Friday, October 3, 2014

Adulthood in Flux

I just wanted to point out that yesterday’s post, The Next Level: Universal Children and a New Humanity, is the “other side” of my post, Solitaire (in Retirement). That post was specifically about my father, but treated him as an example of people who’d worked hard all their lives but, upon retirement, didn’t know how to spend their time. Now, it seems, if you’re high enough on the income totem pole you can hire a retirement coach to help you with the transition.

Well, if that’s what adulthood is, then there’s something deeply wrong with adulthood as it has developed in the industrialized West in the last century. And that, of course, was the point of yesterday’s post, which included a section on A. O. Scott’s NYTimes piece, “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture.” It seems that a lot of people have decided that adulthood isn’t what it was cracked up to be.

But it’s one thing to reject adulthood as the culture has defined it. It’s another thing to come up with a new way of being adult. I haven’t the foggiest idea where that project is, but it’s worth serious thought, though not now. I note only that the so-called counter-culture of the 60’ and 70’ took a run at the problem, but wasn’t able to quite pull it off. Meanwhile, what do we make of a culture, Japan, that took expressive forms relegated to children in America–comics and cartoons–and developed them into adult forms–manga and anime?

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