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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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www. cultural and environmental capital (as measured by the annual $6 trillion disparity between annual US Gross Domestic Product and the Genuine Progress Indicator . military/ideological imperialism. marrying. McCarthyism.com Page 21 . and the degradation of social. 2006) to see the horrors that educated. or of forbidding women to drive until 15." Coupled with the evolving hedonic cultural norms introduced by the Baby Boomers. but is society’s whim justification for adherence to those benchmarks? We only need look to the dim-witted exuberance of the last century. 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.abstain from alcohol until 21. ill-conceived wars. 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. establishing financial independence. http://adulthood2.org. evidenced by the Third Reich.rprogress. and procreating. intellectual. Mark Lilla noted that in the 20th Century "reason collapsed well before irrational passions had migrated from religion to politics. As author and Columbia University Professor. employed and married land owners commit.
one that cuts across cultures and wisdom traditions and is therefore independent of them. In our modern globalized world. what is needed is a common definition of adulthood. Where is this culturally agnostic marker of human development? http://adulthood2.com Page 22 .If there are many definitions of adulthood. then there cannot be a common shared understanding that applies to all humans.
religion. Compared to the Dark Ages. we are like a super stretched rubber band.0 While we can categorically reject law. as together they represent the most effective. As such reason and adulthood are handsome bedfellows.Part Two: Adulthood 2. Wikipedia!). we have markedly refined and specialized fields of knowledge and catalogued an ever expanding assortment of supernormal human feats. we cannot say that reason is our only alternative. I contend that reason is the most psychologically appropriate correlate to the age in which we find ourselves. and yet much of the planet is mired in ignorance and blind faith. However. One could concoct any number of physical. one that simultaneously unifies http://adulthood2. tangible and culturally agnostic way out of this mess.com Page 23 . During which time. biology. 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 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. and society as absolute sources of authority regarding adulthood. mental and emotional tests and call it the “adult marker”.
Def. creativity. peace) that profit by reason.man across time and space and inspires him to reach his full potential. detachment. 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. spirituality. or at the very least enables higher-level human functioning and enjoyment of life. intuition.com Page 24 . humility. truth. Given that reason and adulthood are terms commonly used in a variety of ways.g. I offer a replacement definition for adulthood and a more succinct definition of “reason” to expedite and clarify the remainder of this effort. democracy. ‘Adulthood 2. ask yourself if reason empowers adulthood. as set forth by numerous great minds. specifically by extending the realm of his inquiry into the subjective realm of his own psychology. As you read. By doing so the following applications/components/results can be found: http://adulthood2. self-awareness. autonomy. acceptance. wisdom.0’ The process/stage by which a human being manifestly exhibits and practices reason. curiosity. for a selection of human pursuits and values (e. leadership. Please have a look at Appendix A: Reason and Virtue.
inclusive of fully formed cognitive capacities. 2. certainty. The faculty of acquiring intellectual knowledge. The following diagram summarizes how the development of reason produces a corresponding evolution in knowledge (mind). metacognition 5. feeling (soul). exploring outliers of human development. Gratitude & Radical Acceptance (definition: universal comprehension. Detachment—freedom from desire and aversion 4.1. and action (body). especially of emotional states and their accompanying psychological triggers. ways of knowing.com Page 25 . ‘reason’ 1. Self-awareness. meta-emotion 2. an inability to accept the notion of wrongness and to appreciate everything as having a place. Existential curiosity—manifestly applying reason and analytical rigor to one’s perception. utilizing analogy and consistency to increase understanding of a particular area. as measured by a genuine contentment with reality) 3. Specificity of speech—thinking deeply before speaking Def. http://adulthood2. or of conduct influenced by such thought. The power of intelligent and dispassionate thought.
feels . of allowing only fear & other to pleasure determine motivation happiness & identity Adulthood Focused on With selfSituation self. morality. fear. matter. http://adulthood2. inspired knowledge.emotional metaquestioner. reason exceeds cognition in that it shines its light on the merit of a proposed end and the veracity of the reasoner/perceiver. awareness. whereas cognition seeks only to create the means that justify an end. humans. prosperity metacognitio intuition and for all n. fulfillment Seeker Negates and Unity. curiosity w/o re existential supernormal certainty. rejects all devotion. For our purposes. Reason versus Cognition The word “reason” is errantly and commonly used when referring to cognition or thinking. aka metacognition. Divine. ethics.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. acceptance. Cognition is merely a bridge between two unconnected lands. pragmatism Although the above chart points to a stage beyond adulthood. sees pragmatism wrong.com Page 26 . it is the transition to adulthood that is in need of help in this era of conflicting social norms.the act of telling a story to justify an end. Cognition is no different than storytelling . no higher bad as result authority. question-the. rites of passage and morality. mastery. love but that which is Absolutely True Knowledge Focused on senses. methods of metamaximizing knowing. emotion. surrender. it is the spackle between the bricks of whim and subconscious desires. only intuition gratitude.
guilt. in that they use their cognitive capacity to justify whim and seek cohesion with other socially acceptable practices.Children are masters of cognition. In this context. one that I hope you remember. Just as we would not characterize humanity as a collection of mammals incapable of http://adulthood2. Reason negates these practices unless they can withstand the scrutiny of intense and sustained inquiry.g. Spock in Star Trek. and codependency—in order to tell a more dramatic story. Despite our perceptions.com Page 27 . Reason versus Media Our mainstream media often portrays reason negatively due to poetic sentiments that exploit emotion —sadness. This is a problem. but stop short of reason. shame. the full employment of reason calls into question the existence of everything. and many other mammals. and therefore cannot solely define us. or the calculating unsentimental bad guy in virtually every other story). we must accept that we as yet do not have any proof of our existence or that you are reading this right now. reason is seen as robotic and sociopathic and therefore inferior (e. the writer. anxiety. and me. anger. including you. loneliness. Ergo. Though states of emotional overwhelm are experienced by all humans. the reader. but do not obsess over as you continue on. they are temporary.
