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A 21st Century Definition of Adulthood
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements................................................................................4 Introduction............................................................................................6 Part One: Adulthood is Broken.............................................................12 The Sixties........................................................................................16 Biology..............................................................................................19 Sociology..........................................................................................20 Society..............................................................................................21 Reason versus Cognition...................................................................26 Reason versus Media........................................................................27 Reason: Destroyer of Certainty.........................................................28 Part Three: The Vehicle of Reason.......................................................29 Self-awareness..................................................................................29 Personality Theory.........................................................................32 Reason-based Reality....................................................................33 Positive Feeling .............................................................................36 The Physics of Emotion..................................................................37 Gratitude and Radical Acceptance....................................................38 Detachment......................................................................................39 Specificity of Speech.........................................................................40 Existential Curiosity..........................................................................42 Part Four: The Fruits of Reason............................................................45 Communication.................................................................................45 Career...............................................................................................45
Romantic Relationships.....................................................................46 Joy.....................................................................................................47 Enlightenment..................................................................................48 Part Five: Beyond Reason....................................................................49 Existence..........................................................................................50 Perception.........................................................................................51 Language..........................................................................................52 Metrics..............................................................................................53 Absolute Knowledge.........................................................................55 Spiritual Vector.................................................................................56 Part Six: Impediments to and Tools for Adulthood...............................62 Barriers.............................................................................................62 Media.............................................................................................63 Chemical Dependency ..................................................................63 Emotional Dependency..................................................................63 Frenzy............................................................................................64 Social contract...............................................................................64 Tools.................................................................................................65 Retreats.........................................................................................65 Psychotherapy...............................................................................65 Meditation......................................................................................66 Autolysis........................................................................................66 Hallucinogens................................................................................66 Conclusion............................................................................................68 Notes & Disclaimers.............................................................................69 On Reading.......................................................................................69 For Scholars......................................................................................70 For Black Sheep................................................................................70 On Gender........................................................................................71 On Integrity.......................................................................................72 Appendix A: Reason and Virtue............................................................73 Appendix B: Suggested Media.............................................................78
Adulthood 2.0 would not have been possible without the people in my life. I am grateful for all the support I have received from my family, friends and teachers. Specifically, I would also like to thank the following people, without whose wisdom and editorial insight this would be little more than the blog rant from which it started. Thank you to Brooke Warner, Gabrielle Blocher, Chris Pollak, Matt McNeill, Newton Cheng, John Galarnyk, Tom Drugan, George Kao, Pat Sandone III, Eduard Trampolsky, Ben Larson, Larry Lassek, Raffi Patatian, Samir Ghosh, Sean Tario, Claus von Bohlen und Halbach, Sara Ost, Ryan Frank, Andrew Haslam-Jones, Michael Maher, Kate Apple, Nancy Martin, Srikumar Rao, Avital Louria Hahn, Pawel Rzeczkowski, and Ian Whiting.
“Reasoning is a divinity around which gravitate a whole world of gods important, but inferior to it.” —Sho-gun Yoritomo Tashi
Adulthood 2.0 is dedicated to my grandmother, Helen Peele Bachelder.
Do you consider yourself an adult? Of course you do. You have a car, right? Or at least you can take public transportation by yourself? You share your toys with others. You’ve learned how not to have temper tantrums when things don't go your way. Or at least you go in the other room to pout and work things out. However, according to a 2004 study by the American Sociological Association, many of us are not adults. The survey found that “65 percent of males had reached adulthood by the age of 30 in 1960 and only 31 percent had reached adulthood in 2000. For women, the number was 77 percent in 1960 and 46 percent in 2000.” Regardless of whether you believe the ASA to be the arbiter of adulthood, it is clear that our relationship to many traditional life markers have shifted since 1960. In addition to this cultural shift, we face the problem of having many definitions of adulthood. We have input from the state, biologists, psychologists, sociologists, clergy, family, friends and media, but is there any consensus? How is an 18-year-old adult enough to die in battle, yet not adult enough to drink alcohol? How is a 14-year-old adult enough to give birth, but not adult enough to drive? The definitions (from state, biology, ASA, etc.)
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we have are also so contradictory across time and geography— not to mention internally inconsistent—that it leaves us biologically mature humans-, scratching our heads like apes wondering if we truly are adults or just kids in big bodies. You likely know such people who have dug in their heels, staying firmly entrenched in adolescence. These people have given rise to a whole host euphemisms—kidulthood, adultesence, man-boy, a generation-on-hold—and they driving various social, environmental, political, and economic maladies. Books by sociologists and pundits such as James Cote (Arrested Adulthood) and Gary Cross (Men to Boys) illustrate the social costs of a prolonged adolescence – codifying isolation, consumerism, sexism, media addiction, and stilted careers and relationships. [Please have a look at http://adulthood2.com for a 10-slide presentation on this adulthood crisis.] While it’s important to understand the problem, it is equally important to define a way forward. Without an internal compass or external authority to guide us towards adulthood, can we even become adults? No. Modern technology, media, civil rights, globalization, and consumerism have changed us and are continuing to change us. The frenzy of modern life and, more specifically, the cultural revolution that began in the 1960s has served to erase any authority that older generations once held over the current one –
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thus eroding the veracity of the previous markers of adulthood (marriage, career, home, family, etc.). As such, humanity needs a new rite of passage that inspires us, resonates with our modern life and yet is consistent across demographics. Given this, I offer “Adulthood 2.0” - the radical employment of reason through which we examine not only the external world, but also the realm of our individual psychology. Adults examine the cause of their perceptions, feelings, and certainty. Though all people are, or want to be, reasonable, without an inward examination we are often much less reasonable than we think. Employing reason catalyzes our path towards adulthood, giving us a deeper relationship to a host of virtues that increase our fulfillment and improve success in our careers, relationships, and families (see Appendix A). Adulthood 2.0 is a process that completes the job that Descartes and his contemporaries of the Enlightenment began. While everyone understands what the reasoning capacity is, few of us are proficient at harnessing reason as a driver to illuminate our emotions, psychological drivers, and beliefs. As James Cote notes, adulthood is a “psychological process of developmental individualization” inclusive of “cognitive growth, identity formation, emotional maturity, spiritual awareness and universalizing consciousness.” Applying reason to one’s
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psychology through the careful observation of our thoughts, emotions, and desires is how we develop maturity, sense of self and spirituality. In essence, reason is the ladder we climb to become an adult. Through the radical extension of reason internally, we develop numerous virtues, the most prominent being:
Self-awareness—especially of emotional states and their accompanying psychological triggers;
Gratitude and radical acceptance—universal comprehension, an inability to accept the notion of wrongness, instead seeing only incompleteness; to appreciate that everything as having a place, as measured by a genuine contentment with reality;
Detachment—freedom from desire and aversion; Existential curiosity—manifestly applying reason and analytical rigor to one’s perception, ways of knowing, certainty; exploring supernormal human development;
Specificity of speech—thinking deeply before speaking.
What we consider to be “heart” motivations, such as romance or art, may seem to operate independently of reason, but these motivations are improved and better expressed with reason. In
the absence of reason, our actions go unobserved and thus we become unwittingly driven by genetic instinct and social cues. "While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings." — Henry David Thoreau Moreover, reason is a vital component of creativity, in that it removes outmoded structure (genetic and social programming) making way for a more perfect expression of being. As one would paint on a canvas or build a home, one needs a clean workspace and proper tools. It is reason that stretches the canvas and clears the foundation, allowing a cleaner, more pure selfexpression. Thus, imagination, buttressed by reason, allows for an ideal to be cleanly and productively expressed. “Reason clears and plants the wilderness of the imagination to harvest the wheat of art.” —Austin O'Malley Adulthood 2.0 is for anyone interested in their own human development. We will explore existing notions of adulthood, demonstrate the need for a new definition of adulthood, articulate it and outline a plan for achieving it. Please see the section “Notes & Disclaimers” at the end or at
http://adulthood2.com, if you are still wondering if Adulthood 2.0 is right for you.
