts but that may be slightly cynical on my part.
This article seems to be a response to another comment on babyboomers that I haven’t seen or read and apparently putting it in perspective; you needn’t be fimiliar with that however to get the drift of Thoofts’ piece.
Among other things she mentions a popular saying and a favourite of many of my neo-liberal peers who have said goodbye to their earlier ideals and flushed them down the drain but are keen to maintain that this fact and the consistent chasing of your self-interest and letting such egotism be your main guide and compass in life is far from being a sign of heartlessness:
If at twenty years of age you do not sympathize with left-wing ideas, you are heartless but if at the age of forty you still do, you have no brains.
I have always considered that a rather dumb and silly statement. Besides, I would according to that have no brains. But just as our neo-liberal friends so obviously and hesitantly shy away to label their new and U-turn adjusted opinions as heartless, I do not agree and shall of course not trumpet forth that I have no brains; and by no means in front of such a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals as these Rambo-like right-wingers.
Concerning these supposed brains of mine; if, how and when I use them is strictly a private matter and not to be discussed here.
I suspect Thooft is on my side in this as she proposes by contrast the much more sensible and realistic statement by Goethe:
Realism is the mark of childhood, idealism the mark of youth, cynicism that of adulthood and mysticism is the mark of old age.
That’s my kind of guy; this clearly smells of insight into human nature. That is not your average neo-liberal mumbo jumbo. This might lead us somewhere!
Will we babyboomers by any chance get wiser at last then? According to Thooft we may at ant rate expect that our generation apart from becoming pensioners will also become more spiritual and will be more concerned with questions of an existential nature. The current and growing interest in something like mindfulness would examplify this trend.
Well looking back upon the world as I’ve come to know it in my life-time I often saw lofty ideals degenerate to commercialized unruly and randy hedonism and a materialistic ego-culture. Now could our biology possibly come to the rescue and our grey hairs turn this tide? According to Goethe and Thooft that might just be the case and thus leave a last sparkle of hope for us babyboomers.
Are we about to become mystics then, as Goethe’s developmental prognosis would have it? And what exactly would that mean? As far as I can see (but I am only 58) spirituality is all about the putting in perspective of the ‘I’ or the ‘self’. The realisation and comprehension of the big mistake that an ego-project could ever make one happy. Mystics even claim that the ‘self’ is nothing but a grand illusion, that reality is merely one streaming, flowing and everchanging unity of all and everything. That would mean a tremendous turnaround for us ego-oriented babyboomers. But if we manage to make that shift, and that awareness would determine the spirit of the coming era, we might still be in for some good times.
As Bredero used to say: ’t kan verkeren.
Ideals, current morals, opinions and a prevalent mentality may change in time and they almost certainly will change; but in which direction? …. that is up to us, isn’t it?
And me? Well I’m dying to know but I’ll just have to wait and see which way we will turn.
What the hack was I talking about … o yeah .. remember .. I was talking ‘bout
P.S. The old saying: ’t kan verkeren by Bredero points to the fact that things may allways turn into totally unexpected and completely different directions that were not foreseen and certainly not intended.