A person cannot be reasonable if he/she does not examine the examiner. it makes little sense to define humanity by our most base. reason reveals the subjectivity of virtually every argument (including this one). the reasonable person questions his/her perception. existence. Reason: Destroyer of Certainty Through its manifest application. as each argument can be supported by some collection of scientific evidence.com Page 28 . That is. In light of this. ideas of self. and unconscious moments. and the social constructs that permit such vastly disparate understandings of reality. http://adulthood2. as our separate sets of experiences produce disparate ideals and knowledge. and/or analogy. even amongst astute parties. reactive.tying their shoes. scripture. what is considered real or valid varies widely. personality. given that some cannot or refuse to.
etc. in Western society. Before we go further.g.com Page 29 . the fear response (adrenaline/cortisol http://adulthood2. The word “emotion” will henceforth refer to what humanity considers negative emotions. appropriate expression of and transcendence of a particular emotional state (e.) are really some of the highest experiences of feeling and being (as mentioned in the introduction) and are not classified as emotions here. fear. anxiety. For the purposes of this discussion. Reason allows the observation. a brief discussion is warranted regarding emotions and how they are perceived. and especially mainstream media. what are considered positive emotions (happiness. and shame) and the realization that one is experiencing that state and therefore cannot be that state. emotions are commonly praised as a way to be human and feel alive. sadness. Indeed. 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.Part Three: The Vehicle of Reason By setting reason as the primary vector of life. joy. madness. gratitude. As mentioned.
Emotions. selfdestruction). but rather a psychosomatic response to one’s perception of reality. and ones that do not necessarily require the action they might initially suggest (e. http://adulthood2.com Page 30 . In this regard. all emotions are the result of reality conflicting with our errant expectations. Specifically. revenge. but that we ought to keep emotion in its place and not give it the key to the castle. 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. Emotions should instead be recognized as merely patterns of perception within our experience.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). We should not define ourselves by emotions and restrict our identity to something so ever-changing and temporal. That is. just as one need not curse gravity for falling down. This is not to say that we should deny or repress emotion. “being alive” manifests itself in the frenzied expression and reconciliation of an emotional state. are not THE reality. while experienced. They are neither good nor bad.g. They need not be treated with contempt. hatred. but like gravity or air should be accepted as part of our individual experience. or allergens for shortness of breath.
thereby enforcing this made-up reality. • The mind accepts these patterns as reality and then selects data that justifies the pattern. to generate patterns and meaning. • In the case of the latter.com Page 31 . That is. how do we define reality? Without an understanding of reality.Before we can properly relate reason to self-awareness. That would be like saying “I am the best baseball player” without referring to a league. The progression of an emotional event is as follows: • • An emotion arises There is a desire to reconcile the emotion. 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. we first need to talk about reality. time. the cognition is employed in a rationalizing. Most people have an emotional construct of reality. skill. manifesting in one of two ways: • Introspection into the source and validity of the emotion. etc. position. there would be no sense in defining a self within it. in that they first begin to relate to the world through emotion. http://adulthood2.
” Event: Mommy lied to Dad about how the dent in the car occurred and therefore he did not beat her tonight. • Decision: “I am fat. I will be happy when I am rich.” Page 32 http://adulthood2. • Decisions: “Rich people are happy and don’t have to live with weird Grandma and stinky cats. therefore I am not happy.Personality Theory The repetition of this cycle determines how a personality comes into being.” Event: Sally said my jeans make me look fat.com . Some examples include: Event: Dad got fired and we had to move in with Grandma and her stinky cats. Personality is formed during the course of making of significant decisions. usually their parents. We make emotional decisions that align with or oppose the values of these primary influencers and develop a personality. • Decision: “Lying is bad if it is discovered. I am not rich. in reaction to the traumatic events in one’s early years. All humans are subjected to the values of society and their primary influencers. but otherwise useful.
we are not “us” in any real.com Page 33 . unworthy of male affection. we are merely a comingled web of these decisions and genetic and social programming. undesirable.Event: Dad didn’t show up to my basketball game.g.” These decisions start as mere hypotheses (e. In other words. unique. • Decision: “I am not sexually desirable. poor and justified in lying) and become personal law through repetition as we seek to confirm them via environmental data. We have ideas about ourselves and the way the world should engage with us. too often dismissing that data which does not confirm these hypotheses. but did show up to my sister’s recital. however. The combination of these decisions produces a personality that most people become attached to.” Event: Steve said sex with me was bad. • Decision: “I am unworthy unless men pay attention to me. as different people will perceive the same situation and have different emotional http://adulthood2. I’m fat. as evidenced by the often-violent reactions (emotional overwhelm) that occur when reality conflicts with this idea of self. or individual way—just pinballs. Reason-based Reality Emotions cannot be objective reality. aka confirmation bias.
but merely witnesses it. as evidenced by “grown ups” who are put off by babies. expectation. For instance. A reasonable person does not draw definitive conclusions based upon factors that vary across person and time. Let’s take the example of Chris losing to Pat in a footrace. Emotions are merely highly sophisticated warning lights on the dashboard of an individual’s life. standard. Though many reactions are common. • Chris’s emotions: sadness and shame http://adulthood2. such as the widespread cooing that occurs around babies. cooing is not universal. expresses it with an “I” statement (“I feel x”) and roots out the unreasonable decision.responses. or none at all. When experiencing an emotion. the reasonable person does not act upon it. I wouldn’t argue that all cars drive north after witnessing one-way traffic headed north.” or rather perceived to be wrong or out of sync with one’s ideas about oneself or the nature of reality. Pat runs faster than Chris. assumption. an indication that something is “wrong. programming by which he/she was operating. • Chris’s data: Though shorter and younger.com Page 34 .
especially regarding running abilities compared to Pat. Chris adjusts expectations and proclamations regarding running abilities. 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. "Seek not to cover the world in leather—just wear shoes. Chris identifies and commits to expunging the childish need to feel good compared to Pat or to feel superior at all.• Chris’s unreasonable responses/emotional overwhelm: Cry. make Pat slower. discredit Pat. get mad. Seek their source. discredit the importance of running. The choice is simply a matter of abandoning attachment to ignorance or holding onto it.com Page 35 . as opposed to the unreasonable person who decides to hold onto his flawed thinking and get mad/even with the offending elements. This discovery prevents Chris from feeling good."— Ramana Maharshi http://adulthood2. 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.
