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The infantilization of Western culture

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posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 08:20 PM
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theconversation.com...


It began before the advent of smartphones and social media. But, as I argue in my book “The Terminal Self,” our everyday interactions with these computer technologies have accelerated and normalized our culture’s infantile tendencies.

...psychologist Abraham Maslow has suggested that spontaneous childlike behaviors in adults aren’t inherently problematic.

But some cultural practices today routinely infantilize large swaths of the population.

We see it in our everyday speech, when we refer to grown women as “girls”; in how we treat senior citizens, when we place them in adult care centers where they’re forced to surrender their autonomy and privacy; and in the way school personnel and parents treat teenagers, refusing to acknowledge their intelligence and need for autonomy, restricting their freedom, and limiting their ability to enter the workforce.

Can entire societies succumb to infantilization?

In many workplaces, managers can now electronically monitor their employees, many of whom work in open spaces with little personal privacy. As sociologist Gary T. Marx observed, it creates a situation in which workers feel that managers expect them “to behave irresponsibly, to take advantage, and to screw up unless they remove all temptation, prevent them from doing so or trick or force them to do otherwise.”

Much has been written about higher education’s tendency to infantilize its students, whether it’s through monitoring their social media accounts, guiding their every step, or promoting “safe spaces” on campus.

Then we’ve witnessed the rise of a “therapy culture,” which, as sociologist Frank Furedi warns, treats adults as vulnerable, weak and fragile, while implying that their troubles rooted in childhood qualify them for a “permanent suspension of moral sense.” He argues that this absolves grown-ups from adult responsibilities and erodes their trust in their own experiences and insights.


There's more in the articIe and a bunch of links going further into the given examples but I feel these three are the most important mentioned. I agree with pretty much everything said in the article. I see this type of thing every day. I know far too many adults that seem to refuse to grow up and a fairly high level of societal acceptance at this.

Those people living with their parents well into their 30's, not that that's inherently bad if you are an active contributing member of the household, but those people who have never worked, rely on their parents for basic life tasks, spend their free time(all their time) playing video game, watching YouTube, and partying. People who expect the world to cater to their every need, whim or desire. People who show up to work and expect their boss to treat them like their parents or teachers would. People in codependent relationships who treat their spouse like their parents or their children. People who, these days seem to have no sense of common courtesy or respect for the people around them in public, or the opposite people who can't handle the slightest inconveniences in public without flipping out.

Or that, seemingly high, number of people with 'conditions' that seem to really boil down to can't handle life that need to be medicated just to face the world and refuse to do any kind of introspection or self growth because whatever their problems are 'make them who they are'.

The insane level of narcissism in the world where people seem to expect recognition for every tiny accomplishment they make and the need everyone seems to have to feel validated by the world without really doing anything.

For every one person I know who seems to at least be able to take responsibility for their lives and decisions there's another 5 who made the choice to have a child yet can't even look after them while his wife works 7 days a week because he's too busy playing video games and getting stoned, who squanders their money on toys and games while receiving disabilty cheques for their anxiety cause by the fear of possibly having thoughts about maybe wanting to walk into traffic one day, who instead of working a job and learning a trade would rather sit at hone smoking weed on welfare, who sit on the corner a block away from an employment center and a #ing day labour place hassling old ladies for money instead of working even a single day meanwhile they live in nice apartments a few blocks away paid for by their parents, who scream at their parents on the phone in the middle of a store because they haven't put money in their bank accounts and they can't buy cigarettes.....

Alright i'll stop....I think i'm ranting now....#
edit on 2/8/2018 by dug88 because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 08:40 PM
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Tbh I think this is how 'life' has forced people to be fragile; especially the white straight male (i'm gay btw) but the constant belittling, hate lefty speeches putting people down and their own worth, the guilt culture has made especially men feel that in fact they are worth nothing, that they should be guilty for simply existing. Humans generally want to feel protected, they always have, it's nothing new. Historically, they form enclaves of like minded people which can still be seen today in the very tribal areas of Jewish / black / white/ asian neighbourhoods. Even LGBTQ+ in places like San Francisco or Brighton in the UK where humans seek out like minded souls for protection. In recent years we have the 'me too' movement this form of I am more oppressed then you to the point that you have to be a victim to get any recognition until we have this strange oppression wars. A prime example is currently gay men are in fact not oppressed enough, where the left has now started to consume each other with internalised homophobia accusations. Again, especially if you are a white male.

what we end up with is a culture too frightened to exist, if you are a member of any sub group.

As for the live at home till your 30... that is mostly financial, with the stupid price of homes both rented and purchased. That is society rather than individual choices. I am lucky I have my own home and moved out when I was 19 but equally I do understand why it is difficult for most people; especially if you are in an average paying job.

Work wise, I am an employer (gay nightclub) I deal with staff constantly and on the whole they are pretty grown up, so don't actually see what you are describing. but socially, I find people quite immature, simply because I think life right now is harder then years gone by. Not from an economical standpoint but rather the expectations and the stress of modern living in a technological age.

