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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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evidenced by the Third Reich. 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. intellectual. and the degradation of social.org. Mark Lilla noted that in the 20th Century "reason collapsed well before irrational passions had migrated from religion to politics. marrying.www.rprogress. military/ideological imperialism. 2006) to see the horrors that educated.abstain from alcohol until 21. McCarthyism. employed and married land owners commit. establishing financial independence. ill-conceived wars.com Page 21 ." Coupled with the evolving hedonic cultural norms introduced by the Baby Boomers. As author and Columbia University Professor. drink until 21 and yet allowing them to give birth as soon as they are biologically mature (in some cases 11 years of age). it is easy to see that our institutions and behaviors are a very poor measuring stick of adulthood. http://adulthood2. 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 . and procreating. but is society’s whim justification for adherence to those benchmarks? We only need look to the dim-witted exuberance of the last century.
what is needed is a common definition of adulthood.If there are many definitions of adulthood. one that cuts across cultures and wisdom traditions and is therefore independent of them.com Page 22 . Where is this culturally agnostic marker of human development? http://adulthood2. then there cannot be a common shared understanding that applies to all humans. In our modern globalized world.
tangible and culturally agnostic way out of this mess. and society as absolute sources of authority regarding adulthood. we have markedly refined and specialized fields of knowledge and catalogued an ever expanding assortment of supernormal human feats. religion. As such reason and adulthood are handsome bedfellows.Part Two: Adulthood 2. Compared to the Dark Ages. During which time.0 While we can categorically reject law. However. Wikipedia!). biology. One could concoct any number of physical. one that simultaneously unifies http://adulthood2. as together they represent the most effective. I contend that reason is the most psychologically appropriate correlate to the age in which we find ourselves.com Page 23 . we cannot say that reason is our only alternative. mental and emotional tests and call it the “adult marker”. and yet much of the planet is mired in ignorance and blind faith. 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. 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. we are like a super stretched rubber band.
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. creativity. or at the very least enables higher-level human functioning and enjoyment of life.com Page 24 . Given that reason and adulthood are terms commonly used in a variety of ways. as set forth by numerous great minds. spirituality. for a selection of human pursuits and values (e. wisdom.man across time and space and inspires him to reach his full potential. truth.g. leadership. autonomy. acceptance. peace) that profit by reason. curiosity. specifically by extending the realm of his inquiry into the subjective realm of his own psychology. As you read. ‘Adulthood 2. Please have a look at Appendix A: Reason and Virtue. Def. self-awareness. detachment.0’ The process/stage by which a human being manifestly exhibits and practices reason. I offer a replacement definition for adulthood and a more succinct definition of “reason” to expedite and clarify the remainder of this effort. By doing so the following applications/components/results can be found: http://adulthood2. intuition. humility. ask yourself if reason empowers adulthood. democracy.
Detachment—freedom from desire and aversion 4. and action (body).com Page 25 .1. Specificity of speech—thinking deeply before speaking Def. as measured by a genuine contentment with reality) 3. Self-awareness. meta-emotion 2. certainty. metacognition 5. http://adulthood2. feeling (soul). ways of knowing. inclusive of fully formed cognitive capacities. or of conduct influenced by such thought. ‘reason’ 1. an inability to accept the notion of wrongness and to appreciate everything as having a place. 2. exploring outliers of human development. The following diagram summarizes how the development of reason produces a corresponding evolution in knowledge (mind). utilizing analogy and consistency to increase understanding of a particular area. especially of emotional states and their accompanying psychological triggers. The power of intelligent and dispassionate thought. Gratitude & Radical Acceptance (definition: universal comprehension. The faculty of acquiring intellectual knowledge. Existential curiosity—manifestly applying reason and analytical rigor to one’s perception.
it is the spackle between the bricks of whim and subconscious desires. http://adulthood2. matter. no higher bad as result authority. it is the transition to adulthood that is in need of help in this era of conflicting social norms. love but that which is Absolutely True Knowledge Focused on senses. curiosity w/o re existential supernormal certainty. awareness. Cognition is no different than storytelling . ethics. feels . reason exceeds cognition in that it shines its light on the merit of a proposed end and the veracity of the reasoner/perceiver. Divine. pragmatism Although the above chart points to a stage beyond adulthood. whereas cognition seeks only to create the means that justify an end. emotion. rites of passage and morality. fear. fulfillment Seeker Negates and Unity. surrender. sees pragmatism wrong.the act of telling a story to justify an end. inspired knowledge. methods of metamaximizing knowing. mastery. aka metacognition.emotional metaquestioner.com Page 26 . rejects all devotion. acceptance.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. humans. of allowing only fear & other to pleasure determine motivation happiness & identity Adulthood Focused on With selfSituation self. Cognition is merely a bridge between two unconnected lands. Reason versus Cognition The word “reason” is errantly and commonly used when referring to cognition or thinking. only intuition gratitude. morality. For our purposes. question-the. prosperity metacognitio intuition and for all n.
com Page 27 . guilt. and therefore cannot solely define us. anger. 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.g. loneliness. but do not obsess over as you continue on. Spock in Star Trek. Reason negates these practices unless they can withstand the scrutiny of intense and sustained inquiry. Despite our perceptions. In this context. including you. the reader. anxiety.Children are masters of cognition. one that I hope you remember. Just as we would not characterize humanity as a collection of mammals incapable of http://adulthood2. and me. in that they use their cognitive capacity to justify whim and seek cohesion with other socially acceptable practices. they are temporary. the full employment of reason calls into question the existence of everything. shame. Though states of emotional overwhelm are experienced by all humans. and codependency—in order to tell a more dramatic story. This is a problem. and many other mammals. but stop short of reason. Ergo. Reason versus Media Our mainstream media often portrays reason negatively due to poetic sentiments that exploit emotion —sadness. reason is seen as robotic and sociopathic and therefore inferior (e.
