Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why do we (not) have a responsibility towards the next generation?

Recently, I noticed a question from The Well, a collaboration between Big Think and the John Templeton Foundation. In my view, their question was wrong as it contained an implicit answer: What’s our responsibility towards the next generation? The neutral version of the question is the one in my title above.

I believe in stewardship (in Dutch: rentmeesterschap). Hence, my answer was simple.

An opposite view can be summarized by the phrase après moi, le déluge. “It is generally regarded as a nihilistic expression of indifference to whatever happens after one is gone []” (Wiki). In my view, the words nihilistic and indifference contain an implicit moral judgement.

Is indifference always a bad thing? It’s not in my view.

A quote by Elie Wiesel claims that “the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference” (my 2021 blog). A 1975 cover song by Nazareth claims that Love Hurts (eg, video). Hence, indifference stops the bleeding as caused by being/feeling hurt. However, indifference is also a weapon in revenge & retaliation (eg, ghosting).

Hence, people who are angry (eg, with themselves, the world) may think, feel and/or believe that they have no responsibility towards the next generation.

Anger is the second phase in the Kübler-Ross cycle of processing grief, or – in my view – of Change. Denial comes first (eg, climate change denial). Acceptance comes last.

Does anger, hate or indifference towards the next generation make any sense? At an individual or micro level, it does indeed. From a macro or (inter)national perspective, there is no sense at all.

The Hurting (1983) by Tears For Fears
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album

On my own
Could you ease my load?
Could you see my pain?
Could you please explain
The hurting

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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1 Comment

  1. ana

    We have children, we have grandchildren. We cannot be indifferent to their future. Wars, climate change, are life threatening on the Blue Planet. We cry when we see the great destruction of bombs and missiles in Ukraine. (dead people, devastated nature, the Black Sea,
    water polluted). The Planet is our home. Obviously, we have a responsibility to leave a legacy for future generations, a clean Planet.


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