Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Growing the Mind

‘He’s really a big baby, despite nearing middle-age,’ complained the wife. Usually this means the partner scattering his clothes everywhere, or watching too much cartoons or overindulging in candy or food. Or maybe the husband or partner is spending too much time with his friends for fun and drinks.

‘She still thinks she’s the prom queen, still a regular princess,’ said the husband. Perhaps this means that the partner always likes to be the center of attention despite having 5 kids, for example. Normally the attention would shift to the kids instead of the parents. I don’t know if this makes any sense.

One hears these comments a lot when one complains of the maturity of the other partner, usually in a marriage or a long-term relationship. The main complaint is that the person should grow up and be more mature.

Even the president has said something to that effect in his inaugural address. Quoting the Bible he said that the ‘time for childish things are past.’ One guesses that the president is referring to the ‘childish’ politicking and divisiveness in the legislative branch. Gridlock would disappear in the capital once the members of congress or senate or perhaps the media ‘grows up’. Maybe the president is the only mature grown up in the political sphere it would seem.

Does the mind ever reach maturity? Or what is the thinking mechanism in a person wherein maturity is achieved? For instance, the aging body is clearly evident. What about the mind? I guess it refers to the physical decline, a loss of memory, distraction and being easily tired. But maturity really refers to an ethereal quality. Maturity is something that has no biological bearing. Or perhaps when the biological decline of aging affects the mind then one begins to be mature. Perhaps immaturity is that state where hormones are still raging until a balance is achieved with age. Think Bill Clinton and his supposedly insatiable appetite. Once the libido decreases with the onset of advanced age, will maturity and self-discipline finally arrive?

I guess one can make a conscious effort towards self-discipline in order to control certain immature urges. Does this mean that one should ‘educate’ the mind by telling himself what is the right conduct? I guess religion plays a part with regards to morality but there maybe a danger towards fundamentalism especially for those who need to control strong urges. All these development perhaps refers to the journey to manhood. I have been reading Michael Chabon’s ‘Manhood for Amateurs’ recently. It’s a good book with some good chapters. But it seems to lack a certain level of experience or wisdom. Like his novels, there are exuberant passages of imagination and inventiveness. He seems like a Jewish version of the WASP author John Updike with his literal verbosity and creativeness.

His book is a good story of one’s journey towards manhood. It’s the typical chronicle: adolescent, youth, meet girl, divorce girl, meet another girl, have children, and raise family and so on. The essays general speak of how a person grows up when he starts a family and the challenges he faces. I guess we are all amateurs in manhood until one becomes true grand parents.

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