Great. I had a real horrorshow post planned for today, but then I see a comment on a friend's LiveJournal that deals with the maturity of males and finish Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, which deals with maturity alongside evil and language. So, I decided to take this whole idea of maturity on while allowing my other idea to ferment a while longer.
There are a number of arbitrary ages at which maturity is assumed to be reached. In the United States, you can vote and buy cigarettes and pornography at eighteen and legally drink alochol at twenty-one. In Minnesota, you can get your driver's license at sixteen. In the Roman Catholic tradition, the sacrament of confirmation is witheld until one reaches the 'age of discretion or reason,' an age which I didn't find a set age for but believe to be around twelve. To round off this brief list, Jews celebrate the maturation of their children at thirteen (Bar Mitzvah) and twelve (Bat Mitzvah). With little effort, one could come up with a multitude of arbitrary ages in a variety of traditions and systems that denote when one has become 'mature,' but this list suffices in serving my purpose of demonstrating the disparity in when groups recognize that maturity has been reached.
As I've been asking so many variations of lately, what does 'mature' mean? Part of it has to do with age, as we can see in my list. Few would suggest that a five year old was mature, even ten is stretching it. There are other quantitative measures of maturity, like killing your first moose, but many use age for at least one good reason. Puberty. Things get kooky at that point and typically take a long while for people to sort out afterwards.
Of course, closely associated with age is experience. Were a person to grow up in a controlled environment, reading all there is to know about good and evil, and be released into the wide world at thirty, even, could we call them mature? Of course, they're no more mature than a person who learned a language solely from a book could be considered fluent. One must know suffering and joy, satiation and hunger, victory and defeat and whole bunch of other dialectics. But what do once we know these opposing forces? Do we abandon ourselves to the idea that the universe is composed of naught but a single side? No, we accept that they both exist and then try to bring about the better side as much as possible.
Maturity is coming to grips with who we are and what we can be, things that cannot be wholly known until that crucial period where we gain the ability and desire to pass on our genetic material, and what the world outside us is and what it can be.
3 years ago