today my psych students in the second year were editing some interview questions, selecting interesting and discarding boring ones from the presented list. they were almost unanimous in dismissing the question about the generation gap (if it divides people) as uninteresting - what could the interviewee tell us about it we already haven't heard - they said. well, they are probably right, but for some reason the question got stuck in my mind and made me think about it for myself.
of course people of different generations differ, and of course we encounter those differences all of the time. this particularly holds true for those less individualistic, who fit into the traditionally prescribed roles characteristic of different walks of life. the more idiosyncratic, original and natural a person is, however, the less stereotypically 'generational' will he or she be.
the same can be applied to people of different nationality, religion, education, wealth, etc. the less their true selves they are, the more they identify with their outwardly personas.
they are so many younger people, even children, i stand in awe of, and so many elders i consider immature and underdeveloped. among all of them, as well as among peers, there are those we consider equal, superior or inferior. at least this is how i see the things. and this made me pose myself a question - does the generation gap actually exist? the answer is yes, it certainly and obviously does. but what do we of different generations differ by? whatever it be (tastes, habits, life pace, experience), i believe that we differ by outer, superfluous things, while the things that connect us and wipe the generation gap away are the things that matter - ideas, humanity, communication, laughter, spirit. i likewise think that all other differences among people are superfluous and ornamental, while the human core that we share makes the differences insignificant and fleeting.
so, although i cannot but admit that there is a generation gap that places us on different steps on life's ladder, i certainly do not agree that it divides us. anything can divide us as we so choose, but we also have the potential to transcend the countless barriers that are constantly setting us apart.