Emmanuel Macron must find the time to read Pascal Bruckner's latest book, A brief eternity, philosophy of longevity (Grasset, 256 pages, 19 euros). Not that the young quadra President of the Republic is personally concerned by the thesis that is developed there: the essayist finds that, for the first time in the history of humanity, we enjoy an “Indian summer of life “- a new period of existence that opens at fifty and can last another half-century. Years stolen to death during which man can enjoy as never before. To love, to philosophize … and to work.
It is on this point that Emmanuel Macron and his quasi-fifteenth Prime Minister find a rare comfort in reading the book. Bruckner is in fact a strong supporter of pension reform. “In Belgium, the retirement will be set at 67.5 years in 2020, the essayist points out.It is already the case in Germany.The reform Macron should go even further.If France wants to distinguish in Europe, it must set the age of retirement at 70 years. “
“Expropriation in the Soviet fashion “
Bruckner certainly modulates the provocative proposition of some flats. Difficult trades would not be concerned. And volunteering would be needed to further the career of seniors. On the reform itself, he also notes the legitimacy of the anger of some professions, lawyers in mind: “I understand that they do not want to be robbed: their pension fund, they abounded alone, is referred by an expropriation attempt in Soviet fashion! “
But for the rest, no doubt for him: the lengthening of life should benefit work and work consolidate the lengthening of life. Because it is not a question of vegetating in an office by ticking the boxes of the calendar. In these extra years, everything is possible, says Bruckner: “A prematurely repressed virtuality, for example the dream of a career, is revived” (p.96). “I am Marxian and Hegelian on this point: work is an emancipation,” he says, “there is nothing worse than being forced into inactivity, at just 60, with income This is a combination of disgrace! “
Without counting, he continues, with the general aging of the population, massive and ostentatious inactivity may crack French society. “You imagine the streets of cities filled with idle pensioners?” He says. “The active workers will meet them morning and evening, going to the office, these pensioners who gobergent at their expense unbearable!” In his book, he puts the point: “The constitution of a whole age class in leisure class, confined to the only consumerism, is a disaster, carried out in the name of the best intentions, in our societies, after the Second World War. . ” (P.42)
However, is this tension between generations likely to be felt equally in the company, if the careers of seniors are lengthened to infinity? The young people, but also their elders who pass the bar of the forty years, will not they be annoyed to see some “immortals” to overflow them still and always, donors of lessons which trust the most beautiful posts? “This is only true according to a Malthusian vision of work,” says Bruckner, “in an expanding economy, there is room for everyone.”
Reinventing old age
He acknowledges that human resources departments (HRD) will be put to the test to invent new models, to continue to boost the careers of more than fifty. These HRDs must avoid at all costs that they fall into “electronic illiteracy”, overwhelmed they would not be technological progress, he notes. “To maintain the cohesion of both society and business, we must distinguish even more strongly the skill and experience, says the essayist.The oldest indisputably have the second, they have a particular wealth: the experience of vulnerability, how to deal with it, and how to overcome it, on this point they have a lot to teach young people who are hit hard by failure, disappointment and struggling to recover. “
And here is how Bruckner, 70 years old, born politically in the heart of the generation 68, after fighting for the youth to take power, is arguing today for the old to keep! The essayist goes there from his mea culpa “We did not run out of a morgue in '68,” he admits, “wanting to drive out the old world, there was really nothing more banal about it, we did not think that, a few decades later, this generation would always be there, always on stage, bumpy and hunchbacked! ” However, he believes that he does not commit today the same mistakes and repeat, a few decades later, the same desire for generational domination. If Bruckner retains from his early years libertarian impulses and solar optimism that illuminates his book, the latter is not a plea for youthism, “this disease of aging societies.” According to him, on the contrary, we must assume the passage of the years, to make the most of each new season of existence: “It is now up to the generation 68 to reinvent old age.”
The meeting takes place at the Hotel des Saint-Pères, just next to Grasset, Pascal Bruckner's publishing house. The essayist, who has already coltiné subjects deemed vulgar by his peers (The Wisdom of Money, The Pocketbook, 2016, 320 pages, 7.60 euros) willingly agrees to bring into resonance the pension reform and its broader reflections on the Indian summer of life. Himself, 70 years old, the sparkling blue eye, is a living illustration of the joy of living every day more.