You will go on living, breathing, eating, but it will be just like an appendix to a book – the book is finished, and nobody reads the appendix. One starts losing dignity, self-respect; one starts feeling out of place everywhere – one is no longer connected with the society, with who is now in power; a great gap has arisen.
These people are going through a tremendous inner turmoil and crisis.
To keep them in the family, as has always been done in the past, is to create a nuisance for the new ones – because these people have nothing to do except criticize. They are ready to get angry, easily annoyed, irritated, ready to fight.
In fact, these are their ways of making the society and the family feel that they are alive, that you cannot just ignore them. They are doing it in a wrong way, but whatever they are doing should be understood with great compassion: they are simply asking for a little attention. For their whole life they have been paid attention to – in the offices, in the shops, in the government, wherever they were they were somebody. And now they are nobody – not even to their own children.
And the problem becomes more complex because the children have no obligation to be bothered with these old people. They have a small life span of their own; soon they will be retired. Before retirement they want to enjoy life – to eat, drink and be merry.
And these old people are sitting there, continuously watching what you are doing; they suddenly become very spiritual, moralistic disciplinarians; they start finding loopholes in everybody’s life – and nobody likes it. Nobody wants to be interfered with. Their independence to live their life in their own way is their birthright.
And these old people, to the younger generation, look like idiots for the simple reason that the younger generation knows more, it is better educated. Science is progressing in leaps and bounds. Every generation comes with the latest developments, canceling all old knowledge as false, as mistaken.
It was not so in the past. Things have changed so dramatically that unless we take the whole into account, we will not be able to solve the problem.
In the past the situation was totally different, diametrically different. There was no gap between the younger and the older generation.
The gap has only been created in this century. In the past, by the time he was six or seven the young child would start following his father – if the father was a carpenter, he would start carrying his wood, his instruments. If the father was a woodcutter, he would go with him to the forest – whatever small help he could give, and whatever small amount he could learn…because profession came by birth. You were going to do the same thing your father did and your forefathers had been doing for centuries, there was no mobility.
It was not that a shoemaker’s son would become a carpenter, or a carpenter’s son would become a goldsmith – the profession came by birth. So from the very beginning the child knew what he was going to become: he was going to become exactly a replica of his father.