Part One: Adulthood is Broken
"Years ago, manhood was an opportunity for achievement, and now it is a problem to be overcome." - Garrison Keillor Before we begin this journey together, I ask you to throw away all notions you have concerning adulthood. Let’s assume that time passing and a loosely defined set of “grown up” experiences are all that big people have in common. Pretend today is your first day on Earth and you are trying to understand what universal characteristics a mature human organism possesses. If you observed 100 biological mature homo sapiens would you be able to succinctly define adulthood? Probably not. If you asked these people what adulthood was, would you get 100 different answers? You probably would. Before going further, close your eyes and try defining adulthood yourself. Now see if it resembles what Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says: • • Fully developed and mature : grown-up Of, relating to, intended for, or befitting adults <an adult approach to a problem> • Dealing in or with explicitly sexual material
Were you close? By the way, how does the dictionary know what adulthood is? To offer a conclusive definition, Merriam-Webster would need to cite its assumptions regarding philosophy and the meaning of life. They have not done so, and as such we can only take these English majors at their word, and make assumptions about their methodology, sources, training, etc. And it is in these details, these assumptions that the source of our discontent lies. We all have to make assumptions to know that a rectangular piece of wood is a perfect 2-by-4 and not an incomplete house. Similarly, we have to examine the assumptions of any authority offering a definition of adulthood. Without knowing the perfected and complete form of an object, organism or idea, we cannot judge behavior/development in relation to it. Our rectangular piece of wood is both a perfect 2x4 and a terrible house, depending on our assumptions. This notion of adulthood vexes me greatly. As a child, I did not know what it meant to be an adult; I sensed that there were marked differences between big people and little people, but I was not sure what they were exactly. I knew the big people could reach things I could not. They went places I could not go. They said things I could not understand. That they could do
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these things seemed to correlate roughly with the passage of time, but not much else. As I saw it, adulthood was some nebulous aggregation of time, intellect, and ability that allowed the big people to do more interesting things, like drive cars, own homes, join the military, and drink alcohol. Outside of obeying gravity and biological impulses, my “grown up” role models (parents, teachers, and athletic coaches) had vastly different ways of being and acting. My primary influences were my parents, whose value systems only partially overlapped with one another. Further, these value systems were not clearly articulated, nor internally consistent or defensible, and varied over time. Depending on the situation, they would praise certain values (e.g. compassion, material wealth, self-expression, dominance, autonomy, social esteem, efficiency, economy, etc.). The aggregated example of adulthood they provided lacked the consistency to persuade me to take a definitive course of action; I did not want to become them, and they did not want me to become them, either. I was told to stay young, free, and curious —to travel and postpone marriage and the doldrums of suburban life as long as possible, to take the bull by the horns and suck the marrow out of life. As I reached my late 20’s, I was urged less and less to continue on that path and instead was encouraged by parents, friends, and bosses to act responsibly (in accordance
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with a second set of principles determined by others). This second set of grown-up principles also lacked consistency and rationale and this drove me mad. Without a solid understanding of adulthood, I, like many others, began to slowly ignore the existence of the question, “What is adulthood?” Following the example set by those around me, I rationalized my subconscious desires (mostly for sex and dominance) by pointing to whichever social ideal or external authority suited my task; I was a morally rudderless litigator, able to justify anything. While this was good enough for me in my teens and twenties, it no longer serves me today in my early thirties. A mess of rationalizations and contradictory axioms do not to justify impulse, nor do they make an adult. Today I find myself dealing with the topics of marriage and family. I am also involved in professional opportunities that demand my full engagement. Without an understanding of what a mature human organism is, how can I be sure my actions are advancing me toward completion? It seems confusion with regard to understanding adulthood is widespread, as fewer Americans are reaching the traditional sociological markers of adulthood – defined as completing school, establishing an independent household, and being
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employed full-time (American Sociological Association 8/22/2004). Those of us who do reach these markers are taking our time with it. It is clear that either the traditional definitions are no longer valid or that the current generation of “grown ups” is not up to the task. This is a phenomenon for which there are many explanations.
The cultural revolution of the 1960s led to the decline of traditional notions of adulthood, duty, morality, and religious fervor and their institutional proponents (e.g. organized religion, government, and education). Though the era produced marked advances in science, liberalism, and individualism, the cultural jet wash it left us in is profound. James Cote suggests we are a "generation on hold...without sufficient external guidance and internal resources to take stock and mature." A shared understanding of adulthood has failed to emerge from the ashes, leaving humanity awash in adolescence, ideology, and hedonism, sometimes referred to as Peter Pan Complex, “kidulthood”, "boymen" or “adultescence". Gary Cross, the author of Men to Boys notes "the culture of immaturity has become the norm rather than the exception."
In the absence of a shared understanding of the human experience and adulthood, the pursuit of gratification (aka, hedonism) has become more accessible and valued as an end in and of itself. The Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), and those of us following their cue, have unashamedly espoused this philosophy of gratification with grave consequences. Hedonism and its correlate, myopia, can be counted as the root cause of the scandal, addiction, disease, excess, corruption, and economic and environmental collapse we are witnessing worldwide. Adultescent pursuits are not a substitute for adulthood. Television shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” along with the rants of unscrupulous political and religious ideologues, have become voices of authority, suggesting the widespread confusion and latent demand for an earnest, mutually agreed upon understanding of the human experience. We crave an understanding that is consistent with our daily experiences in a post-industrial technological society. Our understanding cannot rely upon worldviews that were conceived without a consideration for modern science and the reasoning mind, such as those espoused by most organized religions. (Christianity, Islam, Judaism , Hinduism & Buddhism codified the best thinking available more than 1,500 years prior to Descartes.)
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Gary Cross identifies 2 cultural trends or effects at play:
The last 3 generations (Gen X, Boomers, WWII) have made terrific strides in progressively distancing themselves from each other and more broadly, the genteel culture of Victorian patriarchy. Specifically, advances in feminism, technology (e.g. washing machine, automobile, carbon fuels) and literacy have made traditional roles less necessary and appealing.
Being a kid has never been more fun. Youth-oriented media, consumer products and activities have flourished in the last half-century, making escapism and hedonism almost too normal and prevalent to resist. Margaret Mead suggests that as a result we are a prefigurative society requiring people to become, idolize and learn from the youth. We can be teens forever.
Compounding this elongation of teen years, is the widespread confusion about what constitutes adulthood. Some definitions of adulthood, as they relate to various fields of interest, are: • Legal definition: one who has attained maturity or legal age. • Biological definition: a fully grown, mature organism.
Social definition: one who has finished school, is fully employed, has financially independent household, is married, and has a family. “At least 95 percent of Americans surveyed consider education, employment, financial independence, and the ability to support a family at least somewhat important to being considered an adult.” —American Sociological Association, 8/2/2004
Biologists attempt to define humanity (and implicitly the human adult) by what distinguishes us from other primates in an attempt to derive “normal” behavior from form, a reverse engineering of the “form follows function” argument. Humans are absolutely like every other animal, as we share most of our genetic code and brain chemistry with animals as seemingly removed from us as fruit flies. Even amongst what we consider "human" behaviors, we share marked similarities with our primate cousins - aggression, homo/genocide, theory of mind, social contract, dopamine reactions, non-genetic cultural transmission, etc. Though we have developed subtle and complex refinements on these behaviors, we are what Stanford anthropologist, Robert Sapolsky, calls "off the rack mammals." Among our many refined qualities, we walk upright, have
exorbitantly high concentrations of nerve endings surrounding our orifices, have a large frontal cortex (though not larger than an orca whale), can burn 7,000 calories a day engaged only in thought (e.g. chess), have the record of any land animal for space traveled across distance, are infinitely adaptable to topographies and have highly expressive emotional states. Should we therefore assume that adulthood implies that every human being be a long-distance runner? Should adults have sex when, with whomever, and however we desire? Should we act on every emotion? Should we dominate the weak or should we have compassion? The infinite number of reverse-engineered philosophies biology provides adds nothing definitive to the understanding of adulthood, but only muddies the water even further. Are we perfect 2x4’s or terrible houses?
Sociologists employ chronological age (depending on the time and the culture, 13, 16, 18, or 21) or rites of passage, such as the first hunt, birth of a child and death of a parent, to demarcate adulthood. However, across and often within cultures, the rites of passage and the accompanying chronological greatly differ. This disparity is unsatisfying, as anyone can see the idiocy of drafting a man into the military at 18 (which in many cases results in his death), and telling him to
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Society Does the law tell me I am an adult? Does the chronological age of my organism? Does a rabbi or a priest? We could blindly follow society’s whim by finishing school. or of forbidding women to drive until 15. cultural and environmental capital (as measured by the annual $6 trillion disparity between annual US Gross Domestic Product and the Genuine Progress Indicator . employed and married land owners commit. it is easy to see that our institutions and behaviors are a very poor measuring stick of adulthood.rprogress. drink until 21 and yet allowing them to give birth as soon as they are biologically mature (in some cases 11 years of age). intellectual. evidenced by the Third Reich. McCarthyism. establishing financial independence. military/ideological imperialism." Coupled with the evolving hedonic cultural norms introduced by the Baby Boomers. 2006) to see the horrors that educated. ill-conceived wars. As author and Columbia University Professor. Mark Lilla noted that in the 20th Century "reason collapsed well before irrational passions had migrated from religion to politics.abstain from alcohol until 21. but is society’s whim justification for adherence to those benchmarks? We only need look to the dim-witted exuberance of the last century. http://adulthood2. and procreating. marrying. and the degradation of social.com Page 21 .org.www.
com Page 22 . then there cannot be a common shared understanding that applies to all humans.If there are many definitions of adulthood. In our modern globalized world. Where is this culturally agnostic marker of human development? http://adulthood2. what is needed is a common definition of adulthood. one that cuts across cultures and wisdom traditions and is therefore independent of them.
