The Graduate, Age, Time, and Irony (a verbal essay)

Here's the podcast link.

After talking with an old friend and re-watching The Graduate, I was struck by the hilarity of youth's claim to certainty, to vision, to sanctimony when we all know, all experience, the relentless flux of perspectives.

There is something different about the gap that separates the young from the old. When it comes to race, gender, sexual orientation (is that the right word?), there is at once an infinite gap and a certain affinity or fluidity as we all occupy the same space. We endure together and so our respective ways of going intersect, bleed.

The divide between the young and old is not spatial; it's temporal. In fact, the young and old share certain spatial continuity — my 12 year old body and my 46 year old body spatially share the same body even if that body is qualitatively different. But we are temporally divided, necessarily.

This is odd. My 46 year old self supersedes my 12 year old self: I know what it is to be 12 and to be 46. But my 12 year old can't possibly know what it is to be 46. All the 12 year old knows is that he doesn't know; he can intimate but not know. After all, he was different at 10, 7, 4 so, for all he knows, he'll be different at 46. We all know what it is to change.

Which is what makes the adamance of youth so cosmically hilarious. You're sitting there speaking and acting like this is the way things are while the rest of us see and feel the waves of change about to pound down upon your very and every being.

This is why I can't understand sanctimony and only understand irony. How can we not know that what we feel and believe here and now is going to change? I mean: Duh!

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