reactive.tying their shoes. Reason: Destroyer of Certainty Through its manifest application. the reasonable person questions his/her perception. and unconscious moments. ideas of self. and/or analogy. That is. even amongst astute parties. In light of this. reason reveals the subjectivity of virtually every argument (including this one). A person cannot be reasonable if he/she does not examine the examiner. what is considered real or valid varies widely. as our separate sets of experiences produce disparate ideals and knowledge.com Page 28 . scripture. existence. http://adulthood2. given that some cannot or refuse to. it makes little sense to define humanity by our most base. personality. as each argument can be supported by some collection of scientific evidence. and the social constructs that permit such vastly disparate understandings of reality.
the fear response (adrenaline/cortisol http://adulthood2. emotions are commonly praised as a way to be human and feel alive.com Page 29 .) are really some of the highest experiences of feeling and being (as mentioned in the introduction) and are not classified as emotions here. Indeed. joy. As mentioned. and especially mainstream media. appropriate expression of and transcendence of a particular emotional state (e. Reason allows the observation.g. gratitude. what are considered positive emotions (happiness. madness.Part Three: The Vehicle of Reason By setting reason as the primary vector of life. and shame) and the realization that one is experiencing that state and therefore cannot be that state. etc. 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. a brief discussion is warranted regarding emotions and how they are perceived. anxiety. fear. The word “emotion” will henceforth refer to what humanity considers negative emotions. sadness. in Western society. For the purposes of this discussion. Before we go further.
Specifically. revenge. but like gravity or air should be accepted as part of our individual experience. That is. Emotions. This is not to say that we should deny or repress emotion. and ones that do not necessarily require the action they might initially suggest (e. all emotions are the result of reality conflicting with our errant expectations. http://adulthood2. while experienced. They are neither good nor bad. are not THE reality. They need not be treated with contempt. In this regard.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). or allergens for shortness of breath. “being alive” manifests itself in the frenzied expression and reconciliation of an emotional state. but that we ought to keep emotion in its place and not give it the key to the castle. hatred. Emotions should instead be recognized as merely patterns of perception within our experience. selfdestruction).com Page 30 . just as one need not curse gravity for falling down. We should not define ourselves by emotions and restrict our identity to something so ever-changing and temporal.g. 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.
position. http://adulthood2. etc. time. manifesting in one of two ways: • Introspection into the source and validity of the emotion. to generate patterns and meaning.Before we can properly relate reason to self-awareness. not in a descriptive nor exploratory fashion. or more the prevalent… • The telling of a story about meaningless data which can be used to justify the emotion. Most people have an emotional construct of reality. • In the case of the latter.com Page 31 . there would be no sense in defining a self within it. how do we define reality? Without an understanding of reality. we first need to talk about reality. • The mind accepts these patterns as reality and then selects data that justifies the pattern. the cognition is employed in a rationalizing. thereby enforcing this made-up reality. That would be like saying “I am the best baseball player” without referring to a league. That is. The progression of an emotional event is as follows: • • An emotion arises There is a desire to reconcile the emotion. in that they first begin to relate to the world through emotion. skill.
We make emotional decisions that align with or oppose the values of these primary influencers and develop a personality. I will be happy when I am rich.” Event: Mommy lied to Dad about how the dent in the car occurred and therefore he did not beat her tonight. I am not rich. but otherwise useful. All humans are subjected to the values of society and their primary influencers. Personality is formed during the course of making of significant decisions.com . usually their parents. in reaction to the traumatic events in one’s early years. therefore I am not happy. • Decision: “I am fat.Personality Theory The repetition of this cycle determines how a personality comes into being.” Event: Sally said my jeans make me look fat. Some examples include: Event: Dad got fired and we had to move in with Grandma and her stinky cats. • Decision: “Lying is bad if it is discovered.” Page 32 http://adulthood2. • Decisions: “Rich people are happy and don’t have to live with weird Grandma and stinky cats.
however.com Page 33 . we are merely a comingled web of these decisions and genetic and social programming. too often dismissing that data which does not confirm these hypotheses. as different people will perceive the same situation and have different emotional http://adulthood2. Reason-based Reality Emotions cannot be objective reality. aka confirmation bias. unworthy of male affection. We have ideas about ourselves and the way the world should engage with us. unique.” Event: Steve said sex with me was bad. or individual way—just pinballs. but did show up to my sister’s recital. I’m fat.” These decisions start as mere hypotheses (e.g. as evidenced by the often-violent reactions (emotional overwhelm) that occur when reality conflicts with this idea of self. poor and justified in lying) and become personal law through repetition as we seek to confirm them via environmental data. undesirable. we are not “us” in any real.Event: Dad didn’t show up to my basketball game. • Decision: “I am unworthy unless men pay attention to me. • Decision: “I am not sexually desirable. The combination of these decisions produces a personality that most people become attached to. In other words.
such as the widespread cooing that occurs around babies. assumption. as evidenced by “grown ups” who are put off by babies. expresses it with an “I” statement (“I feel x”) and roots out the unreasonable decision. Emotions are merely highly sophisticated warning lights on the dashboard of an individual’s life. For instance. cooing is not universal. standard. • Chris’s data: Though shorter and younger. programming by which he/she was operating.responses. or none at all. When experiencing an emotion. Let’s take the example of Chris losing to Pat in a footrace. Pat runs faster than Chris. I wouldn’t argue that all cars drive north after witnessing one-way traffic headed north. • Chris’s emotions: sadness and shame http://adulthood2. the reasonable person does not act upon it.” or rather perceived to be wrong or out of sync with one’s ideas about oneself or the nature of reality. but merely witnesses it. expectation. A reasonable person does not draw definitive conclusions based upon factors that vary across person and time. an indication that something is “wrong.com Page 34 . Though many reactions are common.
"— Ramana Maharshi http://adulthood2. Chris identifies and commits to expunging the childish need to feel good compared to Pat or to feel superior at all. discredit the importance of running. as opposed to the unreasonable person who decides to hold onto his flawed thinking and get mad/even with the offending elements. 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 reasonable person chooses merely to conform his thinking and self-image to a more accurate expression of reality.• Chris’s unreasonable responses/emotional overwhelm: Cry. Chris adjusts expectations and proclamations regarding running abilities. The choice is simply a matter of abandoning attachment to ignorance or holding onto it.com Page 35 . discredit Pat. "Seek not to cover the world in leather—just wear shoes. This discovery prevents Chris from feeling good. make Pat slower. get mad. Seek their source. 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.
