Thursday, September 27, 2007

A hybrid monster that is neither adult nor child but both at the same time

All in the Family from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
In my opinion, we are experiencing a collapse of the covenant between mother and father as represented in the previous maternal/paternal two-party system. It is as if we are children living in a home where mother and father no longer get along, and are bickering constantly. In fact, that is probably putting it too mildly, because the current situation has gone beyond mere arguing, to the point that the masculine and feminine spheres are no longer communicating at all and are going through a very messy and acrimonious divorce. Both sides are “lawyered up” and ready to go for the throat.
I believe we may trace this divorce to the 1960s, when mother government started to become so all powerful that there was almost no role for father. Of course, this began to change in the 1980s, when father began reasserting himself because of the cultural, political and economic chaos that ensued, but by then, something else had happened. That is, the age old distinctions between mother and father and adult and child had begun to attenuate. For example, the feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s had very little to do with honoring femininity, but generally degraded and devalued it. It largely became a vehicle for the expression of female envy, giving angry and maladjusted women license to imitate the men they envied. After all, few women are less feminine than the typical NOW activist. Nor are they masculine, however. A woman cannot actually become a man, but can only become a monstrous blending of male and female.
Importantly, this is not to suggest that a woman cannot develop her masculine side or a man his feminine side. What we are talking about is a complete nullification of the differences, a kind of magical, self-imposed blindness, so that the differences are blended (because they are not acknowledged). As feminists used to say, "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
The other main psychological mutation that occurred beginning with the 1960s was the eradication of the differences between adult and child. Up until then, there was a clear difference between the spheres of adult and child, and everyone knew it. When I was growing up in the '60s, I had my interests and my parents had theirs, and there was very little intersection between the two -- for example, baseball with my father. But we dressed differently, listened to different kinds of music, enjoyed different activities, read different literature, liked different movies, etc.
But that has all changed now. Here again it is critical to point out that there is nothing at all wrong with an adult maintaining contact with the child part of himself. In fact, doing so is vital for creativity, spontaneity and play. Again, as in the blending of male and female, the problem arises when the differences between adult and child are obliterated, which creates a hybrid monster that is neither adult nor child but both at the same time. This affects both adults and children, for our society has become a plague of adult children and childish adults -- that is, prematurely sexualized children who, at the same time, are burdened with all kinds of inappropriate concerns about college and career, and childish adults who psychologically do not grow beyond the age of 21 or so, and never enter the realm of the truly adult. (An excellent book that discusses this phenomenon in detail is Neil Postman’s The Disappearance of Childhood.

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