“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:11
(Yes, I acknowledge that the Bible can have quotes of note! Those long dead men sure did have quite the turn of phrase at times…)
I think that society at large has taken the above quote too much to heart – misinterpreting and twisting it along the way!
(Saying that, there are a variety of ways the quote could reasonably be construed…)
During a period of external monotony at work yesterday, my mind wandered off through the passages of time, arriving some twelve or thirteen years in the past. My mind’s eye gazed upon a boy, alone yet not lonely, lost in a world (predominantly) of his making. With the aid of an assortment of toy franchises, he’d sculpt himself a world of wonder where anything but shit happened. Secret mountain headquarters; a plague of mutant potatoes; heroes transforming and going “Power Extreme!!” in order to save the day from evil racist police officers and viscous (sic) Rock Lords – all this orchestrated by a boy of a less cynical time than the present (although things are less jaded than, say, five years ago). The boy, bright-eyed, laughed, cried, danced and waved, unabashed and unashamed….occasionally he’d let his friends in on the game with the game inviting them to “Transform and roll out!” with him…
Then one day, the boy “put away [his] childish things” and went to sleep; he occasionally gets up for a glass of water, or to go to the toilet, but it’s always slumber to which he returns….
But this story is not unique to this one child; across his street, his city, his country, his world, the same basic story has played out for all of his peerage…
Will these children wake to a new dawn?
Why has the cry to “put away childish things” been translated as a stern command to suppress all that was good about childhood? Why is the repression of one’s vitality, creativity, sense of wonder and heroism seen as “grown-up”?
I remember something one of my old English teachers said: “There is a difference between being childlike and childish“. I carried these words around with me for many years, understanding them on a purely cerebral level; only now am I beginning to truly appreciate them….
The trouble with most people is that they see the “child” state as a package deal, damning both the good and the bad parts of their younger selves. The irony being that in trying to throw the child in oneself to the wayside in order to conform to a (false) model of maturity, they often fall prey to those childish impulses they refuse to own and acknowledge – in effect they hamper our maturation process in trying to deny our the existence of our previous state. Yet isn’t true maturity an expansion, that is, building upon what one already knows?
It seems people are eager to throw away what was before, maybe out of shame or maybe to fit in, or whatever. Yet, isn’t it often said that those who forget the past are destined to repeat its mistakes?
Thus we act like total fucking children (in the worst sense) in areas of our lives which require a truly mature frame of being…sabotaging ourselves and others in the process…
This is what happens to those who declare they never needed to stand in order to walk – the fuckers end up tripping over and falling!
People who actually give a shit about something or other – especially something with childlike connotations – are often derided as “geeks” or whatever the popular terminology is now. So what if one’s neighbour dresses in a star Trek costume, collects X-Men comics, watches Transformers, draws manga, or prefers hardbacks to hardball? How does that infringe on the lifestyle of those who don’t share these interests? Is the condemnation and ridicule of such individuals rooted in the ridiculer accepting society’s definition of what the ideal of maturity is….or is it rooted in jealousy of the subject of their mockery? I mean, let’s face it, people who like to talk shit about enthusiasts usually aren’t known for their passion, independence of mind or points of distinction from the herd.
It’s often said that “geeks” are “saddoes” who have “no life” – I say bullshit! Many enthusiasts, or “geeks” share ideas, form strong relationships, support their chosen passion through productive, creative and financial means and generally have a good time doing what they do and liking what they like. Contrast this with the typical ridiculer who usually counts people s/he doesn’t really like as “friends”, approaches leisure in the same mechanical way as they do their dead-end job, and views the total non-interaction of sitting in front of the telly to be superior to making oneself heard on the internet, or making the effort to seek out a good book.
Alas, it seems like too many apologize for their childlike ways in order to appease the childish ones assuming the mantle of “maturity”.
In reality, if anyone has a chance of evolving toward maturity (if they aren’t there already), it’s the “geeks” among us, who have retained the positive aspects of their early years. (Although saying this, I won’t deny that some of them fall into childish patterns too…)
So the question is: Which side of the fence do you stand on?