During which time. and society as absolute sources of authority regarding adulthood.com Page 23 . we cannot say that reason is our only alternative.Part Two: Adulthood 2. Wikipedia!). Compared to the Dark Ages. one that simultaneously unifies http://adulthood2. tangible and culturally agnostic way out of this mess. One could concoct any number of physical. and yet much of the planet is mired in ignorance and blind faith. we have markedly refined and specialized fields of knowledge and catalogued an ever expanding assortment of supernormal human feats. we are like a super stretched rubber band. biology. as together they represent the most effective. As such reason and adulthood are handsome bedfellows. with some of us reaching the great heights of genius and most of us barely conscious of the lows to which we have sunk – an embarrassing best-of-times-worst-of-times paradox.0 While we can categorically reject law. However. I contend that reason is the most psychologically appropriate correlate to the age in which we find ourselves. mental and emotional tests and call it the “adult marker”. religion. We are 370 years into the Enlightenment (beginning with Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy in 1641) and have instantaneous access to all the world’s wisdom traditions (thank you.
ask yourself if reason empowers adulthood. truth. curiosity. Please have a look at Appendix A: Reason and Virtue. peace) that profit by reason. I ask you to remain open to the possibility as to whether extending reason into the psyche could be the modern archetypal yardstick of human adulthood. as set forth by numerous great minds. ‘Adulthood 2. for a selection of human pursuits and values (e. creativity.0’ The process/stage by which a human being manifestly exhibits and practices reason. leadership.com Page 24 . humility. intuition.man across time and space and inspires him to reach his full potential. acceptance. Def.g. democracy. Given that reason and adulthood are terms commonly used in a variety of ways. self-awareness. As you read. wisdom. detachment. spirituality. or at the very least enables higher-level human functioning and enjoyment of life. specifically by extending the realm of his inquiry into the subjective realm of his own psychology. By doing so the following applications/components/results can be found: http://adulthood2. I offer a replacement definition for adulthood and a more succinct definition of “reason” to expedite and clarify the remainder of this effort. autonomy.
ways of knowing. Specificity of speech—thinking deeply before speaking Def. utilizing analogy and consistency to increase understanding of a particular area. feeling (soul). inclusive of fully formed cognitive capacities. The power of intelligent and dispassionate thought. 2. as measured by a genuine contentment with reality) 3. Existential curiosity—manifestly applying reason and analytical rigor to one’s perception. an inability to accept the notion of wrongness and to appreciate everything as having a place. The following diagram summarizes how the development of reason produces a corresponding evolution in knowledge (mind). especially of emotional states and their accompanying psychological triggers. ‘reason’ 1. and action (body). metacognition 5. Detachment—freedom from desire and aversion 4. Self-awareness.com Page 25 . Gratitude & Radical Acceptance (definition: universal comprehension. The faculty of acquiring intellectual knowledge. or of conduct influenced by such thought.1. exploring outliers of human development. certainty. meta-emotion 2. http://adulthood2.
only intuition gratitude. no higher bad as result authority. morality. it is the transition to adulthood that is in need of help in this era of conflicting social norms. aka metacognition. Cognition is no different than storytelling . curiosity w/o re existential supernormal certainty. feels . pragmatism Although the above chart points to a stage beyond adulthood.com Page 26 . awareness. of allowing only fear & other to pleasure determine motivation happiness & identity Adulthood Focused on With selfSituation self. humans.the act of telling a story to justify an end. question-the. sees pragmatism wrong. mastery. love but that which is Absolutely True Knowledge Focused on senses. methods of metamaximizing knowing. fulfillment Seeker Negates and Unity. acceptance. For our purposes. it is the spackle between the bricks of whim and subconscious desires. rejects all devotion. prosperity metacognitio intuition and for all n. fear. Reason versus Cognition The word “reason” is errantly and commonly used when referring to cognition or thinking. emotion. http://adulthood2. inspired knowledge. matter. Cognition is merely a bridge between two unconnected lands. reason exceeds cognition in that it shines its light on the merit of a proposed end and the veracity of the reasoner/perceiver.emotional metaquestioner. Divine. whereas cognition seeks only to create the means that justify an end. ethics. surrender. rites of passage and morality.Reason Limited / incomplet e applicatio n and developm ent of reason Life Stage Childhood Manifest applicatio n of reason Beyond reason Feeling Action Accepts/belie Egoic and ves emotions ethnocentri at face c value.
reason is seen as robotic and sociopathic and therefore inferior (e. the full employment of reason calls into question the existence of everything. Reason negates these practices unless they can withstand the scrutiny of intense and sustained inquiry. but do not obsess over as you continue on. Despite our perceptions. and therefore cannot solely define us. Just as we would not characterize humanity as a collection of mammals incapable of http://adulthood2. Spock in Star Trek. and many other mammals. shame. they are temporary.g. including you. and codependency—in order to tell a more dramatic story. anxiety. Reason versus Media Our mainstream media often portrays reason negatively due to poetic sentiments that exploit emotion —sadness. loneliness. This is a problem. In this context. Ergo. Though states of emotional overwhelm are experienced by all humans.com Page 27 .Children are masters of cognition. guilt. one that I hope you remember. in that they use their cognitive capacity to justify whim and seek cohesion with other socially acceptable practices. and me. the reader. we must accept that we as yet do not have any proof of our existence or that you are reading this right now. or the calculating unsentimental bad guy in virtually every other story). the writer. anger. but stop short of reason.
as our separate sets of experiences produce disparate ideals and knowledge. it makes little sense to define humanity by our most base. existence. as each argument can be supported by some collection of scientific evidence. even amongst astute parties. and unconscious moments.tying their shoes. what is considered real or valid varies widely. and the social constructs that permit such vastly disparate understandings of reality. personality. ideas of self. http://adulthood2. A person cannot be reasonable if he/she does not examine the examiner. reason reveals the subjectivity of virtually every argument (including this one). the reasonable person questions his/her perception. Reason: Destroyer of Certainty Through its manifest application. That is. and/or analogy. reactive. given that some cannot or refuse to.com Page 28 . scripture. In light of this.
madness. anxiety. fear. and shame) and the realization that one is experiencing that state and therefore cannot be that state.Part Three: The Vehicle of Reason By setting reason as the primary vector of life. For the purposes of this discussion. Reason allows the observation. The word “emotion” will henceforth refer to what humanity considers negative emotions. sadness.) are really some of the highest experiences of feeling and being (as mentioned in the introduction) and are not classified as emotions here. joy. and especially mainstream media. one begins the progressive realization of a whole host of dependent qualities: Self-awareness Self-awareness refers to the ability to understand the emotional reactions (physical and mental) one has to one’s environment aka meta-emotion. what are considered positive emotions (happiness. Indeed. gratitude. appropriate expression of and transcendence of a particular emotional state (e. in Western society. As mentioned. a brief discussion is warranted regarding emotions and how they are perceived.com Page 29 . the fear response (adrenaline/cortisol http://adulthood2. etc. emotions are commonly praised as a way to be human and feel alive. Before we go further.g.
Emotions should instead be recognized as merely patterns of perception within our experience. Specifically. selfdestruction).g. and ones that do not necessarily require the action they might initially suggest (e. This is not to say that we should deny or repress emotion. In this regard. or allergens for shortness of breath. hatred. while experienced. revenge. Emotions. but rather a psychosomatic response to one’s perception of reality. emotions arise as a result of perceiving the world or oneself in a way which is inconsistent with one’s idea of the world or oneself. http://adulthood2. They need not be treated with contempt. That is. They are neither good nor bad. but that we ought to keep emotion in its place and not give it the key to the castle.com Page 30 . are not THE reality.chemical flux) that accompanies unexamined emotions does give one an intense feeling of being alive (much in the way time slows down and experience becomes more intense in life threatening situations). just as one need not curse gravity for falling down. “being alive” manifests itself in the frenzied expression and reconciliation of an emotional state. but like gravity or air should be accepted as part of our individual experience. all emotions are the result of reality conflicting with our errant expectations. We should not define ourselves by emotions and restrict our identity to something so ever-changing and temporal.
not in a descriptive nor exploratory fashion. That is. skill. how do we define reality? Without an understanding of reality.Before we can properly relate reason to self-awareness. thereby enforcing this made-up reality. etc. The progression of an emotional event is as follows: • • An emotion arises There is a desire to reconcile the emotion. • The mind accepts these patterns as reality and then selects data that justifies the pattern. time. http://adulthood2. manifesting in one of two ways: • Introspection into the source and validity of the emotion. there would be no sense in defining a self within it. position. in that they first begin to relate to the world through emotion. • In the case of the latter. Most people have an emotional construct of reality. we first need to talk about reality. or more the prevalent… • The telling of a story about meaningless data which can be used to justify the emotion.com Page 31 . to generate patterns and meaning. the cognition is employed in a rationalizing. That would be like saying “I am the best baseball player” without referring to a league.
