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I struggle daily with the news — the slide of what was a pretty decent way of life into a society that is decadent and under threat of dissolution. But then there is this: Ruby LaRocca, a 17-year old from Ithaca, NY, wrote an award-winning essay for The Free Press outlining her prescription for the youth of today.
I hope the essay is real, that there is a young woman in Ithaca, NY, who asked her mother when she entered her sophomore year of high school to let her home school to get a better education. I hope there is this young woman who does, in fact, read old books; who memorizes poetry and learns ancient languages; who slows her pace of reading, writing, and thinking; who has learned to conduct herself in public; who dramatically reduced her use of the phone. Because if she exists there is hope — hope for our future society.
That she exists will not prevent the destruction that societal decay will bring. But it points to survival of something that is worth the effort to survive. Ruby has a mind that will survive the gulag, if she must. That she might have to is a condemnation of all of us older citizens — our failure of stewardship and self-discipline. She is already seeing the need for solidity that the digital age and it virtual everything — books, movie, money –cannot provide. She will survive the Great Disappearance that a de-energized electrical grid system or a malign government could impose.
The best we can hope for, us superannuated spendthrifts of our forebear’s legacy, is that Ruby and others like her — hopefully some even older than her — take the reins of society quickly. That, or hope that on the curve of decay we remain on a shallower, not steep, slope.
But Ruby shows the future will be fine. For someone. And some day.Published in