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Immaturity Level Rising in Adults 862

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the is-not-are-too dept.
Ant writes to tell us that a Discovery News article is exploring the old adage, "like a kid at heart", which may be closer to the truth than we would like to admit. New research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever. From the article: "Specifically, it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth. As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry."
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Immaturity Level Rising in Adults

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  • by Aadain2001 (684036) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:38AM (#15599522) Journal
    They are all just poopy-heads! Big, smelly, ugly, poopy-heads!
    • Explaination (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zemran (3101) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:41AM (#15599692) Homepage Journal
      Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional... and I opted out.
      • Absolutely! (Score:5, Funny)

        by why-is-it (318134) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @10:33AM (#15600456) Homepage Journal
        Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional... and I opted out.

        Absolutely! You are only young once, but you can be immature forever!

      • by hey! (33014) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:38PM (#15600915) Homepage Journal
        If you are sufficently self centered and poor/uninterested in reading social cues, you'll never realize that you are pathetic middle aged man sponging off his parents and frittering away all his time on their broadband connection.

        In a way if you are sufficiently far from realizing you are pathetic, it is indistinguishable from not being pathetic. It's like being so far away from being a normal human being that you approach a semblence of it, as it were, coming from the other direction.

      • Easy Work Around (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ukemike (956477) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @05:25PM (#15601993) Homepage
        There is a way you can re-experience the joys of childhood (and they are many) while maintaining the rich experience of adulthood.

        Become a parent. Then spend lots of time with your children.
    • by Skidge (316075) * on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:53AM (#15599728) Homepage
      They are all just poopy-heads! Big, smelly, ugly, poopy-heads!

      Nu-uh! You're a poopy-head!
  • Myspace (Score:3, Funny)

    by xoran99 (745620) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:40AM (#15599528)
    Case in point: How many "adults" have a myspace account? I'll admit it...
  • Resignation. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haeger (85819) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:43AM (#15599534)
    [Stolen from some website]

    Adult Resignation
    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult.

    I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.

    I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four star restaurant.
    I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks.
    I want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them.
    I want to play kickball during recess and paint with watercolors in art.
    I want to lie under a big Oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summers day.
    I want to return to a time when life was simple.
    When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes. But that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.
    When all you knew was to be happy because you didn't know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
    I want to think that the world is fair. That everyone in it is honest and good.
    I want to believe that anything is possible.
    Somewhere in my youth...I matured and I learned too much.

    I learned of nuclear weapons, war, prejudice, starvation and abused children.
    I learned of lies, unhappy marriages, suffering, illness, pain and death.
    I learned of a world where men left their families to go and fight for our country, and returned only to end up living on the streets... begging for their next meal.
    I learned of a world where children knew how to kill...and did.

    What happened to the time when we thought that everyone would live because we didn't grasp the concept of death?
    When we thought the worst thing in the world was if someone took the jump rope from you or picked you last for kickball?

    I want to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again. I want to return to the days when reading was fun and music was clean. When television was used to report the news or for family entertainment and not to promote sex, violence and deceit.

    I remember being naive and thinking that everyone was happy because I was.
    I would walk on the beach and only think of the sand between my toes and the prettiest seashell I could find.
    I would spend my afternoon climbing trees and riding my bike.

    I didn't worry about time, bills or where I was going to find the money to fix my car.
    I used to wonder what I was going to do or be when I grew up, not worry about what I'll do if this doesn't work out.

    I want to live simple again.
    I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones.
    I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.

    I want to be 6 again.

    .haeger

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:53AM (#15599565)

      I want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them.

      Clearly you were unimaginative as a kid, and thus missed out on the special trip to the hospital.

      I want to go back to the time when green was a flavour.

      • by Joebert (946227)
        Clearly you were unimaginative as a kid, and thus missed out on the special trip to the hospital.

        Wow, you guys went to a hospital ?
        We went to a place called "Enterprise Village", but I was sick on the day everyone picked jobs, & got stuck working a dead end job as a cashier at Eckerd Drugs instead of the radio station like I wanted.

        Holy Shit ! I just realized that thoose special trips really do have an effect on the rest of your life !
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:59AM (#15599586)
      Yes that's all very sentimental but why do you want to be six again, an age where from time to time you can sail a stick across a mud puddle but more often than not you are told you can't go near the mud muddle because you're wearing good clothes/at a wedding/supposed to stay dry? Who yearns for a time when everything is out of your control and sailing sticks across a pond is fun because you've still to undeveloped mentally to enjoy a good game of Risk?

      I prefer a world where I have greater control over my freedom, where my education is in my own hands as is my destinty. A world where I can paint watercolors any damn time I feel like no matter what I'm wearing and while I am aware of nuclear weapons I can also dismiss such vapid fears casually to enjoy a warm summer day.

      Being an adult is awesome if you just follow the golden words of Paul McCartney and let it be!
      • When you are 6 you are unburdened by the full weight of reality, and even though you may not have the intellect to enjoy a game of Risk, you don't care about that. You get enough from the simple things in life, and you didn't have to worry about anything. I fail to see the point you're making about being mentally undeveloped. So what if you're 6 and you can't enjoy a game of chess? If a 6 year old were to get the same enjoyment out of playing with sticks in a puddle as you do in playing Risk, who's to j
        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:51AM (#15599723)
          When you are 6 you are unburdened by the full weight of reality

          What weight? Is there a physical cinder block upon you? Put it to the side then. All other weight, especially mental weight, is chosen by you. You are the one who decides if weight of your imagining is dragging you down or something to stand upon.

          The point I am making is that being much older I have had many more experiences and am able to enjoy them in ways a six-year old is not, as I can enjoy more esoteric pleasure just as much as splashing in a puddle (alluded to in the words of the musical Chess with "The Queens we use would not excite you"). My higher level of awareness also leads to greater ability to experience joy. While it is true that also means a greater ability to experience esoteric suffering, I would not give my far vaster scope of ability to simply feel more just because sometimes there is pain. There was pain when I was six as well so what would be the difference except that by opting to stay six forever I would wish myself to be enclosed in a box.

          Have you ever read Flowers For Algernon? There is a reason why that story is a sad tale instead of a joyous return to a blissful state of ignorance.
          • by Jerry Smith (806480) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @05:58AM (#15599864) Homepage Journal
            Have you ever read Flowers For Algernon? There is a reason why that story is a sad tale instead of a joyous return to a blissful state of ignorance.

            Well Í have. It's sad BECAUSE two personalities (genius vs. retard, excusez les mots) are described, and none are preferable. The responsibillity of having to make choices, and be doomed to bear the consequences: thát's what it's about. Being cared for at six, play with sticks and mud-pools, enjoy life as it is without having to thing further than another day, perchance a week. When summer holidays lasted forever, chocolate was plain good, bikes could fly if you just tried hard enough and animals could speak. Have you ever read Calvin and Hobbes? Winnie the Poeh? 'His Dark Materials'?

            • by Bastian (66383) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @01:24PM (#15601108)
              I haven't read His Dark Materials, but I have read the others.