We make emotional decisions that align with or oppose the values of these primary influencers and develop a personality. Some examples include: Event: Dad got fired and we had to move in with Grandma and her stinky cats. I am not rich. I will be happy when I am rich. therefore I am not happy.” Event: Mommy lied to Dad about how the dent in the car occurred and therefore he did not beat her tonight. Personality is formed during the course of making of significant decisions. but otherwise useful. • Decision: “I am fat. usually their parents.” Event: Sally said my jeans make me look fat. in reaction to the traumatic events in one’s early years.” Page 32 http://adulthood2. All humans are subjected to the values of society and their primary influencers.com .Personality Theory The repetition of this cycle determines how a personality comes into being. • Decision: “Lying is bad if it is discovered. • Decisions: “Rich people are happy and don’t have to live with weird Grandma and stinky cats.
I’m fat. We have ideas about ourselves and the way the world should engage with us. poor and justified in lying) and become personal law through repetition as we seek to confirm them via environmental data.com Page 33 .Event: Dad didn’t show up to my basketball game. • Decision: “I am unworthy unless men pay attention to me. The combination of these decisions produces a personality that most people become attached to. unworthy of male affection. but did show up to my sister’s recital. we are not “us” in any real.” These decisions start as mere hypotheses (e. as evidenced by the often-violent reactions (emotional overwhelm) that occur when reality conflicts with this idea of self. aka confirmation bias. undesirable. or individual way—just pinballs.g. we are merely a comingled web of these decisions and genetic and social programming. as different people will perceive the same situation and have different emotional http://adulthood2. • Decision: “I am not sexually desirable. Reason-based Reality Emotions cannot be objective reality.” Event: Steve said sex with me was bad. unique. too often dismissing that data which does not confirm these hypotheses. In other words. however.
but merely witnesses it. A reasonable person does not draw definitive conclusions based upon factors that vary across person and time. such as the widespread cooing that occurs around babies. the reasonable person does not act upon it. expresses it with an “I” statement (“I feel x”) and roots out the unreasonable decision.responses. Let’s take the example of Chris losing to Pat in a footrace. expectation. • Chris’s emotions: sadness and shame http://adulthood2. I wouldn’t argue that all cars drive north after witnessing one-way traffic headed north. cooing is not universal. programming by which he/she was operating.com Page 34 . an indication that something is “wrong. Emotions are merely highly sophisticated warning lights on the dashboard of an individual’s life. standard. For instance. Though many reactions are common. • Chris’s data: Though shorter and younger. Pat runs faster than Chris. as evidenced by “grown ups” who are put off by babies.” or rather perceived to be wrong or out of sync with one’s ideas about oneself or the nature of reality. When experiencing an emotion. or none at all. assumption.
especially regarding running abilities compared to Pat. find another way to beat Pat • Chris’s reasonable response: Witness the emotions of shame and sadness. The choice is simply a matter of abandoning attachment to ignorance or holding onto it."— Ramana Maharshi http://adulthood2. get mad. make Pat slower. Chris identifies and commits to expunging the childish need to feel good compared to Pat or to feel superior at all. which in this case is the discrepancy between Chris’s belief that he is faster than Pat and the reality of Chris actually being slower than Pat.• Chris’s unreasonable responses/emotional overwhelm: Cry. Chris adjusts expectations and proclamations regarding running abilities. discredit the importance of running. This discovery prevents Chris from feeling good. The reasonable person chooses merely to conform his thinking and self-image to a more accurate expression of reality.com Page 35 . "Seek not to cover the world in leather—just wear shoes. as opposed to the unreasonable person who decides to hold onto his flawed thinking and get mad/even with the offending elements. discredit Pat. Seek their source.
In so doing. expectation. the moment. we accept the dogma as valid and position ourselves as the protagonist and someone/something else is the enemy. without attachment. and emerge a wiser person. laughter. ignore reason. love. They are moments of selflessness and unity. to identify with an emotion is to blindly obey untested personal dogma. accept the emotion and seek its source. learn the source of one’s ignorance. employ reason. The more one observes emotion and identifies its source. gratitude and excitement are perceived by the body/mind. Every emotion should be cherished as an opportunity to grow.com Page 36 . whereby one forgets one’s idea of self/ego. seeing it as it is. but they do not pose conflicts between the idea of self and reality. and instead is wholly in. cognition. or the constructs of time and self. We give others the keys to our happiness when we choose not to observe. As the venerated Indian sage. http://adulthood2. and unified with. The experiences of happiness. This results in us victimizing ourselves and performing the ultimate act of irrationality by giving to others (the antagonists in our fantasy) power over our happiness. the more one becomes an adult. joy. Positive Feeling What are widely considered to be positive emotions are not emotions at all. and tell a story.Thus. discovery. reject the pursuit of truth. ecstasy.
i. programming. he is always an agent of or an agent to http://adulthood2. queasiness. stated so succinctly." .com Page 37 . feelings to the contrary. or emotions. we should be willing to let them go when they are ready to leave. For example.Gary Cross The Physics of Emotion An important element of self-awareness is the ability to identify a given emotion’s physical expression. "The virtue of the adult is not that he has matured (meaning reached a plateau) but that he has become independent in a lifelong quest for growing and relating. chest tightness. wide eyes. for a thing cannot perceive itself (one can only refer to something he is not. It should be noted that it is equally perilous to attach oneself to these positive feelings and though through reason they come our way more often. quickening pulse. are dashboard lights signifying states marred by ignorance.” Think of positive feelings as dashboard lights alerting a person to the experience of unity/present moment awareness (generally after it has subsided). storytelling.e. or shakiness—all are symptoms that eventually go away and cannot be identified with as any permanent “I”. Our capacity to identify something logically means that we cannot be it. throbbing head.Nisargadatta Maharaj. “Love is the absence of distinction. and lack of reason and observation.
Gratitude and Radical Acceptance Once we are able to extricate ourselves from the drama of identifying with emotional states. How can my pain be me if I know it as something I experience temporarily? Thus. Thus. unity. This makes possible numerous desirable states such as gratitude. such as the nature of reality and perception and creative expression. This fluency in effect liberates us from indulgence in emotion and frees up time and energy to engage in more interesting pursuits and bigger questions. the ability to perceive an emotional state and its physical component is an opportunity to realize that one is not that state. “what it is”. we no longer need to tell stories to make ourselves the protagonist against unjust forces. but rather the one which experiences it. this is the inability to see any wrongness in one’s life or the world and have gratitude for all that exists. Writ large.com Page 38 .something). It does not mean we fail to see opportunities to make the world conform to various human http://adulthood2. it’s possible to see programming and ideas of self for what they are—temporal and therefore of no lasting importance – and reality for what it is. The physical component to the mental state provides us further guidance in identifying the emotion. etc.
Detachment Plato defined reason as the quality which liberates us from the tyranny of pleasure and pain. we have radical acceptance of and gratitude for ourselves. violence. our condition. like equality. and challenges. disease. but rather it means we wholly accept their counterparts (inequality. and peace. and aversion.com Page 39 . We see the complexity and inter-relatedness of all things. desires. physical health. etc. reason creates detachment (differing from the pejorative understanding of detachment suggesting reason produces the incapacity to act in a kind or considerate way). Without the perception of wrongness. When manifestly applied. our lovers. True detachment is a love of reality . and Buddha defined it as liberation from desire and aversion.the ability to see a situation for what it is and to have this sapience unmolested by our psychology. attributes. http://adulthood2. giving no cause to react to it.) as they are and without judgment. and the world.ideals. instincts. our family and friends. True detachment produces a resounding awareness of the impermanence of reality. their cycles and unique abilities. similar to the way a sailor retreats from exclamation at the sight of a wave. death. aesthetics.
and believe—what is known as integrity. reason. to have integrity and specificity of speech is to be ever aware of epistemology. http://adulthood2. without reason and detachment. Specificity of Speech As reason becomes more central to our being. In this instance the false self is in an individual possessed of senses and mind unrestrained by reason. or the intellect. The charioteer is reason. as described in the venerated Hindu scripture. riding shotgun. Katha Upanishad.Moreover. or how we know what we know. guiding the human experience. The chariot’s horses represent the senses that will. without guidance. In this regard. run around pursuing pasture and stream after pasture and stream without direction or consideration. the true Self would be thrown free from the chariot under the wild ramblings of the senses and mind. The true Self is the passenger/observer. who is able to observe and genuinely self-express. which commandeers the senses (horses) through the mind (reins) so as to keep the chariot on the course set forth by the charioteer. is a charioteer. and the true Self is the individual possessed of reason. The reins represent the cognitive capacities of the mind which can control the addiction to satisfying the senses. sense. it is expressed in degrees of certainty of what and how we think.com Page 40 .
com Page 41 . and efficient with their speech. and has internal consistency throughout. we can only be certain about what we do not know. I am certain I have no idea what it’s like to be a woman. cannot be defeated.If I make a statement that asserts that all swans are white. reason often produces an uncompromising search for fact and a desire to express whatever can be expressed. A reasonable argument is one that is stated accurately. as I represent one of three billion men. For example. With this in mind. by saying that all swans I’ve seen are white. or I believe most swans are white. But if I were to state that I am certain that I know what it’s like to be a man. In this regard. unambiguous. The fact that the current extent of human knowledge is the product of residing near and examining less than 1 percent of the universe would lead the reasonable http://adulthood2. I have committed an error. To prove a statement is untrue or unreasonable only requires a singular instance in which the argument does not hold. while paying careful attention to what is as yet unknowable and therefore inexpressible. However. if I am more specific with my words and decrease my certainty. and there is even one swan that is not white. I would have to add numerous qualifiers to convey that I know what it’s like for me to be a man. Adults strive for this consistency and are thus impeccable. I have not committed an error.
