As usual, ‘Man’ refers to human. There is no distinction in the English alphabetic symbols for ‘woman’. Our symbols are based in/fundamental /principles of nature as we are able to perceive it hence, we don’t make distinctions among variants of humanity (or of any lifeform) based upon organs of reproduction.. The sense of the word ‘age’ is a going and derives from the ge- prefix in geon which is now expressed as the word yonder, This is the same yond as in beyond which references off into the distance in time, place, thoughts. Beyond, because, behind, before, asf all express simple existence, simple being. I’ve noticed that in some other Germanic languages ge- is frequently used as a prefix. However, in English there are different ways of ‘being’ and ge- is a more active one which is also frequently used as a grammatical suffix. So far, all of those words that I’ve noticed have included the entire -age and still represents a going, asf luggage, baggage, wage.
This is relevant because it tells us the importance of recognizing the significance of this being an active process. Too often we forget that nothing in nature starts to decay before it’s dead. We humans are the ones who created planned obsolescence and then presumed it was /natural law/. In short, we build things so they won’t last in order to make more profits. We make stuff which will break or fall apart so that we can make and sell more. This is strange enough but, this is particularly relevant because it distorts our view of ourselves. It gives us the idea that we are expendable and replaceable. This bias results in our not valuing either the youth or the elders. This also diminishes the importance and the value of our different ages and leads to an image in our mind, an idea that we peak at some time and then start to spoil. Somehow we buy into the marketing notion of a “don’t use after” or “better by” date. Equally grotesque is the idea that ‘custom made’
children can be produced from quality people. This leads to the notion that our fate is decided before we are born. The sense code of our language does not support these views. Each of us is a unique individual who brings special gifts and talents to humanity. There is no way of determining beforehand just who is going to do something remarkable. Often we don’t learn who accomplished some great thing until centuries later.
During the first three ages we have the chance to acquire the skills that will lay the foundation for developing our gifts and talents. One Man does every thing but, no one Man does anything that isn’t built upon the achievements of others. We are all in this together.
We age, like trees do, in units of about seven years; this doesn’t mean we suddenly change on the seventh year. However, an elderly woman once told me that when we fail to make the changes as we come to them, we become particularly confused about everything, including who and what we are. I have found this to be so, having now experienced it in myself and having seen it in many other people. Such people often look like they forgot who they are or where they put themselves. Themselves is an important word since it reminds us that we are not just one/person. /We have a self, an inner-elf which we consult to keep a check. We have to do this for our-self as we are the only one who knows us well enough. And, just as important, we are the only ones who can make alterations. We do have the self awareness and the Free Will to make changes. Frequently, I will check with myself, either in the mirror or within my head, and ask whether or not I had got something right. If I don’t
listen to myself, who would I listen to? And, if I lie to myself how can I trust me or anyone?
Each of We the People are individuals but, we play many parts and have to assume various personas: we may speak as a child, grandchild, mother, father, employer, a barber, doctor – even when we are talking to our self. All of these roles require different ways of communicating. This persona also applies to how we speak and act from one age to the next. A thirty year old woman or man who acts and speaks like a six year old or even a fifteen year old, appears quite peculiar. We do not so much change as we become more-so, particularly if we feel comfortable with who we are becoming. If we stayed the same and didn’t grow and change, I will have to leave that picture to your imagination as the variants of strangeness are incalculable, almost indescribable and are exceedingly conspicuous. There used to be a daily newspaper cartoon about this phenomenon. Before long, the cartoon became grotesquely frightening.
The first of our first three ages is so astonishing in the range of its growth and development that most tribes and families have special ways of acknowledging their fruition. Every culture I know of changes the clothing, rules, duties, privileges, foods, expectations, sometimes changing the name and frequently holding a ceremony to note the event. Going from baby to child is momentous transition and requires a lot of work. So often we take this change for granted unless we are gifted with the chance to get to know a person who has had something interfere with basic human development of one kind or another. In a place or country where many children die during those early years, the people know how special it is just to have children grow to the second age. In our country, at present, we expect our children to grow, thrive, start pre-school, kindergarten and first grade. These are their rites of passage – to their next age. These rites are not just about learning some
rules, they are about learning how to master basic bodily functions, including how to walk, talk and to use our hands. These rites are also about learning to live, work, play and communicate with innumerable varieties of other creatures and creations.
Seven to fourteen is the second age and it is almost as dramatic a changing as the first age. No longer just trying to get things right and trying to please someone, this age is about forming who we are into who and what we want to be. It involves firming up our personality, our free-will and directing it where we will in deciding what we have to learn and to do in order to craft the person we want to be. A per-son is not a people, ‘person’ is the human being through which we want to speak, act and otherwise express ourself. Recall that per- always means through. This is not likely to always be the same person but, that person must be consistent with the principles which we decide upon when we exercise our will. Will is a powerful force. The second age is the time when we try on the various attitudes, personalities and social tactics we consider implementing to get things as we want them. There is a lot of play pretend going on and it’s easy to overstep bounds. This
is also the time when puberty confounds the mix. These variables require that we consider our boundaries and recognize those of others. This is when we start deciding what we will not allow with respect to our boundaries. Having established boundaries, we consider the means by which make clear to others just what is and is not acceptable to us. We learn how to set limits without hurting or humiliating others. Since we are in school at this time, we are with others who are also working out these protocols. At times one celebrates the passage with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a Confirmation or other tribal ceremony. These acknowledgements of our will-power and self-mastery are statements of willingness to practice self-control, self-discipline. Frequently, this coming of age ceremony is thought up and is conducted by the one making the transition.
Making the steps is a lot easier than actually doing the job. Our present society has striven to recognize this and has tried to make allowances for the struggles of Youth. It took us until the Twentieth Century to outlaw child abuse, including using children as coal miners, sweatshop workers, field hands and other variants of slave labor. Our educational systems were designed to help our young develop and learn with help from their peers. For quite a while we had (and still have) difficulty realizing that a fifteen year old doesn’t suddenly become an adult with the strength and skills to live as an independent adult. High schools then became part of Public Education. For a while, reform schools, gaols, prisons, early marriage, or mandatory military service became our solutions. We still put children in adult prisons and some we sentence to death. This is not so common that we are shocked daily however, I’m seeing enough of a trend to indicate we need to think more
about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
When we crush the burgeoning youth in their third age, we are crushing the foundations of our new and still developing Democratic Republic. If we have to call the police, sheriff, peace officer, or even someones Mama, we are in trouble. If we have to form committees, lobby for laws to define the acceptable conduct of interpersonal relationships, we are no longer able to practice self-control and self-determination. I do not believe we have come to this. We have got stuck at some age and have forgotten who we are.
The third age of Man, the teens to about twenty-one are times for preparations and practices for structuring our relationships with the power structures that run the machinery of business, industry, governance, diplomacy and development of our civilization. This is the age for charting a life-course and for showing those who follow how many options and opportunities there are. There is more to life than the daily grind of some kind of ‘factory’ work, whether its called a profession, a job, a vocation, a career, asf. A ‘career’ is a headlong rush and a ‘job’ is literally a mouthful. Any education that consists in memorizing facts instead of learning, sharing ideas, observing and making things with the hands and mind is a waste. Locking our young in cages and squelching their ambitions demonstrates an appalling lack of the courageous imagination which comes with vibrant learning.04-10-2018 JOH
- Judith has written (and re-written) the pages below, initially for a book and now for this website. These files are still under revision, and should not be treated as stable documents.