The world we live in has never been more comfortable, more equal, and safer than it is right now. It’s literally the best world we’ve ever had. Few people still die of starvation in comparison to earlier times, and more people than ever before have access to school and healthcare. However, that doesn’t mean that everything that shines is gold. There is definitely still room for improvement, and that’s why we need to empower youth to build a better world.
Why especially youth, you might ask? Well, let’s look at where innovation and radical change tend to come from. In the ’50s, the civil rights movement was led by Martin Luther King Jr. who was only 26 at the time. In the ’60s, it was the young people who brought about the cultural revolution that turned our world into a more open, free, and peaceful society. And today, it’s Greta Thunberg who is challenging the status quo. Of course, it isn’t always like this – older people have also disrupted the world – but more often than not, a big change has been brought about by the younger generation, which is why we need to empower them.
Thesis, Antithesis & Synthesis
This trend has its roots in Hegel’s dialectics. According to the German philosopher, we tend to move from a thesis to an antithesis, finally ending in a synthesis – which turns into a new thesis. The thesis is the status quo. The antithesis is a point of view that challenges the thesis. And the synthesis is the middle ground between the two.
For example, the thesis of the older generation is that everyone needs a driver’s license and (at least) one car. The antithesis of youth nowadays is that you don’t need to own a car to get around. The synthesis of these views is car sharing – with some owning the cars, and the others renting them at need.
The thesis always comes first, and it tends to be the established lifestyle and worldview of the older generations as they are more affluent, have higher positions, and thus have more power to shape the world. It’s only natural, then, that the antithesis to the lifestyle and worldview of the older generation should come from the younger generation. They view the behavior of their parents more critically because they didn’t grow up under the same circumstances as their parents.
It’s through this back-and-forth that the world develops and improves. The antitheses help move us forward, even though we end up with synthesis and not take over the antithesis 1-to-1. If we didn’t have those opposing perspectives, we would stay in the status quo.
Let’s Empower Youth to Build our Future
Consequently, allowing young people to express their views and take part in shaping our world is necessary in order for the world to develop and move forward. Youth brings so many other qualities to the table that older people might be lacking. That is simply because older people have more experience, have settled in their identity and beliefs, and have found their place in the world. Young people lack experience and might still be unsure of who they are and what they want. However, this flexibility and openness are important qualities if combined with the experience and settledness of older people. We become weak when we blindly follow old traditions and the status quo. We need each other and differing life perspectives to be strong.
For this reason, we have our Young Advisory Board as well as our experienced Advisory Board. We want to be challenged by and gain insight into the perspectives of young people. You can get to know our new Young Advisors for the year 2021/22 here! We’re very grateful for what our pirate community teach us about the world.