For the last several days thoughts keep occurring to me about Youth, youth itself, as a vital power. More and more the direction culture is heading is to bring children into the world and immediately start their training for adulthood, as if youth is worth little more than providing time for such training. The intention to prepare babies to receive a strong education and a means for entering our social, political and economic structures begins practically before conception. Children know that, their own focus begins to go in that direction, sometimes largely bypassing the immense wisdom and glory of who they are, exactly as they are, in those childhood moments. Surviving in the set up and pleasing adults gets most of the attention.
I know I quote Buckminster Fuller often, as it seems there is something he said on nearly every subject that illuminates it for me. He often mentioned the error in education that a child like himself, with a mind full of creative thoughts and ideas, was constantly told to “shut up and listen. It doesn’t matter what you think, listen to what I am telling you.” It makes me hurt every time I think about it.
I studied and teach the Dialogue method developed by physicist David Bohm. I have mostly been able to utilize this training only with adults, though I was thrilled to teach it in a college classroom for some years. Continually, however, I imagine how wonderful it would be if I could get 2nd graders talking together in intentional dialogue, learning to listen to each other thoughtfully, finding voice for their own perceptions and ideas, feeling respected and heard by each other as well as their teachers. Often any of us never tell a thought or impression until there is a context, an opening to find words for it. When it is spoken, that is true creation. As Bohm puts it something that was in the implicate order moves into the explicate order and that changes everything, even our physics.
I was a hippie child of the 60’s and 70’s during the years that I got to hang out with Bucky Fuller since he was a friend of my father’s. Bucky’s posture at that time regarding that puzzling and rebellious generation was “Let them talk! Listen to them! All of your corporate and political ideals are tragically oppressing and ruining our world. These kids don’t want to follow you there!” It took a lot of heat off those in our generation who were around him, and allowed us to listen to ourselves and each other differently. The words I just attributed to Bucky were my iteration of his message, but here are some of his own words from It Came to Pass-Not to Stay:
The top-gun, self-serving power structure
Also claims outright ownership
Of the lives of all those born
Within their sovereignly claimed
And can forfeit their citizens’ lives
In their official warfaring,
Which of psychological necessity
Is always waged in terms
Of moral rectitude
While overtly protecting and fostering their special self-interests.
To keep the conquered
And fearfully dependent
“They” also foster perpetuation or increase
Of religious, ethnic, linguistic,
And skin-color differentiations
As obvious conditioned-reflex exploitabilities.
Special-interest sovereignity will always
Attempt to monopolize and control
All strategic information (intelligence),
Thus to keep the divided specializing world
Innocently controlled by its propaganda
And dependent exclusively upon its dictum.
Youth has discovered all this
And is countering with comprehensivity and synergy.
Youth will win overwhelmingly
Is eternally regenerative
And holds together,
All that hate, fear and selfishness
Attempt to disintegrate.
Thank you Bucky. What a mind, what a man, what a heart.
Watching C-Span the other night, proceedings in the British Parliament showed their government all stirred up over the Rupert Murdoch scandal. I looked at the room full of characters trying to sort the problem out and noticed that they mostly look to be in their 50’s and over, possibly there are a few in their 40’s.
And then I see news clips about the kids who are the new billionaires because of social media break-throughs they have designed, genius ideas that hook the world up differently. I find it captivating the that corporate guys are saying to the 25-year-olds “We’ll give you 6 billion dollars for this,” and the kids are saying “Nope, it’s not for sale.”
What if Parliament, government, corporations, every organization had a think-tank that only the really young could be involved in? Rather than wait for those minds to come up through the system so that by the time they are 40 their spirits are crushed, they are dumbed down, bummed out, burned out and medicated – what if we intentionally tap the resource of our youth? It guarantees unmatched energy, enthusiasm, creativity and raw power. Why is this resource not more involved?
I am turning into an elder, now 60, and increasingly notice how irrelevant elders become in our culture, partly because everything is moving so fast. Our brains got formed before all of these challenges. There are certain things that only an elder with life experience can teach you. And there are other things that only the youth, born into the changing world, can teach us. We have to work together. Maybe mid-life crises wouldn’t be so extreme if more of the responsibility were spread out across the generations.
Surely there is a way to figure this out. Let’s ask a young person.