Dear Young People, You Terrify Me

Dear Young People, You Terrify Me


Good Morning John, it’s Friday. Today I wanna talk about young people but first, I wanna talk about evolution. there is a thing called mutagenesis it’s when a new change is introduced to the genome of an organism. By far the most common effect of a mutation is nothing. Like it changes an area of the genome that doesn’t code for anything or the protein changes but it doesn’t change enough for it to matter. Occasionally though, the mutation will allow the cell to divide uncontrolled, and that’s cancer. But also even more rarely the change is good. It allows the organism to digest a new kind of food or it makes it bigger when it needs to be bigger or smaller when it needs to be smaller or hairier when it’s colder out or less hairy if its hot. While, on average, mutagenesis is really bad for individuals, without it there would either be no life on earth or there would be one kind of life and it would be little single-celled sludge. Genetic mutagens are things like sunlight other sources of radiation, certain oxidizing compounds, a bunch of different crazy hydrocarbons. Those things create mutations inside of organisms. But it turns out that evolution seems to actually select for a certain amount of mutagenesis. Like, it wants some mutation to happen. There’s a balance. So there’s external mutagenesis, and there also seems to be internal intentional mutagenesis. And I started thinking about young people as cultural mutagens back when I was still a youth. It sounds bad but it’s not. Culture obviously can be understood evolutionarily. Like the things that work stick around. That doesn’t mean that those things are good or bad, it just means they’re working. That can be institutions like marriage or fast food restaurants. It can be ideas like human rights or tribalism. And culture mutates. Like, from the perspective of a biologist, it mutates extremely quickly. But also, it needs to. Look, I am now what could probably be called middle-aged, and I am frightened by the pace of change as I witness it as I continue to live in the world. Fairly regularly, I will think to myself: “Okay, how about, I don’t know, we spend a little bit of time getting used to the current complete revolution in how humans communicate with each other before moving on to revolutionizing the entire global financial system with cryptocurrencies?” Like, I don’t – take a – just slow down, a little bit! Get on a boat, do a little bit of fishing, have a couple drinks, noodle around on the guitar. And now I’m Jimmy Buffett, great. Thanks. Wonderful. That’s what I wanted. Young people, for a number of actual, physiological reasons, as well as practical ones and cultural ones and psychological ones I think are built to create change. To take risks, to avoid stability, to mutate culture, to make things, to imagine a world that’s deeply different from the one that I’ve gotten really used to. I am worried about what happens to individuals and also even culture at large when the wrong change takes hold. But also, I’m old! [laughs] I recognize that society without change is destined for a sorry, sad end. And I think that a really important thing to remember here is that, unlike genetic evolution, cultural evolution can be done with intent. It can be done carefully and thoughtfully. Which is why I want to say to people who talk to young people for a living, This is an extremely important job that you have. You may not be being valued by society correctly, but that does not mean that you are not creating that value. And, I want to say, to the 12 to 24 year olds out there, you might feel powerless, sometimes, but in some ways, right now, you are the most powerful you will ever be because you can imagine the world in a way that I no longer can. And that’s not an indictment of getting older, it’s a recognition that different life stages serve different roles in culture. So use your fuel wisely, use it often, and thanks for inspiring us old folks. John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.

100 thoughts on “Dear Young People, You Terrify Me

  1. I love what you're getting at, but as you pretty much stated in the info for the vid…. you're kind of half arsing this one, man 😉 This is perhaps the most important thing we need to be stressing to the youth as the world becomes increasingly obsessed with novelty. I know your viewers of mostly of a specific ideological lean, but nature rewards bravery. As a performing artist and an author, I get what you're coming from. We don't want to rock the boat and lose business. But sometimes, the world has gotta hear what it's gotta hear. Much respect for the analogy of youth as cultural mutagens–super thoughtful imagery there! I love your content, keep up the great stuff

  2. Okay, old people are scared of young people. Hell, every two months or so television news (consumed 100% by old people) will come up with something like "Here's something kids these days might be doing, they're having sex by pouring acetone in each other's eyes and sniffing the fumes. Will that scare you into sitting through this commercial for bathtubs with doors?" Do old people get outraged because they're worried for the future, or because they're worried we're having better sex than they did?