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. ignore reason. the moment. or the constructs of time and self. love. expectation. They are moments of selflessness and unity. ecstasy. learn the source of one’s ignorance. and unified with. accept the emotion and seek its source. and instead is wholly in. discovery. the more one becomes an adult. gratitude and excitement are perceived by the body/mind. We give others the keys to our happiness when we choose not to observe. employ reason. and emerge a wiser person. and tell a story. reject the pursuit of truth. joy. As the venerated Indian sage. Every emotion should be cherished as an opportunity to grow. The experiences of happiness. to identify with an emotion is to blindly obey untested personal dogma. we accept the dogma as valid and position ourselves as the protagonist and someone/something else is the enemy.com Page 36 . laughter. cognition. but they do not pose conflicts between the idea of self and reality. without attachment. In so doing.Thus. The more one observes emotion and identifies its source. whereby one forgets one’s idea of self/ego. seeing it as it is. Positive Feeling What are widely considered to be positive emotions are not emotions at all. http://adulthood2.
storytelling.” Think of positive feelings as dashboard lights alerting a person to the experience of unity/present moment awareness (generally after it has subsided). for a thing cannot perceive itself (one can only refer to something he is not.Nisargadatta Maharaj. For example. or emotions. Our capacity to identify something logically means that we cannot be it. stated so succinctly. "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. he is always an agent of or an agent to http://adulthood2. throbbing head.Gary Cross The Physics of Emotion An important element of self-awareness is the ability to identify a given emotion’s physical expression. quickening pulse.com Page 37 .e. “Love is the absence of distinction. we should be willing to let them go when they are ready to leave. 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. chest tightness. are dashboard lights signifying states marred by ignorance. queasiness. and lack of reason and observation. wide eyes. feelings to the contrary." . i. or shakiness—all are symptoms that eventually go away and cannot be identified with as any permanent “I”. programming.
such as the nature of reality and perception and creative expression. but rather the one which experiences it. Writ large. 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.com Page 38 . we no longer need to tell stories to make ourselves the protagonist against unjust forces. Gratitude and Radical Acceptance Once we are able to extricate ourselves from the drama of identifying with emotional states. Thus. “what it is”. How can my pain be me if I know it as something I experience temporarily? Thus. etc. This makes possible numerous desirable states such as gratitude. the ability to perceive an emotional state and its physical component is an opportunity to realize that one is not that state. The physical component to the mental state provides us further guidance in identifying the emotion. 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. unity. It does not mean we fail to see opportunities to make the world conform to various human http://adulthood2.something). this is the inability to see any wrongness in one’s life or the world and have gratitude for all that exists.
When manifestly applied. giving no cause to react to it. We see the complexity and inter-relatedness of all things.) as they are and without judgment. and peace. and the world. our lovers. True detachment is a love of reality . attributes. Without the perception of wrongness.the ability to see a situation for what it is and to have this sapience unmolested by our psychology. we have radical acceptance of and gratitude for ourselves. physical health. instincts. and challenges. Detachment Plato defined reason as the quality which liberates us from the tyranny of pleasure and pain. and aversion. our family and friends. violence.ideals. etc. http://adulthood2. death. desires. aesthetics. and Buddha defined it as liberation from desire and aversion. their cycles and unique abilities.com Page 39 . but rather it means we wholly accept their counterparts (inequality. our condition. True detachment produces a resounding awareness of the impermanence of reality. similar to the way a sailor retreats from exclamation at the sight of a wave. disease. reason creates detachment (differing from the pejorative understanding of detachment suggesting reason produces the incapacity to act in a kind or considerate way). like equality.
The true Self is the passenger/observer. The chariot’s horses represent the senses that will. who is able to observe and genuinely self-express. to have integrity and specificity of speech is to be ever aware of epistemology. guiding the human experience. as described in the venerated Hindu scripture. or how we know what we know.Moreover. Katha Upanishad. run around pursuing pasture and stream after pasture and stream without direction or consideration. In this regard. is a charioteer. The charioteer is reason. 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. 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. or the intellect. reason. without reason and detachment. it is expressed in degrees of certainty of what and how we think. riding shotgun. the true Self would be thrown free from the chariot under the wild ramblings of the senses and mind.com Page 40 . without guidance. which commandeers the senses (horses) through the mind (reins) so as to keep the chariot on the course set forth by the charioteer. and believe—what is known as integrity. http://adulthood2.
If I make a statement that asserts that all swans are white. But if I were to state that I am certain that I know what it’s like to be a man. I have not committed an error. while paying careful attention to what is as yet unknowable and therefore inexpressible. For example. With this in mind. reason often produces an uncompromising search for fact and a desire to express whatever can be expressed. Adults strive for this consistency and are thus impeccable. I have committed an error. I would have to add numerous qualifiers to convey that I know what it’s like for me to be a man.com Page 41 . and has internal consistency throughout. unambiguous. and efficient with their speech. if I am more specific with my words and decrease my certainty. 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. A reasonable argument is one that is stated accurately. by saying that all swans I’ve seen are white. To prove a statement is untrue or unreasonable only requires a singular instance in which the argument does not hold. we can only be certain about what we do not know. and there is even one swan that is not white. cannot be defeated. In this regard. However. I am certain I have no idea what it’s like to be a woman. or I believe most swans are white. as I represent one of three billion men.
or the pleasure principle.com Page 42 . outlined a spectrum that encapsulates the different types of curiosity. and self-reflection. Curiosity is often expressed as childlike wonderment and a pursuit of truth. we merely follow our biological impulses. resulting in the first semblances of reason. that one can have to truth. 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. ignorant mental chatter. During adolescence. or relationship. Richard Rose. The reasonable person is ever aware that what we do not know vastly exceeds what we know by numerous orders of magnitude. only his or her experience. In adolescence. we decide how to conform to or act within cultural norms in order http://adulthood2.man to offer a severe measure of caution with any assertion. critical thinking. In childhood. Existential Curiosity The liberation from the slavery of programming reveals the contents of what we call our personality—a mess of random. childhood is the ultimate in ignorance and boorishness. as a child is not concerned with reality. certain cognitive capacities mature and allow us to utilize greater portions of the neocortex. In this regard. a twentieth-century American spiritual teacher.
