The question of a gap did not arise. And the father always knew more, and the child always knew less – because the only way of knowing was by experience. A carpenter’s son had to learn by doing carpentry. Naturally the father was much more knowledgeable about the art, the craftsmanship, and at no time could the son say, “You are out of date.”
This is why all the old civilizations respect old people, because the old people always knew more than the young people. Old people expect the same today also, but it is not possible – they have forgotten that the basic root was that the older knew more than the younger. Now the situation is just the reverse: the younger know more than the older.
Your father may have come out of the university thirty years ago. In thirty years, everything has changed. And when you come out of the university, the father cannot expect – should not expect the same respect that was always given to him in the past. The situation is completely reversed. Now the son knows more; the father has to ask the son for his advice because he is coming fresh from the university, bringing the latest research on any subject.
Now, experience is not the only way of learning.
We have created schools, colleges, universities – an alternative way of learning, far quicker.
The way of experience is slower. Now, how quickly you can learn depends on your intelligence. Libraries are available, books are available, teachers are available. If you are just ready to learn, you can learn so much by the time you come out of the university that it is natural at many points to think: “My father is behaving stupidly, my father is doing things which are out of date – they should not be done.”
Your father may be a doctor – he is giving medicines which you know, because you have come from the university, have been abandoned; they are not to be given, they are dangerous. And he is still prescribing them because in his time he learned that those were the right medicines. Such drastic changes have happened.
The younger generation has come for the first time to a higher knowledge level than the older.
If he is considerate, a young person may respect old age – but it is going to be just formal, not real. In the past it was a real phenomenon, not formal – he really felt it. Now he cannot feel it.
I know from my own experience.
My teachers in the university had passed their examinations, their post graduation, their PhD’s twenty years before. In those twenty years everything had changed.
It does not change for the mediocre – because they never go to the university, they are not bothered. But what has happened in the world of knowledge is that people still go on listening to a man who is teaching everything wrong.