  3. Right now I wonder to myself why older generations can have a hard time understanding all of the new changes to society, but I'm sure someday, some young man will think the same of my generation.

  4. Unfortunately, looking at culture through the lens of biology in this way (evolutionism) was outdated a century ago in anthropology. Sorry, but this was pseudointellectualism. Sincerely, a concerned anthropologist

  5. Happened to read the description box on this video, and I’m very glad I did – thanks for bringing such reflection and thoughtfulness to the internet, Hank.

  6. And now you're Jimmy Buffet. Hilarious. Also though you are so correct on all accounts. There is much pressure on this new generation, without guidance and care, I do fear what this over-amped materialistic capitalist system will create as a future.

  7. You are “what could properly be called” middle aged? I thought you were just a kid. I must be an old man now! How old are you? I feel like I’m just getting started in life!

  8. Don’t worry each generation is just as stupid with bad ideas is just is that we see it daily because of the internet though that is mostly millennials.

  9. Old people care very little because they don't have to live through the collapse of our planet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsA3PK8bQd8&t=4s

  10. Every new generation has teens teens have weird quirks and trends his will continue and die and will be looked back on as “wow we really where weird” think of it as a way for a generation exerting it’s weirdness

  11. We're in an age of progress but progress just means change and we have no clue where those changes go. We just want change. No. We need change with direction

  12. If you are old I must be ancient at 58 and what is my Dad at 82? I work to make my life better every day at a slow plodding speed but I change just the same… not scared of folks but It would be better if they did not try to walk through me at times.

  13. Yeah cancel culture and all this bigotry in the anti-free speech groups are terrifying. But at least they’re outnumbered

  14. At 39 now and I've thought for a few years now that the rate of change seems to be accelerating. Look at the progression of technology for instance. I believe it was was Richard Feynman, that said that it is safe to assume no one understands quantum mechanics. With these, I've wondered if the rate of change is somehow related to the speed of time itself. Yes, this comment changed rapidly.

  15. We can’t stop changing and trying to make progress because we are taught that if we don’t innovate, we are losers. Innovators are the ones that become millionaires and super stars.
    One can even witness this in a corporate environment. Even when sometimes they finally figure out a way to increase productivity while making employees happy, the next manager that comes in will try to change it up ONLY because they want to “innovate” and leave their mark so they can be promoted in the future. They don’t leave “well enough alone” because it makes them look like they aren’t talented enough to have ideas and make improvements.

    We are a race of competitors.

  16. As one of The Young Ones (I'm 16), it always makes me sad to see so much hate on phones and internet in the comments.
    I'm always a little disappointed when I hear the 'they only look at their phones' stereotype and to anyone older reading this, don't worry, we all think it's rude to use your phone while talking to someone. Kids in my class are immensely interested in politics and global issues (legal voting age is 16 here and we're currently preparing our pre-scientific work (30 pages, part of our gradiation))
    In my personal opinion today's technology is amazing, 90% of my English knowledge comes from online, I can learn languages that don't even have dictionaries in their language in shops (for free, mind you) and so, so much more.
    I am able to build my own opinion on topics without someone being able to censor it and I learned about various issues at a young age that I wouldn't have realised existed otherwise (Racism, Feminism, especially Lgbt+)
    I can stay connected with friends I go to school with, friends that live 30 minutes away and friends on the other side of earth, and I'll always find a fan base for my interests.

    I ranted, sorry.

    Also, to those complaining about phones at concerts; you try being 15 again and surrounded by tall adults who are jumping around and don't use your phone screen to see the stage lmao

  17. I agree. The world changes so damn fast these days. I guess Moore's law can be applied here. But if I have to be completely honest…

    I find this rapid change absolutely exhilarating! There is pretty much endless potential!

  18. Ahahhahahaha we are dying….. Check out about universe 25….. We are to that. , 🌌🌌🌌🌌🌌😂😂😂😂

  19. Are you talking about promiscuous sex, drugs and shitty music?
    I don't think Cryptocurrencies are bad ideas if people know how they work.
    But considering that most people don't know not even roughly how the current socio-economic system works, I sympathize with your concern.

  20. Bruh you talked for 4 minutes and wrote a bunch of paragraphs and I still didn't hear any actual opinions. Tell us what "trends" or "new culture" or what opinions we hold it is that's giving you so much trouble.