Can you put away the truly childish things…whilst retaining the childlike?
Do you wanna grab life by the balls and run with it…or would you rather extinguish all traces of it, in yourself and others, in order to feign a maturity you sorely lack?
Make a choice!
The rest of your life depends on it…
It all has to do with peer pressure from when you become a teenager. Meaning that before then, one could care less about what other’s thoughts were of one another, but then, becoming more and more aware(THEY care about what I do) and bothered (why do they care?) by those who surrounded you and ultimately influence you (should I care? Should I try to fit in?) then the older you get- not more mature, but older, you give in to any idea of what you think life should be due to your influenced vision of what its suppose to by like.
I agree that maturity is granted when you except who you are.
(Reply to this)
I agree with what you say about the role of peer pressure as one gets older; I went through a lot of that anxiety as a teen myself – I still feel like I’m in my teens, though I’m determined not to slide into the grey conformity mistaken for “adulthood”. Yup, one has to be responsible and self-disciplined to get anywhere in life, but neither o these involve throwing away one’s sense of fun, passion, liveliness and idealism.
If one denies the former stages of one’s evolution, their growth will be stunted, as they can neither draw strength from past triumphs and joys, nor learn from past mistakes and disappointments.
I am in need of fully learning and living this as much as a lot of other people.
I am proud to say, I still love my Legos! And I still like to color and make up my own games, too.
ya, I still play video games, color, watch cartoons and act like a goofy eight year old whenever I feel like it. Life just feels better that way.
Lego – that takes me back – back then the brand was prolific….
One thing I also loved as a kid was reading those, ‘Make your own Adventure’ books. It was always great to sculpt your own story from your own choices and reactions.
I still have one! About a haunted house, where I kept getting killed by someone who was the caretaker of the place.
I didn’t read those, I read “Goosebumps” and the “Illustrated Classics” books. I had the time machine, around the world in 8o days, the wizard of oz, the red badge of courage, oliver, and little women.
This is a great entry. I’m sorry I don’t have time to respond right now but I did want to acknowledge it before I get caught up in school work and forget to post at all.
I’m planning to write an entry within a week (too busy with school right now, but taking a short LJ break!) that is also going to touch on some of these issues, so I’ll try to come back to this entry at the time.
Excellent, I look forward to what you have to say on the matter….
For some reason, I thought that you’d respond to this post….
Hi, I’ve added you to my friends list – I hope you don’t mind. There is a saying: ‘If you meet a master swordsman, show him your sword. If you meet a man who is not a poet, do not show him your poem.’
I thought it was worth swapping a few poems. 🙂
Love the quote and appreciate the compliment. I’ve proceeded to add you too.
Look forward to sharing some poems with you….
Impressive! Amen and all that. I completely agree with the preceeding entries. I must confess I tend to fluxuate from both sides of the fence, as, at least I think, most people do. I prefer to be an enthusiast about a lot of things, and I walk and talk as if I’m 5 most of the time, but…then I have bouts of the opposite. I think people more or less are products of their environments, even if said environments are ficticious or unpleasant; and I believe that some people lack the childLIKE impulses to be actually EXCITED about something and pursue something, and so they get stuck in, as you said, “dead-end” jobs and such, but instead of pulling themselves out of said rut, they instead fester in it, and become bitter. Hence people coining phrases like “get a life” and “grow up”. These are the people that have no idea what it’s like to live…at least in my opinion. But your entry is absolutely amazing by way of its accuracy…I apologize…lack of better words has struck again. Oh, and thank you for the link, it helped me TREMENDOUSLY…I have it posted on my wall at home, highlighted my favorite parts! 🙂
Glad you found something worthwhile in that link and this entry. Whilst I think that ultimately we’re responsible for how we shape our lives, it can’t be denied that our normative environments have considerable effect on how we view ourselves and the wider world. it takes a great deal of awareness and strength to rise above negative influence, to avoid just blending in to the greyness around us and losing our childlike enthusiasms.
You’ve been quiet recently – ain’t seen any new updates from you in quite some time – what’s going on, Firelover?