Peter Pan Was Right

"During all human history until this century, the rate of social change has been very slow. So slow, that it would pass unnoticed in one person's lifetime. That's no longer so." Elizabeth Hass Edersheim, "McKinsey's Bower", p. 46, 2004 New York, (quoted from Sir Charles Snow's "The Culture and the Scientific Revolution")

Historically, a generation could be counted by a score or quarter century of years. I believe that today, it's closer to four or five years. The cause appears not to be physical, but psychic. In earlier generations, children were considered part of the labor force; today, they're part of the information architecture of our society.

As the information available to a society increases, so will the velocity of knowledge, consequently resulting in the reduction of a generational period. Thus the velocity of knowledge for children has expanded their expectations to the point where they are no longer able to live like their parents used to at their age. ("The end of innocence").

How can this be prevented? It may be theoretically possible to put legal limitations on what children are exposed to, in the same way the legal working age was raised. Indeed, we've already got laws like COPA for child privacy protection, as well as limitations on the sort of ads that should reach them (i.e. "fat" ads). May I suggest censoring music videos next? This way, we're conditioning (by force) values and morals so they can sustain their innocence longer. Or perhaps, prevent them from making adulthood obsolete from a societal perspective.

We've spent decades conditioning young people that teen pregnancy is bad; that they should finish school and after get a good job; to perpetually post-pone love and commitment. Any deviation from this thinking today is thought to be politically incorrect (even barbaric). Any attempts to say otherwise will surely endanger a career, as Harvard's Larry Summers can attest to after his remarks about gender differences and achievement.

But today, this batch is under-populated, resulting in the worst social welfare problem in history. Today, you're not truly "finished" with school until you get some sort of advanced degree or certification, an exclusionary cast system as the cost of a complete education crosses six figures several times over. Today, the #2 most successful online business model is getting lonely singles to pay subscription fees to meet other lonely singles. This is the normal kind of adulthood?

They say that youth is wasted on the young. Perhaps it is experience that is wasted on the old.

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