Friday, October 8, 2021


There is a school-of-thought that contends that the idea of "Adolescent" is a social construct that did not exist in any meaningful way until the middle of the Industrial Revolution.

That school-of-thought contends that the origin of "Adolescence" was not due to new information about biology or neuroscience but because increasing population and improvements in production technology resulted in a surplus of workers. Labor embraced the idea of "Adolescence" as a way to protect the jobs of heads-of-family.

Stunted development

The downside of Adolescence is that it stunts growth.

The current fad is to claim Adolescence lasts until the age 26. Again, economic factors are in play. Those claims are strongest in places where the price of housing is highest: Places like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York, Chicago.

Growth that is denied healthy outlets will find unhealthy ones.

Group Dynamics

I believe that they human brain is extremely plastic. The same human who is a warm family man and an elder in his church can be a stone-cold killer in the Mafia.

We respond to cues in the environment in powerful and unpredictable ways. Those cues and the patterning can easily steam-roller our "conscious" desires.

Every group will have a designated jester and hero and king and judge and caretaker-of-souls. If one of them moves on, then somebody in the group will step forward just like a trout moving into a prime feeding station when the alpha trout is caught.

This dynamic pretty much kills any possibility of an organic Utopia. Somebody is going to be a prick-of-misery. Guaranteed. Somebody will love pranks. Somebody will be a drill-instructor and so on.

The best way to modify behavior is to change the environment.

Drunks: Don't go into bars.

Angry people: Avoid the stimuli that pisses you off.

Thrill seekers: Sell the crotch-rocket.

A toxic personality can change when tossed into a different environment. The whiner and malingerer can become productive and cheerful with a job change (I have seen this happen).

Killing "Adolescence" (the concept, not the wee-sprouts)

Recall the contention that Just-in-Time inventory is a powerful problem solving tool because it removes inventory that cloaks the cause-and-effects that lead to problems and waste.

...the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire

What is "Adolescence" other than a coddling of young humans and "saving" or "rescuing" them from the consequences of stupid choices? Even the least intellectually gifted child does not put his hand on the burner of the stove more than once in spite of what the Gods of the Copybook Headings claim.

What a cruel thing to do, to subject them to fifteen years of operant conditioning that reinforces all the WRONG ways to do "adult". Is it a surprise that so many young adults commit suicide? Is it a surprise that so many of them are screwed up?


  1. I guess I missed all of the adolescent irresponsibility. Do we get a reimbursement for that?

    Started with manly chores about age 6, cleaning used cinder blocks of mortar for the cellar, digging a hole in the backyard for the cellar. Tearing down houses with dad for the lumber to build a new house, roofing the house, building the trunk line and drops for central heat, tilling and tending the garden farm hand at 13, only kid in the family that had to buy my own car (thanks for the malaise Jimmah), married at 19, finished college at 28 with a wife and 2 youngsters.... I've been on the adult road as long as I can remember.

    Dad did help me a bit besides the constant chores: When our RA group went to the juvenile division for a tour, dad was on duty. He asked for a volunteer to go in their holding cell. I jumped in, and when the door clanged shut, it sounded final. When he put the lights out, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, and with four bunks, I thought, nothing good would happen in the dark at all. When he let me out, dad leaned down and whispered, "if you ever find your way in here, I'm not helping you get out. You were taught to know better than to EVER be in here!" Scared straight when I hadn't done anything wrong, at least 5 years before the TV show.

    I don't regret it. I have a particular set of skills I've spent a lifetime working on....

  2. That is one of the most insightful, and true, analyses of our dysfunctional modern culture I've read in many months. Somehow I have to get copies of it to the various parent/teacher groups in my AO.

    The most unforgettable line in Andrew Carnegie's autobiography is where he describes how proud he was at the age of 11 to be contributing to his family by taking his first job in manufacturing.