A lifelong process.
Music: Neil Sedaka, “Breaking up is hard to do”
It’s The William Tell Show. I call myself William Tell; you can call me Bill. Thank you for including me in your world. It’s wonderful to be included.
March first. Spring begins in two weeks. It is at this time of year that the days get longer most quickly.
I’m not sure, but it seems to me the music for this episode came first. Something brought this song to mind, “Breaking up is hard to do,” by Neil Sedaka. He was a surprisingly big star in the early 1960s, a bit before my time. But for years, I have associated this song with a different saying, the title of this episode, “Growing up is hard to do.”
It may have been M. Scott Peck who first made me realize that the work involved just to be and become a decent person — is a lifelong process. The work never ends. So, at age 66, I can ask myself whether or not I’m even yet “grown.” And there are those, one of the topics we’ll look at today is those who have never grown up; who are, at my age, essentially adult infants.
There are many aspects or facets that make someone an adult: independent thinking; managing one’s own affairs; meeting one’s own needs; getting along with other people; and probably quite a few more that you could think of. I will need to try to narrow it down to what I can say in eight minutes, or in what’s left of 800 words.
And I have this arcane thesis that I feel forced to focus on. I probably can’t get it all done in 526 words, but I can at least give it a start.
When I was a freshman in college, I took the course, “Psychology 101.” I am certain that the textbook had a chapter about arrested development, but I can’t recall anything that chapter said; for reason that I had never, never EVER, met any such people in real life.
Those who display arrested development are the most problematic portion of the population. They may be called “the underclass;” they may be called “riff raff;” they may be called by the name Karl Marx named them, “Lumpen,” spelled L-U-M-P-E-N. The Wikipedia article about Lumpen says, “ it is commonly defined to include the chronically unemployed, the homeless, and career criminals,” end quote. I say they’re not so much unemployed as unemployable; and the key trait is, they’ve never grown up. At all. They’re adult infants.
More after the break.
By “adult infants,” I mean — It’s all a matter of degree. But for most Lumpen, the degree is extreme. Many of them have, in effect, never been weaned. Their great joy in life is to take things away from others, with or without asking. I’ve been among people who ask, ask, ask, and never do anything for themselves.
Some have never been toilet trained. This shows in the way they deal with trash, and why some neighborhoods are so trashy. In the extreme, I’ve deal with men who literally won’t wipe their own behinds.
A major factor in all this is the lack of love in the context in which they grew up. Mainstream people can hardly grasp how much hostility there is among the very poor. Honesty is unfeasible, because anything you say will be used against you. Among the Lumpen, the statement, “I know where you live at” — is a threat.
I’m convinced, however, that the story of the Lumpen is, to some extent, the story of us all. Immaturity exists among mainstream people, too; last night and today I was dealing with one very immature mainstream person. Mainstream or not, I’m convinced that one and the same task faces anyone who wants to grow up.
Well, gosh. Looks like this episode may come in at considerably less than 800 words.
That’s my thesis. One size fits all. The task for anyone who wants to grow up is, to consistently choose to love, or to be happy, in the face of adversity.
Growing up is hard to do.
Tonight as I record this, world news is focused on Russia’s war on Ukraine. I notice that, as I think about Vladimir Putin, sometimes loving your enemy can take some balls.