Youth is the time to discover the world in both its greatness and its imperfection. During our time at university we experience both wonder and dissatisfaction, the desire to be a driver of change and at the same time the persistent uncertainty as to whether our efforts will bear fruit.
Here is where we meet some important questions. Where do I come from? Where am I going? What do I want to accomplish? Perspectives and horizons expand, and we come to see who we are and what role we want to play in the world. We dream of making a positive difference in society.
Fifty years ago, these same questions led to a protest movement that erased reference points and produced major paradigm shifts in society. As happens with all ideologies, May ’68 did not do full justice to human dignity. In order to be fruitful, a paradigm shift must be based on reflection; it needs to take in account the deepest truths in the human heart. Otherwise, the “revolution” leads to chaos and destruction. Are you a rebel, a nonconformist, a hero? It is at your university, with your friends, on the street, that you can discover your professional, social, family and divine vocation. There you can become a protagonist in history.
In May 1968, young people all over the world experienced the so-called Revolution of Desire. Young people sought fulfillment, enticed by ideologies that told them to put no limits on their desires and denied the validity of arguments based on divine law, natural law, metaphysical concepts, or even empirical observation. The barriers erected by prejudice, taboo and tradition had to be brought down in order to achieve liberation: the time had come to reject all forms of repression and just be oneself.
After 50 years of this revolution, can we really say that young people today are seeking the greater good? Have all forms of repression been vanquished and are young people finally free and fulfilled? Can we conclude that the society that we are building and in which we live enables us to satisfy all our longings for love, hope and fulfillment?
The emergence of Internet has opened up revolutionary horizons for satisfying one’s desires. Since truth is no longer the rule of behavior, all that actually matters now is desire – what I want, what you want, and what we agree on, even if you are lying to me. But is this really a way of aspiring to higher goals? Is it genuine empathy for others? Is this the ultimate ambition of human beings?
Rethinking the future means organizing the world in such a way that great desires and aspirations are authentic and original at their very foundations. The future will belong to young people if our quest for originality does not disavow our origins. By tapping into our originality, we can build the world we long for together.