Rose’s model of knowledge/curiosity/attention is a linear lockstep progression that precedes. • Seeker. a modicum of curiosity is developed. for pleasure. and acceptance).g. friendship. sex. Full development of reasoning capacity. Development of cognitive capacities towards the pursuit of more pleasure. academic pursuits to acquire knowledge. and use it towards the exploration of the nature of reality and creative expression. and eventually surpasses reason.to get what we want (recognition. • Childhood/Adolescence. biological needs of the body).com Page 43 . but only as applied towards the maximization of pleasure and minimization of pain. Ignorance (focus on pleasure principle. delay of gratification in return for greater bodily rewards in the future. Yearning for truth. e. for its own sake. resulting in intuition. especially self-knowledge. money. • Adulthood. encompasses. Adulthood allows us to harness cycles of brainpower that would be otherwise consumed by biological pleasure and social approval. In adolescence. frustration with reason and all cognitive/academic/knowledge/scientific/material http://adulthood2.
Samadhi. • A move towards the desire for spiritual and mystical union. including reason. “Diamond Sutra” http://adulthood2. one must first use reason upon emotions and programming. and the object perceived are seen as one. from mind to spirit. Liberation. Moksha. liberation from all striving. Satori. • Represents the leap from focus on adulthood to a spiritual path.” —Pantanjali. then use reason upon all reasons and the reasoner to eradicate the addiction to thinking/mind. in their universal failure to produce Absolute truth.com Page 44 . To get to oneness. Heaven. • Plotinus argued that all forms of thinking.pursuits. Truth Realization. • “The perceiver. the act of perceiving. Nirvana. are inferior to the ultimate state of oneness. etc. Enlightenment. communion with God. • Nirvana (embodiment of Absolute Truth and God Consciousness) The completion of the human experience.
Employing http://adulthood2. Professional relationships flourish under the influence of reason as practitioners of reason become decoupled from their unconscious egoic drivers—fear. not the least of which is adulthood.Part Four: The Fruits of Reason The material fruits of reason are many.com Page 45 . gratitude. to communicate is to reason and to communicate well is to reason well. the only piece that can be called common is the logic and reason by which words are chosen. memory and emotion. sex. joy. Communication Communication amongst humans literally means that all parties communicating embrace a shared meaning. varied and highly reliant upon past experiences. Embracing meaning is contingent on parties utilizing a shared language. Career When one radically employs reason. detachment. we will explore five areas of human endeavor: communication. career. specificity of speech and existential curiosity) grease all interpersonal wheels. Given that language is itself transitory. In this section. romantic relationships. shared and considered. That is. and enlightenment. the resulting/component qualities (self-awareness. and dominance.
reason is a boon to creativity. one becomes self-aware in the illumination of genetic and social programming and psychological trauma. creativity and purpose are highly valued qualities in the marketplace. what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. as leadership. As an adult in a relationship. author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. As mentioned.reason. collegial rapport. purpose/identity. curiosity and commitment (as opposed to attachment). Self-awareness produced pursuits imbued with flow. actions and words with self) a priority. making self-awareness and integrity (consistency of thoughts. In this regard. cultivating reason calls into question the type of work one pursues. reason has a high return on investment (ROI). The self-awareness that reason produces allows one to be a leader. a person can observe him or herself in states of emotional overwhelm (the total identification with an emotional http://adulthood2.com Page 46 . But most importantly. allowing one to ask deeper questions and see new patterns. full involvement and success. possibilities. to live in tranquility. such that others are drawn to that adult in times of crisis. describes as a feeling of timelessness. energized focus. Romantic Relationships Any partnership benefits when one or both partners decide to take seriously their evolution into adulthood. and combinations.
an adult engages his/her partner out of want. not the unconscious clinging and manipulation that results from one’s unexamined faults. but all of life. in that the crux of the bond is an appreciation of the partner’s qualities.com Page 47 . and generally derives greater satisfaction from life due to an ability to accept and appreciate not only the partner. 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”. It should also be noted that adults become less attracted to those who do not wish or are unable to employ reason. not need. vs. These adults are generally a pleasure to be around and better partners. An adult can be a giver and a rock for his/her partner in times of real or imagined crisis. inarticulate emotional overwhelm “You son of a …”). yielding liberation from false ideas of self and http://adulthood2. By using reason to shed light on the depth of the psyche.g. As such. The reasoning person brings his thinking in line with reality.state) and speaking in an emotionally articulate manner (e. Doing so prevents us from using our lovers like an emotional pharmacy or punching bag. adults can avoid emotional overwhelm and are free to experience joy more frequently.
and ignorance continue to pollute and corrupt the seeker. cosmic consciousness) upon a bedrock of reason. sadness. If success within any of these realms (or the virtues in Appendix A) are of interest to you. requires self-awareness and its cause. so too should be reason and its fruits.com Page 48 . he gains enhanced psychic bandwidth to experience joy.expectations of others and the world. programming. One cannot make spiritual progress without first taking out the trash (addiction to emotional overwhelm. in that reason destroys ignorance. Enlightenment Adulthood is a precursor to the Seeker stage. If joy is a goal. and storytelling). bandwidth which was previously consumed by ignorance and its expressions—anger. by definition. and present moment awareness. guilt. upward and final transformation of being. universal awareness. spontaneity. http://adulthood2. reason must precede it. The Seeker pursues enlightenment (communion with something that can be considered greater than the physical reality we perceive with our senses. and shame. In doing so. unison between the perceiver. the perceived and the act of perceiving. Spirituality. That is. false ideas of self. reason. no amount of praying or religious ceremony will yield Heaven/Nirvana/Enlightenment/Samadhi/Satori/Moksha if unreconciled psychological trauma.
