That’s why in old cultures, in old civilizations – and they are still in existence – the older person is respected, because there is no way for the younger person to know more than the older person. The only way to know is experience, and experience comes with age – and you are respectful to the person who has more experience. The oldest person becomes the wise man because he has lived his whole life, and life has not been changing for centuries. It is just going on the same. So the wise man can suggest things to you which younger people cannot know. They have to be respectful.
It is in the contemporary century that a tremendous revolution has happened. It has created a new phenomenon: the younger generation. Because of the schools, colleges, and universities, these people have no responsibilities. The idea of child marriages is condemned, so they are not married. They don’t have children. They don’t have any jobs. Their parents have all the responsibility for their education. So up to twenty-five they are completely without responsibilities.
And this is the time when the mind is the most romantic, because this is the time – between fourteen to twenty-five – that they are the most sexual. Sexual energy makes them romantic, and their sexual energy makes them great idealists. Somebody becomes an anarchist, somebody becomes a communist, somebody starts thinking about utopias – how the world should be. And, moreover, when they come home after five years in the university, they cannot accept that the old people know more than they do.
Now a new dimension of knowing has opened – that is education. The older people may know much through experience, but the younger people have known a hundred times more through education. Hence, all over the world the respect for the old, for older people, has declined. It was resting on a certain foundation. That foundation has disappeared.
Now the latest knowledge is known by the younger person. The older person is carrying out-of-date ideas. And ideas are changing so fast, science is progressing so fast, that even professors have started feeling that they are no longer respected because whatever they know is almost out of date. When they passed through their universities it was the right thing; now twenty years have passed. In twenty years so much has changed that any intelligent student can beat them – about anything. The student just has to go to the university library and look in books which have been published about the subject during these twenty years.
When I was at university, I proposed to my vice-chancellor that at least once in a year there should be a debating competition between the teachers and the students.
He said, “What are you saying?”
I said, “When you can have a tennis competition between teachers and students, a volleyball match between students and teachers, what is wrong with my suggestion? In fact those are physical things; this is far closer to the work of a university – an intellectual competition. And it will help the whole university to know how backward their professors are.