emotional maturity and the root of all Eve

 

naturaleza viva - living nature

naturaleza viva – living nature (Photo credit: jesuscm)

 

 

Welcome. Thank you for your openness to experience something new.

 

You are about to learn about the distinction between innocence and maturity. Maturity is extremely useful, supremely practical, and immensely valuable. Here is a short, simple example of how maturity makes such a difference.

 

 

 

Innocence

Innocence (Photo credit: Suresh Eswaran)

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon. It i...

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon. It is an edit of Image:Lemon.jpg to reduce blown highlights and slightly darken image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a small child, my big sister and I would argue about many things. Sometimes an adult would respond to our outbursts with some mature attention.

 

My sister would say “this is a lemon.” I would say “no, that is a fruit.” She would say “yes, but is it an apple?” I would say “No, stupid, anyone can see it is not an apple. Apples are red.” She would say, “I’m not stupid. You are the one who is stupid. It is clearly a lemon. Plus, apples can be yellow or green, too, not just red, stupid!”

 

Today, reflecting back on a long past event, you may be able to relate to that kind of an interaction. We could have been talking about politics or religion or some other possible subject of controversy, but we were just talking about different kinds of plants.

 

 

 

Apple

Apple (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

So how were we talking about plants? We were arguing, right, but what else?

 

We were sincere. We did not know any better. In other words, we knew not what we were doing. We were unaware or innocent.

 

We were also competing with each other and even confused and distressed, right? Maybe we were even seeking to have an authority clarify things for us, to present some new language for organizing our conversations, to set things in to order. Maybe we were inviting a new maturity in to our lives.

 

 

 

So what could a mature adult do in response to those two little kids arguing so sincerely and innocently? First, it is obvious that more sincere arguing would not be anything new or distinct. But what about insincere arguing (or joking around)?

 

“Okay, this is clearly a little yellow round thing, but are you sure it is a plant? I don’t know. What do you think? And you, what about you, do you also think that this might be a plant? Well yes that is true, but what else can you tell me about this that proves that it is some kind of a plant? Okay, so you both agree that it is a plant.”

 

The mature person might find an uncontroversial point of agreement. By bringing in the idea of skepticism, the kids are challenged to prove that it is a plant. Their sincerity is welcomed and encouraged. The actual controversy is simply ignored at this stage.

 

Lemon tree02

Lemon tree02 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I agree with both of you that it is a plant. However, have either of you ever heard of the species of plant called citrus limon? No? Well, how about you? AHA! Well, now we all know what the problem is! You people did not even know what a citrus limon was, did you? What are you asking about a species? Ah, yes: what does species mean? Now that is a very good question. Thank you for asking. A species means a specific kind of thing, a special thing that is similar to other things in certain ways, but also a little bit different.”

 

You can think of many other things that a mature person could say to the kids, or things they could do without saying much at all. They could just grab the lemon and then say “This is mine now. It was your problem, but now I took the problem from you and it is my problem, so your problem is over. So, now I am wondering how quickly can you two find something else to argue about? Can you even find another problem at all? I dare you!”

 

Surprise is a key factor in the actions of the mature person. Surprise interrupts the prior momentum of the interaction.

 

The mature person welcomes the sincerity of others and even encourages their initiative, their approach, their momentum. But a new approach can surprise the innocent arguers. A new momentum that is more powerful can effectively resist the old momentums- creating a new conflict- or the new mature approach may even avoid the conflict between the prior approaches.

 

 

Sincere Happiness

Sincere Happiness (Photo credit: gianna.ratto)

“This reminds me of the time that I was going to your favorite restaurant and I walked in and then sat down and soon someone came over and asked me what I wanted as a drink. Have you ever had someone ask you that? So anyway, what I said is that I wanted some water with a slice of lemon. They came back a few minutes later with an entire lemon though. That was a problem. I repeated that I wanted just one slice. They said what about an entire lemon tree. I said no, I do not want a plant or a fruit or a whole lemon, but just one slice. They said that there are several slices of lemon inside of the whole lemon and I just needed to cut open the citrus limon and then I could have a slice of the fruit plant in my water. I said no how do you put a bunch of slices inside of a lemon, because that is impossible. They said they put the slices in the lemon the same way that they put the lemons on the lemon tree. Then we all laughed and I cut up the lemon in to some slices and squeezed some juice in to my water and had a sip.”

 

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Photo credit: mikecogh)

 

 

But that is not what most people do when there is a bunch of sincere, innocent arguing about politics or religion. All the sincere innocent people will not welcome the statements of others which conflict with what is most familiar to them, most comfortable, most reassuring, most safe, least dangerous, least threatening, least terrifying. They will intensely resist certain statements or even avoid interacting with people who categorize reality in unfamiliar ways.

 

Mature people may welcome new ways of categorizing their experience. They may even intentionally approach new ways of labeling life and relating to reality.

 

 

 

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Photo credit: autowitch)

So, there are four basic patterns of activity: welcoming or resisting and approaching or avoiding. All four of these have value or else they would not ever happen. The mature approach to life is to recognize that every method has value, but no method is always the best.

 

Each method is valuable specifically for the results that it can promote. Welcoming is the default method of newborns. They innocently welcome everything. However, some of the experiences they have are so rewarding that they begin to develop a familiarity for certain things and then they begin to not just welcome but to approach those things, like an appealing sight or intriguing sound or pleasant smell. Young children are not just open anymore but also curious, even passionately (and annoyingly).

 

Innocence

Innocence (Photo credit: Mohammad A. Hamama, A reflected version!)

Eventually, though, that does not go so well. They learn to resist certain things and even avoid certain dangers. That is all part of the process of maturing.

 

 

 

Every pattern has value. Every method is valuable to the one who is mature.

 

Arguing has value. Blaming others has value. Condemning and resisting and avoiding all have value, at least in certain specific circumstances.

 

Saying that only certain things have value also can be valued. Saying that nothing at all ever has any value can even be valuable. Sincerity and joking and deception all can be valuable, such as the ritual deception of children with the Santa Claus myth.

 

English: Santa Claus as illustrated in , v. 52...

English: Santa Claus as illustrated in , v. 52, no. 1344 (December 3 1902), cover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

So, the value of any thing is not in the thing. Value is a way of relating to something, like welcoming it or resisting it or approaching it or avoiding it.

 

It is valid or valuable to call the same thing by many different labels, such as plant, fruit, lemon, or to even use a different language like Latin and call it a “citrus limon.” Those variations in language are just distinctions of precision. They are all entirely accurate.

 

Arguing over which label is most accurate can be an innocent error. Noticing the function of arguing is part of the process of maturing.

 

English: Fruit on a lemon tree in Stratford, V...

English: Fruit on a lemon tree in Stratford, Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

If you want to avoid maturing, then it is important to avoid arguing and also avoid having a sister. Having a sister is one of the leading causes of arguing over whether a plant is a fruit or a lemon, which is a dangerous thing to welcome or approach.

 

Resist sarcasm and reverse psychology or else I will have no choice but to threaten you with slicing your lemon in to a bunch of lemon slices, which will permanently destroy the lemon, making it completely worthless. That would be like having an apple that was green, but then turns yellow and finally red, which is a horrible color for an apple and must be prevented or else the entire world will be tempted in to tricking someone in to biting the wrong apple, thereby cursing everyone with the opportunity to develop maturity. In conclusion, that is why arguing over forbidden fruit is the root of all Eve.

 

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Русский: Яблоня со спелыми плодами. Украина. Latina: Malus domestica (Borkh., 1803) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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