Posts Tagged ‘innocence’

emotional maturity and the root of all Eve

August 8, 2013


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 (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 (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 (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)


innocence, resistance, and responsibility – 3 ways of relating to change

May 29, 2012
Behavioral Economics: How to Make the Right Bu...

Behavioral Economics: How to Make the Right Buying Decisions (Photo credit: BankSimple)

Have you been surprised in recent years at changing patterns of economic behavior that have influenced your business and finances? If you were surprised, then how well did you really know the market for your business?

Have you been merely curious about what is changing or confused and anxious? Have you been frustrated and bitter- not just disappointed and humble- but even resistant and resentful?

Many people may dismiss or even ridicule information that frightens them. It may be rare for someone to have the courage to face (or even to proactively seek) information that might lead them to change their thinking and behavior to promote their well-being.

What I just said may seem a little strange. People may resist being attentive to their well-being. People may be attentive to conforming to a familiar group instead of being attentive to what actually works well for them personally. In other words, they may value familiarity over functionality and prosperity.

So, if you thought you knew your market well, but soon you were surprised by what actually happened (which was different from your thoughts and presumptions), then you may have been confused. Confusion is quite distinct from mere ignorance. Confusion means that a presumption has been made which is false, but there is still a confusion or lack of recognition about which presumption is the false one. There has been a confusing of one thing for another, a mistaking of one thing for another.

Once the false presumption is recognized as false, confusion ends. Clarity and openness lead naturally to curiosity.

I just presented three ways of relating to change. First is innocence: a change is new and curious- a new opportunity to learn. Second is resistance: change is unfamiliar and troubling and shameful- something to resist and avoid and deny and ridicule. Third is responsibility: change is constant and eventually some change will probably be confusing, but confusion is just an indicator of a mistaken presumption and the responsible person knows that it is functional to admit ignorance with an interest in correcting any inaccurate presumptions. Confusion is not shameful. Admitting confusion and ignorance is an important step in maturing in to courage and responsibility.


J.R. to Rob Godwin: “[Would you] write me a brief testimonial indicating a spontaneous recollection of what you recall me saying when- even if vague?”

Rob: “I just remember the last time we hung out, at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Glendale, and you suggested that I not buy a house, because it was a bubble that was going to burst soon. That was probably mid 2004, and it did peak about 1.5 years later….

I remember thinking at the time, that things were going so well here, how could they stop? I bet a lot of people who lived through the Roaring’ 20’s thought the same thing, LOL. I think the 90’s and early 00’s were like that, where everyone kept saying that things were different, that the old economic models didn’t apply, that they’d been figured out by “experts”. But things did crash just the same, so I guess we weren’t immune to it afterall. I guess the larger the peak, the deeper the recession.”

stages of adaptive appreciation

October 14, 2011

The above audio contains a lot more clarification and information than the text below.

First, people begin innocent. Then, they are trained in how things should be and so become naively presumptive, though that is adaptive relative to the first stage.

Then, if the presumptive way does not work very well, some slight revisions are made in regard to the updated idealism of how things really should be, and now the reformed and refined presumptiveness becomes arrogance (as in self-righteousness). Again, that may be adaptive relative to the prior stage- using a more adapted model of presumptiveness.
Next, after perhaps a few distinct idealisms have been tried and have all failed to correspond to reality, a cynical perfectionism may develop. This is a reaction against all forms of presumptiveness, all models. This is a criticism against all forms of what allegedly should be. This can be called hypocrisy, for it is presuming that presumptiveness about how things should be is what should not be, which implicitly presumes that an innocent naivete is all that should ever be. Again, that may still be more adaptive than prior stages.
However, once that does not work well either, then humility and grace may eventually develop. Then there is an appreciation possible for every stage: naive innocence, naive presumptiveness, arrogant presumptiveness, arrogant cynicism, and humility.
These stages of adaption can be regrouped in to three distinctions: innocence, perfectionism, and humility. Perfectionism includes naive presumptiveness, arrogant presumptiveness, and arrogant cynicism.
We can even look at these as stages of appreciation. Initially, everything is equal. Then, various priorities and values are identified, learned and refined. Then, there is an appreciation for all models and all values and all priorities- just one at a time.
In other words, all of the models and presumptions are recognized as similar in that they are just models and presumptions. In any particular case, one or more models may be most relevant or useful. There can be an appreciation for each model as unique and for all models as only being models. There can be an appreciation for the creation of new models and discarding of old ones and naively or arrogantly clinging to certain ones or rejecting certain others.
Humility and appreciation may be two words for a single adaption. We might even call it “maturity.”

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