The concept of maturity as a means of societal control
If you’re not a socialist before you’re twenty-five, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after twenty-five, you have no head. – anonymous
I am young enough that there are still people telling me that they too were anarchists/artists/communists/optimists when they were my age, but then they “matured”. And when they do that, I always think about what does the word “maturity” mean. Traditionally, it obviously means responsibility, taking care for yourself and other people. But, apparently, in today’s society it also means conformism. The logic goes like this, I think: in order to take care of your family you need money and in order to obtain money you have to quit “fooling around”, a viewpoint that is captured well in the quote I began the text with. But implicit in this quote is that thoughts that differ from the status quo aren’t “serious”, that they are just “dreams”. What the quote actually says is something like: “since birth, you have a natural capacity to dream, and you need to learn how to suppress that capacity i.e. you need to lose faith” (that’s exactly what being a conservative means, if you think about it, it means, stop believing a better future is possible and instead focus on changing as little as possible).
So, this is how the concept of maturity is used a tool for political/societal control:
The meaning of “mature” is shifted. It no longer means “being responsible”. Instead it means “being faithless”, for example, people who exhibit any quality that signifies they have any faith left, such as a sense of humor, practicing arts, sports, having rich social life, or even disinterested in material wealth, are perceived as “immature”, regardless of how good they are taking care of their responsibilities.
At the same time, we have a cult of this so called maturity. Immaturity is no longer seen as a normal stage of life that everyone goes through, each at their own pace. Instead, the word “immature” is routinely used as an insult, even towards children, who are also constantly told to “Grow up!”, (the disappearance of childhood being a natural response to this). It’s like a best thing that a person can do is mature as much and as fast as possible (and that it’s better for a person to be bad, mean, stupid etc. than “immature”).
A couple of points on this:
People who use that quote that if you aren’t into communism as a youth you have no heart, but if you don’t later drop it when you get older you have no brain, seem like they are so desperate over the fact that they have lost their hearts that they made up the second part to soothe themselves.
I find all this ridiculous, and I don’t even know how those “mature” people even find the will to live such a life.
Obviously a better world is possible, it’s always possible to be better. And nobody has any grounds to say anything else.
Even if a better world wasn’t possible, I would continue living my life as if it’s possible, simply because there is no point in living any other way, there is no point in living as a pet and there is no point in raising children to live the same way
When I am done with art anarchism and optimism I won’t be old, I’d be dead, at least mentally.