              Calvin and Hobbes I don't take as a great example. Calvin is emotionally unstable, creates a lot of problems for those around him, and doesn't strike me as being particularly much happier than the other characters in the story. Hobbes makes an interesting foil; he's often used to underline the silliness of Calvin's destructive behavior. He's much more mature than Calvin, gets along with others better, and doesn't harbor nearly as much anger. Calvin may be the protagonist, but he's not the hero.

              Winnie the Pooh was written for children, so the characters are naturally going to be very childlike. However, I don't see a single life lesson that comes from Pooh which can't be applied in adult life - indeed, Pooh's easygoing attitude is something I see in adults far more often than in children. I don't have kids of my own, but at least in public I often marvel at how strongly they can fixate on small, inconsequential objects, which strikes me as just about the last thing Winnie-the-Pooh would ever do. I'd say that, of all the characters in the Pooh series, Pooh and Christopher Robin represent the attitudes and ways of thinking of children that I've met the least well. Far more often, they remind me of Rabbit or Tigger.

              Really, if I had to say anything about Pooh's character, I'd say that he represents the patience and equanimity that are the best qualities of well-mannered adults, and that he was made somewhat dim in an effort to counteract his otherwise overhwelming wisdom in an effort to keep the character entertaining, as well as to make it easier for children to relate to him.
            • by Moraelin (679338) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @08:24PM (#15602695) Journal
              Let me tell you a joke about nostalgia. Two veterans meet at some war-ending aniversary and have a little chat:

              "Ah, do you remember when they captured us and took us to a concentration camp?"
              "Oh yeah."
              "And how they wanted to take us to the gas chamber?"
              "Aw man, how can I forget that?"
              "And then there was this bombing raid, explosions everywhere and we ran through a hole in the fence? And they chased us with dogs and we hid in the swamp for a week?"
              "Oh yeah. Man, those were the good times."

              Well, admittedly, childhood usually isn't _that_ bad, but still, everyone remembers the good parts, but never remembers the annoyances and frustrations. Or remembers some sanitized rose-tinted version of them. I suppose it must be some mechanism of the brain to stay sane.

              But if I'm to really remember childhood, and without even going into the parts that were due to my parents being... well, completely unfit to be parents, it wasn't _that_ idyllic anyway.

              E.g., take school alone. I could read since the age of 3. In fact, I could read and write in two foreign languages by the time I got into school. I could calculate a transformer or solve other physics problems up to that level. (I guess I must have asked something like "why is the sky blue?" and my parents, god bless their totally nerdy souls, gave me a physics book.) And yet there I was in school required to write a page of oblique lines or loops. Or to write a page worth of the letter "a". How boring is that?

              And that's just one of many issues.

              On the whole, I'll go and say I'm actually a _lot_ happier as an immature adult than I ever was as a child.

              _Now_ I can actually do what I want. If I want a chocolate, I can go buy a chocolate. If I want to buy a doll, I can go buy a doll. (Or The Sims, which is one hell of a doll house simulator.;) If I want to stay up late playing with it, I can jolly well stay up and play with it. Back then I had a ton of people who knew better what I should be doing, what I should be thinking, what I should be saying, etc.

              As for Calvin and Hobbes, or Winnie the Pooh, they're not written by a kid. They're written by an adult, and through rose-coloured nostalgia glasses _and_ from second-guessing the "enemy" at that. They see "man, this kid never listens to a word I say", or "man, he's throwing a tantrum again when I'm trying to teach him proper manners", and from there they go and paint some image of the kid being completely care-free and living in some imaginary wonderland. They don't however, see the frustrations like being treated like a brainless idiot. Or the frustration of that "teaching manners" meaning "Moraelin, say 'hello' to the nice lady?"... again... in front of 10 strangers and 2 of my friends. Or about a hundred other little issues.

              In fact, I'll go and say that all that seeing the kid as a care-free brainless _idiot_ is just... selective confirmation. People start with the preconceived idea that the kid is inherently retarded and unable to ever comprehend adult logic, and from there remember every detail that confirms that, but conveniently forget the details that don't. Or acts like they're some one-in-a-million occurance that's surely just a freak accident.

              And let me also say that a lot of the time, "adult logic" _isn't_. Adults are just as good as kids at rationalizing backwards from what they'd like, to some half-arsed unconvincing "facts" to justify it with. E.g., they start from some pre-conceived wish, like that they want to go camping or fishing (bonus points when it's just to fit in some group, not because they actually like it), and from there work their way backwards to some half-arsed justification, like that shivering in a tent in the rain builds character or that fishing is some kind of valuable RL skill. (How? What for? Exactly in which situation can one possibly catch enough fish with a fishing rod to support a family that way?) Even when they actually do have a point there, they're so convinced that you're an idiot and can't possibly
      • Who yearns for a time when everything is out of your control and sailing sticks across a pond is fun because you've still to undeveloped mentally to enjoy a good game of Risk?

        If you enjoy Risk I'd say you're still undeveloped mentally.

        signed
        a Tabletop Gamer

      • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:40PM (#15600929)

        As an adult, I am subject to a wider variety of feelings and emotions than a 6 year old. Being an adult is more subtle - we gain access to joys that a child couldn't even understand. When you're six, you know happy, sad, fear, hungry, tired. As an adult you also can experience bemusement, irony, sarcasm, terror, bliss, longing, melancholy, and a host of other things that make the experience of just living through your day more deep and meaningful. Your mental palette is larger. Yes, it means you can be hurt or suffer in larger ways than a child. But you can also rise above them in ways a child could not. The game is bigger, so the rewards are bigger.

        And speaking of the palette, food is an excellent way of describing the difference. As a 6 year old, all you crave is candy. Big ugly blocks of sugar. As an adult, you're complex enough to tell the difference between good sushi and bad. Really expertly done fresh sushi with fresh ground wasabi and some nice sake on the side is sublime, and that's the joy of it, and a child could never understand it. Think of how many things there are like that.

        Another good reason - look at what you would have to go through today. At the risk of sounding like an Auld Farte, think about how bad teenagers have it today. All the good music is gone. Pepsi decides what is cool these days. You have three choices basically. Stupid thumping gangsta rap whose only function is to shake your car's quarter panels, bubblegum crap pop, or Nu Metal where guys with long hair get up in front of the mike, blast the distortion and whine about their relationships.

        And you can't do anything fun or dangerous in this bubble-wrap world we've made. As soon as one kid gets hurt doing something it gets outlawed or regulated past the point of any fun whatsoever. How many childhood memories do you have where you were experiencing both big fun and mild danger at the same time? Are their any stories you have about your childhood that you haven't told your parents yet because you don't want to give them a heart attack? Kids today will never have those kinds of vivid childhood memories. We've outlawed them.

        If God All-Mighty came down from the clouds and told me he would be willing to make me a six year old again, I would politely decline. I've got it better now than I've ever had it, and I feel genuinely sorry for children born in this time.

        • by Thangodin (177516) <[elentar] [at] [sympatico.ca]> on Sunday June 25, 2006 @01:55PM (#15601221) Homepage
          Excellent post!

