KINDERGARTEN SOCIETY: On the Cultural De-Valuation of Maturity & Adulthood…
Here’s another “old-school resurrection” of one of my favorite and most well-received posts on the “infantilization” of our culture.
Even though this is more social-critique then actual productivity advice, I’m bringing it back so you can see how the two overlap. In other words, people conditioned to value youthfulness over maturity will also (subconsciously) value entertainment and distraction over work and getting results.
In this sense, there’s a subtle conspiracy against you becoming a productive and disciplined person, which you need to be aware of. Check this out:
Ever Wonder Why:
The content of popular music seems to be getting dumber, and dumber…and dumber??? Or why grown men are STILL fascinated with video games more then ever before??? What about sales for plastic surgery promising an infinite fountain of youth to our beautiful elder women going up, or news and political broadcasts getting simplified into child-like narratives???
…or anything else along those lines? If so, you might want to check out the cover story from a classic issue of the New York Times called “Forever Youngish: Why Nobody Wants to Be an Adult Anymore…”
I read this for the first time yesterday (mad late, I know) and it’s interesting…it talks about how we’re the first generation where a generation-gap no longer exists; how the line between adulthood and childhood is now almost to thin to even notice.
The article mainly points this out in the fields of fashion styles, musical tastes, and career choices, but (you know me), I’m more interested in the psychology – in the mental infant-ilizing of our culture (a “kindergarten society”) and the consequences we can expect to see as a result of that down the line.
(1) Life, The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, by Neal Gabler:
“…it says a great deal about modern America that no society has ever had as many celebrities as ours or revered them so intensely…
Not only are celebrities the protagonists of our news, the subjects of our daily discourse and the repositories of our values, but also, they’re so deeply embedded into our consciousness that many people profess feeling closer to and more passionate about them then their own primary relationships.”
& (2) CONSUMED: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults and Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin R. Barber:
“(The term)…‘infantilization’ is both elusive AND confrontational: on one hand it refers to the dumbing down of people and goods (as the market seems to produce more goods then the people need), and on the other, to the targeting of children AS consumers (in a market where there never seems to be enough consumers to begin with).
The evidence is everywhere: airport police handing out lollipops to calm passengers down at inspection points, television news owned by entertainment executives, dogmatic, black-and-white judgments in politics and religion…”
…and grown-butt adults running to catch the ice-cream truck (personal observation of mine).
I’m still working on the concept, but the rough logic goes something like this:
(We live in a) >> capitalist society (which has created a) >> consumer culture (that – in order to create more consumers – conditions the populace to towards) >> infantile thought and a child-like disposition
(consequently, this causes a) >> disinclination towards more complex, independent thinking (shown by a withdrawal from the reality of social and political concerns, ultimately leading towards) >> an ideal scenario for a totalitarian state (“savior-seeking” etc.).
I remember hearing somewhere that at one point it was ILLEGAL to advertise to children (wonder why). More coming soon…”