The New Demons. Chapter 4: Modern Myths

History’s myth of progress is always accompanied by the myth of youth. Civilizations turned toward the past had the myth of old age. We have surely changed, and that change itself is weighted with profound significance. The sameness of this youth, which is everywhere alike, takes the pungency out of the discourse in its praise. Though rationally based, because youth represents the maximum in working energy, the maximum capacity for progress and the greatest strength for the battle, the myth nevertheless cannot stop at that. It is true that we need the young in the face of superabundant technical progress, for only they can adapt to the endless innovations. It is true that scientific research always calls for a newly trained, hence a young, personnel, and that the need for increased production requires the young even more. Of course. But from that, one passed on solemnly to the well-known tautology that youth is the hope of the future, and in this attitude one is leaning automatically on the myths of progress and happiness.

By Jacques Ellul

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