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Not talking about my generation.

Debates are good for the brain. Even a comedy debate, such as is held every year at the Boonah Arts Festival. As audience members we hear both sides of an opinion. As a debater we dig deep into reasons to support an allocated side. We can stretch credibility as long as it’s entertaining.

Some topics seem to defy being debated, such as this year’s choice.

The generation gap is a myth.

An instant reaction from a friend was that this couldn’t be debated as it is so clearly incorrect. But isn’t that the fun of a comedy debate topic? What seems to be absurd to many being presented as completely logical and mainstream by a clever debater.

I’m going to put the pro side here.

In true debating form, let’s look at the actual meaning of each word.

The (determiner) – used to refer to particular nouns. In this case ‘generation gap’ which is a noun phrase.

So far, so good.

The dictionary gives these definitions:

Generation (noun) – all of the people born at about the same time. Or a time frame of twenty to thirty years.

Gap (noun) – many meanings, mainly in the area of difference, divergence, divide and distance.

Let’s skip past is and a.

Myth (noun) – Collins dictionary says ‘If you describe a belief or explanation as a myth, you mean that many people believe it but it is actually untrue.’ I’m going with that.

Putting all the words together the dictionary says the generation gap is ‘a situation in which older and younger people do not understand each other’.  

Or they pretend not to understand. Of course things change. Technology has forged ahead during my lifetime but I’m guessing those born now won’t feel that way.

The divide is a confection, an invention; by those who want to continue feeling misunderstood and disadvantaged. Who can’t be bothered trying to understand another generation’s viewpoint.

We don’t all have to have the same knowledge of the same subjects. And we understand other generations very well, even if we haven’t been through the same school system or gone through the same life experiences. 

Human beings all have similar basic needs and the same desire to satisfy them. And that’s a deeper bond than any fictional divide. Just as I prefer to look forward rather than constantly bemoan the passing of ‘the good old days’, I prefer to try to understand younger and older generations. I don’t need all the technology available but it’s there if I choose to use it. I don't know what it's like to live without cars or electricity but I can use my imagination.

That’s what make life, with all its variations, so interesting. We have choices and the world is shaped according to our lifetime of making choices.

For more about the Boonah Arts Festival events, including the comedy debate, click here.

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