UNIV 2018: RETHINKING THE FUTURE
A Chinese proverb says that “the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.”
We live in a complex world, in a fabric of relationships that connect people and generations in a world where the past is intertwined with the present and where today is fruit of the visions, decisions and actions of the people who have preceded us. It is a beautiful, but at the same time, tormented world. It is our heritage and our mission.
Do you have a dream? Are you a rebel, a non-conformist, a dreamer? Do you see things as they are or how they could be?
Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? These are the great questions that resound within you, the university student. In the process of knowing yourself, you can discover the role you play in the world and consider the way you can concretely change society. Rethinking the future means taking a chance, and taking action.
Life is a story that is written in first person, but no one can write it without counting on others. No human life is ever isolated. It is bound up with other lives. No man or woman is a single verse; we all make up one poem (1).
During your university years, you will acquire the necessary tools to understand history and to write the next chapter. Essential tools are listening and memory, which lead us to appreciate the opportunity to find dialogue, openness, and intersubjectivity. In these encounters, one´s passion for the world awakens and true answers to problems arise. We need conversations and friends who will collaborate to change this world.
A single individual is enough for hope to exist,and that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution (2).
Fifty years ago, the youths’ restlessness pushed them to lead a revolution that overthrew many points of reference in society, but did not propose constructive solutions. In the search for answers, freedom was confused with an absence of rules, and so the student protests of May 1968 fell short of the authentic greatness of the human person.
Today, the word ‘revolution’ implies an invitation to change as well as a certain fear of this change. But the young are brave, and not every revolution is a threat. Is it not human to perceive the insufficiencies of the present and to overcome them? For a change to be effective, each paradigm needs to be reflected on. If we do not reach the causes, principles and ends that are true to the dignity of all men, a revolution will not achieve its goal, but will end in chaos and destruction.
It is necessary to live up to what we have. Rethinking the future begins with you, now. The world challenges you. The simple condemnation of the problems is not enough.
Let us discover the heroes of our times and of all time – people who detected a problem and knew how to turn it into an opportunity for the good – to thank them and learn from their wisdom. Innovation drinks from the deep roots of tradition. We see further when standing on the shoulders of giants (3) … and now it is our turn.
Will you put your creativity, initiative and courage into play? Do you want to become a protagonist of the story?
With your friends, in the university and in the street, UNIV 2018 invites you to reflect on a specific problem and
start a revolution, even if it seems small. This challenge requires thinking deeply, discovering the causes of a negative situation and the different ways of confronting them. We cannot continue working and living on unstudied assumptions, relying on time to make things better. It is necessary to obtain the right information, and to act upon it with the enthusiasm and the commitment of youth. There is much to do.
Think about it: if not you, who? And if not now, when?
1 St. Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, 111.
2 Pope Francis, Ted Talk, April 2017.
3 Isaac Newton, “Letters of Sir Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke”.