          The subtleties of maturity beat the thrills of immaturity anytime. The world is a complex place, and I love the complexity of it. The best taste in life is bittersweet, with only enough sweetness to prevent the bitter from being bland. It's no surprise that diabetes is on the rise. People have lost the palate for strong tastes. Even fibre comes in a pill, as if eating raw oats and bran is some sort of trial too harsh for people to bear. The world is divided into simple primary colors and basic binaries: red and blue, left and right, liberal vs conservative. Only the caricatures that pass as media personalities fit into these categories. The world is just not that simple.

          It is revealing to contrast the tone of public discourse 50 years ago to what it is today. Ronald Reagan abandoned formal rhetoric for folksy chat, and now we're stuck with it. G W Bush got elected by appearing to be just a regular guy--at some point, people forgot that you don't want just a regular guy as your leader, you want the best and brightest. Distrust of intellectuals is at an all time high, because it takes work to understand what they're saying. But democracy takes work, every single day.

          I've always suspected that the main point of "family values" and all of these exhortations to "think of the children" are just scare tactics to turn the world into the largest nursery in history, where you cannot even have an adult conversation, and where kids aren't even allowed to play unsupervised. Can you imagine a childhood where you have to make "play dates," where it is no longer possible to just walk anywhere? Thanks to media scaremongering, parents see the world as a frightening place with a child molestor or Satanic cult member lurking in every playground. The fact is, your kids are about a hundred times as likely to get killed by a car as they are to be kidnapped. But that doesn't sell soap.

          Even God has been turned into the cosmic wetnurse, who will rapture us up, clean our nappies, and dry our tears. ID promises us the fantasy of every child; that we are the center of the universe, that it's really all for us. Since you're saved by faith alone, you don't have to do jack, just show up at the mega-church for the show and listen to a postmodernist drivel which is equal parts fairy tale and new-age glurge. You gotta hand it to them, they know their market. Why stop at frying your pancreas with candy, when you can get diabetes of the soul too?
    • Re:Resignation. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dhalgren (34798) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:27AM (#15599660)
      I want that too.

      Now I just have to find somebody to clothe, feed, and house me while I indulge myself.

      • Indulgence? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @08:45AM (#15600177)

        There is enough food in the world to feed every human on the planet, though hundreds of people starve to death every day.

        There would be enough shelter in the world too, if we only looked after what we had and built things to last.

        Practical clothes can be churned out by machines in a matter of seconds, if we set them up and tell them to do it, yet much of what is worn in the so-called first world is made by hand by people leaving in poverty conditions in less-developed countries.

        One can say similar things about medicine, education, the natural environment, and a host of other important issues.

        What's the common thread among all of these shortcomings? A lot of adults haven't grown up, and still suffer from greed, selfishness, and other negative emotions. With the resources and technology we have available to humanity today, we could provide for every human being on the planet, and we could all work only 20 hours a week.

        If you're an adult who has grown up, please consider what you can do to help. Make a small donation to a charity that supports someone less fortunate than you. Change something in your life to be a little more environmentally friendly. Volunteer a couple of hours of your time to a good cause. Have the courage to vote for a someone who stands for these values, even if they have no chance of getting elected (this time), and tell everyone why you voted that way.

        The more people grow up, take some personal responsibility for the state of the world, and do their small part in improving it, the better life will be, and there's really nothing indulgent about it.

        Or we could just say "Yeah, whatever" and make it someone else's problem. Not that that would be childish, or anything.

      • by MooseByte (751829) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @10:20AM (#15600422)
        "Now I just have to find somebody to clothe, feed, and house me while I indulge myself."


        I'm sorry, my ex-wife already has that position filled.

    • Re:Resignation. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chrax (782154) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @05:07AM (#15599753)
      "I don't like what I've found, so rather than do what I can to change anything for the better, I'd rather revert to a state of ignorance and pretend there's nothing to fix."

      I find this to be a rather appalling abdication of responsibility. Which I suppose is the entire point.
    • Re:Resignation. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Skroggtar (940321)
      Hmm. I don't quite agree.

      Being young, wee and full of vim is certainly a fun thing to be; of course our memories of the times are rosy and wondrous, etc. etc. But saying such glory cannot be found again, that innocence and purity and what-have-you are vital to true happiness is misguided and overly nostalgic. I'm sixteen years old, and despite the weight of earning the driver's license, getting a job, working on those grades, and the horrors of social contact in general, I'm twice (if not thrice!) as happ
      • Re:Resignation. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JohnFluxx (413620)
        People complain about the "real world", but many studies have shown that from 14 to 18 or so is the most stressful time of you life. When you have a job, you can separate the job and home. You can't do that when you're studying for exams.
    • Re:Resignation. (Score:5, Insightful)

      I just want to say I hate shit like this.

      This chain-letter bullshit is all the same. On some ultra-shallow level it seems great, and sentimental, but with 3 seconds of thought and usually two sentences in it becomes obvious what trite crap it is. Whether it's wanting to be 6, or learning everything you need to know from your dog, or whatever other BS that gets mailed around it all sounds like it was written by the same person on a Robotussin binge. Just awful stuff, horribly written and with no intellectual value whatsoever.

      On a less general note, if you want to be 6 again, fuck off and go be 6. Work in a factory, it's got about the same level of responsibility. It doesn't sound like somebody whistfully remembering childhood, it sounds like a man-child that doesn't want to contribute to society because it's hard.

      Now, before you ask who pissed in my Fruit Loops, nobody did. I have a sense of humor, and am usually a pretty carefree guy. This type of "humor" just manages to push almost every last button I have. The only way it could get worse is if some sadist let George Carlin have a whack at it, with lots of Jeff Foxworthy-worthy lists, some booger-eating references, and "fuck" every 4th word to make it sound adult. When are people going to realize that guy's a hack?

      • Re:Resignation. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        it sounds like a man-child that doesn't want to contribute to society because it's hard

        Most insightful part of the post.

        This chain-letter bullshit is all the same. On some ultra-shallow level it seems great, and sentimental, but with 3 seconds of thought and usually two sentences in it becomes obvious what trite crap it is. Whether it's wanting to be 6, or learning everything you need to know from your dog, or whatever other BS that gets mailed around it all sounds like it was written by the same person on

      • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @11:34AM (#15600655) Homepage
        Gentle Reader,

        As a fellow curmudgeon, I have to say that you're not doing it properly. You have to do something to hide it, or you won't get invited to peoples' birthday parties. When you attempt to paint yourself as "a carefree guy with a sense of humor," don't follow it up immediately with the humorless excoriation of a popular comedian. That undermines your message and makes your curmugeonosity obvious. Instead, try following it up by complimenting some piece of popular culture.

        WRONG: I have a sense of humor, and am usually a pretty carefree guy. Jeff Foxworthy is stupid, and is betraying his fellow southerners to make money.

        RIGHT: I have a sense of humor, and am usually a pretty carefree guy. For example, this morning's Family Circus had me chuckling all day. Billy wandered the entire neighborhood looking for a spatula. Why did he expect to find one down by the river? Nobody knows.

        In the case of the WRONG example, people see that you've become so adept in your curmudgeoning that you can't even think on the subject of humor without going on a rant about the parts that piss you off. In the RIGHT example, you are shown to share your audience's taste for shallow, hackneyed popular culture. This will get you invited to social gatherings.