the more one becomes an adult. Every emotion should be cherished as an opportunity to grow. and tell a story. As the venerated Indian sage. but they do not pose conflicts between the idea of self and reality. ecstasy. seeing it as it is. the moment. reject the pursuit of truth.Thus. joy. The more one observes emotion and identifies its source. to identify with an emotion is to blindly obey untested personal dogma. http://adulthood2. and instead is wholly in. expectation. and unified with. discovery. cognition. we accept the dogma as valid and position ourselves as the protagonist and someone/something else is the enemy.com Page 36 . and emerge a wiser person. The experiences of happiness. or the constructs of time and self. employ reason. ignore reason. gratitude and excitement are perceived by the body/mind. learn the source of one’s ignorance. laughter. In so doing. They are moments of selflessness and unity. We give others the keys to our happiness when we choose not to observe. accept the emotion and seek its source. whereby one forgets one’s idea of self/ego. Positive Feeling What are widely considered to be positive emotions are not emotions at all. love. without attachment. 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.
i. throbbing head. wide eyes.Gary Cross The Physics of Emotion An important element of self-awareness is the ability to identify a given emotion’s physical expression. storytelling. and lack of reason and observation.Nisargadatta Maharaj. quickening pulse. “Love is the absence of distinction. For example. or shakiness—all are symptoms that eventually go away and cannot be identified with as any permanent “I”. for a thing cannot perceive itself (one can only refer to something he is not. chest tightness. stated so succinctly.com Page 37 . are dashboard lights signifying states marred by ignorance. 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.e. programming. feelings to the contrary.” Think of positive feelings as dashboard lights alerting a person to the experience of unity/present moment awareness (generally after it has subsided). Our capacity to identify something logically means that we cannot be it. we should be willing to let them go when they are ready to leave. queasiness. he is always an agent of or an agent to http://adulthood2. or emotions. "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." .
This makes possible numerous desirable states such as gratitude. etc. Writ large. we no longer need to tell stories to make ourselves the protagonist against unjust forces. “what it is”. Thus. the ability to perceive an emotional state and its physical component is an opportunity to realize that one is not that state. Gratitude and Radical Acceptance Once we are able to extricate ourselves from the drama of identifying with emotional states. but rather the one which experiences it. It does not mean we fail to see opportunities to make the world conform to various human http://adulthood2. unity.com Page 38 . 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. 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. this is the inability to see any wrongness in one’s life or the world and have gratitude for all that exists. The physical component to the mental state provides us further guidance in identifying the emotion. such as the nature of reality and perception and creative expression. How can my pain be me if I know it as something I experience temporarily? Thus.something).
the ability to see a situation for what it is and to have this sapience unmolested by our psychology. http://adulthood2. True detachment is a love of reality . aesthetics. giving no cause to react to it.ideals. disease. our condition. True detachment produces a resounding awareness of the impermanence of reality. we have radical acceptance of and gratitude for ourselves. our family and friends. attributes.) as they are and without judgment. violence. When manifestly applied. and the world. death. and challenges. desires. Without the perception of wrongness.com Page 39 . like equality. and Buddha defined it as liberation from desire and aversion. but rather it means we wholly accept their counterparts (inequality. Detachment Plato defined reason as the quality which liberates us from the tyranny of pleasure and pain. similar to the way a sailor retreats from exclamation at the sight of a wave. etc. our lovers. We see the complexity and inter-relatedness of all things. physical health. and peace. reason creates detachment (differing from the pejorative understanding of detachment suggesting reason produces the incapacity to act in a kind or considerate way). their cycles and unique abilities. and aversion. instincts.
and believe—what is known as integrity. sense. In this regard. the true Self would be thrown free from the chariot under the wild ramblings of the senses and mind. guiding the human experience. In this instance the false self is in an individual possessed of senses and mind unrestrained by reason. as described in the venerated Hindu scripture. is a charioteer.com Page 40 . it is expressed in degrees of certainty of what and how we think. The true Self is the passenger/observer. to have integrity and specificity of speech is to be ever aware of epistemology. Katha Upanishad. who is able to observe and genuinely self-express. The reins represent the cognitive capacities of the mind which can control the addiction to satisfying the senses. riding shotgun.Moreover. Specificity of Speech As reason becomes more central to our being. The charioteer is reason. http://adulthood2. run around pursuing pasture and stream after pasture and stream without direction or consideration. or how we know what we know. The chariot’s horses represent the senses that will. without guidance. reason. and the true Self is the individual possessed of reason. or the intellect. which commandeers the senses (horses) through the mind (reins) so as to keep the chariot on the course set forth by the charioteer. without reason and detachment.
if I am more specific with my words and decrease my certainty. while paying careful attention to what is as yet unknowable and therefore inexpressible. 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. unambiguous. as I represent one of three billion men. I have not committed an error. To prove a statement is untrue or unreasonable only requires a singular instance in which the argument does not hold. Adults strive for this consistency and are thus impeccable. cannot be defeated. I have committed an error. and efficient with their speech. I would have to add numerous qualifiers to convey that I know what it’s like for me to be a man. A reasonable argument is one that is stated accurately. reason often produces an uncompromising search for fact and a desire to express whatever can be expressed. But if I were to state that I am certain that I know what it’s like to be a man.If I make a statement that asserts that all swans are white. we can only be certain about what we do not know. by saying that all swans I’ve seen are white.com Page 41 . In this regard. and there is even one swan that is not white. and has internal consistency throughout. However. For example. or I believe most swans are white. I am certain I have no idea what it’s like to be a woman. With this in mind.
we merely follow our biological impulses. outlined a spectrum that encapsulates the different types of curiosity. critical thinking. as a child is not concerned with reality. During adolescence. resulting in the first semblances of reason. certain cognitive capacities mature and allow us to utilize greater portions of the neocortex. we decide how to conform to or act within cultural norms in order http://adulthood2. In adolescence. Curiosity is often expressed as childlike wonderment and a pursuit of truth. or the pleasure principle. Richard Rose. a twentieth-century American spiritual teacher.com Page 42 . and self-reflection. childhood is the ultimate in ignorance and boorishness. or relationship. Existential Curiosity The liberation from the slavery of programming reveals the contents of what we call our personality—a mess of random.man to offer a severe measure of caution with any assertion. In this regard. 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. ignorant mental chatter. that one can have to truth. In childhood. 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.