  21. Thanks for the shoutout to teachers (and other young person whisperers…)! It seems like our job has been turned into a fact and skill input machine instead of a guide and mentor to help human beings craft themselves into better and wiser versions of themselves. It is not a happy time to have the weight of human lives on your shoulders…

  22. This was .. uplifting. I hope more people watch this. It’s the most practical way I’ve ever heard the message “you can make a change” delivered.

  23. They are called change junkies. Change for the sake of change. A product of our disposable society. And computer games – things I don't necessarily abhor, but very cautious of.

  24. Any objectivity will tell you that the only arbiter of "right and wrong" is natural selection. If the "wrong change" takes hold and it results in a successful system, then it is not "The wrong change" and never was.

    Sharpen up.

  25. Culture can evolve naturally, or it can be imposed artificially. I believe generally, for roughly the last century, we've experienced the latter, thanks to the overwhelming influence of mass media.

    "In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons … who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." – Edward L. Bernays (fr Propaganda [1928]), father of modern marketing.

  26. I guess you might have realized that the state of current affairs in our country is directly correlated to the value systems of previous generations. So, if you think that the discourse in this country is out of line, or that our foreign policy is more confrontational than it is diplomatic, if you think that the current mode of production could be improved to have a lesser impact on the natural world, and if you think that systemic societal abuse systems show a lack of incite into when direct action is necessary, these are all problems that we inherited from previous generations. I point these things out because they are objectively bad and should be stopped by any means necessary. Other generations didn’t stop these problems which were objectively bad for whatever reason they thought they shouldn’t. They had the power to do it, they didn’t. I think that social change is necessary and not terrifying, I think that living in a world where the attitudes of older generations dictate policy is terrifying.

  27. I'm 31 and think maybe it's time for you to embrace the change. Fear of change is useless, considering it's coming wherever you like it or not, fact of life. Things sure as hell aren't going to get better until we do make some fundamental changes to our broken capitalist financial system and oh, I don't know, get money out of politics, actually do something about climate change, break up the banks… Crypto currency IS a much better system than our shitty banking system.

    Change does happen in a spiral. We took some steps back in recent years, but man oh man is it time for progress again. The lower tax brackets are paying more in taxes than millionaires. Climate change is real and happening. People are dying from lack of health Care. Young kids are considering not going to college because it's too expensive. Young people are asking to just be respected for who they are or identify with. Older people consistently belittle them and shut them down, as if their problems aren't real. It's bull shit, and I look forward to the younger generation standing you against it, just as I did when I was younger (and still do). Buck up, man. Change of part of life, what side of the coin do you want to be on?

  28. I suppose I must be old if you're middle aged because you look like barely out of your teens to me. Shocker! You're over 24?

  29. He can’t say more than a sentence without making a cut. It’s jarring. Interesting perspective, but maybe flesh these thoughts out a little better before talking about them.

  30. The young purple today are doing way better than in the past, at least in my country. My generation was a mess in their youth by comparison.

  31. I don’t want tech to slow down. I want it to go even faster. If it’s fast enough I can be one of the people who‘ll start living forever ♾

  32. 2:50 but people who aren't corrupt will never want to be in roles of power, so that's kind of a big problem and has been for a long time

  33. i always felt like youth was a curse to live and watch the world crumble around me as the boomers head off into retirement. but by focusing hard enough, ive found a way to channel my rage into meaningful action.

  34. “Some people say old men are behind the times, and I have no doubt that they are right. But I would also submit that there is a lot of time behind old men.” -Hugh B. Brown

    Personally I would add that this is not necessarily a bad thing. Our time period has politicized the terms liberal and conservative but in the original sense that they were used in philosophy it simply meant that the liberal mentality values positive change, and the conservative mentality values stability. Two much of one and your society becomes stagnant, to much of the other and your society falls apart. Personally, one of the reasons why I think people become more conservative as they get older is because they been around long enough to gain experience and see what works and what doesn’t. So then they can say to the inexperience but energetic youth, “That’s a bad direction you’re heading in. I tried it when I was a kid and it didn’t work out well. Why don’t you try this direction instead.”

  35. I feel uncomfortable with an old man trying to talk to minors as if he has a right to be in a relationship with them. #PedoPoof

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