"The man of science is a poor philosopher. frustrated and confused. when reason begins to transform us into adults and illuminates our questions of certainty or epistemology. they are unfulfilled—thus casting doubt upon the existence of the physical material world and any knowledge pertaining to it. In nearly all cases. skip ahead to Part Six. if you’re ready for a challenge. we become engaged in the examination of all things previously regarded as true or self-evident. ready to be stretched.Part Five: Beyond Reason [WARNING: This section will take you through some philosophically choppy waters. so as not to speak or embody falsehood. so if your main concern is adulthood and not what lies beyond it.] As reason takes hold. 5 conditions must first be met. More needs to be mentioned on the second stage of Richard Rose’s truth hierarchy." Albert Einstein In order to assert something as absolutely true. continue on and feel free to click on the links to take a deeper dive. As such. They are: • Existence Page 49 http://adulthood2. a reasoning person would do well to apprise him/herself of these five conditions.com . However.
For example. must agree that something exists.• • • • Infallibility of perception Infallibility of language Infallibility of metrics Absolute knowledge Existence A person must exist to say something true.com Page 50 . there must be a second party agreeing to the claim. which is objective and infallible (non-human). 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. a person making the assertion. in order to make the assertion that a chair is blue. Specifically. Without this second party paying witness. something else must exist to know my existence. humans are plagued by the errors of their perception and are therefore incapable of absolute objectivity. That is. I cannot say I exist. my own existence would be synonymous with the existence of a videogame character. and a person listening to the assertion. Another entity. have perception and utilize knowledge. because in order for me to exist. A videogame character may engage in activity. To establish existence. http://adulthood2. there must be a chair.
com Page 51 . As soon as one begins to question his existence. A result of the programming and emotionality of the common human experience is the misapprehension of existence.e. calculated guess. to send this information and another nonhuman entity to receive and confirm it. 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. predictive. matters relating to emotional overwhelm. but by some sort of infallible entity). as the unreasoning human believes the perception of existence to be sufficient evidence for 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. which it most clearly is not. saying anything which is absolutely true. Our senses are filtered and comingled by our memory. humans are neither and thus our existence is a unconfirmed. career and selfaggrandizement seem quite trivial.i. By definition. So we need a nonhuman entity (devoid of the flaws of perception). personal relationships. creative. such as a digital video recorder (presumably not constructed by a flawed human.
Per Wittgenstein. and perception do not yield an objective reality. our ability to make true statements is still bound by the fallibility of our perception. but in reality. Even if we were to objectively know we exist. only in a referentially consistent manner. words. Conditioning.com Page 52 . The result is a homogenized vocabulary used by a populace. The restrictions of language are such: we have a limited number of words to describe an infinite number of occurrences and http://adulthood2.” but never know that what I see when I see “blue” is the same thing that you see when you see “blue. Language Let us say that there were such a way for us to could establish our existence and our perception as indisputable. only one that is mutually agreed upon. We are all corrected when we draw outside the lines or use the wrong colors. repetition.” 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. or sensory descriptions. I could see a chair that I call “blue. This effect is the result of repetition and rote learning during early childhood development. which on the surface seems to perceive things ubiquitously.to confirm our existence and relay to us this existence in a manner that circumvents our fallible perception.
Our metrics for describing things in relation to one another (time. we would need infallible metrics to describe our assertions. This phenomenon is exacerbated when describing more subtle things like human relations or abstract concepts – the more abstract. and matter) would need to be immutable—but they are not. as well as by my flawed memory and emotional reactions to chairs—and the same goes for you.com Page 53 . number. perceive infallibly. Space-time warps http://adulthood2. Thus.) in the past. in order to say something true. etc.situations. and draw upon the same words and meanings. whereas I could be an obese person who has destroyed many chairs and experience fear when I see the same Danish-designed chairs. the greater the confusion. These vastly different experiences of the word “chair” will influence how the word “chair” is used and understood. You could be a chair-maker and tingle with ecstasy every time you see Danish-designed chairs. If this were so. we cannot communicate as a species with total certainty. origins. space. but never complete communication. uses. I will never know exactly what you mean by “chair” because my meaning is influenced by my experiences of chairs (types. Metrics Let us say that we exist. we can only approach rough approximations of meaning. such as if we were all plugged into Wikipedia as our sole source of language and meaning.
time is not immutable. There is confusion around numerous concepts and theories in physics. or string. Our attempts to identify single indivisible units of matter. black holes.com Page 54 . and useful for the relative pursuits within physical science (also based upon probability and degrees of certainty. and weak nuclear) influence it. and thus is useless in the pursuit of truth. given that we are all moving. but rather slows down depending on the motion of the perceiving utilities. and dark energy. gravity. Matter suffers the same flaw. matter is at best predictable. but never both). the Big Bang. M-Theory.g. the physical center. All we claim is that we believe there is a physical center to things. As Einstein proved. a variety of forces (electromagnetic. our experience of time is also variable. As such. strong nuclear. not total certainty) and dayto-day activities on this planet. as it can only give rough approximations. quark. such as an atom. dark matter. and that per our theory and experiments. However. space-time is not absolutely reliable or predictable. Time and space are relatively predictable. e. but not wholly knowable per Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle (we can know the position or the speed of something. and yet not fully predictably.fairly predictably. have failed as the discovery of each new and tinier particle never quite yields a working equation to justify the existence of something solid. We don’t know where electrons go http://adulthood2.
Human beings have no communicable knowledge thereof and thus we can only make assertions that are relatively more or less true than something else. Thus. To make claims intended to be universally true or absolute. we are to each other but two ships passing in the night. but ultimately unknowable medium we call reality/perception/life. we have to prove that our observation is in relation to something immutable. adrift in a familiar. creation. our language is concrete and universal. they act as both particle and wave (energy). or God). and our metrics equally so. Moreover. Absolute Knowledge Now let’s say we exist. but never absolutely true. the table is black. We can only observe and measure them the instant we watch them. giving rise to a whole host of questions regarding the transmutability.when we are not watching them.com Page 55 . such as the center of the universe or God’s will or the ultimate state of humanity. our metrics (space-time and matter) for describing our observations or knowledge are themselves unknowable. We are still confined to the realm of the relative (e. our perception is infallible. All of our knowledge http://adulthood2. Without footing on the shore (knowledge of the exact whereabouts of absolute truth. center of the universe. and destruction of matter and energy.g. relative to not-the-table and not-black). seemingly ubiquitous.