and use it towards the exploration of the nature of reality and creative expression. frustration with reason and all cognitive/academic/knowledge/scientific/material http://adulthood2. a modicum of curiosity is developed. Ignorance (focus on pleasure principle. sex. for its own sake. e. for pleasure. friendship. Yearning for truth. especially self-knowledge. Development of cognitive capacities towards the pursuit of more pleasure. Rose’s model of knowledge/curiosity/attention is a linear lockstep progression that precedes.g. Full development of reasoning capacity. • Childhood/Adolescence. In adolescence. and eventually surpasses reason. but only as applied towards the maximization of pleasure and minimization of pain. resulting in intuition. • Adulthood. academic pursuits to acquire knowledge. Adulthood allows us to harness cycles of brainpower that would be otherwise consumed by biological pleasure and social approval. delay of gratification in return for greater bodily rewards in the future. biological needs of the body).to get what we want (recognition. and acceptance).com Page 43 . money. • Seeker. encompasses.
from mind to spirit. etc. Nirvana. are inferior to the ultimate state of oneness. liberation from all striving.” —Pantanjali. • Nirvana (embodiment of Absolute Truth and God Consciousness) The completion of the human experience. Truth Realization. in their universal failure to produce Absolute truth. including reason. then use reason upon all reasons and the reasoner to eradicate the addiction to thinking/mind. • “The perceiver. Heaven. • Plotinus argued that all forms of thinking. Samadhi. Moksha. one must first use reason upon emotions and programming. Liberation. communion with God. To get to oneness.pursuits. Satori. • Represents the leap from focus on adulthood to a spiritual path. Enlightenment. and the object perceived are seen as one. • A move towards the desire for spiritual and mystical union.com Page 44 . the act of perceiving. “Diamond Sutra” http://adulthood2.
romantic relationships. gratitude. Communication Communication amongst humans literally means that all parties communicating embrace a shared meaning. shared and considered. we will explore five areas of human endeavor: communication. specificity of speech and existential curiosity) grease all interpersonal wheels. career. not the least of which is adulthood. detachment. That is. memory and emotion. and dominance. Career When one radically employs reason. varied and highly reliant upon past experiences. Given that language is itself transitory. joy. 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. Employing http://adulthood2. and enlightenment.com Page 45 . Professional relationships flourish under the influence of reason as practitioners of reason become decoupled from their unconscious egoic drivers—fear. sex. Embracing meaning is contingent on parties utilizing a shared language. the resulting/component qualities (self-awareness.Part Four: The Fruits of Reason The material fruits of reason are many. In this section.
what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. energized focus. In this regard. As mentioned. allowing one to ask deeper questions and see new patterns. possibilities. reason is a boon to creativity. curiosity and commitment (as opposed to attachment).reason. As an adult in a relationship. making self-awareness and integrity (consistency of thoughts. reason has a high return on investment (ROI). as leadership. 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. one becomes self-aware in the illumination of genetic and social programming and psychological trauma. full involvement and success. Self-awareness produced pursuits imbued with flow. and combinations. describes as a feeling of timelessness. But most importantly. such that others are drawn to that adult in times of crisis. purpose/identity. cultivating reason calls into question the type of work one pursues. actions and words with self) a priority. creativity and purpose are highly valued qualities in the marketplace.com Page 46 . to live in tranquility. collegial rapport. author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Romantic Relationships Any partnership benefits when one or both partners decide to take seriously their evolution into adulthood.
not the unconscious clinging and manipulation that results from one’s unexamined faults. The reasoning person brings his thinking in line with reality. An adult can be a giver and a rock for his/her partner in times of real or imagined crisis.g.state) and speaking in an emotionally articulate manner (e. in that the crux of the bond is an appreciation of the partner’s qualities. and generally derives greater satisfaction from life due to an ability to accept and appreciate not only the partner. These adults are generally a pleasure to be around and better partners. “I feel sad”.com Page 47 . yielding liberation from false ideas of self and http://adulthood2. vs. inarticulate emotional overwhelm “You son of a …”). It should also be noted that adults become less attracted to those who do not wish or are unable to employ reason. As such. an adult engages his/her partner out of want. 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). but all of life. By using reason to shed light on the depth of the psyche. 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. not need.
programming. That is. unison between the perceiver. so too should be reason and its fruits. by definition. sadness. The Seeker pursues enlightenment (communion with something that can be considered greater than the physical reality we perceive with our senses.expectations of others and the world. bandwidth which was previously consumed by ignorance and its expressions—anger. and present moment awareness. requires self-awareness and its cause. reason. If joy is a goal. and storytelling). and shame. upward and final transformation of being. In doing so. http://adulthood2. false ideas of self. reason must precede it. universal awareness. If success within any of these realms (or the virtues in Appendix A) are of interest to you.com Page 48 . the perceived and the act of perceiving. in that reason destroys ignorance. Spirituality. cosmic consciousness) upon a bedrock of reason. Enlightenment Adulthood is a precursor to the Seeker stage. spontaneity. One cannot make spiritual progress without first taking out the trash (addiction to emotional overwhelm. he gains enhanced psychic bandwidth to experience joy. and ignorance continue to pollute and corrupt the seeker. no amount of praying or religious ceremony will yield Heaven/Nirvana/Enlightenment/Samadhi/Satori/Moksha if unreconciled psychological trauma. guilt.
