Defining Yourself as an Adult

Choose Carefully How You Define Yourself As An Adult

All social roles are in transition, temporarily trapped in a dynamic tension between the old world view of adulthood which views the adult as a finished being who has stopped growing and merely transmitted what has already been learned and experienced to the next generation.

The new world view is adults continue to grow throughout the course if their life span right up until the moment of death if they have the right mind-set to adapt, survive, and learn from life’s experience. 

Mature adults learn from all people, including children and fools. They are intrigued by the complexity of the human mind and human behavior. They are constantly poking at life — doing controlled experiments, if you will, in the laboratory of life. 

In this paradigm (belief system) an adult is a living growing organism building a complex view of the world based upon the progressive integrations of stages, levels, and experiences of life.
Henry Miller, in his book The Tropic of Capricorn describes the old paradigm of adulthood in this way: “Once you become an adult, you lose your personhood and transform into a frightened and calculating being. I’ve watched sadly as my friends grew up and stopped being real, stopped being persons.”

“At seven years, we knew with dead certainty … that such a fellow would end up in prison, that another would be a drudge, and another a good for nothing, and so on. We were absolutely correct in our diagnoses, much more correct … than our parents or our teachers — more correct, indeed, than the so-called psychologists. The academic learning we received only tended to obscure our vision of a mature adult. From the day we went to school, we learned nothing; on the contrary, we were made obtuse, we were wrapped in a fog of words and abstractions.”

I can build upon the thinking of Henry Miller by saying that as adults became separated from the experience of life when they get trapped in the idea of what a life could or should be. 

In other words, we were taught to live according to the thinking of others and ignore our own mind and unique intuitions — to shut down the guilt inner voice whispering to us and only to us what our true purpose in life, are true destiny, really is. Instead we were socialized to belong and become a cog in the machinery of culture and society.

“What I am thinking of, with a certain amount of regret and longing, is that this thoroughly restricted life of early boyhood seems like a limitless universe, and the life that followed upon it, the life of an adult, a constantly diminishing realm. From the moment when one is put in school one is lost, one has a feeling of having a halter put around his neck. The taste goes out of the bread as it goes out of life. Getting the bread becomes more important than the eating of it. Everything is calculated, and everything has a price on it.”

Peter Pan told us that we should never become grownups, never become adults. He said that we should just stay children — remain trapped in childhood. 

Timothy Leary — famous for his bumper sticker saying: “Turn on, tuner, in, and drop out.” — made the use of the psychedelic drug LSD an extension of his philosophy of adulthood as an endless childhood in which we he kept randomly learning and growing through relatively unpredictable expansions in consciousness that could never be fully understood. 

In reading his autobiography, Flashback by Timothy Leary, it is obvious that this approach to adulthood gave him intense experiences while allowing him to be manipulated and used by powerful forces beyond his control and never really getting the big picture of life and living.

Timothy Leary has been quoted by Eugene Marks as saying that the word adult is the past participle of the Latin verb “adulescere,” meaning to have grown up or to have already lived one’s life. He advised people to “never let yourself become a past participle, Which means that you have already lived your life and are now done living and merely transmit culture.”

Eugene Marks expressed his personal experience with the new paradigm of adulthood as an ongoing process of deliberate spiritual, psychological, and social growth in the following:

 “In my life, I have continued to live as I lived as a boy. I am the same person I have always been. I have not left behind the honesty and awareness of my childhood. I have not finished growing. and I have not and never will become one of those uptight and frightened adults.  I don’t see myself as old. I’m still me, still the same person I’ve always been, just older than I was before And I must say, I’m proud of the seventy-eight trips around the sun that I’ve made so far. It’s been quite a ride, and I’m not done yet.” 

I, personally must add to this description, for I find the description of Eugene Marks as limited — catching the sprit of the thing but leaving out what I have found to be vital details. 

In my sixty seven years (I was born on March 6, 1949) I have become weathered by the storm of life, mellowed and humble by the winning of battles that had less meaning than I thought they would have, and loosing the battles that hurt me more deeply than I ever believed that they could. I have been injured and healed, covered with scars. I have walked with purpose making the world shake beneath my feet. I have crawled in pain needing others to care for me. I have been lost in the maze. I experienced joy and passion and the depths of depression. In knowing I could take my life, and nearly doing so, I found I could keep my life and transform it.

I have found myself to be part of the flow of history because I live with a keen awareness that we all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before, and we lift the young upon our shoulders so they should see freedom and in that freedom a better life and more options of thought and experience than we have had available to us. ~ Terry Gorski, January 17, 2012

**Source:** Adapted from: The Caldron, Actually Its most Adults Who Are Persons by Eugene Marks:

Other resources: For the ancient Chinese, the caldron was a spiritual vessel, a container of light and wisdom. (See the I Ching, Hexagram 50.)

The Caldron is also a spiritual vessel, a source for light and wisdom.

Light is indeed needed today, as the world as we know it begins to fall apart, as the darkness grows. 

A caldron, in military or warrior terminology, is an intense and dangerous test of ability that transforms a person psychologically and spiritually.

For previous issues of The Caldron see the E-Zine Archives. For my here and now thoughts, see Notes from the Edge. For The Life and Death of Wanderer, see the Weekly Reader.

You may first wish to read The Birth of Wanderer, the first Wanderer book, the story of one man’s spiritual journey towards wholeness of being. You may access this book with the drop down menu under Birth of Wanderer.

Welcome and enjoy. 

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