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I have aspirations of being intelligent.

I've been feeling the need to write a serious post here on the old LJ, but have been very wary of it due to my inability to write anything but inane crap, stories of sex and deviance had and to be had, or whiny emo bullshit on why my life sucks.

The 1st? Annoying. The 2nd? Obnoxious. The 3rd? UGH.

I think I figured out how to pull it off. Quote someone else.

One of the things I have been doing a lot of lately has been reading. Since picking up and finishing the copy of Samuel Delany's Hogg, bought through the recommendation of thornyc, I've been quickly buying and devouring as many of his works as I can.

So far, I've read Hogg, The Mad Man, his graphic novel Bread & Wine, Nova, Dhalgren, and I've now started the Neveryon series with the 1st book, Tales of Neveryon.

His stuff is amazing, full of multiple meanings, social analysis, sexuality, racial studies, everything. Just fascinating reading.

Anyway, the point of this whole post - yesterday, I was struck by an interesting passage that I'd like to share with you, from Tales of Neveryon.

"Childhood is that time in which we never question the fact that every adult act is not only an autonomous occurrence in the universe, but that it is also filled, packed, overflowing with meaning, whether that meaning works for ill or good, whether the ill or good is or is not comprehended.

Adulthood is that time in which we see that all human actions follow forms, whether well or badly, and it is the perseverance of the forms that is, whether for better or worse, their meaning.

Various cultures make the transition at various ages, which transition period lasts for varying lengths of time, one accomplishing it in a week with careful dances, ancient prayers, and isolate and specified rituals; another, letting it take its own course, offering no help for it, and allowing it to run on frequently for years. But at the center of the changeover there is a period - whether it be a moment's vision or a year-long suspicion - where the maturing youth sees all adult behavior as merely formal and totally meaningless."

I'm still trying to figure out which I am. The child, or the adult.

Is it possible to be both, and yet not be in transition?


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 7th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
IMO, yes!!!

As I finished reading the second paragraph I thought "And some of us are both at the same time".

But hey, I read 'Nausea' at 15, so I'm a recovering existentialist, and not to be trusted with such questions.
Dec. 7th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
Mmmmm, Sartre makes me so happy in my soul-- strangely enough.
Dec. 7th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
"Is it possible to be both, and yet not in transition?"

*sticks out hand* Hi, I'm petal... pleased to meetcha!"
Dec. 7th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
To be an adult we must first journey through childhood. Through childhood we learn lessons that will serve us through adulthood. If we loose the wonder, curiosity joy and innocence of childhood we become hard and embittered adults. In order to be a healthy adult, we must never lose that part of us that is always a child and we should embrace it. To be childlike does not mean we are a child as much as being mature does not necessarily make us adult. It is not a transition to be both but it is acceptance of yourself and an acceptance of the world around you without allowing cynicism to forever block you. To be both means you have the ability to grow and not to stagnate. When a person loses the child within, they lose the ability to grow and the ability to learn. I hope you always remain a child within and an adult without. Sorry for the ramble but you got a stream of thought post.
Dec. 7th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Goodness, I really like that. Particularly the last paragraph tickles my mind happily.

By not in transition, do you mean that you are not perpetually stuck in the state where you see all adult behavior as "merely formal and totally meaningless"? (That's the best way I've ever heard articulated the Teenager's Perspective.)

It seems like to be both, and not be in transition, you have to simultaneously believe that every action taken possesses its own intrinsic meaningfulness, and that every action is also meaningful in its place as part of the actions that describe a "form" of action. "Form", the root of "formality", seems to mean in this piece a class of action that a society understands/recognizes-- err, maybe validates? Hm, I'm really having a hard time articulating the adult perspective on meaningful actions here. Wonder what that means.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 8th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reminding me to add Dhalgren to the list.

That book sent me through quite the loop.
Dec. 8th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
I'm stuck on the "is it possible not to be in transition?" part of the question.
Dec. 9th, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
I think that we keep all the different "versions" of ourselves we've ever been somewhere inside. Inspiration, circumstances, etc. can coax out our various "selves," no matter how deeply (or long) buried. But I'm a Gemini, so of course I think that. :-)

On another note ... you have probably already read Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, but if not, it occurs to me that you might enjoy it right now, even though it's not fiction.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )