Food for Thought
“There is no such thing as alcoholism or an alcoholic.”
In this quote from his book, “Games People Play”, which has sold millions of copies in the last sixty years, Dr. Eric Berne explains, what we refer to as alcoholism is just a juvenile game, no different from many other games which people play when trying to have power over others.
The title of Neil Postman’s book, “The Disappearance of Childhood”, is misleading, it is adulthood, which is disappearing, not childhood. We are no longer able to clearly distinguish any differences between children and most grownups. The modern electronic age has become the centre of society, and literacy has moved to the periphery of individual lives resulting in children who physically grow up but never mature enough mentally or emotionally to warrant them to be referred to as adults.
The printing press gave access to education for the masses. It was reading and logical thinking which allowed commoners to obtain a degree of maturity. The characteristics associated with maturity are those that are either generated or amplified by the requirements of a fully literate culture: the capacity for self-restraint, a tolerance for delayed gratification, a sophisticated ability to think conceptually and sequentially, a preoccupation with both historical continuity and the future, a high valuation for reason and hierarchical order. True adults want freedom, and they understand, to gain freedom, they must be willing to accept responsibility for their actions and a determination to plan their own life.
Maturity is the ability to handle life’s problems. Immature people do not take their work seriously (if they work at all). In fact, they do not take anything in life seriously and do not accept it responsibly. Immature people may have children but give them little nurturing. They have no traditions, have no foresight or serious plans, and they are fickle in religion, politics, and relationships with people. Having no mind of their own and no loyalty they will readily jump from person to person and group to group. Immature people never have serious or extended conversations, and under no circumstances do they allude to anything that is not familiar to an eight-year-old child. Their sense of humour is juvenile. They are never influenced by rational common sense or scientific evidence. However, they are easily manipulated through emotion and flattery. They will be philanthropic when this gives them a feeling of superiority.
Children tend to be slaves to their bodies. If they feel like eating candy, they will be determined to have it. A grownup who still has this slave mentality may become a voluntary slave to alcohol, caffeine, sugar or any other “addictive” substance or behaviour. Benjamin Franklin, in his autobiography, explains how any person may become a true adult and take charge of their own future. So did Thomas Paine and many other writers who, against many odds, decided to seek maturity and then tell their story about how they became a mature person who achieved what they wanted out of life by taking charge of their own destiny and accepting responsibility for their actions. Frederick Douglass, a black slave who obtained his freedom and became well educated, gave inspiration to thousands of people of all colours who wished for true freedom so they could begin taking full authority for and responsibility of running their own lives and planning their own futures.
Every person on earth comes from slavery. All of us have ancestors who were slaves. We are all equal in this respect, and nobody is superior to anyone else. We all come from the same place and the idea of class distinction has been fabricated by humans. We are ALL-ONE. However, the more recent a person has come from slavery, the more readily that person tends to be fearful of accepting freedom. Slaves never have to take any blame for what becomes of them. Most former slaves tend to voluntarily remain in slavery. They choose to not take responsibility for their own futures. Many will join the military, others will join a gang, a revolution, or a religious congregation. This compulsion to remain in slavery is not innate, it is learned behaviour passed on from parent to child. The child is made to feel a foreigner to freedom and responsibility. This is why they never mature enough to become a responsible adult. Reading serious books gave millions of slaves the knowledge and tools to move out of slavery and begin achieving what they want out of life. Those who refuse to read are no better off than those who cannot read.
Wayne Douglas Weedon is a Manitoba author who writes a combination of fictional and factual stories, essays, and novels.