Signs of (Im)maturity

It is the responsibility of scientists never to suppress knowledge, no matter how awkward that knowledge is, no matter how it may bother those in power. We are not smart enough to decide which pieces of knowledge are permissible.

~ Carl Sagan


The infantilization of the “western” world is complete. If doubt remains in your mind, I suspect your cognitive function is impaired, your personal infantilization is complete, or you are too privileged to recognize and acknowledge your own privilege. Perhaps all of the above apply.

Americans are particularly adorable. And by “adorable,” I mean unintentionally hilarious. Look at what they call news. And work. And food. And thinking. And entertainment. And education. And success. I could go on, as you know.

I present a few examples of infantilization within this brief missive. I could list a few dozen others, but I’ll spare some people the horrors of reminders and others the agony of introspection. If the latter folks routinely employed introspection, I doubt I’d be compelled to write this essay.

Example 1: Seeking attention. People claiming to support me, or in other cases claiming I’m wrong about everything, employ a curious combination of full-frontal insanity and faith-based junk science to garner an audience. Both groups exhibit far more confidence than competence. I wish I could say I’m surprised.

Example 2: The “should” phenomenon. I’ve grown tired of people telling me what to do and what to read. After more than three decades of frequent self-reflection, I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’ve thought about how I live. I’ve developed my own personal philosophy, rooted in radical honesty, and I adhere to it. The confused response from most people is particularly telling.

Example 3: Time is short. Access to the Internet is stunningly slow and shockingly expensive where I live. Unlike my time on the payroll of the taxpayers, I’m under no obligation to respond to poorly researched, inarticulate email messages. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m willing to answer even the most ridiculous of questions in exchange for fiat currency. Otherwise, feel free to use an online search engine or an “expert” at your nearby taxpayer-supported university.

Example 4: Use of the word, “resource.” We do not form decent relationships with resources. Decent relationships are rooted in empathy, compassion, and perhaps even love. Resources are for exploiting. Perhaps you detect the obvious disconnect. If you are tapped into the narrative of the dominant paradigm, then perhaps not.

I could point out that Example 4 is a subset of Example 3. But a word to the wise is unnecessary and a word to an idiot generally falls on deaf ears.

Example 5: Evaluating evidence is difficult. Most people don’t bother. Instead, they turn to celebrities, politicians, and public figures. And they don’t understand why this behavior is presented as an example of infantilization.

If you’re not squirming in your intellectual seat, congratulations. You’re a rare bird surrounded by pigeons. The pigeons are strutting as if they’ve won life’s most precious prize.