The idea of childhood is one of the greatest inventions of the Renaissance...But like all social artifacts, its continued existence is not inevitable.The noise of a car radio full blast wakes us up in the middle of the night. Our bedroom is on the ground floor next to the road in a small village. A group of people in their early twenties are getting noisily out of their car. My wife winds up the blinds and asks them to be quieter next time. One of the men apologises saying "We're young, you know." What a strange thing to say! Presumably, being "young" is seen as a suitable excuse for somewhat anti-social behaviour. Should one understand that being young implies not knowing social conventions? Or is it that being young goes hand-in-hand with diminished responsibilities? And when do you cease to be "young"? The legal age of majority varies from country to country, but those "young" people were certainly old enough to vote ...
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