Human Adulthood Part II

It seems to me like adulthood and emotional sobriety go together.

said Panos Sarangelis

Yes. Emotional intelligence is very much part of a human adulthood. An adult human looks at situations with a drive to reach a solution rather than to further complicate it with emotional outbursts.

I stood between many so called adults who were completely losing it. To name a few: two quarreling males, one just out of prison and shouting obscenities at another in prison jargon.. a group of charged young males with baseball bats chasing another guy because one of the group perceived him as insulting his sister… a drunken and very unhappy chap at a bus stop who grabbed a bottle, broke it and was waving the shard in the direction of my ex; I had to ask my ex to move across the road and dealt with the guy in my own way (he was a compete stranger btw)… a gang of teenagers at a playground who surrounded me and my then two year old and with a swagger offered to ‘give me one’; it took me five minutes to bring the offending bubble brain to tears. The gang helped me with the broken swings after.. an irate small time Nigerian drug dealer in Cam when I wanted to get one of our very drunk guys out of the bar safely, as there was an altercation between the two and they wouldn’t let him leave..Broken_Bottle

etc. etc. endless stories of human children.

None of the people above were adult-like or anywhere on their way to adulthood, regardless of their physical age. They had zero awareness and moved on an impulse. That’s all they had in them – AN IMPULSE. No thought, no awareness, not even a modicum of consideration.. nothing. Animals by birth, animals by creed.

Perhaps, some of them came out of this state and got to use their heads later on in life. I don’t know.

Why do I call these people animals? There is no snobbery or a sense of superiority on my part. I simply state it as is: animals are governed by instinct which tells them that if you are not bigger, better, scarier, louder – you lose. Intimidation, chase and fight are the order of Mother Nature, unless it is about procreation, and then it is a very brief period of superficial tenderness between the male and the female.

Then.. she might eat him, or he might eat her kids, or the mother may feed her weaker young to their siblings, or..  Seriously, from arachnids to lions to Great Apes.

It is just a fact of life in the animal kingdom – size matters, and the winner takes it all.

But us, humans? When a mother bear charges at you protecting her cub – the instinct takes over. She does not consider whether you, this puny human, are a serious danger to her. She does not check whether you have any weapons on you or some bear spray or you are alone. She charges because you are perceived as danger regardless.

When you charge at your girlfriend because you perceive she may have done something to offend your masculine sense of pride.. how different are you from that bear? The adrenaline surges, and you obey like a mindless puppet.

Human adulthood is about a HUMAN. Not an animal. It is about someone who can  engage their mind, place it into the working mode regardless of how emotionally charged the situation may appear. It is someone who does not act on a stupid impulse and certainly not on the first thing that jumps into their head.

Young humans find it the hardest of course. In their heads they are still just a couple of inches from the mother’s apron. And considering that their mothers and fathers (see Sophia) have already begun the process of infecting the offspring with the same mindless virus they themselves possess… what chance do we have of developing into a thinking mature entity? The imprint for anything acquired in childhood is immensely strong. Think of all the songs you have learnt while a kid.. I bet you still remember them, perhaps even both the lyrics and the melody. You probably still remember the smell of your grandma’s or first teacher’s perfume, and the sound of your father’s new car engine. You may even remember your first emotional sadness and the first emotional gladness. I sure do. Whatever neuronal connections were formed during one’s childhood – will be the strongest and will endure for life.

The sad fact: I can count the number of adult humans encountered in my own life – on one hand.

And another fact is this: I’ve always had this sort of.. picture in my mind of the kind of partner I wanted to have in life. One day in the recent past I examined that picture once again, despite having lost any wish for human company, and the insight struck me clearly. This was a picture of a human adult: decisive and unflappable.. responsible for own life and decisions.. without hidden emotional baggage (the past is fine as along as one lets it be just that and learns from it).. sure of the decisions and the way to get there.. able to admit to self and others when mistakes are made.. with no hint of cruelty, but fair in the way they deal with life and people.. without blaming all and sundry for their losses.. not sentimental, but able to feel.. knowing own strengths and weaknesses without shouting about either.. able to be self-reliant and internally independent of others’ opinions..

Blah blah blah of course, it is an ideal, as rare as Klondike gold, and I realised that too.

Which also meant.. hmm… get that…. that if everyone WAS that kind of human adult.. life would absolutely lose all attraction. Life would lose the drama that feeds it all, keeps it going, gives this existence colour and momentum and passion and the will to go on. In a way, a human adult is too well put together, too calculating even.. too reasonable and driven by the goal, even robotic at times. Where’s fun in that?

That, reader, is one of those times when the snake gets to bite its own tail, and the circle is near complete. One comes back to the same old world, and suddenly sees that the drama is the juice of life, and beyond life’s drama – is desert and eventual death of the spirit.

