In these days of so much information within our reach that is able to overwhelm us with one single click, the demands of adjustment are inevitable to be and exist socially; we are living paradox times and times of surprising events, of fast changes. While existing the wishes to be recognized and to belong to a certain group, typical for our herd instinct, are predominating, immersed like we are in the “society of information”, the doubts and, ephemeral like the fashion, the knowledge of the moment to the detriment of the experience and history; a persistent heritage guarded by the elderly people, who have not a enough social recognition despite their merits and values.
Together with the postmodern anxieties of individual self-sufficiency, provided with new technologies that are able to change the ways and even the essence of the communication, and also to encourage and promote initiatives, we find ourselves the elderly people apparently not very determined according to arrangement of new times. From these premises, the exchange, the intergenerational communication is shown in our days with not a certain intention.
However, now it’s a well known fact that, we, elderly people make up a different social group compared with another time. The number of elderly people are higher than in the past and we are also becoming more and more healthy, and therefore, we live longer, the number is higher and we are more and more active and able to get involved socially with our projects despite the fact that “the discrimination, the abandonment and the abuse that are suffering the elderly people are common in all regions of the world, at the same time as the present tendencies shows that this situation will get worse.” The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights informed about this situation in a press release, dated February 16, that was published in the Webpage of the UN News Centre
Together with this international scene and it’s not very promising tendencies, there is a little book in the bookshops written by surely trembling hands, but structured, and without any doubt by clear minds that are full of live and energy apart from the sharpness of the white hair; it wakes up, it rebels against the indifference and the apathetic people... “I wish you all, each one of you, have a reason for your indignation”. It has the strength of a pamphlet. It is sense and passionate. This little book begins, except the preface and the note for the readers, with these words: ninety-three years, age of the author, Stéphane Hessel. “I was also born in 1971”, says our José Luís Sampedro in the preface.
So, at an unexpected way, there shows up two nonagenarians that, appealing with daring to the new generations, were able to cause a big editorial and also social stir (maybe the most discussed one in the first half of the year): Now who has not heard at least to talk about Indignants!, title of the book at issue? Stéphane Hessel dares to speak about “theses people who will make the 21th century” saying them “…with all our affection: to create means to resist. To resists means to create”.
If the culture is made up of obtained knowledge by a person or a group for being able to interpret and interrelate with the environment, or it’s, as the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy says, the “whole of lifestyles and habits; knowledge; degrees of artistic, scientific and industrial development in a social time or group, etc.”, considering his impossible wealth to contain, will it’s permeability among groups contribute to the general benefit although there are difficulties that we will all have to overcome? Yes, obviously. Smile with this example:
The simple fact of observing the different use and appeal of the new technology, and the different use of the language between grandparents and grandchildren, even between parents and child, proofs the present generation gap. Whichever way one looks at it, there are many things to share with the rest of the people from any age. We do it out of ignorance, slovenliness, embarrassment or contempt.
Apart from the wish, it is necessary a good deal of humility to accept the exchange of the role master-disciple and it is also necessary to discover each other the forgiven parts of the common heritage, the cultural heritage, that contribute, today or tomorrow, to the harmonious coexistence. This is the way to continue with the never-ending and irrevocable learning process in which the life immerses us with it changes. It is, on the one hand, our duty and, on the other hand, our right.
The book of Stéphane Hessel, a volume limited book but full of dignity and enthusiasm, shows that this utopia from “a society for all ages” is possible. The objective is to go the same way that we have to explore and open together with the necessary range, basically from the constant learning and the education and not only from the professional training. This is like the Professor Pierre Vellas, from the University of Toulouse, understood this, creating in the seventies what we know today as Permanent University. As person there are always time to continue developing and improving our intellectual and morals faculties. This involves live.