" 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. 5 conditions must first be met. skip ahead to Part Six. they are unfulfilled—thus casting doubt upon the existence of the physical material world and any knowledge pertaining to it.Part Five: Beyond Reason [WARNING: This section will take you through some philosophically choppy waters. However. so if your main concern is adulthood and not what lies beyond it.] As reason takes hold. ready to be stretched. As such. In nearly all cases. we become engaged in the examination of all things previously regarded as true or self-evident. a reasoning person would do well to apprise him/herself of these five conditions. so as not to speak or embody falsehood. if you’re ready for a challenge. "The man of science is a poor philosopher. More needs to be mentioned on the second stage of Richard Rose’s truth hierarchy. when reason begins to transform us into adults and illuminates our questions of certainty or epistemology. frustrated and confused. They are: • Existence Page 49 http://adulthood2.com .
a person making the assertion. For example. because in order for me to exist. 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. Specifically. there must be a chair. which is objective and infallible (non-human). A videogame character may engage in activity. http://adulthood2. That is. in order to make the assertion that a chair is blue.• • • • Infallibility of perception Infallibility of language Infallibility of metrics Absolute knowledge Existence A person must exist to say something true.com Page 50 . Without this second party paying witness. my own existence would be synonymous with the existence of a videogame character. Another entity. must agree that something exists. something else must exist to know my existence. humans are plagued by the errors of their perception and are therefore incapable of absolute objectivity. To establish existence. and a person listening to the assertion. have perception and utilize knowledge. there must be a second party agreeing to the claim. I cannot say I exist.
predictive. to send this information and another nonhuman entity to receive and confirm it. as the unreasoning human believes the perception of existence to be sufficient evidence for existence. A result of the programming and emotionality of the common human experience is the misapprehension of existence. As soon as one begins to question his existence. So we need a nonhuman entity (devoid of the flaws of perception). humans are neither and thus our existence is a unconfirmed. but by some sort of infallible entity). saying anything which is absolutely true.com Page 51 . creative.e.i. personal relationships. which it most clearly is not. Our senses are filtered and comingled by our memory. such as a digital video recorder (presumably not constructed by a flawed human. By definition. 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. 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. career and selfaggrandizement seem quite trivial. calculated guess. matters relating to emotional overwhelm.
” 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. Conditioning. which on the surface seems to perceive things ubiquitously. repetition. The result is a homogenized vocabulary used by a populace. I could see a chair that I call “blue. words. and perception do not yield an objective reality. only in a referentially consistent manner. only one that is mutually agreed upon. Language Let us say that there were such a way for us to could establish our existence and our perception as indisputable. Per Wittgenstein.com Page 52 . We are all corrected when we draw outside the lines or use the wrong colors. Even if we were to objectively know we exist. or sensory descriptions. The restrictions of language are such: we have a limited number of words to describe an infinite number of occurrences and http://adulthood2. This effect is the result of repetition and rote learning during early childhood development.” but never know that what I see when I see “blue” is the same thing that you see when you see “blue. but in reality. our ability to make true statements is still bound by the fallibility of our perception.to confirm our existence and relay to us this existence in a manner that circumvents our fallible perception.
etc. we would need infallible metrics to describe our assertions. Metrics Let us say that we exist. 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. uses. we cannot communicate as a species with total certainty. If this were so. These vastly different experiences of the word “chair” will influence how the word “chair” is used and understood. perceive infallibly. such as if we were all plugged into Wikipedia as our sole source of language and meaning. whereas I could be an obese person who has destroyed many chairs and experience fear when I see the same Danish-designed chairs. in order to say something true. the greater the confusion. Thus. Space-time warps http://adulthood2. space.) in the past. and draw upon the same words and meanings. number. but never complete communication.situations. we can only approach rough approximations of meaning. You could be a chair-maker and tingle with ecstasy every time you see Danish-designed chairs. Our metrics for describing things in relation to one another (time. origins. I will never know exactly what you mean by “chair” because my meaning is influenced by my experiences of chairs (types.com Page 53 . This phenomenon is exacerbated when describing more subtle things like human relations or abstract concepts – the more abstract.
but never both). All we claim is that we believe there is a physical center to things. black holes. but not wholly knowable per Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle (we can know the position or the speed of something.g. our experience of time is also variable. time is not immutable. given that we are all moving. and dark energy. space-time is not absolutely reliable or predictable. e. and weak nuclear) influence it. However. dark matter. As such. such as an atom. strong nuclear. not total certainty) and dayto-day activities on this planet. M-Theory. Time and space are relatively predictable. and useful for the relative pursuits within physical science (also based upon probability and degrees of certainty. the physical center. quark. and thus is useless in the pursuit of truth.fairly predictably. As Einstein proved. as it can only give rough approximations. gravity. matter is at best predictable. have failed as the discovery of each new and tinier particle never quite yields a working equation to justify the existence of something solid. and yet not fully predictably. or string.com Page 54 . but rather slows down depending on the motion of the perceiving utilities. the Big Bang. Matter suffers the same flaw. We don’t know where electrons go http://adulthood2. and that per our theory and experiments. There is confusion around numerous concepts and theories in physics. a variety of forces (electromagnetic. Our attempts to identify single indivisible units of matter.
or God). but ultimately unknowable medium we call reality/perception/life. our metrics (space-time and matter) for describing our observations or knowledge are themselves unknowable. but never absolutely true. All of our knowledge 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. we have to prove that our observation is in relation to something immutable. Without footing on the shore (knowledge of the exact whereabouts of absolute truth. our perception is infallible. We are still confined to the realm of the relative (e. and destruction of matter and energy. creation. center of the universe. we are to each other but two ships passing in the night. Moreover.g. seemingly ubiquitous. adrift in a familiar. We can only observe and measure them the instant we watch them. our language is concrete and universal. To make claims intended to be universally true or absolute. the table is black. Absolute Knowledge Now let’s say we exist. Thus. and our metrics equally so. they act as both particle and wave (energy).when we are not watching them. giving rise to a whole host of questions regarding the transmutability. relative to not-the-table and not-black).com Page 55 . such as the center of the universe or God’s will or the ultimate state of humanity.
or prematurely abandon reason in order to lean on another authority. regardless of rhetoric marked by volume or repetition.about the human experience is without absolute footing and is thus un-anchored. The most common sources of external authority are parents/family and social institutions (law. It can approach truth. constantly seeks greater http://adulthood2. it is clear that science and indeed all of human knowledge is asymptotic. but it can never deliver it. In an absence of certainty. the only utility of language is the spiritual task of destroying falsity. An adult roots out and expels unfounded dogma. 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.com Page 56 . psychologists/Western medicine. as language can never create or express absolute truth. With the aforementioned conditions of certainty unsolved. Spiritual Vector Without being able to say or know anything as absolutely true. free market fundamentalism and institutional religion). academia. relative. and therefore meaningless where truth is concerned.