        If, on the other hand, you're like me and have embraced your inner misanthrope, then there is no reason to describe yourself as either funny or carefree in the first place. I find it to be a refreshing way to live.

        I'm AOC, and I hate pretty much everything! C'mon, now you give it a try. It will be like a weight lifted off your shoulders.
    • by S.P.B.Wylie (983357) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @05:36AM (#15599812)
      And it wasn't the paradise you remember. Sure, someone stealing you jump rope was you biggest problem, but at the time you felt like it was the end of the world. You would often throw fits, yell, and generally colapse. Now we look back at that stuff and think how easy we had it, because we have grown up and can handle it.

      Instead of "wishing to be six," I want to learn to be a adult that thinks like a six-year-old. I want to be able to deal with problems in a responcible manner, but still understand the fun of silly hats. I want to understand that there are bad things in the world, but still meet the world with smiles and a it-will-work-out deminer. We have the misconception that we must be cyical adults just because we have reached a certain age. I'm going to be a kid forever!

      Oh, and remember, if you became 6 again, you would have your teenage years to look forward to *shudder*
    • 6 year olds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @10:19AM (#15600420) Journal
      Aren't they the little people who you see anoying everyone in public places because they won't stop crying their eyes out? I've always wondered what could be so awful about their lives that they feel the need to cry so much. You've done little to enlighten me.
  • Laugh or Cry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:45AM (#15599540)
    Maybe it's because as the world turns increasingly to s h i t, people develop a imaturity complex derived from the "laugh" half of the proverbial "laugh or cry" syndrome.
  • by agent dero (680753) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:47AM (#15599544) Homepage
    With the focus in the past few decades on feelings, emotions, and our complete obsession with "our inner child." It's not surprising at all, it's been a while since we cared about some responsibility.

    There's a reason people are suing everybody, there's a reason tobacco companies have been losing so much money in courts; we're like a cuontry of 8 year olds, always pointing at somebody else in the back of class that through the paper airplane.

    That said, I think we're going to see a turn around with the generation in college right now, less divorces, less stupidity because it seems that more and more young people are sick and tied of the bullshit.
    • by node 3 (115640) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:27AM (#15599659)
      There's a reason people are suing everybody
      What, exactly, is wrong with suing someone? It's a legitimate and often necessary thing to do. There is no "plague" of lawsuits, the way you are trying to present it.

      there's a reason tobacco companies have been losing so much money in courts
      Yes, they are deliberately killing people. Or put more accurately, but lengthily, they knowingly lied about the medical risks and addictive qualities of cigarettes, portrayed them in advertisements as cool, including marketing that was deliberately designed to appeal to children, and, as if all that wasn't bad enough, they knowingly added ingredients which are very toxic and purposefully formulated cigarettes that are even more addicting than they naturally were!

      That said, I think we're going to see a turn around with the generation in college right now, less divorces, less stupidity
      Not gonna happen. The reason is that your lament is millennia old. Seriously. There are writings from ancient Greece and Rome that read exactly like the cranky old man of today, who decries the awful state of the youth "these days". If you want the divorce rate to go down, the number one thing you can do is to make it so that the middle class is strong and vibrant, and that people have great financial security and physical health. If you, on the other hand, make it so that both members of the married couple have to work long and hard just to scrape by, how can you possibly be surprised that the stress of daily life will have a detrimental toll on their marriage?

      because it seems that more and more young people are sick and tied of the bullshit.
      Wishful thinking made by someone who clearly hasn't turned on a television in the last 20 years. Just as it had always been, youth culture will reject the rigid demands of old coots like yourself. Just like always, there will be a segment of the youth who will be very responsible and upstanding. And just like always, life will go on and a whole new cadre of old coots will spout the same old nonsense about how the "youth of today" are worse than ever, just as it has always been for thousands of years.
    • by highonlife (942559) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:50AM (#15599719)

      always pointing at somebody else in the back of class that through the paper airplane.


      Did it happen during english class when they were teaching the word "throw"?
    • by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:51AM (#15599721)
      we're like a cuontry of 8 year olds, always pointing at somebody else in the back of class that through the paper airplane.
      Eight year olds can spell "country" and "threw". Now write both of them 100 times, or I'll keep you in at recess.
    • by kaiwai (765866) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @05:37AM (#15599815)

      You hint it right on the noggen; the number of so-called adults who seem to have the maturity of a child seems to be an increasing phenomenon in our society; I just look down the road and on the news; the 'everyone elses fault except my own' syndrome. There are people on the benefit having children, knowing full well they don't have the funds to pay for the associated costs, we have couples having more children than they can afford, then demanding that the tax payer for the bill for their lifestyle choice.

      All this is actually a biproduct of our modern day welfare state, and the nanny state complex which people have adopted, that we shouldn't take responsibility for our actions, because good old nanny state will always be there to whipe out bottoms, and stop us from doing moronic things.

      Regarding smoking, the health issues have been known for over 60 years, if people CHOOSE to live under a rock, and REFUSE to take in the information that is readily out there, who is to blame? I don't blame the cigarette companies - they're like any other company, make their product look sexy, close over any possible health issues, and keep on pushing.

      If you're going to blame cigarette for the associated health costs of smoking, why not allow people to sue fast food companies who fail to put warning labels and advertise that if their product is consumed in excess, it could cause health problems? why not extend it to the confectionary and snake food companies? heck, why not put a big sticker on cars that warn that due to the bad driving of others, you could possibly die!

      Honestly, it is getting to the point where I ask, when are people going to take responsibility for their actions - that is the cornerstone of being an adult, making your choices and accepting the consequences of those choices.
      • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @10:35AM (#15600459)
        Honestly, it is getting to the point where I ask, when are people going to take responsibility for their actions - that is the cornerstone of being an adult, making your choices and accepting the consequences of those choices.
        I'd say roughly never. I doubt there has ever been a time when people were really that anxious to claim responsibility for the consequences of their actions. We as a species seem only willing to take responsibility for what we meant to do, not for what we did. Military personnel take credit for defeating the enemy, but it gets kind of quiet if you imply that they might be responsible for the non-combatants they killed--that isn't their fault, just collateral damage. Is that because of the welfare state, too?

        There are other aspects of our culture that dilute personal responsibility. Corporations, by design, insulate managers and shareholders from actions they benefit from personally. We're okay with that, though. No problems there. But if an INDIVIDUAL avoids responsibility, suddenly western civiliazation is in dire trouble. If a corporation files bankruptcy so the shareholders don't have to ante up to pay the debt for the entity they own, we don't bat an eyelash, but if Joe Sixpack declares Chapter 11 then we get all concerned about the state of humanity.

        Government habitually hides behind secrecy to avoid responsibility. Where is the hue and cry? Why is it only the morons on Jenny Jones who get our contumely?

  • by Bombula (670389) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:51AM (#15599554)
    "immature ... in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact."

    I'm not sure if that's the world's best definition of immaturity, since its corollary would suggest that maturity is defind by predictability, having balance of priorities (what does that mean?), and not overreacting (does that mean reacting appropriately - how do you define appropriate?).

