Adolescence

You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.

At sixteen I was stupid, confused, insecure and indecisive. At twenty-five I was wise, self-confident, prepossessing and assertive. At forty-five I am stupid, confused, insecure and indecisive. Who would have supposed that maturity is only a short break in adolescence?

The four stages of man are infancy, childhood, adolescence and obsolescence.

One of the main tasks of adolescence is to achieve an identity – not necessarily a knowledge of who we are, but a clarification of the range of what we might become, a set of self-references by which we can make sense of our responses, and justify our decisions and goals.

Adolescence begins when children stop asking questions – because they know all the answers.

Of all the curable illnesses that afflict mankind, the hardest to cure, and the one most likely to leave its victim a chronic invalid, is adolescence.

Mythology is a control system, on the one hand framing its community to accord with an intuited order of nature and, on the other hand, by means of its symbolic pedagogic rites, conducting individuals through the ineluctable psychophysiological stages of transformation of a human lifetime - birth, childhood and adolescence, age, old age, and the release of death - in unbroken accord simultaneously with the requirements of this world and the rapture of participation in a manner of being beyond time. For all the symbolic narratives, images, rites, and festivals by which life within the cultural monad is controlled and defined are of the order of the way of art. Their effect, therefore, is to wake the intellect to realizations equivalent to those of the insights that produced them.

It was long ago observed that `rites of passage’ play a considerable part in the life of religious man. Certainly, the outstanding passage rite is represented by the puberty initiation, passage from one age group to another (from childhood or adolescence to youth). But there is also a passage rite at birth, at marriage, at death, and it could gbe said that each of these cases always involves an initiation, for each of them implies a radical change in ontological and social status.

Between childhood, boyhood, adolescence and manhood (maturity) there should be sharp lines drawn with tests, deaths, feats, rites, stories, songs, and judgments.

You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.

The dangers and the difficulties of the present time are great.... The troubles of the 20th century are not unlike those of adolescence -- rapid growth beyond the ability of organizations to manage, uncontrollable emotion, and a desperate search for identity. Out of adolescence, however, comes maturity in which physical growth with all its attendant difficulties comes to an end, but in which growth continues in knowledge, in spirit, in community, and in love; it is to this that we look forward as a human race. This goal, once seen with our eyes, will draw our faltering feet toward it.

The purpose of adolescence is to revise the past, not to obliterate it. . . . Adolescence entails the deployment of family passions to the passions and ideals that bind individuals to new family units, to their communities, to the species, to nature, to the cosmos. Therefore, given half a chance, the revolution at issue in adolescence becomes a revolution of transformation, not of annihilation.

Children, even infants, are capable of sympathy. But only after adolescence are we capable of compassion.

During adolescence imagination is boundless. The urge toward self-perfection is at its peak. And with all their self- absorption and personalized dreams of glory, youth are in pursuit of something larger than personal passions, some values or ideals to which they might attach their imaginations.

Every human society endeavors to preserve itself by inventing the adolescence it requires. . . . Adults are prone to create myths about the meaning of adolescence. Whatever their political or personal inclinations, whether they glorify nature or revere society, whether they are identified with youth or they are detractors of youth, most adults find it imperative to defuse the awesome vitalities of these monsters, saints, and heroes.

The long discussions and painful arguments of adolescence and the fierce loyalties to teachers, heroes, and gurus during the teenage years are simply our children's struggles to ensure that the lifestyles and values they adopt are worthy of their allegiance.

It is not a dream, it is a simple feat of scientific electrical engineering, only expensive — blind, faint-hearted, doubting world! [...] Humanity is not yet sufficiently advanced to be willingly led by the discoverer's keen searching sense. But who knows? Perhaps it is better in this present world of ours that a revolutionary idea or invention instead of being helped and patted, be hampered and ill-treated in its adolescence — by want of means, by selfish interest, pedantry, stupidity and ignorance; that it be attacked and stifled; that it pass through bitter trials and tribulations, through the strife of commercial existence. So do we get our light. So all that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combatted, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle. (Tesla at the end of his dream for Wardenclyffe)

In the same decade in which writers are discovering the emotional importance of childhood and are unmasking the devastating consequences of the way power is secretly exercised under the disguise of child-rearing, students of psychology are spending four years at the universities learning to regard human beings as machines in order to gain a better understanding of how they function. When we consider how much time and energy is devoted during these best years to wasting the last opportunities of adolescence and to suppressing, by means of the intellectual disciplines, the feelings that emerge with particular force at this age, then it is no wonder that the people who have made this sacrifice victimize their patients and clients in turn, treating them as mere objects of knowledge instead of as autonomous, creative beings. There are some authors of so-called objective, scientific publications in the field of psychology who remind me of the officer in Kafka's Penal Colony in their zeal and their consistent self-destructiveness. In the unsuspecting, trusting attitude of Kafka's convicted prisoner, on the other hand, we can see the students of today who are so eager to believe that the only thing that counts in their four years of study is their academic performance and that human commitment is not required.

Exhibitionism is like a drug. Hooked in adolescence I was now taking doses so massive they would have killed a novice.

Some have held the eye to be the instrument of lechery, more furtive than the hand in low and vicious venery-not so! Its rape is gentle, never more violent than a metaphor.