ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Who Has an Authentic Conception of ‘Generation’?


This question has cropped up in the context of the strong sense of “generation” and its complete absence in a large section of people. There are three vantage points from which this question can be approached—utilitarian, existential or bare material, and normative. The normative is a bit idealistic, which has a total sense of the good life that should be experienced by people from every succeeding generation, irrespective of tensions. In such a sense, it is the great human values such as maitree, or unconditional friendship and peace, and a sense of dignity for all that is transformed from one generation to another. There is no competition to achieve this normative goal. It eschews the generational shift in terms of the bad vices such as hatred, enmity, and violence. The present electoral politics does not provide any favourable context to make any minimum advance towards achieving this goal. So, this question gets superseded by the utilitarian conception of a generation in which the parameter for indexing human progress is in terms of measuring happiness. The editorial in the current issue of Economic & Political Weekly quite convincingly covers this point.

Such a conception of happiness concerns the sections of the population who perhaps are more fortunate in terms of possessing the required resources to instantiate this conception by providing evidence from consumerism. This could be considered as an enlightened sense of consumerism that has been rendered relevant even for the succeeding generations. Such a sense of happiness does have a transformative value in the sense that they want to secure happiness for several generations to come. Interestingly, one often keeps hearing that certain families from the fortunate layer of society have amassed so much wealth and property that it would be enough for the consumerist indulgence of several generations. Thus, there is a concrete notion of generation, and it is based on procreation, material production, and accumulation of assets. They define generation in terms of acquiring access into different opportunity fields. This could be called as the modernist conception of generation where, in a generic sense, the more fortunate acquire these material, intellectual capacities to appear in different fields of progress and development. This conception of generation, of course, is based on the ideal inequality produced through the market-based competition. Ironically, this conception has been dished out as the most authentic concept of generation. This, however, raises a question for the deprived section of the population.

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Updated On : 9th Apr, 2022
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