Monday, 4 March 2013

Gateway Expedients

children know what they want
adults have internalised nonsense
know only the means.

children do not know the means
do not know how to avoid dangers
how to look after their medium term interest.

"Grow up" means perfect your proficiency with the means.

children may obey and even need the rules more 
but do not internalise them. 
the rules to the means.


I wrote the above sort of by accident, in a slipshod, haphazard brainstorming text-dump attempt to organise my thoughts for the post before writing it. Then it seemed to me, at least in my current sedated state, that converted to free verse of the kind whose existence I'm vaguely aware of, it has some power. So it's as good a place as any to start.

Simply (possibly simplistically but not necessarily) put - I feel under attack by the demands of adulthood. I'm a boringly law-abiding citizen, even generally abiding by the sillier and more easily violable ones, and other people, especially the adults among them, are in fact very nice to me. And yet.

I know it's a very common simile; I feel it pertains to me in a far profounder way than for most; I don't know if it matters - I feel like a boy in a world of men. It's an intimidating situation, but more ambivalent than would be obviously implied. These are kind of macho men, inherently and obliviously ridiculous, yet definitely capable of something of which I am not, and representing, as such, the aforementioned benevolent women as well as the well-meaning men. It's a dynamic that also conjures for me the image of a civilian amongst soldiers. As you can see from these examples, it's not exactly a gender thing, but it kind of is.

My kitchen sink has become something of a symbol of my failure as an adult. Today, after heroically braving the crockery mountain protruding out of it, falling back after having decided that enough dish-washer has been spilt this night, I saw peering at me from out of the sink in a surprisingly colourful array, a quartet of our cups, in blue, green, red and yellow. Though perhaps not an incident likely to make it into the Annals of Jerusalem, I found it genuinely aesthetically noteworthy, and more significantly, it provided a sudden flashback and in any case an association of colourful kindergarten. It said to me, acceptingly rather than accusingly, "This is you."

But adultness grows on you. Not unlike, for instance, a tumour. I don't actually know how tumours grow, but adultnesses grow through protracted exposure to societal expectation, even non-verbal, even non-penalising. The embarrassment of not living up to the standards of performance assumed of your situation, is, in and of itself, sufficient reason, or impetus, in any case, to adopt a world-view and identity centred around and towards and behind and beneath the ultimate aim of managing to GET THINGS DONE. What things? What for? Ha.

Children don't have qualms about the meaning of life, about the nature of the goodness of good things, because they haven't been scheduled yet for the equivocating, falsifying corruption that will prepare them to be constructive members of adult society, in providing them the means for the social lubrication, emotional distance and conforming instinct that will stand them in such wonderful stead as they get on in life and achieve SUCCESS.

Failing has never seemed so sexy.

But the fun of it runs out. You need to have some kind of understanding of money, or of politics, even if you don't intend to be a capitalist or a kleptocrat. But apparently that's not as easy as it sounds.

In summary, I blow my nose at you and fart in your general direction, so-called adult responsibilities. Your mother was a dogma and your father smelled of futility-berries

I would also like to add, since the stats the site gives me suggest that it is actually frequented by people other than my mom (hi mom!), that feedback, of pretty much any kind (don't take that a challenge) would be appreciated. Even if just to say "I'm reading this", because I'm never really sure. Also, especially regarding the latter rage-fests, issues are generally open for discussion even when it might seem implied they're not.


  1. Don't mean to suggest that your post isn't original, but it does remind me (in a good way) of the discussion of adults in The Little Prince. ..."I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man. "

    What I slightly disagree with here (and only slightly, because I also despise the "grownups" described by Saint-Exupery and you), is that you seem to present it as a kind of dualism, when it's more of a spectrum with shades of grey. There are the extreme positions: utter conformity and mindlessness on on end and total anarchy, not to mention moldy dishes, on the other. I contend that it's possible to find a place somewhere on that spectrum, where one's mind is unfettered and open and one's actions chosen freely, and yet some accommodation is made for other human beings who also live in the world. Also, on a practical note, you might at some stage want to some of those human beings a cup of tea in your cups...

  2. Exactly! You need to have some understanding of money and politics even if you're not planning to be a capitalist or kleptocrat. So long as it remains within the boundaries of a "means". It is a dualism though. It's completely possible to be anarchic and respect other people at the same time - in fact it's sort of implied.