Growing up: What does it mean?

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Icon
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:15 am
I find myself sitting here at my desk and looking back at my life. I am considering how far I have come from the out of control, irresponsible, heavy metal, slacker which I once was to a professional, business minded, ordered, man I am today.

It got me thinking; what does it mean to grow up. What causes it and what contributes to it. Does growth always mean for the better or is it ambiguous? Do you ever wish you could reclaim a certain personality trait from your youth or get rid of one which resulted from growth in the wrong or unpredicted direction?

Discuss.
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 02:20 pm
@Icon,
Good question.

The answer, I believe is often more subtle than it appears. But it has to do with the notion 'Unless you are as a child, you may not enter the kingdom of heaven'.

Its not about disowning the inner child. The inner child never dies, it is just embellished. Its about realising that many people put on a conservative demeanour out of embarrasment at what they got up to in their youth. Out of a need to appear mature. But because they pursue the appearance of maturity, they often find themselves regressing to childish antics when (they think) nobody is looking.

A typical example is the supression of freedom of speech, which is a quite childish way of dealing with something that one does not like. A genuinely mature person has the capacity to engage with anyone. They 'own' the inner child, and so have the capacity to reach down to the youth in all sincerity.

Those who habitually engage in 'eye-roling', and use demeaning remarks to try and subdue the other in a condescending manner, are for the most part, engaging in the child-like argument of :
'I am bigger (more mature) than you, so just agree with me, or I will belittle you or supress what you say'.

Maturity is about being flexible,
Its about maintaining ones youthful exuberance, without becoming cynical and petulant when others disagree with what one says. Its about tolerance of the viewpoints of others. Its the capacity to see through the eyes of the other - especially when dealing with what one considers to be immaurity.
 
Icon
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 02:30 pm
@Icon,
This certainly approaches my question.

This definitely answers one of the questions I was just thinking about actually. Could false growth be detrimental to the over all growth process.

The conclusion I came up with is quite simply that it can so long as the false growth is perceived as real.

But growth in general...What defines growth as a whole? I am not talking about the websters definition but rather a definition that resides in the human element of emotions and logic.
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 06:31 pm
@Icon,
Back in the forum and trying to answer your question. Growth seems to me primarily a matter of age. The years will bring you experiences and you will change in many ways, and if you live your life consciously these changes may teach you a couple of things. You probably still have many years ahead and there will be many changes and occasionally some growth, but the growth is all up to you. Don't confuse change with growth, we continuously change and not necessarily for the better. But we grow when we become aware of our change, and start thinking about it and draw up the balance-sheet. Would you even have asked that question if you hadn't changed over the years, and wondered about it? And that wondering is precisely the moment of growth. But there will be more changes ahead, and more chances to grow. Live and grow, or just live, it's all in the mind. These were my two cents :-) .
 
Elmud
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 09:05 pm
@Icon,
Icon wrote:
I find myself sitting here at my desk and looking back at my life. I am considering how far I have come from the out of control, irresponsible, heavy metal, slacker which I once was to a professional, business minded, ordered, man I am today.

It got me thinking; what does it mean to grow up. What causes it and what contributes to it. Does growth always mean for the better or is it ambiguous? Do you ever wish you could reclaim a certain personality trait from your youth or get rid of one which resulted from growth in the wrong or unpredicted direction?

Discuss.

I heard a man say once that the worst thing about growing old, is remembering when you were young. For me, growing up is to experience and witness things that you wish would have never happened and you wish you never saw. Pessimistic I know, but, I wish their were some things I did not know. On a positive note, I refuse to grow up.
 
Jose phil
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:04 pm
@Icon,
There is a phrase from Cicero that goes something like this: "The best thing one can hope for before one dies is to grow old."

For me, growing up is a means of attaining old age, to be wise enough to understand the world around me.
 
Joe
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 02:52 am
@Jose phil,
I guess Growing old is to deal with interaction of change and still remain understanding and humble. Of what? Well, the elephant in the room of life is no one consciously knows the right way to live with everyone together. The innocence of being a child is that there is a sub-conscious connection that is not filtered as much as an adult's. Very often, Older people talk about this mind state and have regrets for not embracing it because of social trends in interaction of information.

All in all, its about change and whether that change connects(love) you to more people, or separates.
 
Icon
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 08:04 am
@Icon,
I can't seem to wrap my head around certain aspects of growing up. Prime example: The loss of innocence. It seems to me that as we grow, we lose innocence as we experience hardships and pleasures. So is growth the loss of innocence or is the loss of innocence but a small fraction of growth?

When we are young we wish to be older but when we are older, we wish to be young again. How do we achieve any measure of happiness if we are constantly wishing for thee opposite of what we are?