In an absence of certainty. it is clear that science and indeed all of human knowledge is asymptotic. It can approach truth. The most common sources of external authority are parents/family and social institutions (law. but it can never deliver it. An adult roots out and expels unfounded dogma.about the human experience is without absolute footing and is thus un-anchored. free market fundamentalism and institutional religion). 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. the only utility of language is the spiritual task of destroying falsity. as language can never create or express absolute truth. academia. Spiritual Vector Without being able to say or know anything as absolutely true. relative.com Page 56 . With the aforementioned conditions of certainty unsolved. and therefore meaningless where truth is concerned. regardless of rhetoric marked by volume or repetition. or prematurely abandon reason in order to lean on another authority. psychologists/Western medicine. constantly seeks greater http://adulthood2.
He is not governed by the judgments of men or the laws laid down by the ignorant. mysteries. he obeys an inner voice and is moved by an unseen power. such as “gravity will continue to hold me to the earth. acts in accordance with the greatest possible understanding of a situation.” and live life accordingly until a clearer understanding or more reasonable course of action presents itself. and metrics are infallible. "when a man is capable of being in uncertainties. “On Yoga” This is not to say that in absence of absolute truth an adult does nothing. Adults can still assert qualified (with degrees of certainty) hypotheses.” —Sri Aurobindo.understanding. "the spirit of disponibilite [availability]. before http://adulthood2. only go forth the best way he knows.com Page 57 . or meets the expectation of petty mental standards of others. However. “One does not care if one fails or succeeds or if one is righteous or unrighteous. doubts. adults are unattached and are willing to let go of and reformulate hypotheses upon the discovery of new data or flaws in logic. Keats defined this phenomenon as negative capability. An adult will never fully believe what he says is true." Heidegger defined this state as gelassenheit. without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. provided I exist and our perception. language.
That is. informing us that life is at best a dream. a calm surrender to the inevitable.What-is which permits us simply to let things be in whatever may be their uncertainty and their mystery. we can only accept our experience and play a role in this game/play/dream called life. The comedic attitude offers a kind of resignation. articulated this as Possibilianism. It's an invincible self-fulfilling belief. a rejection of all theory as absolute and a wide embrace of each theory as having only particular explanatory significance. Columnist Gary Kamiya calls it a "spirit of regeneration. an adult refuses to take himself or anything else seriously. neuroscientist. It is an intimate awareness of what one knows." Most recently. And it's regenerative because it doesn't see change as the enemy. resulting in a near complete openmindedness. David Eagleman. and we are children to the extent we believe otherwise.com Page 58 . what one does not know and what cannot be known on the physical/cognitive plane. We are adults to the extent that reason removes certainty. 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. one http://adulthood2. Without certainty.
" 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. and always be on hand to enjoy a good chuckle at our own expense when we mistakenly feign certainty.” that is. Further. It is perfectly fine to have a vision and be committed to seeing it realized.com Page 59 . to hold multiple explanations concurrently. never rely upon the rationale or dogma of others. In holding certainty under the light of reason. exploring belief. and certainty reveals their utter scarcity and groundlessness in reason. “The study of faith is the end of faith.that bubbles up from somewhere unseen. I believe this approach is one of the few pieces practical http://adulthood2. Krishnamurti echoes these sentiments. Action is only noble in so far as the reasonable man respects the autonomy of all other men and the uncertainty of his thinking. As such. we discover there is absolutely no reason to bend other people to our will in the employment of our ideas. 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. faith. an adult is able to entertain ambiguity.
especially of one’s existence. more sustained reality. philosophers. poets. Even democracy. as it is by nature personal. compassion (white man's burden) and free markets have subjugated nations in the name of their own alleged supremacy. and mystics across time and geography. but in the possibility created by the efforts of God-realized individuals. and the absence of certainty often creates a spiritual vector. as provided by Michael Murphy's "Future of the Body" and William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience". right faith—full and complete devotion to http://adulthood2. then why not just avoid all the hard work of reasoning and becoming an adult.com Page 60 . can be maddening and often yields a desire for a greater. The absence of certainty. When reason has produced its final result. material pursuits are abandoned in an attempt to create of a spiritual vector of will towards a sustained reality. This vector does not rest upon any proof of God.philosophy that will not produce philotyranny . and just worship God? Although reason and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. a reality searched for by saints.a one-dimensional political philosophy that produces oppression in the course of its manifestation. absence of certainty. a potentiality for which there is ample historical account. If the final result of reason is the absence of certainty.
Radhakrishnan http://adulthood2. While the scriptures declare truth by enunciation. Without it. one must first fight his/her way through cognitive fires of the Enlightenment in order to earnestly pursue spirituality for him/herself. logical reason may become mere speculation. as ignorance obscures one from any transcendental reality. “There is great insistence on the need for logical inquiry. they will not possess the critical thinking required to unshackle the mind. Further.a supreme reality—can only be a course of last resort. a poorly cultivated intellect and/or unexamined psyche.” . fear. if a person is engulfed by unexamined superstition and subconscious programming. Without the material supplied by faith. one must come to God with the firsthand knowledge that all other pursuits are futile. That is. faith will degenerate into credulity.com Page 61 . The problem with institutional religion is that most people come to religion because of custom. philosophy establishes it in argument. further open the heart and ready the soul for union.
There are five forces/paradigms that hinder our ability to observe and reason. The treatment is the diagnosis. They are: • • • • • Media Chemical dependency Emotional dependency Frenzy Social contract Page 62 http://adulthood2. lethargic. They keep most people stuck amongst the quiet. and desperate masses. and that only our ignorance obscured it.com . and in this regard adulthood is a process. Barriers Becoming an adult is much easier said than done and we must remove the barriers to adulthood. 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.Part Six: Impediments to and Tools for Adulthood Now that we have defined adulthood and its prime mover. reason.
Chemical Dependency Chemicals can be ingested. and sports programming. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television). The human brain can only process 12-15 frames per second. marijuana. and internally created. dopamine and oxytocin from sex.Media Remove sources of mindless distraction delivered by the web. radio. nicotine. the thoughts that can liberate us from adolescence. TV.g. TV specifically delivers more information to you than your neocortex is able to categorize. e. however. alcohol. and newspapers that generate contrived drama through scripted. Ingestion over time creates addiction and health issues. reality. Further mindless media provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts.com Page 63 . and adrenaline/cortisol from emotional overwhelm. They attach themselves to exist subconscious drivers for fear. sex and dominance. questions of existence. certainty. The remaining frames do not simply hit our forehead and fall to the floor. caffeine. whereas TV delivers 30 (ref. Emotional Dependency http://adulthood2. e. methamphetamines. Chemicals also provide escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. e.g.g.