What fills this void is curiosity—a desire to understand this chatter and to know how programming and the physical world relate to both the chatter and our existence. In childhood. or relationship. outlined a spectrum that encapsulates the different types of curiosity. Richard Rose. and self-reflection. we merely follow our biological impulses. only his or her experience. as a child is not concerned with reality. Existential Curiosity The liberation from the slavery of programming reveals the contents of what we call our personality—a mess of random. In adolescence. Curiosity is often expressed as childlike wonderment and a pursuit of truth. or the pleasure principle. During adolescence. The reasonable person is ever aware that what we do not know vastly exceeds what we know by numerous orders of magnitude. childhood is the ultimate in ignorance and boorishness. that one can have to truth. we decide how to conform to or act within cultural norms in order http://adulthood2.com Page 42 . ignorant mental chatter. critical thinking. In this regard. certain cognitive capacities mature and allow us to utilize greater portions of the neocortex.man to offer a severe measure of caution with any assertion. a twentieth-century American spiritual teacher. resulting in the first semblances of reason.
Adulthood allows us to harness cycles of brainpower that would be otherwise consumed by biological pleasure and social approval. and eventually surpasses reason. Full development of reasoning capacity. and use it towards the exploration of the nature of reality and creative expression. Rose’s model of knowledge/curiosity/attention is a linear lockstep progression that precedes. especially self-knowledge. sex. In adolescence. • Seeker. delay of gratification in return for greater bodily rewards in the future. resulting in intuition. • Adulthood. but only as applied towards the maximization of pleasure and minimization of pain. e.g. Development of cognitive capacities towards the pursuit of more pleasure. encompasses. biological needs of the body).com Page 43 . money. friendship. and acceptance). for its own sake. for pleasure. academic pursuits to acquire knowledge. a modicum of curiosity is developed.to get what we want (recognition. Ignorance (focus on pleasure principle. frustration with reason and all cognitive/academic/knowledge/scientific/material http://adulthood2. Yearning for truth. • Childhood/Adolescence.
communion with God. To get to oneness.com Page 44 . “Diamond Sutra” http://adulthood2. then use reason upon all reasons and the reasoner to eradicate the addiction to thinking/mind. the act of perceiving. Heaven. Truth Realization. one must first use reason upon emotions and programming. • “The perceiver.” —Pantanjali. etc. in their universal failure to produce Absolute truth. including reason. are inferior to the ultimate state of oneness. Satori. • Nirvana (embodiment of Absolute Truth and God Consciousness) The completion of the human experience. Enlightenment.pursuits. • Represents the leap from focus on adulthood to a spiritual path. Moksha. Nirvana. • Plotinus argued that all forms of thinking. • A move towards the desire for spiritual and mystical union. Liberation. liberation from all striving. Samadhi. and the object perceived are seen as one. from mind to spirit.
detachment. to communicate is to reason and to communicate well is to reason well. Employing http://adulthood2. varied and highly reliant upon past experiences. the only piece that can be called common is the logic and reason by which words are chosen. career. Communication Communication amongst humans literally means that all parties communicating embrace a shared meaning. memory and emotion. That is. gratitude. Given that language is itself transitory. joy. In this section. Career When one radically employs reason. and dominance. Professional relationships flourish under the influence of reason as practitioners of reason become decoupled from their unconscious egoic drivers—fear. and enlightenment. the resulting/component qualities (self-awareness. not the least of which is adulthood.Part Four: The Fruits of Reason The material fruits of reason are many.com Page 45 . sex. shared and considered. specificity of speech and existential curiosity) grease all interpersonal wheels. we will explore five areas of human endeavor: communication. romantic relationships. Embracing meaning is contingent on parties utilizing a shared language.
The self-awareness that reason produces allows one to be a leader. As an adult in a relationship. allowing one to ask deeper questions and see new patterns. one becomes self-aware in the illumination of genetic and social programming and psychological trauma. Self-awareness produced pursuits imbued with flow. a person can observe him or herself in states of emotional overwhelm (the total identification with an emotional http://adulthood2. reason is a boon to creativity. to live in tranquility. cultivating reason calls into question the type of work one pursues. reason has a high return on investment (ROI). energized focus. possibilities.com Page 46 . Romantic Relationships Any partnership benefits when one or both partners decide to take seriously their evolution into adulthood. author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. as leadership.reason. what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. describes as a feeling of timelessness. such that others are drawn to that adult in times of crisis. collegial rapport. curiosity and commitment (as opposed to attachment). and combinations. In this regard. As mentioned. creativity and purpose are highly valued qualities in the marketplace. purpose/identity. making self-awareness and integrity (consistency of thoughts. full involvement and success. actions and words with self) a priority. But most importantly.
As such. By using reason to shed light on the depth of the psyche. and generally derives greater satisfaction from life due to an ability to accept and appreciate not only the partner. The reasoning person brings his thinking in line with reality. yielding liberation from false ideas of self and http://adulthood2. not need. Doing so prevents us from using our lovers like an emotional pharmacy or punching bag. but all of life.g. It should also be noted that adults become less attracted to those who do not wish or are unable to employ reason. inarticulate emotional overwhelm “You son of a …”). vs. An adult can be a giver and a rock for his/her partner in times of real or imagined crisis.com Page 47 . Joy Unhappiness is the result of unmet expectations—the unnecessary holding onto a broken mental model (an explanation/prejudice/story/assumption one has to describe reality). “I feel sad”. not the unconscious clinging and manipulation that results from one’s unexamined faults. in that the crux of the bond is an appreciation of the partner’s qualities. an adult engages his/her partner out of want. adults can avoid emotional overwhelm and are free to experience joy more frequently. These adults are generally a pleasure to be around and better partners.state) and speaking in an emotionally articulate manner (e.
and ignorance continue to pollute and corrupt the seeker. reason. no amount of praying or religious ceremony will yield Heaven/Nirvana/Enlightenment/Samadhi/Satori/Moksha if unreconciled psychological trauma. in that reason destroys ignorance.com Page 48 . and storytelling). unison between the perceiver. and present moment awareness. he gains enhanced psychic bandwidth to experience joy. false ideas of self. programming. upward and final transformation of being. Enlightenment Adulthood is a precursor to the Seeker stage. bandwidth which was previously consumed by ignorance and its expressions—anger. The Seeker pursues enlightenment (communion with something that can be considered greater than the physical reality we perceive with our senses. That is. Spirituality. cosmic consciousness) upon a bedrock of reason. so too should be reason and its fruits. One cannot make spiritual progress without first taking out the trash (addiction to emotional overwhelm. reason must precede it. If success within any of these realms (or the virtues in Appendix A) are of interest to you.expectations of others and the world. requires self-awareness and its cause. by definition. spontaneity. sadness. If joy is a goal. guilt. and shame. http://adulthood2. the perceived and the act of perceiving. In doing so. universal awareness.
skip ahead to Part Six. ready to be stretched. so if your main concern is adulthood and not what lies beyond it. More needs to be mentioned on the second stage of Richard Rose’s truth hierarchy. continue on and feel free to click on the links to take a deeper dive.com . frustrated and confused. when reason begins to transform us into adults and illuminates our questions of certainty or epistemology. we become engaged in the examination of all things previously regarded as true or self-evident. "The man of science is a poor philosopher. so as not to speak or embody falsehood. However. they are unfulfilled—thus casting doubt upon the existence of the physical material world and any knowledge pertaining to it. a reasoning person would do well to apprise him/herself of these five conditions. In nearly all cases. if you’re ready for a challenge. As such.Part Five: Beyond Reason [WARNING: This section will take you through some philosophically choppy waters.] As reason takes hold. They are: • Existence Page 49 http://adulthood2. 5 conditions must first be met." Albert Einstein In order to assert something as absolutely true.