    I hate to reduce things to an argument over definitions, but this stuff seems a little fruity to me. I think a simpler definition of maturity is a willingness to accept responsibility for oneself and for others. By that definition, then we definitely do see a lot of immature, i.e.: irresponsible, behavior among adults - probably because irresponsibility no longer gets you eaten by lions and tigers and bears the way it did for our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

    But this guy is definitely right about the value of maintaining mental elasticity as an adult. My grandfather is a good example. He was a prof at a big university and has always had an amazingly agile and adaptive mind. And today I got an email from him of some pictures he took on his digital camera that he doctored in photoshop. Th guy is 86 years old. Email went mainstream when he was in his late 70s, for God's sake.

    • Reminds me of some of the customers I get at work. Usually older gentlement trying to get a handle on computers who don't have quite the mental flexibility of others saying they were "born too early".

      The funny part about that is the last customer who said that was talking to our Toshiba representative who's got a pretty good grip on current tech. When the rep asked when he was born in response and got something back that was around the 50's, the rep replied by saying he was born in the 20's. Just shows you that if you keep your mind fresh instead of just letting it sit there unchallenged you don't have to be left behind.
  • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:51AM (#15599555)
    From TFA

    A "child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge" is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, "unfinished."

    and

    "By contrast, many modern adults fail to attain this maturity, and such failure is common and indeed characteristic of highly educated and, on the whole, effective and socially valuable people," he said.

    So it looks like his definition of 'maturity' coresponds to my 'boring old fart', which, at the age of 53, I hope I'm not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:52AM (#15599558)

    Slashdot posters especially tend to overstate the value of youthful flexibility and forget what evil little pricks children often are.

    Part of maturing is learning to handle the fact that you are part of the world and that you don't always get what you want. Adult temper tantrums are increasingly viewed as the way to get things done, a vicious and childish response to being balked is hailed as being "forceful" and "practical".

  • by centipetalforce (793178) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:54AM (#15599566)
    ...not the cause of the symptom. I hear jokes that sound ridiculous when heard from third person all the time that I might laugh at if told to me. But stupid jokes don't cause immaturity, nor vice versa necessarily. It does all depend on the taste and context though, as some third grad jokes are as good as ever if done in the right context and aren't done in a derisive or tasteless sense.

    But the real cause of bad jokes is that people are as desperate as ever to be well liked. I blame that on the growing culture of sexual presumptiveness in our society. You can't just go up to a stranger and start conversing with them usually without her/him thinking your up to something, no matter how natural you are (unless you have a reason to be talking). People in general are paranoid, presumptive, and take themselves too seriously. They have nightmare stories in the back of their minds from 'Unsolved Mysteries' that tell them never to talk to strangers because they will rape and kill you!

    At least, that's the way people are in my town. I dunno about yours.
  • Personal position (Score:5, Interesting)

    by heinousjay (683506) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:56AM (#15599572) Journal
    I can only speak for myself.

    I reject the traditional concepts of maturity. I refuse to spend my life doing things I don't like because of some outmoded notion of 'have to.' The pressure to grow up, to think like an adult, is ridiculous and useless from an objective standpoint.

    This doesn't mean shirking responsibility is part of the mindset. It simply means I try to retain a childlike viewpoint on the world. One of the most important things children have that most adults lack is a sense of wonder and discovery. The benefits are astonishing.

    That said, I didn't actually read the article, as it were, so I may be wildly off-topic. In true immature fashion, whatever.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:12AM (#15599621)
      I don't think the immaturity discussion at hand has really anything to do with becoming one of the Sheeple and conforming to expected norms. I think it has everything to do with accepting responsibilities. That I think is a growing problem that people seem to be less responsible than in the past...

      I myself am happy to maintain a child like outlook on life but I also take responsibilities and commitments and relationships very seriously. Perhaps it is the erosion of serious relationships in society (and that could mean anything from partners to very close friends) that is tainting other aspects of life for some people.
    • by Scrameustache (459504) * on Sunday June 25, 2006 @11:09AM (#15600542) Homepage Journal
      I reject the traditional concepts of maturity. I refuse to spend my life doing things I don't like because of some outmoded notion of 'have to.'

      Man I would hate to see your toilet, though you neighbours can probably smell it... I, on the other hand, still watch cartoons, still throw paper airplanes, but when I 'have to' do something I don't like to do, I fucking do it.
  • Responsibility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abdulwahid (214915) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:58AM (#15599583) Homepage

    I think part of the problem might be that people are not forced to grow up and take responsibility at such a young age as they were before. I am now living in Africa but comparing my experiences to when I was living in the West I see this every day. Many children here have to take serious responsibilities in life from a young age. Perhaps they have to look after whole families or simply go out and find food every day for themselves. Regardless, when speaking to some of the young people you find that they are relatively mature.

    Perhaps in the West people are too protected and hence don't need to grow up. Many people by the age of 18 have never gone to bed with hunger pains. They have probably never had a real job. They are probably given an allowance from their parents that they can go and waste on useless luxuries. The kids in the West are pampered and spoilt. No wonder there is a trend towards immaturity.

    • Re:Responsibility (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:09AM (#15599613) Homepage Journal
      I think part of the problem might be that people are not forced to grow up and take responsibility at such a young age as they were before.

      Nope, sorry.

      The friends of mine who HAVE had to take responsibility at a young age, who HAVE gone to bed with hunger pains (and not out of choice) are far more immature and unable to take care of themselves than those of us who were children until the age of 18. Being introduced to hardship doesn't cause one to grow up faster -- it causes one to stop growing and start muddling through, even if they're not ready.

      If you look at the rate of war, murder, and general chaos, you'll find that those regions of the world where children are not allowed to mature before being forced to act like adults are far worse off than places like the west. While I won't argue that western children are "spoiled" far more often than their african counterparts -- I think I'd rather my children be spoiled than broken.
      • Re:Responsibility (Score:5, Interesting)

        by abdulwahid (214915) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @05:45AM (#15599834) Homepage

        If you look at the rate of war, murder, and general chaos, you'll find that those regions of the world where children are not allowed to mature before being forced to act like adults are far worse off than places like the west. While I won't argue that western children are "spoiled" far more often than their african counterparts -- I think I'd rather my children be spoiled than broken.

        I don't think that is true - at least not universally. Where I am there is obious poverty and hardship wherever you look however the city is thousdands of times safer than most Western cities. Crime is very low here (virtually unheard of) and most of the crime that might happen is very small petty theft.

        It is of course true that hardship can lead to desperation and desperation could lead to violence. So if you point is Africa is more violent than Western Europe then that might be true. However, there are other factors involved rather than just poverty and hardship. However, I would hardly say the US is a non-violent nation it is just the type of fighting undertaken by the US is usually more distant. Long range missles rather than street to street. The visual impact is therefore different and people mistakenly think that dropping cruise missles is somehow more humane.

        However, my point is not directly about hardship but about responsibility. People here (in Africa) generally have to act responsible from a young age where socially they are required to look after themselves and their families from a younger age. In the West the children are generally spoilt and don't even have to look after themselves.

        Also, I am not saying that one way is better than the other. I think childhood is great time and it is a shame that many children here in Africa miss out on being children. I am just highlighting what might be a potential cause of the alleged increase in immaturity.

