There is a social hierarchy that all of humanity follows to some degree. It is two pronged, with adult on one side and child on the other. Within this structure the adult presides over the child, and the child is subordinate to the adult. This is generally understood and accepted because children possess mental, physical, and emotional impediments that require adult tutelage. However, a subtle yet incessant infantilization has taken place in much of the west – namely, the United States – which has begun to erode its social hierarchy. It is so much so that children are beginning to usurp authority.
Now, this is not in regards to the typical parent – child relationship. No. The child end of this hierarchy is a spectrum that expands to include all who possess impediments that require guardianship. For example: the impediments of old age are akin to that of an infant, so, an elderly person may receive a child’s rank. Such impediments, however, are chronological, natural, or God-made. The issue within the west stems from those who possess unnatural, man-made, or self inflicted impediments. These individuals are unwilling where small children and elders are unable. Such individuals are referred to here as pseudo-adults. Moreover, to understand the pseudo-adult and how they come to be, one must examine the anatomy of adulthood.
The Anatomy of Adulthood
Adulthood is like a forbidden fruit. It first beckons the adolescent, promising to free them from the confines of parental discretion. Then, once certain prerequisites are met – by way of chronology, rites, and legalities – the adolescent is allowed to partake of the forbidden fruit. The first bite is sweet – coming in the form of independence – but every bite thereafter grows increasingly bitter as the caveat sets in. That caveat is responsibility.
See, although adults have earned the right to do as they please, doing so comes at a cost. As the scriptures state (Luke 12:48), to whom much is given, much will be required: adults must take full responsibility for their actions to retain their status, respectively. Failing to do so may result in a systematic stripping of allotted privileges. In such cases, the stripped are oftentimes unaware of their ‘demotion’. It rarely happens overtly – in modern or less communal societies – and it can manifest in a number of ways. It consolidates, however, as a general loss of autonomy and respect.
For instance, those who are lawfully irresponsible lose autonomy to the authority of the penal system. Those who are financially irresponsible lose automony to the authority of lenders and debt collectors. And, those who are sexually irresponsible lose autonomy to the authority of STD’s, illegitimate children, and vindictive lovers. From all of this it becomes apparent that adulthood only masquerades as a forbidden fruit, or, in other words, everything that a small child and adolescent could hope adulthood to be. But, in actuality, adulthood is a sifter who mercilessly crushes those who are il-equipped to handle life’s pressure.
Such pressure causes the il-equipped to commit responsibility suicide. This is the act of holding others responsible for one’s own actions. Such others could be – but are not limited to – aging parents, friends, relatives, certain ethnic groups, and even politicians. Responsibility suicide is a forfeiture of sovereignty, as those held responsible become unofficial guardians or superiors to the forfeiters. Herein the pseudo-adult is born. It is indeed troublesome – and even a curse – for one adult to carry burden(s) belonging to another. But, for the politician, this dynamic leads to a bigger and more powerful government, and subjects who are easy to rule.
The Peter Pan Effect
Now, it is imperative to understand that politics is not the cause of infantilism, but a potent metric by which to measure it. If one were to examine the political climate of today’s United States, the following inconsistency would standout: in the midst of prosperity, comfort, and relative peace, riots, protests, civil unrest, and political discontent are ever increasing. Why? It is a showcasing of Peter Pan’s handiwork, or a veneration thereof.
Though Peter Pan is commonly viewed as a mere fictional character aimed at small children, he in fact comes from an ancient deity named Puer-Aeternus, god of eternal youth. Nevertheless, this particular deity tends to reside at the helm of the most advanced civilizations. This is due to the fact that advanced civilizations foster ingenuity — ingenuity brings comfort — comfort brings pleasure — pleasure brings vice — and vice arrests development. In the end, the advanced civilization becomes a Neverland – a paradise riddled with chaos – and the pseudo-adults are as the lost boys (& girls). They perpetuate chaos in the form of riots, protests, civil unrest, and political discontent.