Friday, July 7, 2017

Insufficiently Enlightened

One of the things about being old is that you're in that time of your life where most of the people you encounter are younger than yourself. And this grants some insight into how the things that you thought were important are dealt with by the next generation(s).

There is a Young Person's Problem that I think every deals with at some point, and that's The Insufficient Enlightenment of the Rest of Humanity. I remember when I was a young(er) man, we used to sit around and congratulate each other on our perceptiveness in having put our fingers on the problems of humanity, and we would be amazed that this has gotten past so many other (older, natch) people. And I suspect that those selfsame older people simply smirked at us when we weren't looking, and chuckled to themselves knowingly when we were out of earshot. Because now that I'm old, I occasionally want to do the same.

I read a couple of articles today that solemnly proclaimed that Dungeons and Dragons and other (mainly fantasy) role-playing games were Racist and Colonialist, and in so doing I realized that those terms were simply the new buzzwords for Insufficiently Enlightened, and I realized that I could see the thought process that my peers and I engaged in back in the day playing out again. The idea that we saw things in their objective, truthful forms; the idea that everyone understood the world in the exact same way that we did; the idea that if someone disagreed with us, that the problem was with their understanding of things. It was all there.

Despite the fact that the struggle to find moral/ethical principles that are indisputable, universal, and eternal has never been resolved, we were convinced that the answers were right in front of our noses, and that what the world needed was for more people to think like us. And now that I'm old, I see a new generation of people going through the same process of wading through that thinking. And some of them are even starting to come out on the other side.

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