How did the generation gap come into being? It is dependent on many factors. Scientific progress has given people time for their children to be educated in the schools, colleges, universities. Now a new door has opened for learning. In the whole past there was only one possibility to learn and that was from the older generation. Now a new door has opened for learning, fast learning.
Experience moves at a very slow pace, but education depends on your intelligence. You don’t have to depend on the pace at which education is moving. And during these twenty-five years of education, you are no more under the control of your parents, of your society, of your priests.
In these twenty-five years you have no responsibility, you are not married. In the past, marriage used to happen too early – seven years, eight years, ten years, was old enough to be married. A ten-year-old boy gets married with a seven-year-old girl, and with the phenomenon of marriage comes a tremendous responsibility – they have almost become adults.
In other words, what I want to say is that in the past there has never been anything like youth. From children people became adults. Youth was missing. Youth is a new phenomenon, the younger generation is a new phenomenon. It is a by-product of scientific progress. Scientific progress has given so much technology and children are allowed to have many years in the universities to learn.
Secondly, when there was no science – and it was not long ago, just three hundred years – nothing was changing. Everything was as it had always been. The bullock cart was there for centuries. It was still the only vehicle. So the older generation knew everything, because everything was old.
With scientific progress the world of great books has completely disappeared. And the progress is going faster and faster, so fast that scientists no longer write big books, out of fear that if you write a big book, by the time it is completed, it will be out of date; scientists are simply writing papers in the periodicals.
It was perfectly good for Charles Darwin to take thirty years to write a single book. Now it would simply be stupidity. By the time you are finished, all that you have written is wrong. Science has gone so far, and the speed of science is so great that you cannot write with the same speed.
And science has developed into such a huge tree, with so many branches, that now to call anyone just a scientist is not right. It does not give you the right definition. He may be a physicist, he may be a chemist, he may be a mathematician. And the branches go on dividing into new branches. Now there is a new chemistry which has its own independent world – biochemistry.
Mathematics is no longer just one science. The old mathematics which is used in the ordinary world is no longer relevant for nuclear physics. It needs a new mathematics. So there are new mathematicians. The theorems of Euclidean geometry are no more relevant; there is now opposing them a totally new science, non-Euclidean geometry, which does not believe in any definitions of Euclid. For two thousand years Euclid was valid.