Normally, end of a year tempts one to retrospect over the past to prepare for time ahead; but, this year I find situation to be remarkably different. Instead of learning from the past, I am forced to speculate over a future that may have nothing to do with the past.
A discussion with a young kid angered by my stand on bitcoin to be unworkable made me suddenly realise that New Year ahead of us has all the potential to be harbinger of times to come that we are unprepared for.
The young man told me that institutions like government and RBI are passé, as they don’t represent what youth believes in. As, at his age I was incapable of conceiving a world order sans governing institutions, his ability to visualize such a world has forced me to think.
Historically, youth has always shown tendency of finding systems to be restrictive. Youth is always about freedom of choice and rebellion against systems that prevent it. The classical prognosis of this malaise of youth is dawning of realism (or cynicism) as time passes and living takes its due toll.
As the world is run by systems that are too big to change by individuals, till now rebellion of youth has only served as a corrective force when systems get too oppressive. But, all that is past. And, I have a strange feeling that past is not going to find itself repeated.
There is a unique situation emerging all around us. For the first time in human history, youth is not inheriting the world from the previous generation. Technology (that they only know) has enabled youth to create a world that old people are expected to adapt to.
Youth is no longer the following generation, it is the one leading humanity to a new future they are building out of scratch.
Though I prefer to look at this development with hope and expectations, I also feel that it has disastrous possibilities.
Let us understand that technology is nothing but an amplifier. While it empowers youth to build systems having previously unheard-of qualities, it is also important to note that a system is as good as its objectives. And these objectives stem from the minds of humans, who are animals with dubious antecedents, considering the past history of the species.
So, if youth is under the impression that a world built on freedom of choice offered to all is a great idea; bitter possibility is, in most probability, it is going to reflect the true nature of human ape.
What exuberant and empowered youth is not realising is that qualities like sharing, altruism, fairness or equity that are crucial for a freedom-of-choice system to operate in building a better world are not natural to human beings. The systems that they find restrictive exit purely because we humans are incapable to be good to each other if left to our own choices and devices.
So, if system disruption is ushered in without realizing who we are, the only possibility that I see is a world driven by gratification-circuits of masses and plunging into self-destruction.
As youth is slowly but surely positioning itself on the helm of the ship of humanity sailing in a chaotic reality, the only hope we can have is that, in pursuit of seeking pleasures made available by technologies, they don’t throw away the moral compass that humanity has evolved.
I pray that future getting constructed by youth is not built around the sole objective of pursuit of choices to fire reward circuits of neo-cortex. It is a lure that is difficult to escape from without being aware of it.
While wishing for a happy new year, let us remember that life on earth is a lot bigger than individual happiness that we are designed to pursue.