such as “gravity will continue to hold me to the earth. and metrics are infallible. acts in accordance with the greatest possible understanding of a situation. only go forth the best way he knows. However. language. An adult will never fully believe what he says is true. mysteries. “On Yoga” This is not to say that in absence of absolute truth an adult does nothing.com Page 57 . "the spirit of disponibilite [availability]. before http://adulthood2. doubts. or meets the expectation of petty mental standards of others.” and live life accordingly until a clearer understanding or more reasonable course of action presents itself. Keats defined this phenomenon as negative capability." Heidegger defined this state as gelassenheit. He is not governed by the judgments of men or the laws laid down by the ignorant. “One does not care if one fails or succeeds or if one is righteous or unrighteous. "when a man is capable of being in uncertainties. provided I exist and our perception.understanding.” —Sri Aurobindo. without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. Adults can still assert qualified (with degrees of certainty) hypotheses. he obeys an inner voice and is moved by an unseen power. adults are unattached and are willing to let go of and reformulate hypotheses upon the discovery of new data or flaws in logic.
an adult refuses to take himself or anything else seriously. one http://adulthood2.com Page 58 . Certainty is a mental possession that adults decontrol in order to embrace the ambiguity that more accurately describes our experience of reality. one that paradoxically springs from an abandonment of illusions. That is. And it's regenerative because it doesn't see change as the enemy. David Eagleman. It is an intimate awareness of what one knows." Most recently. resulting in a near complete openmindedness. a calm surrender to the inevitable. informing us that life is at best a dream. Columnist Gary Kamiya calls it a "spirit of regeneration. we can only accept our experience and play a role in this game/play/dream called life. what one does not know and what cannot be known on the physical/cognitive plane. Without certainty. articulated this as Possibilianism. We are adults to the extent that reason removes certainty. neuroscientist. a rejection of all theory as absolute and a wide embrace of each theory as having only particular explanatory significance. and we are children to the extent we believe otherwise. It's an invincible self-fulfilling belief. The comedic attitude offers a kind of resignation.What-is which permits us simply to let things be in whatever may be their uncertainty and their mystery.
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. As such. and always be on hand to enjoy a good chuckle at our own expense when we mistakenly feign certainty. an adult is able to entertain ambiguity. exploring belief.com Page 59 .” that is.that bubbles up from somewhere unseen. In holding certainty under the light of reason. Further. “The study of faith is the end of faith. faith. I believe this approach is one of the few pieces practical http://adulthood2. Krishnamurti echoes these sentiments." 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. It is perfectly fine to have a vision and be committed to seeing it realized. never rely upon the rationale or dogma of others. to hold multiple explanations concurrently. and certainty reveals their utter scarcity and groundlessness in reason. Action is only noble in so far as the reasonable man respects the autonomy of all other men and the uncertainty of his thinking.
a reality searched for by saints. compassion (white man's burden) and free markets have subjugated nations in the name of their own alleged supremacy.philosophy that will not produce philotyranny . but in the possibility created by the efforts of God-realized individuals. philosophers. When reason has produced its final result. especially of one’s existence. If the final result of reason is the absence of certainty. then why not just avoid all the hard work of reasoning and becoming an adult. Even democracy.a one-dimensional political philosophy that produces oppression in the course of its manifestation. right faith—full and complete devotion to http://adulthood2. as it is by nature personal. can be maddening and often yields a desire for a greater.com Page 60 . as provided by Michael Murphy's "Future of the Body" and William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience". poets. and mystics across time and geography. and just worship God? Although reason and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. more sustained reality. This vector does not rest upon any proof of God. The absence of certainty. a potentiality for which there is ample historical account. absence of certainty. material pursuits are abandoned in an attempt to create of a spiritual vector of will towards a sustained reality. and the absence of certainty often creates a spiritual vector.
Without it.a supreme reality—can only be a course of last resort. if a person is engulfed by unexamined superstition and subconscious programming. philosophy establishes it in argument. faith will degenerate into credulity. logical reason may become mere speculation. That is. Without the material supplied by faith. a poorly cultivated intellect and/or unexamined psyche. While the scriptures declare truth by enunciation.” . The problem with institutional religion is that most people come to religion because of custom. further open the heart and ready the soul for union. one must come to God with the firsthand knowledge that all other pursuits are futile.com Page 61 . as ignorance obscures one from any transcendental reality. one must first fight his/her way through cognitive fires of the Enlightenment in order to earnestly pursue spirituality for him/herself. fear. “There is great insistence on the need for logical inquiry. Further. they will not possess the critical thinking required to unshackle the mind.Radhakrishnan http://adulthood2.
com . 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. lethargic. and that only our ignorance obscured it. Barriers Becoming an adult is much easier said than done and we must remove the barriers to adulthood. The treatment is the diagnosis. They are: • • • • • Media Chemical dependency Emotional dependency Frenzy Social contract Page 62 http://adulthood2. and in this regard adulthood is a process. reason.Part Six: Impediments to and Tools for Adulthood Now that we have defined adulthood and its prime mover. They keep most people stuck amongst the quiet. and desperate masses. There are five forces/paradigms that hinder our ability to observe and reason.
g. caffeine. sex and dominance.g. Ingestion over time creates addiction and health issues. The human brain can only process 12-15 frames per second. reality.g. and adrenaline/cortisol from emotional overwhelm. the thoughts that can liberate us from adolescence. TV. e. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television). questions of existence. TV specifically delivers more information to you than your neocortex is able to categorize. methamphetamines. however. marijuana. The remaining frames do not simply hit our forehead and fall to the floor. Emotional Dependency http://adulthood2. nicotine. alcohol. Chemical Dependency Chemicals can be ingested.com Page 63 . radio. They attach themselves to exist subconscious drivers for fear.Media Remove sources of mindless distraction delivered by the web. Further mindless media provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. Chemicals also provide escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. dopamine and oxytocin from sex. e. e. whereas TV delivers 30 (ref. certainty. and newspapers that generate contrived drama through scripted. and sports programming. and internally created.