All in all, I don't think it's helpful to generalise a whole culture. People are individuals good and bad. Some deal with modern life far better then everyone else. but I do think the blame culture has a lot to answer for.
edit on 2-8-2018 by ChristianParr because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 08:53 PM
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a reply to: dug88


It makes sense . The definition of humanity changes ever so often.



posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 09:53 PM
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a reply to: dug88

I was just talking about this today. I'm a 32 year old mother of one, soon to be two and every health care provider related to my pregnancy or child refer to me as "Mommy". My kid doesn't even call me Mommy.
It's certainly strange and infantilizing.



posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 09:56 PM
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a reply to: Atsbhct





My kid doesn't even call me Mommy.


What does she call you?



posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 10:15 PM
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a reply to: highvein

He just calls me Mom.



posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: ChristianParr

I agree with you about the subculture thing. I was trying to figure out a way to put that into words. I know a lot of people that are afraid to leave their subcultures. People who are actually fairly capable of living as adults otherwise but socially seem terrified to interact with anyone outside their circles. I've got a bunch of different friends in different subcultures i suppose. Most of them have been doing the same things and hanging out with the same people for years without really being able to speak to new people.

The work stuff was from personal experience just from people i've worked with. I suppose maybe it's different in different industries.

I guess i wasn't too clear. There's nothing wrong with living at home. My manager is the same age as me. He moved back with his mom for a while. He paid rent, helped look after his little sister, helped cook and clean and such. Or my other coworker only a couple years older who lives with his wife, kids and parents and supports them all by working ridiculous amounts of overtime, which i know he personally hates doing.

I was thinking more about other people i know who have never worked in their life, live at home, their parents do their laundry, cook food for them, all but wipe their asses for them. These are the people i was referring to.


I don't think the whole culture is to blame. But there's definitely this overprotective thing going on that seems to have started when i was a kid...and never really stopped even when these people became adults. They accept all these things for their own safety and good that have gone beyond the point of excessive.



posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: Atsbhct


My grandson calls me Gpa.



posted on Aug, 2 2018 @ 10:29 PM
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I think we're all getting a lot wiser and more aware by the day. The slow trickling of the collective articulate into this issue is going to eventually become something no one can ignore.

I say this issue, in singular, because it's too broad of a mosaic... it's simply 'quality of life' or the lack there of.

I imagine that very many of those who are in their 30s still living at home are acutely aware of their degraded positions in society, which just sends them down even further into their troubles. Perfect example, simply reading articles like this that accurately echo this degrading image on to them, just spiraling them down more. Which is a big part of why suicide rates are going through the roof.

The problem is the internet, the digital age we regretfully embraced. It's accelerated humanities collective and global awareness into something that is incompatible with our sense of self. It's done all this in just a matter of a couple decades. There's no unknown land, there's no endless horizon, there's no need to explore, it's all been seen, learned, mapped, claimed and declared. This has been more or less the case for millennia, but the individual was unaware and free to wonder, imagine and facilitate purpose into ambition.... But through technology and our insatiable desire to learn as much as we can, we've collectively nullified our individual senses of wonder.

This continues on further into our individual value. We're constantly at war with how we measure up to other individuals in our skill base. No matter what you're interest or specialty, you can observe within an instant someone else who is far more successful and proficient at being the person you wanted to be. The widespread, yet quite personal tragedy of it all is endless in complexity, but uniform in demise.


I haven't lived with my parents since I was 21, yet at 35 with my own home I still feel and am perpetually irradiated by the coddling insulting approach to humanity through all veins of authority. It's 'Lord of the Flys' but the island is the world.
edit on 2-8-2018 by rexsblues because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 01:31 AM
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a reply to: dug88

Very well summed up.
Most new innovations are created before the age of 25. The longer they can stifle that through excessive monitoring the more dependant serve they will have.



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 03:35 AM
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a reply to: dug88


People used to be competitive, and that was no bad thing and then they brought

in to schools sports days that there were to be no losers only winners. Which took

away the impetus to do better next time improve on their performance..... look

at athletes who are constantly attempting to improve on their own performances.


Next came the child to adult? experience where they have to have *safe spaces*

Who over the age of 25 years ever had a safe space


Safe space is opting out of real life


After the *safe spaces* comes *stress* I have never heard of so many stressed young

people, not since the *really stressed* young people returned from the WW1 and

WW2


It is natural to enjoy ones successes but we learn far more from our failures.

Just an observation from a senior citizen.




edit on 3-8-2018 by eletheia because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 06:19 AM
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a reply to: dug88

That last example is oddly specific.

If only 1 out of 6 people you know live functional lives, it must be asked:

Why do you know so many losers?

Aside from that, chew on this irony. You observe that there seems to be a growing number of adults who "refuse to grow up". Compare that with the fact that kids are being fast-tracked into academic programs young (my observation of my daughter's public schooling so far) and pressured into post-grad studies and beyond that often imprisons them in debt. Perhaps what you observe in the Peter Panning of adults is some sort of socio-spiritual pushback, if you'll pardon the term.



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 07:07 AM
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a reply to: eletheia

Yeah, I'm an evil parent. I'm a former athlete doing my best to raise another.