A videogame character may engage in activity. in order to make the assertion that a chair is blue. humans are plagued by the errors of their perception and are therefore incapable of absolute objectivity. and a person listening to the assertion. but can it be said to exist? The existence of the videogame character is technically finished as soon as the cancel button is pushed or the cord ripped free from the socket. http://adulthood2. there must be a chair. my own existence would be synonymous with the existence of a videogame character. Specifically. That is. must agree that something exists. something else must exist to know my existence. To establish existence. I cannot say I exist. there must be a second party agreeing to the claim. which is objective and infallible (non-human). For example.• • • • Infallibility of perception Infallibility of language Infallibility of metrics Absolute knowledge Existence A person must exist to say something true. Another entity. a person making the assertion. have perception and utilize knowledge. because in order for me to exist.com Page 50 . Without this second party paying witness.
humans are neither and thus our existence is a unconfirmed. predictive. creative. By definition. which it most clearly is not. calculated guess. such as a digital video recorder (presumably not constructed by a flawed human. but by some sort of infallible entity). career and selfaggrandizement seem quite trivial. So we need a nonhuman entity (devoid of the flaws of perception). matters relating to emotional overwhelm. As soon as one begins to question his existence. personal relationships. as the unreasoning human believes the perception of existence to be sufficient evidence for existence.e.i. to send this information and another nonhuman entity to receive and confirm it. saying anything which is absolutely true. A result of the programming and emotionality of the common human experience is the misapprehension of existence. Perception Let us say that we could get God or a Flying Spaghetti Monster or an otherwise objective (possessed of infallible perception) entity http://adulthood2. and limbic (assigning greater weight to objects and situations with fear/sex potentialities) mental capacities and therefore we humans cannot be relied upon to confirm existence of other people or ourselves.com Page 51 . Our senses are filtered and comingled by our memory.
to confirm our existence and relay to us this existence in a manner that circumvents our fallible perception. Even if we were to objectively know we exist. or sensory descriptions. and perception do not yield an objective reality. repetition. only one that is mutually agreed upon. I could see a chair that I call “blue.” but never know that what I see when I see “blue” is the same thing that you see when you see “blue. which on the surface seems to perceive things ubiquitously. Conditioning. only in a referentially consistent manner. This effect is the result of repetition and rote learning during early childhood development. words. Per Wittgenstein. but in reality. We are all corrected when we draw outside the lines or use the wrong colors. our ability to make true statements is still bound by the fallibility of our perception. The restrictions of language are such: we have a limited number of words to describe an infinite number of occurrences and http://adulthood2.” Each of us has a unique and complex recording and deciphering device (brain/mind/personality) which largely lines up with that of others with regard to the objects and attributes of the physical world. Language Let us say that there were such a way for us to could establish our existence and our perception as indisputable. The result is a homogenized vocabulary used by a populace.com Page 52 .
Our metrics for describing things in relation to one another (time. This phenomenon is exacerbated when describing more subtle things like human relations or abstract concepts – the more abstract. origins. as well as by my flawed memory and emotional reactions to chairs—and the same goes for you. we can only approach rough approximations of meaning. etc. in order to say something true. space. These vastly different experiences of the word “chair” will influence how the word “chair” is used and understood. but never complete communication. the greater the confusion.com Page 53 . perceive infallibly. we cannot communicate as a species with total certainty. and draw upon the same words and meanings. such as if we were all plugged into Wikipedia as our sole source of language and meaning. and matter) would need to be immutable—but they are not. uses. Metrics Let us say that we exist.situations. whereas I could be an obese person who has destroyed many chairs and experience fear when I see the same Danish-designed chairs. number. Space-time warps http://adulthood2. I will never know exactly what you mean by “chair” because my meaning is influenced by my experiences of chairs (types. If this were so. Thus. You could be a chair-maker and tingle with ecstasy every time you see Danish-designed chairs.) in the past. we would need infallible metrics to describe our assertions.
have failed as the discovery of each new and tinier particle never quite yields a working equation to justify the existence of something solid. e.fairly predictably. Our attempts to identify single indivisible units of matter. M-Theory. All we claim is that we believe there is a physical center to things. black holes. space-time is not absolutely reliable or predictable. dark matter. and weak nuclear) influence it. We don’t know where electrons go http://adulthood2. and that per our theory and experiments. gravity. but not wholly knowable per Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle (we can know the position or the speed of something. as it can only give rough approximations. a variety of forces (electromagnetic. Matter suffers the same flaw. time is not immutable. quark.g. As Einstein proved. matter is at best predictable. There is confusion around numerous concepts and theories in physics. As such. but never both). However. and useful for the relative pursuits within physical science (also based upon probability and degrees of certainty. the Big Bang. such as an atom. strong nuclear. and dark energy. not total certainty) and dayto-day activities on this planet. but rather slows down depending on the motion of the perceiving utilities. and yet not fully predictably. Time and space are relatively predictable. or string.com Page 54 . and thus is useless in the pursuit of truth. given that we are all moving. our experience of time is also variable. the physical center.
We are still confined to the realm of the relative (e. seemingly ubiquitous. our language is concrete and universal.g. relative to not-the-table and not-black). Without footing on the shore (knowledge of the exact whereabouts of absolute truth. adrift in a familiar.com Page 55 . We can only observe and measure them the instant we watch them. they act as both particle and wave (energy). and our metrics equally so. our metrics (space-time and matter) for describing our observations or knowledge are themselves unknowable. Thus. the table is black. and destruction of matter and energy. we are to each other but two ships passing in the night. creation. Absolute Knowledge Now let’s say we exist. All of our knowledge http://adulthood2. we have to prove that our observation is in relation to something immutable. To make claims intended to be universally true or absolute. our perception is infallible. or God). but never absolutely true. but ultimately unknowable medium we call reality/perception/life.when we are not watching them. such as the center of the universe or God’s will or the ultimate state of humanity. giving rise to a whole host of questions regarding the transmutability. Moreover. center of the universe. Human beings have no communicable knowledge thereof and thus we can only make assertions that are relatively more or less true than something else.
It can approach truth. relative. The most common sources of external authority are parents/family and social institutions (law. it is clear that science and indeed all of human knowledge is asymptotic. what do we do? It is tempting to regress from this point and shy from further exploration by either rationalizing our whims and demonstrating the inferiority of other whims utilizing an arbitrary standard. psychologists/Western medicine. academia. With the aforementioned conditions of certainty unsolved. regardless of rhetoric marked by volume or repetition. In an absence of certainty. but it can never deliver it.com Page 56 . free market fundamentalism and institutional religion). as language can never create or express absolute truth. the only utility of language is the spiritual task of destroying falsity. An adult roots out and expels unfounded dogma. and therefore meaningless where truth is concerned.about the human experience is without absolute footing and is thus un-anchored. or prematurely abandon reason in order to lean on another authority. Spiritual Vector Without being able to say or know anything as absolutely true. constantly seeks greater http://adulthood2.
” —Sri Aurobindo.understanding. Adults can still assert qualified (with degrees of certainty) hypotheses. "when a man is capable of being in uncertainties. "the spirit of disponibilite [availability]. provided I exist and our perception. adults are unattached and are willing to let go of and reformulate hypotheses upon the discovery of new data or flaws in logic. “One does not care if one fails or succeeds or if one is righteous or unrighteous. and metrics are infallible. Keats defined this phenomenon as negative capability. language. doubts. “On Yoga” This is not to say that in absence of absolute truth an adult does nothing. only go forth the best way he knows. mysteries. or meets the expectation of petty mental standards of others.” and live life accordingly until a clearer understanding or more reasonable course of action presents itself. he obeys an inner voice and is moved by an unseen power. before http://adulthood2. He is not governed by the judgments of men or the laws laid down by the ignorant. However. without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.com Page 57 ." Heidegger defined this state as gelassenheit. such as “gravity will continue to hold me to the earth. An adult will never fully believe what he says is true. acts in accordance with the greatest possible understanding of a situation.
" Most recently. David Eagleman. what one does not know and what cannot be known on the physical/cognitive plane.What-is which permits us simply to let things be in whatever may be their uncertainty and their mystery. articulated this as Possibilianism. one that paradoxically springs from an abandonment of illusions. Certainty is a mental possession that adults decontrol in order to embrace the ambiguity that more accurately describes our experience of reality. The comedic attitude offers a kind of resignation. Columnist Gary Kamiya calls it a "spirit of regeneration. we can only accept our experience and play a role in this game/play/dream called life. It's an invincible self-fulfilling belief. a calm surrender to the inevitable. informing us that life is at best a dream. neuroscientist. and we are children to the extent we believe otherwise. We are adults to the extent that reason removes certainty.com Page 58 . It is an intimate awareness of what one knows. Without certainty. a rejection of all theory as absolute and a wide embrace of each theory as having only particular explanatory significance. And it's regenerative because it doesn't see change as the enemy. one http://adulthood2. That is. resulting in a near complete openmindedness. an adult refuses to take himself or anything else seriously.