      • Re:Responsibility (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Trifthen (40989) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @06:21AM (#15599924) Homepage
        I think to a certain degree, that something like this happened to me. I grew up dirt poor, and worked diligently to absolutely pulverize school, finish a fully loaded IB curriculum, and get a college degree to escape that whole mess. I went to bed hungry, lived in trailers, moved a lot, and basically ran the house myself until I went to college.

        There's something about barely having a childhood that makes me want to be childish. I was 40 when I was 15, so I think I deserve the luxury of a few video games and a silly outlook now that I've made something of myself. I know what it's like to live a banal existence where laughs are forced or tied to shutting out everything looming menacingly ahead. I burned out at 18, and reached the conclusion that people take life too seriously; I made a vow to live and enjoy the little time I've been allotted. It's a cycle, really. I could spend the rest of my days resenting my past, be a bitter old fart ranting of rules and rigid discipline to reach success, but I know where that road leads.

        Responsibility? Sure, no question. Maturity to a fault? No. We have a rare opportunity to retain some of our childish antics in our old age, so why not enjoy it? Ever notice people generally calm down considerably once they are grandparents? They've experienced the utter maturity of raising children, they've tried the rules and regulations, punishments and experimentation. Grandma knows the deal now, she conspires with your children to undermine your authority, because she knows something you haven't quite learned: sometimes it's better to be "immature."

        But the parent poster had a major point: spoiled children aren't merely immature, they're sheltered and unprepared for maturity. It's a critical difference, and one the article misses. Without any other recourse, people continue with what they know and slowly realize it doesn't suffice when confronted with the inherent complexity of the adult world. Without a bailout, these people flounder horribly, and make immature decisions mostly through ignorance. They'll "grow up," but it'll take longer. Now we see where "helicopter parenting" truly leads.

        Not pretty, is it?

        By the way, some of those friends of yours who act immature? Talk to them sometime. That part of them which lived hard and grew up before their time is still there. Tell them to flip the switch and speak candidly, and they'll likely comply. If you ever want to see one of your funny or seemingly flippant friends suddenly become a wise old sage, it's a simultaneously terrible and awe-inspiring sight to behold.
    • Re:Responsibility (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
      The kids in the West are pampered and spoilt. No wonder there is a trend towards immaturity.

      I think you left out one of the most important factors - the government's use of hysteria about "protecting the children" to justify all kinds of nanny-state laws. We have this strange dichotomy enforced on us that people are helpless, naive babes in the woods until they reach 18 (and in some cases 21) years of age, which is completely geared to isolating them from any maturity-developing life experiences.

      I see it a
  • A way to deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demon_2k (586844) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:59AM (#15599585) Journal
    I think that this is just a way for adults to deal with the stress of current day life. Or a side affect if you will.
  • Academics, eh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EnglishTim (9662) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:04AM (#15599596)
    From the artice:

    The theory's creator is Bruce Charlton, a professor in the School of Biology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England...
    "People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence..."


    I'm amused that he singles out academics, teachers and scientists - pretty much the exact description of people he has in his department. Not that I wish to suggest that the fine fellows at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne are in any way immature (I did my Bachelor's degree there), but I can't help thinking that his paper is by implication not exactly flattering to them.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:06AM (#15599606) Homepage Journal
    Having too many of the peasent moving up the Kohlberg scale is bad for
    profits, war and control?
    What if they start wanting and understanding ethical principles?
    Best keep them all at stage 2?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg's_stages_of_ moral_development [wikipedia.org]
  • Worldwide? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bazman (4849) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:08AM (#15599610) Journal
    Some people have commented that this is only happening in developed nations. But if it happens all over teh globe, would that make it a Peter Pan-demic?

  • It depends (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vandil X (636030) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:08AM (#15599612)
    Before we got married, my wife and I decided to not have kids. Over the years since and to this day, when people ask us why we don't have any kids, we simply say "We're not done being kids, ourselves."

    And its true. We'd just rather spend all of that child-rearing money on ourselves and keep our options open (go out/take trips whenever), while not having to put up with the hassles of tending to kids.

    I'm sure many traditionally-raised folks might see this as immature or selfish, but it all depends on the point of view.

    • Re:It depends (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:46AM (#15599707)
      I think the "traditonally-raised" part these actually is the problem with the orignal article. It seems to hold the tranditonal way of doing things as the gold standard of maturity. As though if you were inflexable, but utterly reliably to do whatever mindless task you'd been trained to do that was "mature". That's no longer such an asset in society, and people are chinging. I think perhaps a better definition of maturity is the skills necessary to be a successful, productive, happy member of society.

      So something like: If you can't deal with society's rules, you aren't socially mature. If you can't succede in modern jobs you aren't intellectually mature. If you cannot find happiness in life you aren't emotionally mature. That kind of thing. That we don't defie it as some traditonal lifestyle to meet, but rather as having a good life in the world as it is today.

      Also an interesting thing about the childless it is it perhaps a new kind of maturity that we have to accept. There is a limit to the number of people we can have in the world, that's just a simple fact. It would seem we are already pushing that limit too far. Well, it will eventually solve itself via things like starvation, but I think a better idea might just be to procreate less. Given the number of people who decide that they want to have more than two children, it is socially repsonsible to have no children. That is, of course, not to advocate everyone goes childless, but there's something to be said for those that don't have kids.

      I just don't think that the definition of maturity as "Living your life like the last generation" is a useful one.
      • Re:It depends (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordLucless (582312)
        There is a limit to the number of people we can have in the world, that's just a simple fact. It would seem we are already pushing that limit too far.

        The world isn't over-populated. Some parts of the world are overpopulated. I believe Japan has recently been experiencing negative population growth, and Australia is predicted to in the near future. That is why, in Australia at least, they introduced new tax breaks for new parents - because, especially as people live longer past retirement, there are not g
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:17AM (#15599637) Homepage
    Ironically it's the ones that aren't intentional that we should be worrying about...
  • Its Simple Really (Score:4, Interesting)

    by artoffacts (850560) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:36AM (#15599676)
    Adults are typically hard to sell to. Children on the other hand typically make easy marks. So how do you make sure that your target market remains in a blissful pre-lapsarian haze in the face of age and oncoming responsibility?

    You produce them as such.

    Thomas Doherty once quipped that "movies reflect teenage, not mass - and definitely not adult - tastes". Hollywood, The TV industry, glossy magazines, etc, are all interested in doing one thing: producing you as an unquestioning consumer whose core concerns are childlike.

    Take for example these new Nike Ronaldino ads whose catchphrase is "never grow up". I don't want to go all Barthes here but these ads are so shameless in their meaning production that you wonder how any adult with an IQ over 80 could fall for their message. It's pitiful really.
    • You know, I believe you have got something here. Given the level of immaturity of the characters on "Friends", "Seinfield" and many other television programs combined with the behavior of the actors in various beer commercials, we may have lowered the bar for maturity. If the major media formats in our culture show examples of adult behavior that is, essentiallly, childish then who can blame the viewers for adopting those standards?

      I'm reminded of an ex-girlfriend who seemed to me to over-react to situations. I was puzzled until I realized that she was acting as if she were a character on a television program; where drama is important. We may have a couple of generations now doing the same thing.

