18 January 2016

Growing up

I really like Joseph Campbell's idea that being neurotic simply means you couldn't cross the threshold between childhood and adulthood completely, leaving you in the dilemma of "Where's mommy? Oh, I am mommy!"
Joseph Campbell also mentioned (in his book Pathways to Bliss) that there's certain rites of passage in other cultures but we don't really have such a thing in the modern West.
As soon as you hit eighteen or your early twenties, you're supposed to suddenly switch from obeying authorities to being one.
University is quite different from school, because it's no obligatory education, you pay for it, and all the students are adults.
But I'm still stuck in this mentality of "I am forced to be here and listen to the adults and perform well" when the reality sounds more like "I am an adult who pays other adults to help me learn. I can do well or not - it's really only my concern."

If you're also at the age of 19-23, you are probably going through the same thing.
And the thing that unites us all is that we are experiencing the Uranus-square-Uranus transit - either the actual one, or the shadow periods before and after it.
"This Uranus-square-Uranus transit coincides with a three-year period in the late teens and early twenties when youthful rebellion and striving for independence is typically at a peak. [...] a radically heightened emancipatory impulse appears to be consistently catalyzed during these years; one that impels youth to make its first fundamental break from structures established or upheld by the previous generation."
Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche
Adam and Eve were banned from paradise after eating from the tree of knowledge.
This theme is very common in cultures and narratives all around the world:
becoming curious, seeking knowledge, will make you fall.
In Greek mythology, Prometheus gave fire to the humans, a symbol for consciousness and civilization - it ended in the opening of Pandora's box, which released all suffering into the world.
In German fairy tales, a child opening a secret or forbidden door and ending up being punished or banned is also a common theme.
Why is curiosity and a development of consciousness bad?
Why does it kill our youth, ban us from paradise, end in suffering?
The fruit that Adam and Eve ate gave them the ability to tell good and evil apart.
It took away their trusting and naive innocence.
Knowledge separates, creates categories, judges, creates prejudice, distrust, and fear.
This is how the mind of a child and that of an adult differ:
We start judging other and ourselves.  We compare and evaluate.
Suddenly Adam and Eve became aware of being naked and ashamed of their bodies.
Without self-awareness, you are absolutely shameless. You never judge or compare yourself.
On the one hand, I sometimes wish I could go back to being stupid and happy like a child, blissfully unaware.
On the other hand, once you've eaten the forbidden fruit or opened the forbidden door, paradise is lost and you can't return. But self-awareness brings the opportunity to grow.
So let's grow up and become adults. Let go of childhood nostalgia, as hard as it is.

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