34-year-old Maria says, “I earn less than my family did at my age, I live in a more expensive and smaller house, I take fewer vacations and I have more debt. I don’t believe I will do better than my parents, who did better than their own parents. My life began in a carefree family, now unfolds in a cramped household drowning in anxieties. I sit drenched in sweat in front of the fan, September 2022, seemingly millennia removed from the childhood of big dreams, in a world full of fears about the hardest winter since 1942, the most uncertain since 1977, when the term stagflation passed into popular vocabulary, a planet plagued by droughts, floods, wars, nuclear threats, chains of crises’.
The most educated and crisis-affected generation is once again swimming in a sea of uncertainties, with the only constant being the familiar solidarity universe of the Internet. “For our parents, work was the guarantee of a secure adulthood. For us it is a constantly renewed dubious bet.” And perhaps for the first time they are giving up low-paying, exhausting jobs, or slowing down, trying to answer the question of what they really want. “A new content in the dream of prosperity,” answers Maria. “The sun has risen on the unchecked dirty growth that destabilizes the climate, the domestic anarchic housing factory that is still destroying Greek paradises, the blind push for big immediate returns.” It is true that gasping civilizations wear out faster than those that march steadily. In their hurried pace, they not only saw off the branch where they sit, but also lose the timeless consciousness of continuity, unable to free themselves from the disproved expectation of constant growth. They turn the idea of joint efforts against universal dangers into candy that is smoothed by mechanical repetition.
Mary’s generation has gotten off that train. Although it has been exhausted by the new historical convergence of political-economic circumstances and distortions, it has been fermented in a substance that gives birth to medicine. The forces that drive kneeling people to act and prosper always shine the light of a new cosmogony. They change the content of the dream.