23 nov. 2010

The Adult Paradigm

From blogger Elisa Gabbert I borrow the idea of the "adult paradigm," who in turn took it from another friend of hers. My understanding of it might differ from hers, or his, so they bear no responsibility for what I am going to say.

For me, the adult paradigm means knowing the true value of things, or at least attempting to know what things are really worth. (Kind of the opposite of the cynic who "knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.") Knowing how to hit a ball with a stick is not very important for most adults, but a discussion of who can hit a ball with a stick better than someone else is probably just about as worthwhile as many other discussions, about which perfumes smell the best or which beer is good to drink. In other words, many other topics are equally trivial in the grand scheme, but very significant, possibly, in an immediate situation or for particular people. An adult is a relativist in this sense. She knows that other people won't care about what she cares about, and that's fine. He know there are no gods, but doesn't waste time arguing people out of their beliefs. (Or, if the adult happens to be an adherent of a particular system of belief, he knows it is a useful framework just as good as anyone else's. She knows that if she had been born into feudal Japan or the Egypt of the Pharoahs, she would not have been a Methodist or Theosophist.)

The adult can allow herself true enthusiasms, without adolescent jadedness or faux cynicism. He knows his strengths and weaknesses and is not likely to be star-struck or intimidated by other people.


The adult paradigm is an aspiration; it is not achieved all at once but in little bits, if at all.