Would Anyone Like to Grow Up?

Children tend to be subjective. Their world is limited, and they are the center of it. But the methods of thought they learn on their own are not subjective. In learning to identify essentials and trace interrelationships among all thought subjects, they are learning the nature of reality, the nature of consciousness, and the relationship of the one to the other. They learn that consciousness can fully grasp existence, but does not control it.

Or do they? Why is it not just little kids, but also mature adults who issue daily demands? The hungry must be fed! The homeless must be housed! Trade must be regulated! Artists must be recognized! Earnings must be equalized! Smoking must be banned! Advertising must be tamed! Animals must be free, but man must be constrained!

Two things about such demands make us think of children: tireless repetition, and omission of cost. Adults do not focus only on what they want, but consider how to earn it. It is children who think that Father Christmas, or Uncle Sam, will provide if only they can make their wishes really clear.

When big people eagerly list their wishes and mark them "FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION", it seems fair to wonder what happened to growing up, and what happens to wish lists in the process of growing up.

Suppose you wanted to teach your children that the way to get things is to demand them. You would faithfully obey their demands, and the louder the quicker. Since many parents do exactly that, many children are taught that wish lists are not childish, but normal. If they marry rich, it works out. Otherwise, it brings lifelong frustration.

Luckier kids find their wish lists mostly ignored, so while still longing for things on the list, they begin looking for methods. That is, the wish list becomes an "if only" list.

Maturity brings commitment to cause and effect. The focus is not on the wish as a declaration, but as an effect for which one must find a cause. Now the "if only" list becomes a "how to" list.

The final step is commitment to action. Life does not consist of wishing, or thinking about wishes. It consists of doing. So the final list is a to-do list.

The process of growing up is the progression from wish to method to action. It is never too late to start.

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