‘Postponing Adulthood… Forever?’ (2013)

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Authoritarian governments like for their people to be like children–ignorant, helpless, incompetent, unable to live independently.

And so, a few years ago, UK scientists announced their discovery that the brain is “still developing” (!) at 25… At 25, they concluded, you’re still a child.

Postponing Adulthood… Forever?

After all, you wouldn’t want to “rush them into adulthood”! Someday, maybe, the brain does become an adult brain and you can finally be trusted with a credit card.

I wonder if we could have a contest to name things in our culture that make or encourage adults to remain in a state of perpetual childhood. I wonder how long a list that would be.

3 comments on “‘Postponing Adulthood… Forever?’ (2013)

  1. Sounds about right with the way our culture worships youth, and parents seek to be their children’s good friend not their parent. I would need to see more scientific research on the brain to believe it isn’t fully developed until age 25. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton went to Princeton in their early teens.

    1. In one sense, the brain is never fully developed. It is plasticine in nature. Take up a new craft or skill, and your brain will change subtly to accommodate this. So the brain of a serious musician will have adapted, and changed, over the years. The same is true for the brain of a serious athlete, a painter, a sculptor, a watchmaker or a computer programmer.

      So yes, I would imagine that the brains of younger people go through more adaptations than the brains of older people. But, as I see it, the capacity is what really matters, and the fact that some fairly young people are capable of building skills would suggest to me that the brain’s capacity is adequate at an early age. Conversely, new skills can be acquired, even later in life. Remember the painter, Grandma Moses? IIRC, she didn’t start painting until she was fairly old.

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