Earlier today I was fumbling around Facebook and I saw a grown adult say something blisteringly stupid and entirely insensitive. It was one of those generic “Thanks Obama” comments made without any hint of irony. I had been discussing the notion of such intellectual vomit and how weird it was that adults born before 30-40+ years ago are so jolly to participate in it.
We discussed for a bit the nature of societies that were raised on Television versus those raised on the Internet. It was not something I had taken into consideration before (that I can recall). The television is this very passive device that you flip on and it begins to feed you. It gives you stimulus whether or not you want it sometimes. I recall as a child watching something merely because I was sleepy, the television was on sleep mode, and I didn’t know where the remote was.
This is not something you can easily do with the internet. Originally you had AOL which became vastly popular because it was basically television for the internet. It provided everything it felt you should see in ways it thought you should see them. It was popular, I think, because it spoke to people who had spent their lives being fed.
Then the internet really came, this visceral beast that waits for you. It makes you hunt for your food, you can edit it over time so that it will almost automatically feed you but it requires a great deal of effort. News congregation hubs like Reddit or the now defunct Digg may be somewhat automatic but they are not centralized, they are not run by some grumpy billionaire hobgoblin and as such they are difficult to control. This is a good thing.
“Did somebody let the help in?”
I started to think about how weird it was to me that any adult could be so easily taken in. Passive information feed or not. But that started traveling even deeper down the mental rabbit hole. What do you need to do to become an adult? There are a thousand topics about this made every hour on the internet, some people say its when you reach sexual maturity, others say it is when you are 18, others still 21, and some laugh while sipping on their lattes and say that adulthood is merely a figment of our society brought on by the misogynistic patriarchal oligarchy.
“Coffee helps me poop.”
But if you think about it there is only one thing you need to do and there are two ways you do it. You need to not die. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Either by not being so stupid that you get yourself killed or by not being so unlucky that misfortune falls upon you. These are the only criteria for being an adult. There is no test either. You need to test to get into classes, to graduate school, to get into college, to get many jobs, and even to drive a car. But do you need to test to become an adult? No.
There is no certification program for adulthood, it’s a bit mind blowing.
So what do you get to do if you live long enough? Well you can decide on the fate of entire nations. If you are convincing enough you can lead cities, states, or even the country. If you are rich enough you will most certainly end up in a position of power that grossly outweighs your actually capability to comprehend or your abilities to perform.
You can even make more humans. If you live long enough before you do it there won’t even be people judging you either. At least until the kids start running around Wal-Mart with knives demanding things.
I’m not really confortable with mandatory tests to consider people adults of course. There is a lot of problems with this and you can see it even now with less advantaged people being screwed over for college (which I could go on about but we’ll save that for another post). What I’d like to see is an optional exam to prove you have got being a human down. Currently businesses seem to think this is a Bachelor’s Degree but I’ve been to College and I can assure you that it doesn’t prepare you for the adult world in any way.
Unless binge drinking and promiscuous sex is what the adult world is all about.
Well alright then.
I know while discussing this in the car with my ever loving wife she mentioned that she doesn’t feel like an adult. I don’t either. Occasionally I get picked on by friends because of my love of Pokémon and other “kids” games. But for me they are just as cool and fun now as they were when I was not even in double digit oldness.
Cute things, fun things, happy things, this is all so great for me. I think the only thing that has really come with my own personal age has been a greater acceptance of others. I know that hardening and hating seem to be so commonplace for people, especially baby boomers (but not you, you’re cool) and maybe it isn’t even my generation that’s like this as a rule, but for me I’m becoming less and less hard. It takes more for me to dislike people, it takes more for a situation to anger me, it is always taking more.
It’s like with each passing month I feel like things are easier to fix, that problems are easier to solve. Sometimes its rather morbid and a feeling of “just wait a few years and problem causer X will probably be dead” but other times it’s the much happier “just try and it’ll get better”.
For certain though, I don’t feel like I’m an adult, I feel like I’ve met a lot of adults too. Most of the time they make me really uncomfortable and they say things that sound practiced and unreal. Adults are this weird creature that exists because of a very structured planning process.
I don’t believe in the matrix but I feel like adults are a pretty good argument for it. They act an awful lot like NPCs, saying the same boxed phrases over and over.
I’ve actually got a backlog of topics for this week. Which I am very thankful for.
So thanks for that.