"May you live in interesting times!" This ancient Chinese curse appears to have landed on us - we whose lives have spanned the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium. In addition to the usual run of crises, foreign and domestic, we face genuinely novel prospects both for good and for ill, the harms often emerging tragically as unavoidable consequences of the benefits Ours is the age of atomic power but also of nuclear proliferation, of globalized trade but also worldwide terrorism, of instant communication but also fragmented communities, of free association but also marital failure, of limitless mobility but also homogenized destinations, of open borders but also confused identities, of astounding medical advances but also greater worries about health, of longer and more vigorous lives but also protracted and more miserable deaths, of unprecedented freedom and prosperity but also remarkable anxiety about our future, both personal and national. In our age of heightened expectations, many Americans fear that their children's lives will be less free, less prosperous, or less fulfilling than their own, a fear that is shared by the young people themselves. Like their forebears, our youth still harbor desires for a worthy life. They still hope to find meaning in their lives and to live a life that makes sense. But they are increasingly confused about what a worthy life might look like, and about how they might be able to live one.
- From Leading a Worthy Life: Finding Meaning in Modern Times by Leon R. Kass