A famous professor in the most prestigious university in Korea once stepped on the stage to give a welcome speech for the new faculty students of that year. He had wrote a book that became later quite controversy; ‘Yes, youth hurts’. The message was that we, young people in this era, are living in struggle to find jobs, to find mate and family, to settle on decent economic background. The world economy has shifted, so it’s getting hard to achieve all those things that we had seen growing up. But is it really because we need to struggle when we are young to be compensated when we get older? Many people believe this hypothesis, so they work hard when they are young: to save allowances or to get university degrees that promise us to step up to next economic level. Older generation blames the spoiled millennials. We don’t get married soon, we move jobs to jobs too easily, we don’t want to invest real estate (maybe not because we don’t want to, but can’t afford), or we prefer traveling to settling down in one geographic place.
In his speech he mentioned that we need to study hard, collectively. That professor argued that we need to compete for the greater mean, stepping up others’ shoulders. Once Isaac Newton also mentioned that he just stood on the shoulders of giants to see a little further. Contribute one more stone on the top of the Everest mountain, he said, is to make another highest mountain on earth. If we try to stand alone individually, we will be like Fuji or Halla, standing with little height in the ocean. But if we stay together and climb up together, we might be the next Everest, he said. So we all need to struggle to climb up the highest mountain in the history, the high peak of economic development of one nation, to put one more contribution on its height. The professor apologised to the public that the older generation couldn’t give better legacy to the younger generation, and it’s now younger generations’ burden to carry with. Yes, youth hurts, and since it hurts, we can call it the youth. The bright future awaits us when this period passes finally at the end, and we, with this narrow hope, study and work to see the better future.
I think his speech was total scam and bullshit.
It’s nothing to do with collective action for economic growth, but with just moralising the younger generation to do what older generation has done. Here comes my argument:
- Mountain Everest is not the highest mountain on the Earth. That is just a perceptive error. Everest is the highest when we only put sea level as a starting point. But as we all know, sea level is movable as with moon rotation. So 8,850m of its altitude is questionable. When we measure altitude from the point where the mountain starts to climb up, Mauna Kea records more than 10,000m (4,205m above sea level). So even though it seems lower than Everest, it is actually taller than Everest. Another measurement is possible when putting its starting point from the very center of the earth. Knowing that Earth is not evenly sphere form but oblate spheroid, Chimborazo mountain in Ecuador is recorded the highest mountain ever existing. The highest Everest is a myth and so are other arguments relating Everest.
- Older generation after the Second World War started to build their lives from zero, just as starting from sea level. But our younger generation is not starting up from the sea level. We started from minus, having debts of parents, born in environmental contamination that older generation passed us to deal with, struggling to fit in all social anxieties that older generation already had set for themselves like university degree and etc. Shouldn’t we be the Mauna Kea, starting from the minus but remaining as the tallest as we can reach? Why Fuji and Halla mountains are to be blamed for being a small islands on the ocean? As an utilitarian perspective, Fuji mountain is greater than Everest. Around Fuji mountain, a nation economically developed than any other nations resides with massive human population. Everest is only visited by world climbing elites; how many would they be? Maybe upmost 500 people annually. So was that professor saying that we should devote our lives just for those 500 world elites to climb up and feel proud? Or should we be like Fuji mountain, even though it is isolated in the middle of the ocean, for more the population of 126 millions?
So youth is not supposed to be hurt. We just need to decide whether to live for those high class elites leaning on one another, or to live for ourselves even though it means to stand alone like an island on the ocean. It’s not the youth that hurts, but does the fake altruism. Don’t get me wrong, altruism is to be worshiped. But following what others do without questioning whether it is really for greater good, or at least whether you are ready to devote your youth believing it, eventually lets you feel lost and that’s where it starts to hurt.
Many people think that I’m living with a free soul, reflecting my image with what it appears in social medias, Facebook for example. I genuinely believe that it’s what social medias do, generating envy. I love my life, yes, but I am not living as the wonderful life what people see and imagine through what social medias are projecting. I just live, trying to be present at the very moment instead of constantly being connected to virtual world craving for attention. I don’t need others’ attention, nor care I, so as I admit myself to live as an island on the ocean. It’s just a common sense that I being an island, I dwell in the Pacific Ocean with other islands far away from each other; where everybody wants to visit to spend their vacation.
Be Fuji, instead of Everest. Stay in a blue ocean, not in the red mountain. Be a bigger container for massive population, rather than a medal for few elites. Be yourself outstood from others, rather than be an outstanding projection within others.