      Nice work. :)
  • The trouble is.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WontStopTrying (984863) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:37AM (#15599678)
    I'm 19. To politely state how I feel about my generation is that I strongly dislike them. What's worse though is having to deal with adults at my college, who attend to get a "second chance" at whatever it is they want. What's annoying about them is that they are immature. They act exactly like my generation. A group of people who are more focused on social aesthetics rather than concerning themselves with the overall good, they don't even focus on a goal besides graduating. It's annoying, and it probably won't stop. Education is being pushed on younger people to attend at an early age so they don't have to go back, or won't have to do a lot of work later in life while raising kids, and that might make it change because they'll be able to focus on adult responsibilties and socialize with people who are farther along in their life. As far as people in "the west" living in cushy little houses and having everything provided for them by their hardworking parents, that is untrue. My mom made me go get a job. My mom told me if I didn't save money that I would be the man who had to walk to work because he blew it on a game system instead of preparing for an accident from his car or saving for my retirement. Currently I'm renting my own house leased under my own name and sure I had her help finding it, but it's me and my roommates paying for it. She prepared me for it, but I am proof that "the west" doesn't have everything given to them and that some of my generation can appreciate deeper things than how many friends you have on myspace, or who got drunk at what party. Personally I find my generation offensive, but that's just me.
  • by Quirk (36086) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:40AM (#15599685) Homepage Journal
    It's really impossible to address the range of issues such a claim covers. In evolutionary terms we're thought by many to be neotenic [wikipedia.org]. From wikipedia: " There is controversy over whether adult humans exhibit certain neotenous features, or juvenile characteristics, that are not evidenced in other great ape species. Stephen Jay Gould was an advocate of the view that humans are a neotenous species of chimpanzee; the argument being that juvenile chimpanzees have an almost-identical bone structure to humans, and that the chimpanzee's ability to learn seems to be cut off upon reaching maturity."

    An argument could be made that as we're neotenic by evolutionary design it's "only natural" that psychologically we exhibit overextended developmental immaturity.

    Our sense of humour is based on broken symmetry. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience [amazon.com] by Erving Goffman was an early effort to set out the myriad markers we use to establish a contextual frame and the wit we employ to break that frame for various reasons, humour not least among them.

    Our relatively oversized brain is conjectured to be an outgrowth of our intricate social relationships. Our fetishes and rituals have come under scrutiny by dint of recorded history and cultural cross fertilization. In the vein of familiarity breeds contempt it may be that we've simply come to more easily poke fun at ourselves.

    The Marx brothers said it best: Groucho:"I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member"; and Karl: "Moi, je ne suis pas marxiste."

    It may be that those who are now seen as relatively immature are those whose lives most correspond with the material wealth that permited playful immaturity. I suggest that Freud's concept of polymorphous perversity can be extended from sexuallity to all aspects of our lives as a description of our ability to transcend our basic nature.

  • Old fart maturity? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nicolay77 (258497) <nicolay DOT g AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:45AM (#15599705) Homepage
    I believe that being mature simply means to accept the consequences of our acts.

    Being mature doesn't have anything to do with being predictable, boring, let-me-read-my-diary old fart or being playful, childish, fun and sometimes impredictable and impulsive.

    As long as I accept the consequences of my acts let me play all I can and enjoy simple things and not worry more than I have to.
  • Maturity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Channing (514228) <channingwalton.mac@com> on Sunday June 25, 2006 @06:45AM (#15599969) Homepage
    What is the formal definition of maturity ? I RTFA and didn't see one so its impossible to agree or disagree with it.
  • by S.P.B.Wylie (983357) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @06:48AM (#15599973)
    One definition is the idea that mature people "don't like silly things." I personally think these people need a pie in the face. Life is hard, life is stressful, and sometimes you just have to enjoy the silly and simple things.

    The other definition (and I feel the more relevant one) is the responsibility factor. I would say "accountability" works better than "responsibility," even though responsibility is how everyone is refuring to it. As for this, I feel it is definately true that people aren't accountable enough. People (in America at least) seem to be told to watch themselves, and people stop looking out for the guy next to them. We all affect each other, and we all need to be accountable for that. NO PERSON IS AN ISLAND.

    The trick is to take the best of both worlds. Enjoy a good pie fight, but have the courtecy to help clean up
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @11:04AM (#15600524)
    Accepting that one has responsabilities doesn't mean giving up on one's dreams.

    Being friendly and joking with people is not the same as being immature.

    Being serious all the time and totally giving up one's pleasure in life for the sake of family, community or just to be like everybody else is not maturity, it's being a drone (in my opinion, a sheep).

    Real maturity is achieved when one achieves the level of self-confidence needed to outgrow the "fitting a mold just because thats what one is '(not) expected to do' behaviour" and one finds out it's possible to balance responsabilities and fun without beraking the first or giving up the second.

    Unfortunately, our society is designed around the expectation that most people will "settle down", and become "hard-working family men/women". The push is constantly there to be a nice little drone, work hard to make money, buy loads of stuff that don't really make you happy (consume, consume, consume), become what your neighbours expect you to be and expect the same back from them, accept that you're just another average working stiff, accomodate and don't make waves.

    BTW: Dressing up in a specific style (geek, retro, necro, whatever) to "make a statement", "be different" or "cause a reaction" can be just as much a form of "trying to belong", "accomodating to a sterotype" or in general "being relative to others" as wearing a suit for work - ask yourself "am i dressing this because of who i am or because of who i want to be?". Clothes are a tool - dressing a certain way can help you progress to certain aims, and it's what you are aiming at that matters, not what you wear.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @11:25AM (#15600614) Homepage
    I'm telling Congress on you.

    My lawyer could beat up your lawyer.

    Boy: I never said I knew where the WMDs were.
    Father: We saw you do it, son.
    Boy: No, no, no, no, no.

    Boy 1: That idea is mine!
    Boy 2: No, you gotta share!
    Boy 1: It's mine! (punches boy 2)

    Boy 1: Wanna play Kerberos?
    Boy 2: Yeah! Only you gotta show me how.
    [They play]
    Boy 2: No, you can't use MD5.
    Boy 1: Yes I can, we always used MD5.
    Boy 2: It's my house, we play by my rules.

    Yup, sounds about right.
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @11:34AM (#15600656) Journal
    The article did a rather piss-poor job of explaining what the research is suggesting, which is a pity because the topic is an interesting and complex one. Only one paragraph got the proper consequences:

    "People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact."

    So yes, childlike wonder and flexibility are good for learning new stuff, and tend to follow with a more dynamic society. The consequences of it are that people are going to be unbalanced, rash, irritable, and childish.

    There is a guy I work with. He's in his mid-30s, and generally a nice guy. However at times (typically six or eight times a day) I want to scream at him, "GROW UP!!! Take some responsibility for what you're doing!!!" However, I don't. Now there are three 'maturity' issues at play here.
    1) His lack of self-responsibility is immature (lack of responsibility)
    2) My instinctive reaction is immature (ranting and raving like a kid)
    3) My actions are mature (either nothing, talking to his manager, or talking to him professionally)

    I bring this up not to prove my maturity (there are a lot of other cases that aren't so complimentary to me :-), but to illustrate what almost everyone has experienced.