We talk a lot about competition, but healthy competition. I talk about how really healthy competition is inside yourself, against yourself more than against others. Yes, you use others as a measuring stick, but sometimes, when you compete they'll be so much better than you that you can't expect to win and sometimes they'll be so much worse that even if you win, if you barely beat them, it doesn't really mean anything. So a tangible win against others, stops meaning so much after a while (although it's always nice), the real win is when you perform better than you ever have before whether you win or lose on the larger playing field.

And because of that real competition against yourself, you can always afford to be gracious in both victory and defeat and be happy for others who do well. You understand they're trying to do their very best, just like you.



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 08:36 AM
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originally posted by: ketsuko

Yeah, I'm an evil parent. I'm a former athlete doing my best to raise another.



I cant recall anywhere in my post that I said anything about evil parenting?




We talk a lot about competition, but healthy competition. I talk about how really healthy competition is inside yourself, against yourself more than against others. Yes, you use others as a measuring stick, but sometimes, when you compete they'll be so much better than you that you can't expect to win and sometimes they'll be so much worse that even if you win, if you barely beat them, it doesn't really mean anything. So a tangible win against others, stops meaning so much after a while (although it's always nice), the real win is when you perform better than you ever have before whether you win or lose on the larger playing field.


As a former athlete you should be familiar with >>>>



**The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not the winning but the taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.


**For each individual, sport is a possible source for inner improvement.


**The important thing in life is not victory but combat; it is not to have vanquished but to have fought well.


**The important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete.


**The day when a sportsman stops thinking above all else of the happiness in his own effort and the intoxication of the power and physical balance he derives from it, the day when he lets considerations of vanity or interest take over, on this day his ideal will die.


**Sport must be the heritage of all men and of all social classes.


**Sport is the habitual and voluntary cultivation of intensive physical effort.


**Sport is part of every man and woman's heritage and its absence can never be compensated for.

All attributed to Pierre de Coubertin French educator and historian, and founder of the International Olympic Committee, as well as its second President.





And because of that real competition against yourself, you can always afford to be gracious in both victory and defeat and be happy for others who do well. You understand they're trying to do their very best, just like you.



Like I intimated winning is great.....Learning how to lose is character building







edit on 3-8-2018 by eletheia because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 10:12 AM
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originally posted by: dug88
Those people living with their parents well into their 30's, not that that's inherently bad if you are an active contributing member of the household, but those people who have never worked, rely on their parents for basic life tasks, spend their free time(all their time) playing video game, watching YouTube, and partying.


I think they are called parasites and I think the numbers are quite small.

Anyway, I don't agree that Western culture is being infantisised. Politics can be petty sometimes, but I think it's mostly pretty adult.



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 11:26 AM
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a reply to: eletheia

When I said evil parent, I was being tongue in cheek. I wasn't upset with you.

It seems like, as you said, winning and competing to be the best are bad things today because kids aren't supposed to notice that some are going to be better than others.

I think it stems from kids who never learned the valuable lesson of being the best *they* can be and never got past the measuring stick part of looking at others to measure themselves. Not everyone can come in first all the time, but you can always push yourself to do better every time you go out to compete, and that's really what separates winners from losers. The winners always try to get that much better every time out while the losers can't get past coming in less than first, even when they do the best they ever have in the attempt.



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 01:59 PM
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Minor correction: we spend all of time watching Twitch, not Youtube. This isn't 2013.



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 07:22 PM
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a reply to: dug88

I went out with a guy for like 2 weeks who couldn't make himself a bowl of cereal he was like make me this make me that and Im like # that # fella theres the kitchen and theres the stove needless to say it didn't last. My mum died when I was young but before she did she instilled into me life skills from cooking a dinner, washing clothes how to clean. (I have aspergers) but she ensured I had what was needed to survive on my own as an adult. what I do find a lot especially within the autism 'culture' is parents disable their children. Little johnny can't do that oh it's far to stressful for him.. he doesn't need to go to school today because he had a meltdown blah blah blah. My mum as a kid would physically drag me where she wanted to go there was no refusing. She knew if I couldn't handle the basics how the hell was I going to handle working?

So, in all that I do honestly think this situation we have right now is simply down to parents and how you were parented as a child. It's funny actually. I live next to the beach. last week I was walking down the front and there was a kid with his sister knocking the # out of a wall with a lump hammer (it's the Jurassic coast so lots of people with hammers for fossils) The mother.. she was doing nothing so I turned and went OI! pack that in now! The mother looked at me with sheer horror that I had dared to tell her brat off! Then I turned to her and said listen love perhaps if you didn't want children you should of used protection.. with that she turned to her spoiled child and said.. harry... harry darling... come here harry.. I honestly couldn't roll my eyes any further into the back of my head!

Think the rules are... I don't think your child is special... I think all babies are ugly as #.. your child is not a prodigy for walking a few months earlier than any other child.. you, your life.. your child are NOT special and your existence pretty much means nothing to me. Bring your child up with the skills it needs and ignore impressing anyone else with your free love hippy lifestyle.

(I'm also gay so never having kids lol)



posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 08:23 PM
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a reply to: dug88

Youtube - Jordan Peterson, he has many videos on this topic and explains it very well.




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