Your human spirit. Your human will to go on no matter what kind of slime you get to suck (and there’s plenty of slime to go around). So next time the drama engulfs you – appreciate it for its beautiful life giving properties, embrace it and give it just enough space to make it interesting, but without destroying your inner world.

Mother Nature is full of drama; human world is just another expression of it.

Without the drama of life – there is no life. Human adulthood is not about clarity or truth, oh no. A human adult strives, has ambitions and life within them that they wish to negotiate in a reasoned and self-beneficial manner.

The absolute understanding kills all that. There is no life there, only existence, even if comfortable, but still… only existence nevertheless; a maintenance of the illusion of life on the outside, while the inner world becomes bare, even sterile.

Note: Tell me this one minute action below is not human-like. They even exchange words before the fight.

(to be continued?)

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5 thoughts on “Human Adulthood Part II

  1. Hi Tano. Thanks for the article. You said:

    “appreciate it for its beautiful, life giving properties, embrace it and give it just enough space to make it interesting, but without destroying your inner world.”

    What would be your best advice on how to achieve this. In particular the part about not destroying your inner world. As someone who is a relatively anxious person it seems difficult to embrace and appreciate the drama of life most of the time.

    1. @Dan

      “it seems difficult to embrace and appreciate the drama of life most of the time.”

      I just thought of something in relation to this phrase of yours.
      It is true what you have said. It is difficult to embrace and appreciate own leg most of the time. Because the leg is there.

      Once lost – you’d miss your leg, won’t you?

      Same with drama.

      The only way not to destroy your inner world is to gain emotional maturity. So..
      1. see if you can understand and formulate for yourself what emotional maturity means.
      2. learn which situations cause you anxiety
      3. immerse self in those situations

      Under 12 months you’ll be clear as rain on the state of your anxiety.

      That’s what I would do anyway. ‘Fight fire with fire’ or something they say.

  2. Hi Dan,

    When it comes to adulthood one needs to get to know themselves.

    You said ‘a relatively anxious person’ about yourself.. dig in that direction: what is anxious, what makes humans anxious, look at the process of how anxieties form using your own experience as well as that of others.

    In short, understand your anxieties to the very bottom layer, and you may lose a significant portion of them.

    An appreciation of drama will come later when your vision improves, just like an appreciation of a painting often improves when we learn more about art.

  3. I don’t know and don’t care much whether or not you see, but I do see – and since you are talking about it here, I share what I see.

    What I see are the countless shades of grey, between the Human Child and Human Adult and between Human Adult and whatever lies beyond that.

    And the journey or progress – the movement from one to the other state or stage of being – is almost never linear or clear cut.

    It is not capturable in a few short references to the conversations between you and your son – nor can it be crystallised within a few encounters; like the ones you mention here.

    Neither do I see the progress or movement as irreversible – i.e., once taken place or happened – it would apply for all times and at all places, for that individual.

    And what I see the most of is the in-between or the transition period. I might even say that all that I see is the transition period, always a process of becoming one from the other – more in some situations, less in others, and more of the same in others.

    In Zen they talk about climbing the mountain, being on top of the mountain and descending the mountain to talk about certain stages of progress or journey. I once heard someone talk about ‘circumambulating the mountain,’ as an alternative image; something that I am perhaps conveying here.

    Given the environment, we all regress. Given the situation; we all exceed our own expectations. With the right buttons being pushed, we all possess the capacity to destroy at least our own selves, if not also the selves of others.

    So, I hope (though I REALLY don’t) that you don’t make it sound all so cut and dried and leave some shades of grey – or perhaps talk as much about the Transition, as much you talk about the Human Child and Human Adult. There are none. There is only Human in Transition, Human in Passage; and that is all we encounter anywhere, ever.

    1. “you don’t make it sound all so cut and dried and leave some shades of grey – or perhaps talk as much about the Transition, as much you talk about the Human Child and Human Adult. There are none.”

      Right.

      In order to learn mathematical equations one has to first learn the symbols in which they are written, the most basic level of + – : X = etc.

      To learn to speak a foreign language one has to understand the most basic words and how they are formed into phrases grammatically, the most basic level of ‘rule’ is a noun, and ‘grammatical’ is an adjective, and together they make the phrase ‘grammatical rule’.

      You can absolutely keep it shades of grey, and much of life falls in between those. But if you want to UNDERSTAND some of that greyness – perhaps, it would help to see the basics to begin with.

      This is what I am doing: Simplicity is hard to grasp at times. As I said in the beginning of the article (expecting exactly the kind of expression you have put up) – if you want complex – look away.

      Life starts with the simple building blocks and gets progressively more complex. Go back to the basics.

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