Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Disorienting the youth

The youth squeezed between the dying old and the growing new is always rife with fresh potentialities. The youth can potentially and rather boldly question the assumed merits of the reigning order. At the same time the youth also harbors tendencies that can easily lead to disturbances/destructions, both to itself as well as to the attainments of its foremothers. In the context of our times, the reigning polarizing globalization doesn’t promise much in the way of sustaining global lives, that of humanity and others. In this conundrum, the youth is innately expected to eject itself (hopefully along with the larger humanity) from the prevailing life-destroying trajectories, which have come to define our late modernity!

Traditionally, the old has been quite successful in managing the youth, both productively and destructively. Repeated blatant blunderings of humanity wouldn’t have been possible without the active participation of the gullible youth. Plenty of unnecessary wars/conflicts have taken place (throughout the ages) with the help of the youth; after all, it is the youth that invariably ends up as the proverbial cannon fodder! When the more perceptive component of the youth rationally questions the absurdities of its days, it usually ends up ostracized if not more. At times though, the youth’s revolutionary forte wins the day. Despite all the modern tools to enhance general enlightenment as well as genuine understanding between peoples, the current global arrangement has not proved to be different from experiences of yesteryears. The youth is no child; it is the in-between of old and new, here we are not talking about mere genealogy. The youth can observe, analyze, infer, deduct and even reflect (on all and sundry), backward and forward. Even when something is not fully comprehensible, the youth has the benefit of energy and ambition to keep going. Therefore, repeated hoodwinking by the dying old can actually hit its limit, particularly when the youth finally decides to take matters in its own hands. Thereafter, outcomes might well be quite different or even totally unexpected! See Smith’s article next column.

The current global economic system that anchors almost all other superstructures is capitalism. Twenty first century youth has started to question the system’s sustainability, particularly given the finiteness of resources and the top predator’s incapacity to thoroughly understand and hence manage its existence along with other life forms. Obviously such inquisitive trajectories are intentionally closed or obstructed by the status quo, as dominant interest have absolutely nothing convincing to say about the durability of our fossil fuel propelled civilization. As if this is not enough, we now face a highly interdependent existence whose complexity inevitably leads to collapse! What is the youth supposed to do? See Durden’s articles on page 51 & 68. To start with, the youth should realize that one of the operating principles of the globally entrenched interests is still ‘divide and rule’. This is now compounded with the masterful trickery of isolating the questioning types as pariah, while endorsing all the unexamined stupidities of the system as if they were life enhancing endeavors. When the prevailing collective insanity is seriously interrogated, the only answer the global ruling class can come up with is the following criminal narrative. It is the fault of the individual not to adjust to the whim of the unthinking collective system, which of course is irrationally organized by capitalist modernity! What are the critical thoughts of social existence to do in a stifling multifaceted world where one cannot even perform such basic tasks as fetching water, grow food, etc. without the myriad obdurate complexity built around each and every global activity?

Admittedly, the youth is hot blooded and by and large wants to engage in actions rather than reflections. Those supposed to do the heavy lifting,(traditional institutions of enlightenment, etc.) at least when it comes to serious reflections, are now sufficiently compromised (by capital) to be of much help in the effort to sustain life. Any one person with some sense of reality/space-time can see the futility of trying to endow each and every citizen of the world with a private car, a mansion, etc. or putting it more plainly; to avail a life style of an American middle class. To bring about such a lifestyle to all humanity we need to have at least seven more planets like earth-an impossibility! As it stands, the current 20% of rich humanity consumes 80% of the world’s resources! Those members of the global youth that are interrogating the dominant system and aspire to replace it with a more humane non-commodified and resilient model are not encouraged to pursue their lofty objectives. Such initiatives are not welcomed by the globally prevailing greed system that is on track to destroying the planet’s life support system sooner than later. See Carrington’s article on page 50. Sadly, pandering to all the nonsense of this polarizing globalization and its nonstop growth predicated on nonstop commodity export has also become the main prerogative of the peripheral nation states of Africa! Ultimately, we believe, all of us will pay a dear price for our economic infatuation.

Some of the waywardness of the youth emanates from frustration that arise due to such basic but unanswered existential questions. Engaging in drugs, alcohol or spending precious time watching useless spectator sports/entertainments, etc., to some extent, is a coping mechanism employed by the youth to alleviate the general gloom imposed by the destructive system. These products/services are globally available and are intentionally geared to sinisterly suffocate the creative energy of the youth. Reactions/symptoms have become visible, particularly in the rich or relatively rich countries of the system. For instance; family formation has become increasingly unattractive to many a young person in places like Japan, Germany, Italy, etc. For example, Germany and Italy have population growth rate of -2.3%and 2.7% respectively! Amidst all these troubling trends, the existing destructive economic system is not willing to allow deep interrogation/reflections to take root amongst the youth. Instead, it insists on a global zombification regime, which is effectively marketed by the so-called institutions of learning, entertainments (movies, sports, digital games, etc.) and others! All these schemes only add to the increasing disconnect between the rulers and the ruled. The world of Hollywood and Bollywood will not be able to deliver real goods/services and satisfaction to tame the increasingly restless and pathetically alienated global youth!

We believe Africa’s youths are only reacting to the phony promise peddled by their respective states on behalf of the bosses of the global system. Manifestations of resentments in each and every country differ, but the core of the uprisings remains the same. The world is on the precipice and the non-workable solutions that are continuously prescribed by the cynical global dominant interests don’t hold much water and yet, the youth is dangled paradise ad nauseam! As the saying goes: “Too much expectation brings disappointment.” Good Day!