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Next Generation – “No Future….” ?

youthministry

Since the beginning of last century each “younger generation” has claimed to some extent that its parents did not really understand them, their true needs, their way of life, their hopes, their dreams, their world-view…. – each “older generation”, on the other hand, complained of a “loss of values”, disorientation, disobedience of their youngsters, their hopes and expectations being disappointed by sons and daughters not sharing their own wants and needs, neglecting their “experiences”, not following in “their steps”. Times have not changed very much in this respect and yet, these days, something seems to be different, more extreme, more “on the edge”, less “calculable”. Never before the immediate future was so “uncertain” than today. In what times do we live? Where are we heading to? What is the destiny of our younger generation, what is its duty and mission?

About 200 years ago things were still comparatively predictable. The future life, the future profession, the future “career” of a child was generally predestined “within its cradle” by their parents’ social status. In the country (smaller towns) as well as in the cities, the son of  a Civil Servant entered the profession of a Civil Servant, the son of a doctor chose the career of a doctor, the son of a baker took over the shop of his father, the son of a worker stayed within the same company as his father, the son of a peasant cultivated the same field as his father, the daughters of the family were married within the same social class with clearly defined responsibilities and duties.

Religion and the ethical concepts and dogmas derived from its ideal offered a clear and undisputed framework for practically each act and thought in the daily life of man. Room for intellectual unfolding was practically non-existent, the possibility to develop and satisfy vital desires was either morally denied or – generally – materially “out of reach”. This rigid system and the material deficiencies imposed enormous restrictions on the mental and spiritual progress of the individual, did offer, however, on the other hand, a great deal of material, vital and intellectual “security”.

As a result, at that time, only a very small intellectual elite dared to “dream” and formulate some kind, some ideal of a new philosophy, demanding a new future, a new social order based on a more humanitarian-ethical foundation rather than one purely religious. An even smaller group dared to step out of the social system, loosen the bonds imposed by law and religion and “live” according to their true feelings and desires. Naturally, those were considered to be the “outcast of society”….

For a considerable period of time the philosophically sophisticated ideal of “Humanism” was not able to put its stamp on, to show practical results within this rigid society, that had grown and established itself through centuries, and when it finally did, its ideal naturally diluted. However, even the shadow of the ideal proved to be powerful enough to achieve significant results, to create a new sense of responsibility within and towards the human race. Classical education for a considerable part of society, medical health care, the development of social systems, pension funds may be the most important, but only a few of its great achievements – a crucial,  an indispensable step within the development of mankind.

Thus, at the beginning of the 20th Century, the situation in Europe had changed considerably and intellectual spheres, that had been restricted to a very small elite about 100 years before, were now accessible to practically everybody, who was able and willing to develop the respective instruments. Upon a basis of generally increasing wealth through social security and industrial development the “vital sphere” as well could gradually grow and unfold itself according to one’s own individual wants and needs – for a large part of society, the most material fear of not being able to “maintain” oneself started to be replaced by the active joy in “entertaining” oneself.

In spite of the two great wars that had led to a temporary “destruction” and (in some ways different) “reconstruction” of society, things have not fundamentally changed within the last 50 years, with the exception that, at least in the so called “Western Society”, the “room” given to us to be explored and “filled” has been enlarged to its natural borders.
Nowadays, man can think and express in public whatever he wishes. Every intellectual concept, every ideal, every philosophy, every artistic and aesthetical concept has been explored to its very extremes, every potential “line of argument” has been taken.
Man can define his wants and needs, express his desires in every field and generally satisfy them “in public” according, of course, to his financial means. Practically everything is admitted, at least “tolerated” and “lived” by some part of, by some group within our society.

So, if everybody had a sufficient material base, all the money he needed to satisfy his vital desires, preferably within a group sharing the same intellectual or emotional “interests”, everything would indeed be perfect, a paradise on earth, wouldn’t it ?

Well, it wouldn’t, it isn’t….

While more and more people come closer to this “ideal”, to “filling the whole space of human possibilities”, they are less and less happy, less content with themselves and with the world. To reach the borders of human mind just to realise that everything is true and false at the same time, a mental “ad absurdum”, an intellectual “deadlock”; to cross the seas of vital desires just to realise that one satisfaction creates another need and thus there will never ever be an integral satisfaction…..-  nobody has yet discovered the “Holy Grail” within this human playground and those, who are still on this way or – in many other parts of the worlds –  still longing for the material possibility to “join the run” will meet upon this road, in the end, the same destiny of disorientation, dissatisfaction, disharmony, struggle…..

In this light, man’s history, including the promising social development during the last 200 years, seems to be no more than a series of small steps within a labyrinth without exit guarded by an always death-bringing Minotaur.

Next Generation – No Future… ?

In 1969 The Mother read a manuscript written by Satprem addressed to a gathering of young students who sought revolution and change throughout the world:

“This is the time of THE GREAT SENSE.
We look to the right or left, we build theories, reform our Churches, invent super-machines…. We want to improve the existent – but it is no longer the time to improve the existent: does one improve not ? This is the time for SOMETHING ELSE. “Something else” is not the same thing with an improvement….. .
We must look to the Great Sense….
That is what the Great Sense says:
It says that we were born so many millions of years ago – a molecule, a gene, a bit of quivering plasm – and we have produced a dinosaur, a crab, a monkey. And if our eyes had stopped half way along the road, we could have said, with reason (!), that the Baboon was the summit of creation, and there was nothing better to do, unless to improve our capacities of monkeyhood and to create a united Kingdom of Monkeys….. And perhaps we are committing the same error today in our forest of concrete… Is man truly the end of all these millions of  years of effort ? – the matriculation for all and the washing machine ?
The Great Sense, the True Sense, tells us that man is not the final goal. It is not the triumph of man that we want, not an improved version of an intelligent dwarf – it is another being on the earth, another race amongst us.
Sri Aurobindo has said: “Man is a transitional being”. We are right in the middle of this transition, it is cracking from all sides: in Biafra, in Israel, in China… . Man is ill at ease in his skin.
And the Great Sense, the True Sense, tells us that the best we can do is to set to work to find the secret of the transition, the “great passage” towards the new being – as one day we found the passage from monkey to man – and to collaborate with our own evolution instead of turning it in a circle and seizing false powers to gather a false life.
But where is the lever of this transmutation?
It is within.
There is a Consciousness within, there is a Power within, the very one which pushed in the dinosaur, in the crab, in the monkey, in man…. Instead of letting the evolution unfold through millennia of unproductive painful attempts and useless deaths and fake revolutions that revolutionize nothing, we can shorten the time, we can make a concentrated evolution – we can be conscious creators of the New Being.
In truth, it is the time of the Great adventure. The adventure is within – freedom is within, space is within, and the transformation of our world by the power of the Spirit. Because, indeed,  this Power was always there, supreme, all-powerful, pushing the evolution forward: this was the hidden Spirit which grows to become the Spirit manifest upon the earth, and if we have confidence, if we want the supreme Power, if we have the courage to descend into our hearts, everything is possible, because God is in us.”

And in this adventure alone mankind can and will discover its true human unity, a unity independent from the conformity of external material conditions, a concept still nourishing the illusion of a deep-rooted division between people, peoples, countries and continents on earth.

Georg Stollenwerk

(Georg Stollenwerk is from Germany. His work has taken him to all parts of Germany and to many countries outside and also given him the opportunity to watch at close quarters the evolving political, economic and social situation. Being a spiritual seeker he attempts here to look at these from a deeper insight.)

  • http://Website Vasudevan

    I agree a lot with you and will continue to read your articles with pleasure.