Emotions only last a few minutes unless they are actively fed by subject. seek its source. and contemplation become impossible. dangerous questions. and overwork. When an emotion arises. in which case they can last days. witness it. 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 Frenzy is mindless multitasking. express it. staying chemically and emotionally sober.Many of us feed the psychological emotional response mechanism set in place by programming. In summation. such that downtime. over-scheduling. coworkers and peers and abstaining from mainstream media.com Page 64 . Emotional indulgence also provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. Social contract Ritualized and codified dependency upon the approval of others renders independent thought useless and counterproductive. Frenzy also provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. adulthood is benefitted by slowing down. ignoring the opinions of family. addiction to ideas of self. http://adulthood2. adjust your understanding and move on.
flow-filled possibilities for our lives. Psychologists are best compared to http://adulthood2. fun. it leverages Gestalt psychotherapy. such that two people can feel respected. it separates data. do not follow their prescriptions as they have no proven prescriptive mastery. Psychotherapy Though the frameworks psychologists and therapists employ are valuable for the exposition of programming. Landmark Forum delivers a set of exercises designed to reveal the genesis of personality and empowers us to create fulfilling. while redefining manhood.com Page 65 . Like every self-awareness tool. emotions. connected and empowered to create solutions. needs and requests. judgments. ManKind Project is a men’s organization that enhanced emotional capacity and integrity. heard. ManKind Project/Woman Within and Non-Violent Communication. NVC is a communication framework for building emotional fluency and capacity. Zen. listen. nor a rich lineage to point to. NVC. voice dialogue method and somatic psychology. such as: Retreats Retreats such as Landmark Forum. but never blindly obey.Tools Seekers of adulthood should actively seek experiences that will force the illumination of programming.
Repeat until you have an immutable and defensible treatise or a blank page. Meditation Meditation practices. psychological. e. Hallucinogens Hallucinogens like LSD and mushrooms. but never their treatments. omitting anything that is not true from the previous version. They have no exact knowledge of the absolute. Despite these risks. especially Insight/Vipassana. 20 mins a day for 30 days. Best results occur after sustained practice. the latter being more likely.com Page 66 .g. read it and repeat the writing process. seeking only to heal the animal so that it can be better for burden or slaughter. On the next day. as they temporarily alter perception and demonstrate its utter fallibility.veterinarians. It is no coincidence that the real Protestant reformation (whereby large numbers of people claimed their individual spiritual paths) http://adulthood2. many find hallucinogens to be fun and rewarding. and spiritual risks involved. Autolysis Autolysis: write down everything you know to be absolutely true. so use their analyses to discover your programming. I have been advised by spiritual and legal counsel not to recommend these as there are legal.
began at the same time that hallucinogenic drugs became widely available (after 1970). http://adulthood2.com Page 67 .
particularly in our careers. and offer a brighter. Moreover. http://adulthood2. Happy reasoning. but now necessary. we become virtuous and are awarded its benefits. while not the only characteristic of adulthood. we become adults. Our new definition of adulthood now invalidates the dull. Through reason. mundane. expression of joy. the pursuits beyond the materially and commonly perceived. through the manifest application of reason. culturally agnostic and universal conception. such as creative expression. more internally consistent. service or a spiritual path. which allow us a fuller and greater experience of life. spirituality and for future generations. are not only possible. Reason restores instinct and emotion to their proper place and creates room for more interesting outcomes. By embracing reason thoroughly. conflicted and conformist images of the “grown ups” we remember from our youth. and stand as adults upon the precipice of ever widening possibility. is its prime mover. we complete the Enlightenment.com Page 68 .Conclusion Reason. relationships. yielding substantial benefits.
Moreover. there are many ways to chomp words and exactly how we read deserves review. underlining main arguments and evidence. This book is written for a person with a 12th-grade reading comprehension. asking http://adulthood2.com Page 69 . to generate an initiate understanding of the book’s appeal and utility to you • Analytical: reading the book cover to cover. skimming and sporadic deep-diving. introduction. so if you are younger than 18 or are not a strong reader. author’s biography. questioning the author’s goals and efficacy. this may not be for you. Mortimer Adler’s. “How to Read a Book. table of contents. making notes in the margins.Notes & Disclaimers On Reading The activity of reading often is taken for granted.” 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. looking for the author’s arguments in each paragraph. rephrasing these arguments in your own words.
It often indicates an adherence to an http://adulthood2. If this book raises burning questions for you. equality and individuality. then analytically and make lots of notes. 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.com Page 70 . For Black Sheep Believing oneself to be outside society or the mainstream does not make one an adult. I will assume that you are at least an elementary reader at the 12th grade or higher.yourself questions in the margins. please consider a synoptic exploration of your questions. that you read this work inspectionally.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. however. I will ask. 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. a key tenet of scholarship For this book. “What is an adult?” I believe Adulthood 2.
for instance. those with commonly considered “alternative lifestyles. ‘Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment’).what sociologist. reason. even in isolation. Numerous social. The clothes. of Jesus. True mavericks are generally unidentifiable by simple lifestyle choices. Emerson.com Page 71 . much of the research herein is gender neutral. hormones. not true developmental individualization. Jed McKenna.equally dogmatic lifestyle/clique. If the masses are blindly and obediently living on Main Street. and spirit of a male human. but equally trapped by programming and the refusal to turn our inquiry inward .” are similarly blindly and obediently living about a half a block away. Newton. lying somewhat outside the norm. http://adulthood2. body. I cannot offer gender-neutral testimony on adulthood. On Gender I have experienced life through the mind. or anything else for that matter. Kant. and biological sources suggest that the genders cannot be illumined with the same lamp. However. (ref. as my exposure to the female psyche is only secondhand. as they are bio-chemically and socially quite different. James Cote calls "default individualization". Buddha. spiritual. and Socrates were indistinguishable from their contemporaries. Da Vinci.