When an emotion arises. in which case they can last days. over-scheduling. seek its source. Emotional indulgence also provides escape from one’s own dangerous thoughts. dangerous questions. coworkers and peers and abstaining from mainstream media. Emotions only last a few minutes unless they are actively fed by subject. adulthood is benefitted by slowing down.com Page 64 . Frenzy Frenzy is mindless multitasking. staying chemically and emotionally sober. http://adulthood2. Frenzy 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. express 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. In summation. addiction to ideas of self.Many of us feed the psychological emotional response mechanism set in place by programming. such that downtime. and contemplation become impossible. and overwork. ignoring the opinions of family. witness it. adjust your understanding and move on.
NVC is a communication framework for building emotional fluency and capacity. such that two people can feel respected. needs and requests. ManKind Project is a men’s organization that enhanced emotional capacity and integrity. ManKind Project/Woman Within and Non-Violent Communication. nor a rich lineage to point to. fun. Psychologists are best compared to http://adulthood2.Tools Seekers of adulthood should actively seek experiences that will force the illumination of programming. Landmark Forum delivers a set of exercises designed to reveal the genesis of personality and empowers us to create fulfilling. emotions. do not follow their prescriptions as they have no proven prescriptive mastery. it separates data. flow-filled possibilities for our lives. Like every self-awareness tool. such as: Retreats Retreats such as Landmark Forum. listen.com Page 65 . connected and empowered to create solutions. heard. Zen. judgments. voice dialogue method and somatic psychology. but never blindly obey. Psychotherapy Though the frameworks psychologists and therapists employ are valuable for the exposition of programming. NVC. it leverages Gestalt psychotherapy. while redefining manhood.
psychological. Repeat until you have an immutable and defensible treatise or a blank page. omitting anything that is not true from the previous version. Best results occur after sustained practice. Despite these risks.veterinarians. seeking only to heal the animal so that it can be better for burden or slaughter.g. many find hallucinogens to be fun and rewarding. so use their analyses to discover your programming. read it and repeat the writing process. On the next day. Hallucinogens Hallucinogens like LSD and mushrooms. I have been advised by spiritual and legal counsel not to recommend these as there are legal. 20 mins a day for 30 days. as they temporarily alter perception and demonstrate its utter fallibility. the latter being more likely. and spiritual risks involved. Autolysis Autolysis: write down everything you know to be absolutely true. They have no exact knowledge of the absolute. e. especially Insight/Vipassana. Meditation Meditation practices. It is no coincidence that the real Protestant reformation (whereby large numbers of people claimed their individual spiritual paths) http://adulthood2.com Page 66 . but never their treatments.
http://adulthood2.began at the same time that hallucinogenic drugs became widely available (after 1970).com Page 67 .
we become adults. Reason restores instinct and emotion to their proper place and creates room for more interesting outcomes. relationships. yielding substantial benefits. culturally agnostic and universal conception. service or a spiritual path. such as creative expression. Moreover. By embracing reason thoroughly. conflicted and conformist images of the “grown ups” we remember from our youth. Our new definition of adulthood now invalidates the dull. mundane. more internally consistent.com Page 68 . spirituality and for future generations. expression of joy. are not only possible. the pursuits beyond the materially and commonly perceived. and stand as adults upon the precipice of ever widening possibility. we become virtuous and are awarded its benefits. Happy reasoning. particularly in our careers. through the manifest application of reason. we complete the Enlightenment. but now necessary. http://adulthood2. which allow us a fuller and greater experience of life. is its prime mover.Conclusion Reason. and offer a brighter. while not the only characteristic of adulthood. Through reason.
” 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. this may not be for you. Moreover. to generate an initiate understanding of the book’s appeal and utility to you • Analytical: reading the book cover to cover.com Page 69 . Mortimer Adler’s. This book is written for a person with a 12th-grade reading comprehension. table of contents. there are many ways to chomp words and exactly how we read deserves review.Notes & Disclaimers On Reading The activity of reading often is taken for granted. looking for the author’s arguments in each paragraph. so if you are younger than 18 or are not a strong reader. introduction. skimming and sporadic deep-diving. rephrasing these arguments in your own words. making notes in the margins. underlining main arguments and evidence. questioning the author’s goals and efficacy. author’s biography. “How to Read a Book. asking http://adulthood2.
equality and individuality. For Black Sheep Believing oneself to be outside society or the mainstream does not make one an adult. “What is an adult?” I believe Adulthood 2.yourself questions in the margins. I will assume that you are at least an elementary reader at the 12th grade or higher. however. then analytically and make lots of notes.com Page 70 . 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. It often indicates an adherence to an http://adulthood2. that you read this work inspectionally. If this book raises burning questions for you. I will ask. please consider a synoptic exploration of your questions.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. 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. a key tenet of scholarship For this book.
as my exposure to the female psyche is only secondhand. spiritual. even in isolation. reason.what sociologist. Da Vinci. I cannot offer gender-neutral testimony on adulthood. Emerson.com Page 71 .equally dogmatic lifestyle/clique. those with commonly considered “alternative lifestyles. as they are bio-chemically and socially quite different. for instance. However. ‘Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment’). hormones. of Jesus. and spirit of a male human. and Socrates were indistinguishable from their contemporaries. On Gender I have experienced life through the mind.” are similarly blindly and obediently living about a half a block away. Numerous social. James Cote calls "default individualization". The clothes. True mavericks are generally unidentifiable by simple lifestyle choices. (ref. and biological sources suggest that the genders cannot be illumined with the same lamp. but equally trapped by programming and the refusal to turn our inquiry inward . lying somewhat outside the norm. If the masses are blindly and obediently living on Main Street. http://adulthood2. Newton. not true developmental individualization. Jed McKenna. or anything else for that matter. body. Buddha. much of the research herein is gender neutral. Kant.
