Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"No one ever tells you these things"

I'm thinking about maturity. People grow up a certain way. Sometimes people say "No one ever tells you these things." Why doesn't someone come up with a book of such things, so that we can tell young people about them in advance? That would be nice.

One way maturity works is that you struggle with a question, then lose interest in the struggle leaving a resulting opinion and years later you encounter a young person and express yourself dogmatically.

Have you ever been a young person and felt like everybody knew something about you but they wouldn't tell you what it was? You're supposed to figure something out, but it's too hard for you. So then people keep waiting and waiting for you to figure it out, hoping that it will magically happen. Is this in your best interests? Is it in theirs? It doesn't seem to matter if it is or isn't. It's probably an instinct that no one thinks to override.

Older people get annoyed at younger people caring, even if the younger person cares about something important. One time I was the older person to a younger Twitter person who cares about human trafficking. Sorry (if you're reading this you might remember and know who you are). Older people's brains just don't work as well and can't handle enthusiasm. Slow and steady works better. We've been through a lot epistemically and are just trying to retain what little shreds of intellectual self-trust we can muster. That's something that could go in the book for younger people to read.

Here's something else for that book: when I was in high school, I had a crush on a girl. She would never tell me to my face that she wasn't interested. But, it's true, the signs weren't there. But I thought, "well, maybe those are signs. I don't actually know that they're not. There's still a chance." And I was fairly okay with that. It wasn't like I was rushing to get married or anything. Finally, I got tired of having the crush and wrote her a note that asked point blank how she felt. And she replied, straightforwardly. I was a very nice person but she wasn't interested. So yeah. Why isn't that kind of thing more clear?

Well, girls are sketched out by boys and need the boys to have an intuitive understanding of them for a relationship to work in the first place. And boys aren't always clear in how they express themselves either, because they don't want to reveal what they really want. So there's a norm of playing games, mind games. And a lot of people do okay at mind games. But some people don't.

I think there's a reason why we don't tell people things in advance. It's better for them to learn the hard way. I can see that making some sense. But other cultures do more to guide their young people -- as people -- into adulthood. We worry about math and reading in education but not about life skills. Other cultures have serious initiation rites, but we only have some religious ones that many people don't undergo.

Okay, well that's all for now. Do any of you have any stories to share about things "no one ever tells you"? Maybe there's enough for a book.