Generation Gap

Two men watched the children at play.

“Bah! Look at them, Arthur!” one of them exclaimed.

“What about them, Lancelot?” the other asked calmly.

“They fight amongst themselves! They bicker ridiculously! They act on selfish desires, without any thought to honour! They refuse to put the common good ahead of all else!”

“Were we so different when we were their age?”

“Perhaps not, but then we didn’t have an example to follow! Everyone was that way, and we had to learn to be decent and honourable without a proper guide! And yes, we made mistakes, and we made many mistakes, but we learned from them! And we provided that example to those who were to come! And yet they, with our example to work from, seem determined to ignore those examples and make the same mistakes as we did! And they don’t even seem to be trying to work towards a greater goal and a greater purpose! They even argue that being selfish is the true form of altruism, claiming that they should help others only because it benefits them in the long run! Where is the call for self-sacrifice, where putting others ahead of yourself is the prime demand of honour and morality?”

“I admit that I would have wished that they had learned more from our example. But perhaps that is simply the nature of the young, to repeat the follies of their elders because they cannot see the parallels. The world is a much different place than it was, and what constitutes honour and helping others is much different than it was in our time. In our time, we had direct, personal and individual violence to strive against, and had direct intervention. Through our deeds, that has become greatly lessened, but all that means is that the obvious injustices are gone, but injustice is not. Injustice hides itself more for them than it did for us, which makes it harder to know what injustice really is.”

“Perhaps. But surely they could understand what injustice is truly based on from our example! And learn from our mistakes that rationalizing one’s selfish and personal desires is injustice itself, if not to others then at least to yourself!”

“Give them time. They will learn in their own time, as we did.”

“Perhaps.”

After musing for a few minutes, Lancelot spoke again.

“Bah! Watching the news always makes me maudlin. Change the channel, Arthur; I believe there is a ball game on.”

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