The young produce changes in tastes and habits. They do it by playing, doing what they like doing, they enjoy doing, without asking what kind of consequences it will have on themselves, on others and the future. You cannon even say that they risk, because they do not have solid ideas to defend yet, institutional relations to break. In the last century the young enlivened nationalistic, communist, fascist and Nazi movements. And over the past fifty years they have decided musical and fashion trends, as well as many other trends in taste and morals.
Yet they cannot bring about other changes because they need a knowledge they could only gain with experience. In science, philosophy, literature, cinema, the most significant and revolutionary contributions, come from maturity. An age we are more self-critical, we are afraid of making mistakes. Just think that Virgil, at a certain point, wanted to destroy his «Aeneid». Galileo had thought a lot before publishing his “Dialogue concerning the two Chief World System “ not only because he foresaw there would be negative reactions by the Church, but also because, as a scientist, he first wanted to have incontrovertible proofs. But adults have also morals doubts, because they ask themselves what kind of effect their acts may have on the others. Freud was for a long time unsure about publishing his «Moss and the monotheism» because he knew that the book could hurt the Hebrew people in a period when they were undergoing a terrible persecution. That is why he published it only in 1938, when he was about to die.
In the scientific field the experts are happy whenever they know their work has beneficial effects, as it happened to Fleming with the discovery of penicillin. But when it has negative or devastating effects they feel responsible. Oppenheimer, after directing the Manhattan project that created the atomic bomb, had a serious morals crisis. In the philosophical and literary field an author who writes a revolutionary work publishes it only when he is convinced that it has a certain value and it does not belong to himself anymore, but to the world. Nabokov could not make a decision if to make his masterpiece «Lolita» print. Lawrence was unsure about publishing «Lady Chatterley’s lover», that would bring him criticisms of every kind. In conclusion the adult author, differently from the young one, has a self-control and sometimes a self-censure that is convenient in some cases, but that in some other cases may inhibit him in the most creative moments.
This article is available in Italian too