Infancy is being unaware of control.
Childhood is becoming aware of control.
Adolescence is thinking someone can control everything.
Adulthood is knowing what is out of your control.
I finally got around to watching some lectures given by the late Milton Friedman, an American economist, statistician and writer. Whether you agree with the man or not, he does have a spectacular way of putting across his ideas. The four stages listed above came to me when thinking of our relationship to control. They are built on the structure of how we commonly develop as living beings, and as such lead to further musings.
They could technically apply to all sentient beings, and is not limited to general growth but in this case may be quite representative of stages of learning.
Take the example of driving a car.
Infancy : The car may as well be magic for all you know. It exists, you do to, that is all
Childhood : You become aware of the general rules of driving. The steering wheel, pedals, dials and the general road rules.
Adolescence : You have a confidence that you know it all and can control it all, or a fear that it is too much to handle.
Adulthood : At this point you are well aware of your limits. You have a general respect for the vehicle and its abilities, and are well aware that there are other drivers and situations that are relatively out of your control that could cause you issue no matter how careful and prepared you may be.
After the first four I thought of another way to word them. This may be applicable to our lies as social beings. I will expand on them a bit.
Infancy is the state of helplessness. This is not considered wholly negative, as it is quite often due to a lack of knowledge, exposure or experience that is common when exposed to something entirely novel. As the Infant you would be bewildered by what you are experiencing and those in the society will view you as unaware and in need of complete protection.
Childhood is becoming aware of the need for help. This is a learning process, a growing process. you are beginning to see the latticework of how things function. You see the interactions that create the whole. You begin to ask yourself and others about what can be done. What should be done. What should not.
Adolescence is the thinking that nothing can be helped. At this point one has come to the decision that something is insurmountable. The manifestation of this is usually not to productive. If one holds this about themselves they may be convinced nothing can be done to change their situation so why try. If they hold it about others they may think nothing they can do will change so whatever person(s) that has the power, must exercise it on behalf of the powerless. This is quite damaging when that person thinks they are the one with the power to act on behalf of others. This stage may be hard to pass, but in a society is almost always the least productive. (those stuck in adolescence tend to develop a longing for the simplicity and freedom they equate childhood with and/or a disdain and mistrust of the agency of adulthood)
Adulthood is knowing how to help oneself. Herein one takes and assigns responsibility. It is quite possible to skip adolescence and arrive at this point. You act and accept the reaction. you take ownership and respect that of others. Though you may be subject to shouldering the blame and negative consequences of things you have or have not done, this is also the one state in which you can truly appreciate and take joy in accomplishments for you truly understand what has gone into their happening.
“The plain fact is that nobody of any stripe, has been able to show how you get a perfectly stable, steady, certain kind of a world, except in two places, a prison and a grave.”
-Milton Friedman 1978
Guy makes me want to buy a hat so i can tip it to him.