Facebook Debates

Someone I think is cute sent me a facebook request. So I did what I assume, but have never confirmed, a lot of people do. I went to my page to see what they would see and day dream about what they might think of me.

It’s not right to say that I have insomnia. I stay up late because I want to. Because I love it. At night, the world takes on a different physics. Time moves in its own waves. The honey light from my lamps envelopes my mind in a slow, calm, eternal moment of present pleasures and impulsive intrigues.

I write. I stretch. I listen to music. I research stuff. Sometimes, something will catch my attention. It could be a poem, sewing a dress into a different shape, mapping Chinese medicine onto evolutionary astrology and I will roll around with it as though swirling with a lover in a dream.

When I was looking back through my facebook wall, I saw this post I had made sharing an excellent article questioning the Coming of Age trope often used in Western literature. My friend Simon had commented, innocently enough, about Rites of Passage and I wrote back. Probably at 3AM. Probably deep in my own geometry of night. Using my friend’s comment as a spring board for my own self-definition. Taking the opportunity to expand the author’s questioning of Coming of Age as a solution for contemporary society’s ills, to the notion held by certain sub-cultures that re-instating our current imagining of traditional rituals from other cultures is the medicine we need.

By the time I got to the end of my response, I was laughing out loud. I decided I liked myself and put down my phone. I went back to whatever I was doing that seemed so fascinating at the time. Making lotion. Wondering about how blockchain technology might be usurped by international financial institutions and what we can do to influence that future in our favor. Humming along to Nihkil Bangarje, until it crossed my mind again and I followed my impulse to share this little exchange with all of you.


Great article: https://aeon.co/…/why-the-coming-of-age-narrative-is-a-conf…

“You don’t come of age; you just age. Adulthood, if one must define it, is only a function of time, in which case, to come of age is merely to live long enough to do so.

We believe that there is some inner essence locked within us – and that unearthing it could be a key to working out how to live the rest of our lives. This comforting notion of coming of age, of unlocking a true ‘self’ endures, even though it is out of step with current thinking in psychology, which denies a singular identity, and instead posits the idea of staged development, or an eternally malleable sense of self that shifts as we grow older, and with the uniqueness of our personal experience.

As the 19th-century philosopher William James put it: ‘Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind.’

Growing up’ as it is defined today – that is, as entering society, once and for all – might work against what is morally justifiable. If you are a part of a flawed, immoral and unjust society (as one could argue we all are) then to truly mature is to see this as a problem and to act on it – not to reaffirm it by becoming a part of it. Classically, most coming-of-age tales follow white, male protagonists because their integration into society is expected and largely unproblematic. Social integration for racial, sexual and gender minorities is a more difficult process, not least because minorities define themselves against the norm: they don’t ‘find themselves’ and integrate into the social context in which they live. A traditional coming-of-age story featuring a queer, black girl will fail on its own terms; for how would her discovering her identity allow her to enter a society that insists on marginalising identities like hers? This might seem obvious, but it very starkly underscores the folly of insisting on seeing social integration as the young person’s top priority. Life is a wave of events. As such, you don’t come of age; you just age. Adulthood, if one must define it, is only a function of time, in which case, to come of age is merely to live long enough to do so.

Although it flies in the face of what our stories have taught us for generations, a new understanding of coming of age, in which there is no direct path to maturity, no single ‘self’ that might be discovered or created, has the potential to be incredibly freeing. If one wishes, one can stand in the rain, watching a carousel, finally feeling grown-up. But, just as legitimately, one can simply experience it and enjoy it, and not feel the pressure to make anything of it all.

Aeon is a magazine of ideas and culture. We publish in-depth essays, incisive articles, and a mix of original and curated videos — free to all.
Simon Yugler

Simon Yugler I suppose that’s the case when you live in a cultural like ours which has lost any semblance of a meaningful rites of passage… Sad reality of our age. But I DO think there’s something we can do about it.

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 · Reply · 8wMaraya Karena

Maraya Karena I agree Simon. Collectively meaningful rites of passage provide a liminal experience where one is deeply effected internally and perhaps changed holographically. And they are also very much about a transformation of the social self. The individual is resituated within society and acknowledged within the definitions of a new role. This is then phenomenologically reenforced through the woven fibers of the social fabric and how others interact with them as that new role. This role reinforcement occurs regardless of:

1. the fluctuations in the individual’s conscious identification with that social self,

2. their potentially fluid or transcendent identification with field or other players within it and

3. whether or not those match up with the cultural position they’re embodying.

This article reminded me that the idea of a continuous, monolithic self is itself the product of our recent culture. Specifically the idea that coming of age is a goal that can be attained. That once we go through a ‘coming of age’ (which itself is idealized as an identifiable and singularly complete-able experience), we will be forever changed, attain a certain state of being, no take backs; and that the place we get to will be so essential and so true to our deepest nature that we’ll easily be able to translate it back into society as a career path with a sense of passion and purpose.

There is A LOT we can do about it and the project of connecting with my authentic self, my momentary truth and the personal values I associate with maturity are- of course- eternally dear to my heart. So is the process of decoupling my conditioned expectations of what coming of age is supposed to look like from what emerges in the actual practice of following those deeper values. So is unraveling the narrative of a linear, monadic self moving through an evolutionary process defined as ascending a hierarchy of socially acknowledged roles. And so is discerning when my ideas of self, value and maturity are actually coming from the legacy of human wisdom vs. when they are being defined by the internal logic of late capitalism manipulating my desires for fulfillment as a way to feed itself.

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 · Reply · 7wMaraya Karena

Oceanna Visions
Oceanna Visions RITES of PASSAGE YES… who are we when are we…This Ceremony is gaining momentum as alll of Nature is Calling, to regain the family OHANA that is all living things, all uniquneness all in Symbiotic Living patterns…
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 · Reply · 7w

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