I am no master. http://adulthood2. 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. senses.On Integrity My personal journey toward adulthood is ongoing and not complete. or yogi. I am like an addict in a 28-day rehabilitation program. adult. On the first day I overcame my denial and realized I have an adulthood problem.com Page 72 . I created the path. So please. Now I am somewhere between the 3rd and 28th day. and though I am making progress and find this framework useful. and addictions. On the second day. I am firmly embroiled in witnessing my emotions.
rather it is he who bends them into the shape of reason and right judgment. has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.” —Benjamin Franklin “Reason should direct and appetite obey.” —Cicero “The good devout man first makes inner preparation for the actions he has later to perform. or his own portion of it. His outward actions do not draw him into lust and vice.com . Hegel “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society. to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will.Appendix A: Reason and Virtue Truth • • “Whatever is reasonable is true. activity to gather materials for decision. He who chooses his plan for himself.” —Georg W. He must use observation to see.” —Sho-gun Yoritomo Tashi Page 73 http://adulthood2.” —John Stuart Mill “But with creatures who have intelligence. choose his plan of life for him.” —Michel de Montaigne Detachment and Self-awareness • • • • • “Educate your children to self-control. Who has a stiffer battle to fight than the man who is striving to conquer himself?” —Thomas Kempis “He who lets the world.” —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. and whatever is true is reasonable. employs all his faculties. thought is a superior faculty. reasoning and judgment to foresee. discrimination to decide. and when he has decided. firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision. which aids the soul to free itself from the bondage of vulgar and limited impressions.
obscures your sense of God. that is sin to you. whatever weakens your reason.” —Publilius Syrus Certainty • • • • • “There are few things reason can discover with so much certainty and ease as its own insufficiency.” — Vauvenargues “Reason and emotion are not antagonists. where our best light and reasoning will reach no farther.” —Michel de Montaigne “He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason. . take this rule. automatic and unconscious.” Nathaniel Branden “An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason.com .” —Isaac Watts “A reasonable probability is the only certainty. impairs the tenderness of your conscience. or takes off the relish of spiritual things.” —James Ramsey Page 74 http://adulthood2.W. however innocent it may be in itself. Howe “Never reason from what you do not know. you will soon believe what is utterly against reason.” —Benjamin Franklin “Repression is not the way to virtue. 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. When people restrain themselves out of fear.• • • • • • • • “Would you who judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure. . Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason. What seems like a struggle is a struggle between two opposing ideas or values. their lives are by necessity diminished.” —Jeremy Collier “Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right. If you do. whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind. manifests itself in the form of a feeling. must be content with probability. one of which. but seldom with a good one.” Cicero “Emotions have taught mankind to reason. shows that his reason is weak. in short. There are a hundred things wherein we mortals.” —Robert Southey “Anger is never without reason.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi “He who establishes his argument by noise and command.” —E.
” —John Kord Lagemann Creativity • • “Talent.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge “Good humor is a paradox.” —Seneca “Never let the future disturb you. genius. lying in the understanding. but the firm resolve of virtue and reason. with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” —Woodrow Wilson “True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes. philosophy establishes it in argument. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” —Pythagoras “Reason is God's crowning gift to man. if you have to. Whitehead Curiosity • “The important thing is not to stop questioning.Intuition • “Intuition isn't the enemy. Without it. N.” Radhakrishnan Leadership • • “Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others.” —Sophocles “There is great insistence on the need for logical inquiry. While the scriptures declare truth by enunciation. all else mortal. of life.” —Albert Einstein Page 75 http://adulthood2.com . logical reason may become mere speculation. is often inherited. faith will degenerate into credulity. rarely or never. The unexpected juxtaposition of the reasonable next to the unreasonable.” —A. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. of the marvelous structure of reality. to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation. of reason. —Marcus Aurelius Antoninus “Reason is immortal. You will meet it. but the ally.” — Melvin Helitzer Spirituality • • • • • “What does reason demand of a man? A very easy thing-to live in accord with his nature. Without the material supplied by faith. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity. Never lose a holy curiosity. being the action of reason or imagination.
It was not reasoned into him. ordinary minds by experience. if there be one.” —Edwin P.” —Virginia Woolf Humility • “Vanity is the quicksand of reason. he who cannot is a fool. but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself. under which weak minds are servilely crouched.” — Sydney Smith “He who will not reason is a bigot.” —Thomas Jefferson Peace http://adulthood2. he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” —Thomas H. and he who dares not is a slave. by necessity.” —Sir William Drummond “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God.” —Cicero “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices. Huxley “Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. and call on her tribunal for every fact.com Page 76 .” — Thomas Paine “He who kills a man kills a reasonable creature. the stupid. and brutes by instinct.” — Thomas Jefferson “An epigram often flashes light into regions where reason shines but dimly. because. Fix reason firmly in her seat.” —George Sand Wisdom • • • • • • • • “The wise are instructed by reason.” —John Milton Democracy • “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. and cannot be reasoned out. Whipple “Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.Autonomy • “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
• “Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war.” —Norman Mailer http://adulthood2.com Page 77 .
provided you have a group and do the exercises together.) 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 .Fahrenheit 451 George Orwell’s 1984.” A very good book to begin with. especially “Appreciation and Gratitude.com .” “Good Thing.com/gt04-20).” and “Alternate Reality. Animal Farm Page 78 http://adulthood2.Appendix B: Suggested Media These books strongly relate to the task at hand. Find this exact selection on Amazon (http://astore.amazon.” “Mental Chatter. Books that hone reason: • • • Plato’s Dialogues (especially Laws. 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. Bad Thing.
Illusions Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist. Ken Wilber and Cornel West) Waking Life Altered States What the Bleep Way of the Peaceful Warrior Groundhog Day The Razor’s Edge Power of Myth Page 79 http://adulthood2. Albigen Papers Herman Melville’s Moby Dick Nisargadatta Maharaj’s I Am That The Upanishads Transcendental Narratives (fun. The Witch of Portobello Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. Summerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge Films that ask questions regarding existence and consciousness: • • • • • • • • Matrix Trilogy (the box set with the commentary by contemporary philosophers. Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment. both fictional and autobiographical) • • • • • • • • • • • • Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle John Healey’s Awakening of a Foot Soldier Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha David Gold’s After the Absolute Carlos Valles’s Mastering Sadhana: On Retreat with Anthony DeMello Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning Michael Murphy’s Golf in the Kingdom Paul Brunton’s Search in Secret India W. Spiritual Warfare Richard Rose’s Psychology of the Observer.com . inspiring and mystical journeys.• Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis Enlightenment Manuals (for those interested in going beyond adulthood) • • • • • Jed McKenna’s Spiritual 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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