    In a modern workforce, I would expect that maturity equates fairly close to professionalism, and I can definitely say that I've seen a decline in professionalism in the last decade or so. Outside of the workplace, it's a bit trickier. People with kids who try to hard to be their kids' best friends and refuse to apply any discipline are a target, but it's a hard line to draw cleanly. Similarly, one poster mentioned that he and his wife have decided against having kids, because they're not done being kids themselves. This personally strikes me as a bit selfish (a fundamentally immature behaviour), but at the same time they seem remarkably mature in their immaturity.

    At the base of it, I put a lot of the blame on pop culture and society. We venerate and idolise people who embody every negative aspect of immaturity (actors, rock stars, etc.) and naturally come to not only forgive but accept and rationalise their behaviour. At the same time, we know that getting stoned and trashing a hotel room is wrong, so we don't emulate them--however, the bar has already been set, and it's sitting in the mud. We have such a LOW standard of behaviour to exceed that an average eight-year-old is a more mature person than the stars who show up in the tabloids.

    Society's final anti-maturity shot is the entire 'hide your age' industry. Makeup, surgery, and clothes are all designed to avoid aging, because aging reminds us of death. We're a culture so terrified of death that we'll spend billions to shove it under the rug. Unfortunately, that leads to consciously NOT acting like we think grown-ups should do, but rather as kids.

    I could also mention a lawsuit-happy culture discouraging people from taking responsibilty for their own actions, but that would be another page of text, and this post is long enough already.

    Maturity means responsibility. Taking responsibilty for your own life and your own actions, as well as acting responsibly and dealing responsibly with the actions of those around you. It is my personal belief that it doesn't necessarily preclude doing frivolous or foolish things when appropriate, but that historically it was never considered appropriate for adults to do such things. (Anyone remember Mary Poppins?) One exception has always been academics--the image of an absentminded or childlike genius professor is an old one indeed. In contemporary society, immature behaviour is allowed for all adults, and even encouraged. The new marque of maturity will be one who behaves in a mature and responsible fashion (a) when necessary, and (b) when desirable, but not necessarily (c) when not needed.

    Maybe it's really a weakening of true maturity, but as long as (a) and (b) are achieved, I can happily deal with a society that has accepted (c).
  • Manmaking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @11:46AM (#15600708) Homepage Journal
    Becoming an adult used to take an explicit ceremony, with months or more of preparation, which every adult completed. Encoding cultural history as well as the expectations of adult behavior.

    As more traditional culture is lost, more people go through life without the benefits of it, or a "new version" that can update it to work in modern society.

    Girls have lost more of these procedures, filtered out along with lots of oppressive female institutions, and probably represent lots of the people not converted into adult personalities. If women's culture included explicit "rites of passage" from girlhood into womenhood, more girls would become women. At least some men have the bar mitzva, or the fraternity pledging.

    I think that if every girl learned about the biology of becoming a woman in "midwife clubs" assisting a group of adult midwifes for a year, then celebrated their own "coming of age", they'd be a lot better integrated with their gender identity as well as their maturity identity. Boys would benefit from it as well, but not as much as girls, just as girls benefit from the masculine cultural bar mitzva, but not as much as boys.
  • by xPsi (851544) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:27PM (#15600878)
    I did not personally find the article or the research very credible. The reasons are quite numerous, and I won't discuss them all. But first let me say that I think the underlying hypothesis is fairly reasonable. If I look around me I might say, to first order, that people I know appear to have the "fresh" attitudes of a 20 year old well into their 40s. I might point out that the article is not saying people are "childlike", like a 6-year-old, as other threads have implied -- only "immature". However, this observation has a very skewed baseline. What are we using as a control when we make such an observation like "people used to be more mature"? We are using our childlike memories of our parents, teachers, doctors, etc. as we saw them from the eyes of someone growing up. But I've often been very surprised to learn, post hoc, what my folks and childhood mentors were up to during they're 20s, 30s, and even their 40s and 50s when they weren't interacting with me. Far from stagnating into "maturity" many of them retained a childlike curiosity for the world. They strove to understand themselves and experimented with a lot of crazy stuff (and I'm not just talking drugs here). However, I only saw them through a very specific filter. I feel the article is falling into the same trap, and it even admits this:


    People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence...


    Again, I ask, what is the "research" described in the article using as a control or baseline? This is never discussed -- and it sounds like this "research" is nothing more than an elaborate opinion-piece. TFA even use David Brooks as a kind of "reference." I enjoy David Brooks, even if I don't always agree with him. He is a respectable social commentator and pundit, but he is ultimately a professional opinionist, not a respected psychological researcher.


    Also, can someone help me out with this quote from the article:


    Charlton added that since modern cultures now favor cognitive flexibility, "immature" people tend to thrive and succeed, and have set the tone not only for contemporary life, but also for the future, when it is possible our genes may even change as a result of the psychological shift. [bold emphasis mine]


    Genes shifting as the result of a psychological shift? WTF? It was my understanding that genes needed a bit more than "psychology" to change. Are these guys implying a Lamarckian evolution based not even on physical characteristics but somehow "attitudes affecting evolutionary physiology"? With little snips like this, it makes this work seem very fishy to me, bordering on crackpotism.


    Anyway, while the basic hypothesis has merit, the research the article describes doesn't seem to demonstrate or prove (or even have the ability to demonstrate or prove) the proposed effect.

  • Calcification? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MythoBeast (54294) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @01:58PM (#15601232) Homepage Journal
    The ability to change one's mind about things is something that tends to be exclusive to childhood. As people age, changing your mind about something becomes more difficult as the burden of existing evidence increases our psychological momentum. This is a process that I refer to as calcification. Eventually, a person decides that learning new things and changing their minds is no longer worth the effort. The person becomes less flexible and less adaptable to their environment. It isn't a given, but it's very difficult to avoid as one ages.

    Although the article doesn't describe this, I'm wondering if calcification is happening earlier due to a lack of urgency to change one's mind, or if it's happening later because people are presented with more tempting options.
  • Nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wytcld (179112) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @03:40PM (#15601604) Homepage
    The faults of youth are retained along with the virtues, he believes. These include short attention span, sensation and novelty-seeking, short cycles of arbitrary fashion and a sense of cultural shallowness.

    This is a bizarre list. In my fifties now, I can recall as a teenager having a much longer attention span. For instance, if I began reading a book in the evening I'd often stay up through most of the night to finish it. I don't do that any more. Sometimes I'll get that focused on a programming problem - but the young have all the advantage in attention span there too.

    Cultural shallowness? Most cultural depth comes from youth. Many of the greatest works of the greatest classical composers were achieved while they were young. And all of the great musical advances and inventions of the 60s - aside from those of Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis - were accomplished by people in their twenties - many of whom had encyclopedic knowledge of the musics they were extending from.

    Short cycles? Sure, invention can move quickly. But arbitrary fashion? Are long-cycle fashions less arbitrary? Should we more respect the whale-bone corsette than bell bottoms on boys? Were the centuries of wearing powdered wigs more "mature" than the several years of goatees and mullets?

    And are we better off in life with no sensation? Would this psychiatrist prefer we were all comfortably numb? Figures. But I'd hardly call his the "mature" approach.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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