Youth: a narrative

Dalrymple writes that

contrary to what is frequently supposed (as if no one were capable of serious or sincere reflection on his own past, or had forgotten what it was to be young), youth is not idealistic but profoundly egotistical. Even where it is hedonistic, it is censorious – towards all those who are not hedonistic. Its hedonism is not that of spontaneous enjoyment but that of putting two fingers up to Mum and Dad.

Youth

  • never ceases to think of itself even as it is claiming to agitate for the betterment of the world.
  • wants to save the planet but forgets to pick up the litter when it leaves, as (for example) attendance at the Glastonbury Festival would soon convince anyone.
  • is an unavoidable condition that we all have to go through, as diseases such as measles and whooping cough once were. Dalrymple doubts that there will ever be an immunisation against it, and perhaps it is better that this is so (one of the explanations for the rise of allergic conditions is that children grow up in too clean an environment, with not enough immunological challenges).

Dalrymple affirms that

there is no reason to make adolescence our cynosure or youth the object of a cult.

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