It is perfectly fine to have a vision and be committed to seeing it realized. “The study of faith is the end of faith. Action is only noble in so far as the reasonable man respects the autonomy of all other men and the uncertainty of his thinking. and certainty reveals their utter scarcity and groundlessness in reason. and always be on hand to enjoy a good chuckle at our own expense when we mistakenly feign certainty.that bubbles up from somewhere unseen. exploring belief. Krishnamurti echoes these sentiments. faith. I believe this approach is one of the few pieces practical http://adulthood2. to hold multiple explanations concurrently. an adult is able to entertain ambiguity. never rely upon the rationale or dogma of others. but trouble rises when we forget the lack of certainty that our reason delivers and we transform from a committed actor into an attached slave.com Page 59 . In holding certainty under the light of reason. Further.” that is. As such." Now is probably a good time to revisit the tabled questions: Does this book exist? Are the grounds upon which it rests valid? Was I successful in asserting this new view of adulthood? Can you be sure you are actually reading it? Philosopher and mystic J. we discover there is absolutely no reason to bend other people to our will in the employment of our ideas.
can be maddening and often yields a desire for a greater.com Page 60 . and mystics across time and geography. Even democracy. When reason has produced its final result. and just worship God? Although reason and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. right faith—full and complete devotion to http://adulthood2.philosophy that will not produce philotyranny . compassion (white man's burden) and free markets have subjugated nations in the name of their own alleged supremacy. but in the possibility created by the efforts of God-realized individuals. absence of certainty. If the final result of reason is the absence of certainty. This vector does not rest upon any proof of God. poets. a potentiality for which there is ample historical account.a one-dimensional political philosophy that produces oppression in the course of its manifestation. as provided by Michael Murphy's "Future of the Body" and William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience". philosophers. The absence of certainty. and the absence of certainty often creates a spiritual vector. a reality searched for by saints. then why not just avoid all the hard work of reasoning and becoming an adult. more sustained reality. material pursuits are abandoned in an attempt to create of a spiritual vector of will towards a sustained reality. as it is by nature personal. especially of one’s existence.
they will not possess the critical thinking required to unshackle the mind. as ignorance obscures one from any transcendental reality. Further. The problem with institutional religion is that most people come to religion because of custom.Radhakrishnan http://adulthood2. philosophy establishes it in argument. Without it. one must come to God with the firsthand knowledge that all other pursuits are futile. if a person is engulfed by unexamined superstition and subconscious programming. further open the heart and ready the soul for union. “There is great insistence on the need for logical inquiry.a supreme reality—can only be a course of last resort. While the scriptures declare truth by enunciation. That is. logical reason may become mere speculation. a poorly cultivated intellect and/or unexamined psyche.com Page 61 . Without the material supplied by faith. fear.” . one must first fight his/her way through cognitive fires of the Enlightenment in order to earnestly pursue spirituality for him/herself. faith will degenerate into credulity.
lethargic. There are five forces/paradigms that hinder our ability to observe and reason.Part Six: Impediments to and Tools for Adulthood Now that we have defined adulthood and its prime mover. They keep most people stuck amongst the quiet. and that only our ignorance obscured it. They are: • • • • • Media Chemical dependency Emotional dependency Frenzy Social contract Page 62 http://adulthood2. reason. and desperate masses. and in this regard adulthood is a process. The treatment is the diagnosis. how do we begin to play a more active role in our evolution towards adulthood? One need only become conscious of the ways in which he is acting unreasonably / emotionally / reactively to discover that adulthood is all that is left.com . Barriers Becoming an adult is much easier said than done and we must remove the barriers to adulthood.
e. reality.g.g. TV specifically delivers more information to you than your neocortex is able to categorize. and adrenaline/cortisol from emotional overwhelm. marijuana. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television). certainty. TV. the thoughts that can liberate us from adolescence.Media Remove sources of mindless distraction delivered by the web. methamphetamines. Ingestion over time creates addiction and health issues. dopamine and oxytocin from sex. The remaining frames do not simply hit our forehead and fall to the floor. and newspapers that generate contrived drama through scripted. e. questions of existence. Chemical Dependency Chemicals can be ingested. Emotional Dependency http://adulthood2. Chemicals also provide escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. alcohol. and sports programming. Further mindless media provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts.g. e. nicotine. whereas TV delivers 30 (ref. radio. sex and dominance. and internally created. They attach themselves to exist subconscious drivers for fear. caffeine.com Page 63 . The human brain can only process 12-15 frames per second. however.
addiction to ideas of self. http://adulthood2. Minding the opinions of others prevents one from taking responsibility for one’s decisions and psychological states and provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. Frenzy also provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. witness it. adulthood is benefitted by slowing down.Many of us feed the psychological emotional response mechanism set in place by programming. Social contract Ritualized and codified dependency upon the approval of others renders independent thought useless and counterproductive. coworkers and peers and abstaining from mainstream media. Emotions only last a few minutes unless they are actively fed by subject. When an emotion arises.com Page 64 . staying chemically and emotionally sober. In summation. and overwork. seek its source. adjust your understanding and move on. over-scheduling. ignoring the opinions of family. Emotional indulgence also provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. and contemplation become impossible. such that downtime. in which case they can last days. express it. dangerous questions. Frenzy Frenzy is mindless multitasking.
Tools Seekers of adulthood should actively seek experiences that will force the illumination of programming.com Page 65 . ManKind Project/Woman Within and Non-Violent Communication. such as: Retreats Retreats such as Landmark Forum. NVC is a communication framework for building emotional fluency and capacity. Landmark Forum delivers a set of exercises designed to reveal the genesis of personality and empowers us to create fulfilling. fun. do not follow their prescriptions as they have no proven prescriptive mastery. connected and empowered to create solutions. it leverages Gestalt psychotherapy. heard. while redefining manhood. Like every self-awareness tool. but never blindly obey. judgments. it separates data. such that two people can feel respected. Psychotherapy Though the frameworks psychologists and therapists employ are valuable for the exposition of programming. voice dialogue method and somatic psychology. listen. Psychologists are best compared to http://adulthood2. needs and requests. NVC. emotions. flow-filled possibilities for our lives. ManKind Project is a men’s organization that enhanced emotional capacity and integrity. nor a rich lineage to point to. Zen.
the latter being more likely. Best results occur after sustained practice. 20 mins a day for 30 days. read it and repeat the writing process. and spiritual risks involved. I have been advised by spiritual and legal counsel not to recommend these as there are legal. but never their treatments. Autolysis Autolysis: write down everything you know to be absolutely true.veterinarians. e. especially Insight/Vipassana. It is no coincidence that the real Protestant reformation (whereby large numbers of people claimed their individual spiritual paths) http://adulthood2.com Page 66 .g. Repeat until you have an immutable and defensible treatise or a blank page. Meditation Meditation practices. as they temporarily alter perception and demonstrate its utter fallibility. They have no exact knowledge of the absolute. many find hallucinogens to be fun and rewarding. omitting anything that is not true from the previous version. seeking only to heal the animal so that it can be better for burden or slaughter. On the next day. Hallucinogens Hallucinogens like LSD and mushrooms. psychological. Despite these risks. so use their analyses to discover your programming.
began at the same time that hallucinogenic drugs became widely available (after 1970). http://adulthood2.com Page 67 .
while not the only characteristic of adulthood. culturally agnostic and universal conception. through the manifest application of reason. Through reason. Reason restores instinct and emotion to their proper place and creates room for more interesting outcomes.Conclusion Reason. we become virtuous and are awarded its benefits. Happy reasoning. which allow us a fuller and greater experience of life. and offer a brighter. conflicted and conformist images of the “grown ups” we remember from our youth. particularly in our careers. we become adults. yielding substantial benefits. is its prime mover.com Page 68 . are not only possible. service or a spiritual path. but now necessary. the pursuits beyond the materially and commonly perceived. Our new definition of adulthood now invalidates the dull. relationships. http://adulthood2. more internally consistent. expression of joy. we complete the Enlightenment. and stand as adults upon the precipice of ever widening possibility. such as creative expression. mundane. spirituality and for future generations. By embracing reason thoroughly. Moreover.
so if you are younger than 18 or are not a strong reader. this may not be for you.Notes & Disclaimers On Reading The activity of reading often is taken for granted. there are many ways to chomp words and exactly how we read deserves review. questioning the author’s goals and efficacy. introduction. Moreover.” states that there are four levels of reading that build upon each other – a brief summary: • • Elementary: comprehension of words and sentences Inspectional: spending twenty minutes reading the front and back covers of a book. making notes in the margins.com Page 69 . table of contents. This book is written for a person with a 12th-grade reading comprehension. rephrasing these arguments in your own words. to generate an initiate understanding of the book’s appeal and utility to you • Analytical: reading the book cover to cover. Mortimer Adler’s. underlining main arguments and evidence. “How to Read a Book. looking for the author’s arguments in each paragraph. asking http://adulthood2. skimming and sporadic deep-diving. author’s biography.
please consider a synoptic exploration of your questions. I will assume that you are at least an elementary reader at the 12th grade or higher. that you read this work inspectionally. I will ask. equality and individuality. a key tenet of scholarship For this book. then analytically and make lots of notes. however. For Scholars This effort is little more than a reprise of certain principles of Hindu and Greek philosophy and Western psychology as applied to the rarely examined question.0 is an argument for the examined life combined with a bit of marketing to tie this argument to the Enlightenment and its Western mythos of reason. For Black Sheep Believing oneself to be outside society or the mainstream does not make one an adult.com Page 70 .yourself questions in the margins. “What is an adult?” I believe Adulthood 2. and formulating a basis for your own opinion • Synoptic: exploring a subject or question by drawing on numerous works to organize and perform your exploration. If this book raises burning questions for you. It often indicates an adherence to an http://adulthood2.
