Sunday, 10 June 2018

Muonic generation

Muons are part of electrons (themselves part of atoms and molecules).  However one specialty of these muons is that their lifespan is 220th fraction of a second.  One of the research students at the university doing her research on muons is trying to see the benefits of colliding muons.  Her first challenge is to get sufficient muons, enough to cause a collision, and most importantly 'prolong' their life to more than that minuscule fraction of a second, to actually make the collision happen!  One possibility she said was to speed up the muons to the speed of light, wherein time slows.  That way one could 'extend their lifespan'. 

Listening to Fr Louis Grech's talk on spiritual accompaniment of Generation z (the digital natives), I could not but see the great connection and similarities between muons and generation z.  The digital natives of today too are like muons.  Very short attention span, a pace of their own, exist in a world quite different from the rest, the interaction space is on another plane (the instant media, not even social media). So I was asking myself how can one 'extend' time with such a generation?  How to travel at the speed of light in order for that interaction to take place? 

Whatever be the pace and space inhabited by generation z, they too are flesh and blood.  They too have feelings, emotions, fears, anxieties, pain... I think it is in those times that time actually slows down for them.  That's the possibility of 'catching up with them'.  But this 'catching up with them' is not going to be possible if we have not had some accidental but meaningful interaction with them somewhere in 'their' world at some time. 

Gone are the days, at least in most of Europe, where the space of interacting with young people is a formal physical institution where they all are gathered and listening attentively to the words of a Salesian.  Or the young members of a youth club which meets every weekend or evening of a weekday.  Most youngsters today are members of groups, but all online. None physical. None geographical.  

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