On Integrity My personal journey toward adulthood is ongoing and not complete. I am firmly embroiled in witnessing my emotions. On the second day. I created the path. http://adulthood2. Now I am somewhere between the 3rd and 28th day. or yogi. adult. On the first day I overcame my denial and realized I have an adulthood problem. and though I am making progress and find this framework useful. So please. I am like an addict in a 28-day rehabilitation program. and addictions. 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.com Page 72 . senses. I am no master.
” —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. thought is a superior faculty. which aids the soul to free itself from the bondage of vulgar and limited impressions. He must use observation to see. Hegel “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.Appendix A: Reason and Virtue Truth • • “Whatever is reasonable is true. His outward actions do not draw him into lust and vice. has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. choose his plan of life for him.” —Michel de Montaigne Detachment and Self-awareness • • • • • “Educate your children to self-control.” —Sho-gun Yoritomo Tashi Page 73 http://adulthood2. rather it is he who bends them into the shape of reason and right judgment. activity to gather materials for decision.” —Cicero “The good devout man first makes inner preparation for the actions he has later to perform. and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society. He who chooses his plan for himself. firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision. and when he has decided.com . to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will.” —Georg W.” —Benjamin Franklin “Reason should direct and appetite obey. or his own portion of it.” —John Stuart Mill “But with creatures who have intelligence. Who has a stiffer battle to fight than the man who is striving to conquer himself?” —Thomas Kempis “He who lets the world. employs all his faculties. and whatever is true is reasonable. reasoning and judgment to foresee. discrimination to decide.
There are a hundred things wherein we mortals. 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. What seems like a struggle is a struggle between two opposing ideas or values.com . that is sin to you.” —E.” —Publilius Syrus Certainty • • • • • “There are few things reason can discover with so much certainty and ease as its own insufficiency.• • • • • • • • “Would you who judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure.” —Isaac Watts “A reasonable probability is the only certainty. If you do.” —Jeremy Collier “Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right. but seldom with a good one. . or takes off the relish of spiritual things.” —Robert Southey “Anger is never without reason. however innocent it may be in itself. . you will soon believe what is utterly against reason.” Cicero “Emotions have taught mankind to reason. take this rule.” —James Ramsey Page 74 http://adulthood2.W.” — Vauvenargues “Reason and emotion are not antagonists. shows that his reason is weak.” 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. whatever weakens your reason. their lives are by necessity diminished.” —Benjamin Franklin “Repression is not the way to virtue.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi “He who establishes his argument by noise and command. in short. whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind. Howe “Never reason from what you do not know. one of which. obscures your sense of God.” —Michel de Montaigne “He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason. When people restrain themselves out of fear. manifests itself in the form of a feeling. must be content with probability. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason. automatic and unconscious. impairs the tenderness of your conscience.
The unexpected juxtaposition of the reasonable next to the unreasonable.” —Albert Einstein Page 75 http://adulthood2.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge “Good humor is a paradox.” — Melvin Helitzer Spirituality • • • • • “What does reason demand of a man? A very easy thing-to live in accord with his nature. Without it. of the marvelous structure of reality. genius. with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” —A. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.” —Pythagoras “Reason is God's crowning gift to man.” Radhakrishnan Leadership • • “Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others. Whitehead Curiosity • “The important thing is not to stop questioning. philosophy establishes it in argument. Without the material supplied by faith. is often inherited.” —John Kord Lagemann Creativity • • “Talent. if you have to. rarely or never. logical reason may become mere speculation.” —Seneca “Never let the future disturb you.” —Woodrow Wilson “True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes. Never lose a holy curiosity.” —Sophocles “There is great insistence on the need for logical inquiry. You will meet it. —Marcus Aurelius Antoninus “Reason is immortal.com . While the scriptures declare truth by enunciation. lying in the understanding. of life. being the action of reason or imagination. N. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity. to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation. of reason. all else mortal. but the firm resolve of virtue and reason. faith will degenerate into credulity.Intuition • “Intuition isn't the enemy. but the ally.
” —Edwin P. the stupid.” — Sydney Smith “He who will not reason is a bigot.” —Thomas Jefferson Peace http://adulthood2. Fix reason firmly in her seat. ordinary minds by experience.” —Thomas H. if there be one.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. It was not reasoned into him.” —Cicero “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices.” — Thomas Jefferson “An epigram often flashes light into regions where reason shines but dimly.” —George Sand Wisdom • • • • • • • • “The wise are instructed by reason. and cannot be reasoned out.” —John Milton Democracy • “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. and he who dares not is a slave. he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. Whipple “Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors. he who cannot is a fool. and brutes by instinct. Huxley “Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man.com Page 76 . because. by necessity. every opinion. under which weak minds are servilely crouched.” — Thomas Paine “He who kills a man kills a reasonable creature.” —Virginia Woolf Humility • “Vanity is the quicksand of reason. and call on her tribunal for every fact. Question with boldness even the existence of a God. but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself.
• “Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war.com Page 77 .” —Norman Mailer http://adulthood2.
” A very good book to begin with.” “Mental Chatter. Animal Farm Page 78 http://adulthood2. provided you have a group and do the exercises together.” and “Alternate Reality. 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.com/gt04-20). Bad Thing.” “Good Thing.amazon. especially “Appreciation and Gratitude. Find this exact selection on Amazon (http://astore.Appendix B: Suggested Media These books strongly relate to the task at hand.Fahrenheit 451 George Orwell’s 1984.com .) 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 . Books that hone reason: • • • Plato’s Dialogues (especially Laws.
Spiritual Warfare Richard Rose’s Psychology of the Observer. both fictional and autobiographical) • • • • • • • • • • • • Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. 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.com . inspiring and mystical journeys. 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. Albigen Papers Herman Melville’s Moby Dick Nisargadatta Maharaj’s I Am That The Upanishads Transcendental Narratives (fun. 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. Illusions Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist. The Witch of Portobello Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.• Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis Enlightenment Manuals (for those interested in going beyond adulthood) • • • • • Jed McKenna’s Spiritual Enlightenment. Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment.
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 .
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