On Gender I have experienced life through the mind. (ref. and biological sources suggest that the genders cannot be illumined with the same lamp. True mavericks are generally unidentifiable by simple lifestyle choices.equally dogmatic lifestyle/clique. I cannot offer gender-neutral testimony on adulthood. spiritual. and Socrates were indistinguishable from their contemporaries. or anything else for that matter. Jed McKenna. those with commonly considered “alternative lifestyles. Newton. James Cote calls "default individualization". reason. and spirit of a male human. much of the research herein is gender neutral. as they are bio-chemically and socially quite different. If the masses are blindly and obediently living on Main Street. The clothes. Numerous social. Kant.” are similarly blindly and obediently living about a half a block away.what sociologist. Buddha.com Page 71 . hormones. However. of Jesus. as my exposure to the female psyche is only secondhand. even in isolation. Da Vinci. Emerson. not true developmental individualization. for instance. http://adulthood2. ‘Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment’). body. lying somewhat outside the norm. but equally trapped by programming and the refusal to turn our inquiry inward .
and addictions. senses. I am no master. On the second day. I am like an addict in a 28-day rehabilitation program.On Integrity My personal journey toward adulthood is ongoing and not complete. take this for what it is—the self-constructed lesson plan of an amateur (a devotee and lover of a pursuit) and not the reflections of a sage. So please. or yogi. On the first day I overcame my denial and realized I have an adulthood problem.com Page 72 . I am firmly embroiled in witnessing my emotions. http://adulthood2. I created the path. Now I am somewhere between the 3rd and 28th day. adult. and though I am making progress and find this framework useful.
and when he has decided. and whatever is true is reasonable. firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision. reasoning and judgment to foresee. thought is a superior faculty.” —Michel de Montaigne Detachment and Self-awareness • • • • • “Educate your children to self-control.” —Georg W. employs all his faculties.” —Cicero “The good devout man first makes inner preparation for the actions he has later to perform. rather it is he who bends them into the shape of reason and right judgment.” —Sho-gun Yoritomo Tashi Page 73 http://adulthood2. to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will. or his own portion of it. Who has a stiffer battle to fight than the man who is striving to conquer himself?” —Thomas Kempis “He who lets the world. has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. Hegel “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.” —Thomas Jefferson Acceptance • “Each man calls barbarism what is not his own practice for indeed it seems we have no other test of truth and reason that the example and pattern of the opinions and customs of the country we live in. His outward actions do not draw him into lust and vice. which aids the soul to free itself from the bondage of vulgar and limited impressions. and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society. He must use observation to see.com . He who chooses his plan for himself. discrimination to decide.Appendix A: Reason and Virtue Truth • • “Whatever is reasonable is true. choose his plan of life for him.” —John Stuart Mill “But with creatures who have intelligence.” —Benjamin Franklin “Reason should direct and appetite obey. activity to gather materials for decision.
in short. Howe “Never reason from what you do not know. one of which. . but seldom with a good one. If you do.” —Isaac Watts “A reasonable probability is the only certainty.” — Vauvenargues “Reason and emotion are not antagonists. that is sin to you.” —Robert Southey “Anger is never without reason.” —James Ramsey Page 74 http://adulthood2. whatever weakens your reason. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason. There are a hundred things wherein we mortals. automatic and unconscious. is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?” —Jane Austen “Do not expect to arrive at certainty in every subject which you pursue.com .” —Publilius Syrus Certainty • • • • • “There are few things reason can discover with so much certainty and ease as its own insufficiency. take this rule. whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind. their lives are by necessity diminished. shows that his reason is weak. you will soon believe what is utterly against reason. obscures your sense of God.W.• • • • • • • • “Would you who judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure.” —Benjamin Franklin “Repression is not the way to virtue. however innocent it may be in itself. When people restrain themselves out of fear. .” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi “He who establishes his argument by noise and command. What seems like a struggle is a struggle between two opposing ideas or values.” Nathaniel Branden “An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason. where our best light and reasoning will reach no farther. impairs the tenderness of your conscience.” —E.” Cicero “Emotions have taught mankind to reason.” —Michel de Montaigne “He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason. must be content with probability. manifests itself in the form of a feeling. or takes off the relish of spiritual things.” —Jeremy Collier “Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right.
It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Without it. of the marvelous structure of reality. faith will degenerate into credulity.Intuition • “Intuition isn't the enemy. logical reason may become mere speculation.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge “Good humor is a paradox.” —John Kord Lagemann Creativity • • “Talent. N.” —Albert Einstein Page 75 http://adulthood2. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. if you have to.” —Sophocles “There is great insistence on the need for logical inquiry.” —Pythagoras “Reason is God's crowning gift to man. of reason. rarely or never. but the firm resolve of virtue and reason. is often inherited.” Radhakrishnan Leadership • • “Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others. of life. You will meet it. being the action of reason or imagination. lying in the understanding. While the scriptures declare truth by enunciation. but the ally. philosophy establishes it in argument. The unexpected juxtaposition of the reasonable next to the unreasonable. to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.” —Woodrow Wilson “True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes.com . —Marcus Aurelius Antoninus “Reason is immortal. all else mortal.” —A. Never lose a holy curiosity.” —Seneca “Never let the future disturb you. Whitehead Curiosity • “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Melvin Helitzer Spirituality • • • • • “What does reason demand of a man? A very easy thing-to live in accord with his nature. with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present. Without the material supplied by faith. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity. genius.
if there be one.com Page 76 . and call on her tribunal for every fact.” —Virginia Woolf Humility • “Vanity is the quicksand of reason. Huxley “Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man.” —Thomas Jefferson Peace http://adulthood2.” — Sydney Smith “He who will not reason is a bigot.” —George Sand Wisdom • • • • • • • • “The wise are instructed by reason.” —John Milton Democracy • “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. under which weak minds are servilely crouched. and brutes by instinct. Fix reason firmly in her seat.” —Thomas H. ordinary minds by experience. but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself. Whipple “Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors. Question with boldness even the existence of a God.” — Thomas Jefferson “An epigram often flashes light into regions where reason shines but dimly. by necessity.” —Edwin P. every opinion.” — Thomas Paine “He who kills a man kills a reasonable creature. and he who dares not is a slave. and cannot be reasoned out. It was not reasoned into him. he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. the stupid. because.Autonomy • “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.” —Sir William Drummond “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. he who cannot is a fool.” —Cicero “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices.
” —Norman Mailer http://adulthood2.• “Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war.com Page 77 .
com/gt04-20).Fahrenheit 451 George Orwell’s 1984. Charmides and Apology) Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book Books that explore existence & consciousness: • • • • Srikumar Rao’s Are You Ready to Succeed (valuable only if you do the exercises. Animal Farm Page 78 http://adulthood2.) Radhakrishna’s The Upanishads Stephen Mitchell’s Tao Te Ching Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now Expositions on the varieties of human experience • • • William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience Michael Murphy’s Future of the Body Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi Books that demonstrate society’s lack of reason: • • • • • • • Masanobu Fukuoka’s One-Straw Revolution Essays of Montaigne Essays of Thoreau Jerry Mander’s 4 Arguments for the Elimination of Television Paul Hawken’s Ecology of Commerce Ray Bradbury’s . provided you have a group and do the exercises together.” “Mental Chatter.Appendix B: Suggested Media These books strongly relate to the task at hand.” “Good Thing.amazon.” and “Alternate Reality. especially “Appreciation and Gratitude. Books that hone reason: • • • Plato’s Dialogues (especially Laws. Bad Thing.” A very good book to begin with. Find this exact selection on Amazon (http://astore.com .
inspiring and mystical journeys.com . Illusions Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist. Ken Wilber and Cornel West) Waking Life Altered States What the Bleep Way of the Peaceful Warrior Groundhog Day The Razor’s Edge Power of Myth Page 79 http://adulthood2. Spiritual Warfare Richard Rose’s Psychology of the Observer.• Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis Enlightenment Manuals (for those interested in going beyond adulthood) • • • • • Jed McKenna’s Spiritual Enlightenment. Summerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge Films that ask questions regarding existence and consciousness: • • • • • • • • Matrix Trilogy (the box set with the commentary by contemporary philosophers. Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment. both fictional and autobiographical) • • • • • • • • • • • • Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle John Healey’s Awakening of a Foot Soldier Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha David Gold’s After the Absolute Carlos Valles’s Mastering Sadhana: On Retreat with Anthony DeMello Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning Michael Murphy’s Golf in the Kingdom Paul Brunton’s Search in Secret India W. The Witch of Portobello Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. Albigen Papers Herman Melville’s Moby Dick Nisargadatta Maharaj’s I Am That The Upanishads Transcendental Narratives (fun.
Films that expose society’s lack of reason: • • • • • • • • • • Fight Club Bowling for Columbine The Corporation Rodger Dodger Zeitgeist Baraka Network My Dinner with Andre Idiocracy Stupidity http://adulthood2.com Page 80 .