Can one decide when it is time to grow and when it is time to remain a child?

What are the attributes of emotional and mental growth?
 
dizzy phil
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 08:22 am
@Icon,
When I looked at this question the first thing that came into my head was are we actually growing up in the correct way or has the truth behind growing up, where in my opinion one should progress further into knowledge and then gain wisdom, that is achievable if the environment and stimulation permitted harbours the growth of not only the individual experiencing a perceived singular point of reference but a reference and preference of a whole working together, been laid as false.

I don't believe we should be looking at this life scenario as a growing process at all but rather an experience process and due to the nature of life and all its peculiarities we have somehow ended up or have been manipulated into this watered down existence where we are told there are twenty four hours in a day and that we reside on a never eat shredded wheat point of reference.

Growing up in the sense that we experience getting older due to the stimulation provided that as the years, which we are told exist pass and during this passing of linear boring time we will begin to age then eventually die, could be seen as simply a mind reaction to a given stimulus.

The old saying that you are only as young as you feel should in my mind be re stated as you are only as old as you feel.

In a few words what does growing up mean to me? As I can only answer the question from my point of reference no one else's.

It means getting closer to being back to the source call it what you will. A feat that would also be attained if we regressed back through childhood instead of progressing into old age. Due to my belief that the compass we are told we exist on does not exist I stand on the notion that growing up as we are told is a disease of not only these temporary vessels we in habit but of our minds. Not only a disease but a trick of the mind.

A conversation I had with my father the other day links well with this thread (well I feel it does maybe not so but anyway). As we talked about how old age can lead to dementia and other strange endeavours of the psyche I talked of dementia as not being a degenerative disease but a progressive faculty of the psyche that needs to be nurtured not shunned. I feel that it is not a negative condition but only seen on a negative basis due to the stigma attached.

I also feel growing up is a choice. If you could stay in Neverland why would you want to leave?

.
 
Icon
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 09:02 am
@dizzy phil,
dizzy wrote:
When I looked at this question the first thing that came into my head was are we actually growing up in the correct way or has the truth behind growing up, where in my opinion one should progress further into knowledge and then gain wisdom, that is achievable if the environment and stimulation permitted harbours the growth of not only the individual experiencing a perceived singular point of reference but a reference and preference of a whole working together, been laid as false.

I don't believe we should be looking at this life scenario as a growing process at all but rather an experience process and due to the nature of life and all its peculiarities we have somehow ended up or have been manipulated into this watered down existence where we are told there are twenty four hours in a day and that we reside on a never eat shredded wheat point of reference.

Growing up in the sense that we experience getting older due to the stimulation provided that as the years, which we are told exist pass and during this passing of linear boring time we will begin to age then eventually die, could be seen as simply a mind reaction to a given stimulus.

The old saying that you are only as young as you feel should in my mind be re stated as you are only as old as you feel.

In a few words what does growing up mean to me? As I can only answer the question from my point of reference no one else's.

It means getting closer to being back to the source call it what you will. A feat that would also be attained if we regressed back through childhood instead of progressing into old age. Due to my belief that the compass we are told we exist on does not exist I stand on the notion that growing up as we are told is a disease of not only these temporary vessels we in habit but of our minds. Not only a disease but a trick of the mind.

A conversation I had with my father the other day links well with this thread (well I feel it does maybe not so but anyway). As we talked about how old age can lead to dementia and other strange endeavours of the psyche I talked of dementia as not being a degenerative disease but a progressive faculty of the psyche that needs to be nurtured not shunned. I feel that it is not a negative condition but only seen on a negative basis due to the stigma attached.

I also feel growing up is a choice. If you could stay in Neverland why would you want to leave?

.


I am replying to this because I used to think in a very similar way. Especially when I was a Taoist and tried so hard to find "true nature".

When I was younger, I believed that knowledge was a bad thing because the more knowledge I had, the less enchanting the world became. The world lost its magic and knowledge was to blame. As I grew I realized something very important. The magic never left, it was how I looked at it that changed. To be a perpetual child is one of the worst nightmares I could ever even consider now. You see, a child has its fun but there are many things a child could never understand and many beauties a child could never comprehend. Without these beauties and the terrors which make them beautiful, life would be very dull and very limited.

When I was a child I thought as a child. Now that I am a man it is time to put away childish things. As true as this is, there is a magic which comes with being a man as well. A child could never comprehend the beauty that come with a broken heart or the joy that comes from losing something to gain something else.

