Aristotle says, in the Nicomachean Ethics that lectures on political science should not be wasted on the young. Then he tells his reader why: the young are inexperienced and passionate. The point should be well taken. Those guided by passion with little clue what is actually out there are not suitable listeners to discourse on much of anything much less how the community ought to be organized.
Two conditions by nature are conditions of the young: ignorance and passion. I have begun to shape both of these further by the condition of dependency. It is at least to some degree because the young are sheltered from impact with reality and permitted to feel without repercussion that they are ignorant and passionate. (A side note. Isn’t it interesting that after inviting the sheltering of the youth from experience with reality we now move them into “education” where they are hand-selected by “teachers” for elite status or prescribed psychiatric drugs. Their parents are given two choices: your child will face demotion or you can submit to state psychiatric evaluation that was initiated by your child’s ignorant and passionate response to the educational environment).
know that you are transitioning in a time of change. Maybe most important, that means your parents have not a tradition to hand down to you. The instability of the increasing state control over freedom, expression, association and production and trade means that each generation is encountering a different reality. Know that the trend is toward great infantilizing of the citizenry by the state. It will take extra effort on your part to grow up. There will be shock when the limits of state support are reached and two things happen: the state support is inadequate, and you are unprepared for supporting yourself. The state will use this moment to gain more support from you. It will be hard to resist and begin to take up your own cause of independence. I urge you to take up your own cause.
Second, recognize how passion and ignorance are present, how they might distort the view of reality, and begin to think about how to confront that which you have a distorted view of. I call this acting on faith (but this has lots of undue connotations). Walking forward toward that which one does not see is the essence of faith. Look around. Passion motivates action by feeling. Learn to distrust feeling and to act in spite of it. This will not be total solution, but all the sages recognize the faultiness of guidance by feeling. Begin to separate your self from your feeling and you will build the capacity for independence. Ignorance creates insecurity in choice. When we are insecure we feel fear. Know that you will have a tendency to run. Don’t run. Confronting that which is feared will build courage. Courage will be useful.
Third, aim for independence. Maybe the greatest myth of the collectivists is the messy and irreconcilably contradictory notion of mutual interdependence. What those who promote it hope to do it to get you to consent to a condition of dependence. But, they will argue as if what is really happening is that we are all depending on each other. EVERYTHING NEEDS A FOUNDATION. A foundation of mutual dependency supports nothing. Community relies on each individual carrying a load. That load cannot be passed off. It must be carried by the individual. I call this independence. For there to be ANY legitimate dependency there must be independence. Become independent if you wish to live well. This is an ideal to pursue and not to be poo-pooed merely because it cannot be fully realized. Let’s not be silly. Become independent of your worst self first. Aim for independence from bad feeling. It will only skew choice and so results. Aim for acceptance of responsibility of your body. Stop passing the buck on others. Then aim for integration into community by the usefulness you can provide through your independence. This is economic usefulness. Finally, be independent from consumption. This will cause saving.
Fourth, NOW, look for others that are like-minded and inspire you. Do not treat friendship cheaply. Have many acquaintances but few friends. You will only need a few real friends. Look for those who will support you in your pursuit of becoming an independent adult. You don’t need persuasion to distraction or temptation. Consider even befriending someone much older who has been around, has experience, has learned to deal with passion. We send the old now to homes. Maybe it is precisely to keep the young dependent.
Fifth, expect pain and suffering. This, the sage Jesus emphasized rightly. But the disorienting paradoxical statements of Lao Tzu express it as well. The disorientaion caused by becoming is, to put it blunt, painful. Do not be dissuaded by this. Embrace it. All investment, all saving, all self-restraint implies the NOT satisfying current desire. It implies dissatisfaction. Embrace it.
The future is as bright as it can be for you whether you live in utopian or oppressive state. The one who does well in either is the same. He is developed, strong, independent, clear thinking, hard working. He is always who the undeveloped, weak, dependent muddy thinking, and lazy rely upon. Good luck.