I do not wish to be a child forever and I have left Neverland. Now I must find the next step. I cannot stay here and I cannot go back. This means that I must keep moving forward. It has come to my attention in recent times that there are an unusually large number of children of excessive age. Men and women who never grew up and stayed as a child. This is because they were afraid of the next step. Sure, it comes with more trials but the rewards are 1000 times better because of it. One day, I hope to outgrow this pond.
 
dizzy phil
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 09:26 am
@Icon,
I agree with you Icon that growing up is a magical process also. I believe all of life holds magic if you know where to look or indeed if you can see the magic that is in everything.

When writing the last reply I had in mind the undesirable effects of old age that I see that go against the non judgemental aspects of a child and the free flowing creative imagination that seems to diminish in this system we are in or where I find myself for now, and of course I'm talking from my own perspective but where I am this perspective has become the reality and either regression back into favoured modes of thinking and being or progression into these modes in my mind is desirable. It is when there is no progression or regression or sustainability for that matter of desired modes that I feel there is a problem.

What is desirable for me is adding to all desirable perceptions with no fixed variable on when these perceptions, processes and actions are obtained, realized or revealed.

A positive thing is a positive thing is it not?
 
Icon
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 10:05 am
@Icon,
So can we choose how we grow? More accurately, can we choose how we end up or only our path to get there?
 
dizzy phil
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 12:04 pm
@Icon,
Icon wrote:
So can we choose how we grow? More accurately, can we choose how we end up or only our path to get there?


From experience I would say we can choose what compost to plant ourselves in and depending on what compost we choose we will either experience positive or negative effects. Everyone can grow to a certain extent but to truly flourish is another thing all together.

At this level I would say we cannot choose directly how we grow we can just steer that growth.

As perceived individuals we can choose the path that we think will get us to where we want to go. This is only viable if we can be sure of where a certain path will take us and in truth we can never be sure of where it goes. Instead of emphasis being on obtaining the desired outcome from our actions or non actions maybe emphasis should be on the path and that alone. We may walk a certain path but who knows how many more paths there are to take when we get to the end of what we perceive of as being a journey of sorts.

My mind is set that the universe is limitless, which may be self limiting, but why limit ourselves to being on a path where we grow old and die and live within set limits. In a limitless universe surely exploring these non limits would be something worth doing.

Always on a path with no other reason than to be on it.
 
Icon
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 01:10 pm
@Icon,
http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/blogs/icon/177-another-poem-my-youth.html
 
manored
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 03:19 pm
@dizzy phil,
dizzy wrote:
My mind is set that the universe is limitless, which may be self limiting, but why limit ourselves to being on a path where we grow old and die and live within set limits. In a limitless universe surely exploring these non limits would be something worth doing.

Always on a path with no other reason than to be on it.
I think this way too. New proof of my sanity! Smile

Icon wrote:

When we are young we wish to be older but when we are older, we wish to be young again. How do we achieve any measure of happiness if we are constantly wishing for thee opposite of what we are?
Then we are young we wish to be strong and free, then we are old we wish our hardships were smaller. It is natural for humans to grow tired of things and desire change, but not everthing can be changed Smile

To me, the mind is always growing and cannot ungrow, but this is from an universal point of view. From an human point of view, I think growing up means to gain greater understanding of the world as well as ability to influence it. The most important is the understanding though, for the more you know the less influence you need.

I also think that nothing causes human "ungrowth" if it comes in the right time, although since human lives are limited there may be things that cannot come in the right time.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 06:41 am
@Icon,
Icon wrote:
It got me thinking; what does it mean to grow up. What causes it and what contributes to it. Does growth always mean for the better or is it ambiguous? Do you ever wish you could reclaim a certain personality trait from your youth or get rid of one which resulted from growth in the wrong or unpredicted direction?


I've found myself coming back to dwell on this question too, from time to time. Unfortunately, when I mentally flesh-out what it means to me, I find there are a ton of complicating factors. Generally, I like to keep my replies short and sweet (folks are generally too lazy, too expectant of the quick sound-byte to read more than two lines), but in this case I think some expression is in order.

First off, I think that bringing this concept of growth under the combined aspects of Emotional and Intellectual is a good way to look at it. On its surface it feels like it might be too simplistic. But when we look at our minds and want to know "have I grown?", "am I growing", that combined umbrella is a great place to start.

What strikes me next is that over the years (I'm 45 now), my concept of "Growth" hasn't changed much, but my valuation has. Ask me in my 20's or 30's what I think Intellectual Growth means and my answer would be distinctly different from what it is today; same for Emotional Growth. I say "valuation" because what we esteem to be good - to constitute this growth - emerges naturally over time as our values change. That all being said...

Emotional Growth is very important to me. To me, it means (1) The ability to express freely within the confines of prudence, (2) the proper tempering of emotions when I feel they're out of context, inappropriate or destructive -and- (3) The extent to which I can identify/empathize with the emotional expressions of others. This is very, very important.[INDENT]Nowadays I feel as if most in my culture of emotionally-stunted; outbursts rule their behavior, and generally belch forth pel mel with what appears to be no knowledge that they're in the throws of a tantrum. But this is a tricky issue: Tempering emotions, taken wrongly, leads to suppression and/or repression. They must flow - I believe the healthy mind needs this - but it takes the most self-aware mind, self-critical and humble heart to acknowledge expression's limits. I've learned, over time, that although once I considered the lack of emotional expression to be a sign of growth, that - done maturely - the opposite is more true.

Emotions can't be controlled, only their manifestations. Whether or not such expression is a bad thing is completely dependent on how such expression comes out. To show oneself to be humble, vulnerable, confused, frustrated, giddy, etc., are all needful and healthy aspects of emotional maturity
[/INDENT][INDENT]Empathy, to me, is absolutely essential for emotional maturity. But this doesn't happen, at all, without compassion. What imbides such compassion is probably complex; but in a nutshell, I think compassion can only exist when we value our fellows - their feelings, their situation, their situation. The extent to which we identify with each other is simultaneously the extent to which compassion, empathy and emotional maturity can grow. Unfortunately, so many paradigms of emotional maturity include robotic reactions, cold-indifference and bottled up insecurities. This couldn't be further from the truth.

"Growth" means something is increasing, expanding, becoming 'better' or more attuned. I think all of these fit a definition of "Emotional Growth" really well.
[/INDENT]Intellectual growth is quite another matter; and to my mind, matters much less. I have a fairly-respectable library that's constantly growing with the books I read. I don't remember every story - certainly not every detail - and probably couldn't even tell you the main characters of each. Facts, ideas, concepts, theories, historical events, names, mathematics: All these are worthless without perspective. In fact, I think I'd say that 'perspective' is the most important aspect - that ability to contextualize 'facts' - that defines intellectual growth.

How many people have we seen who "fail" to learn a lesson? How often do we sit, mouths agape at a situation, saying, "Wow, how dumb is that?!". Intellectual growth requires that one have the ability to modify behavior in light of facts learned and/or experience, which can't happen without some measure of humility (that quality of character that enables a person to admit, and be OK with their faults). There are many measures of intellectual growth; but to illustrate the need for perspective, let me plow through just a couple:

  • History: Who did what and when is worthless without understanding/contextualizing what it means to the present, the future and to us in some broader context
  • Mathematics: How the puzzle pieces of values, formulae, variables and equation - properly applied - can unlock many aspects of our universe is worthless without knowing when, how and to what extent mathematics can be applied.
  • Factual: That this is <such>, that is <just so> and he is a <something> has no meaning to us without some psychological basis for placing such facts into meaning, utility or as an added measure of perspective.

In short, I believe intellectual growth is not just the accumulation of knowledge, but the ability to place such knowledge into a context that increases understandings of a 'whole'.

As a side note, I think there's nothing so immature, so wrought with ego and twisted notions of growth than the "young man". I suppose, in this, I'm looking back at myself and viewing - with not an insignificant amount of distaste - my own naive notions of growth. I could fill yet another long post with all the silly and destructive ideas of what I thought growing was. Hell, I'll probably look back again in 20 years and say the same thing. Oh well, that's ok - perhaps this is just how it happens.

I read somewhere that, "... over time we don't ever really change, we only become more fully what we truly are". I think this is the case with personal growth; whether toward the idiocy or augustness, we're either disposed to "fit those pieces together" or ignore them as best epitomizes our talents and weaknesses.

Thanks
 
Icon
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 06:59 am
@Icon,
Very well said Khethil and I could not agree with you more.

Are there any other types of intangeable growth?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 11:25 am
@Icon,
Growing up =

- not being counterproductive
- do and say intelligent things
- do and say things that has a purpose
..etc..
 
Icon
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 11:34 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:
Growing up =

- not being counterproductive
- do and say intelligent things
- do and say things that has a purpose
..etc..

I do not agree. Growing up has nothing to do, per se, with intelligence or purpose. I think it has more to do with perception if anything.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 11:50 am
@Icon,
Icon wrote:
I do not agree. Growing up has nothing to do, per se, with intelligence or purpose. I think it has more to do with perception if anything.

I have to say it's excatly opposit.

See first the extremes, idiot savants have excelent perception of different things, math, language, motor skills ..basicly excel in all major intelligences, but then why are they also claimed as being idiots?
Because the idiocy cosist in lack of logic.

I'v seen extremely intelligent people become arrogant, snobby and abuseive, all traits that lower the maturity factor.
 
 

 
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