The reason I am writing this topic is not by chance. I was talking to this girl that is probably the smartest girl I have met so far. It wasn’t a serious talk, but as smart as she is her words struck me deeply.
We were talking about life and she said that in her mind people rather exist than live their lives potentially. Now I won’t bore you with the details so I will get straight to the point. I agreed with her on the most part, because those words resonated with me and I believe so myself, but as she was talking she said something that struck me deep. The words were and I quote – “Fortunately or unfortunately we must live as we want.” I don’t know how or why, but I started thinking about life, where I’m at, where she’s at and where do people’s problems come from and how they deal with them in the short life span we all have. That is when I got reminded of a story from my childhood, the story of the boy with the endless possibilities, who simply didn’t want to grow up.
Now we have all heard the story of that boy, the leader of the lost boys from the fairy tale Peter Pan, residing in the land in the stars called Neverland. Now it is no accident for the boy being named Peter Pan, as roughly speaking Pan is the god of infinite potential. Basically he is the magical boy from the story that doesn’t want to grow up. If you think about it, this is no accident as well, as all kids are magical and filled with potential. They can be anything, and the main character simply doesn’t want to give that up… and why should he? The adults around him are terrifying, like Captain Hook for instance. Who in their right mind, especially children, would want to be Captain Hook? First of all he was marked by time (The god of change and chaos in the form of a crocodile with a clock on his stomach, to remind him that he is growing even older). Time got a piece of him, for where his hand was and it wants to swallow him whole. That’s what happens when you get older. Time already has a piece of you, it has developed a taste for you and will eventually consume you.
There is a sacrificial element in maturation. You have to choose your battles. Like in Captain Hook’s case, as time ravaged his hand, he became a tyrant and that is how many people see change and growing up. And time will consume you, it will happen whether people want to or not, and here comes the dichotomy of the situation, people come to sacrifice their pluripotentiality for an actuality of a limitation, a frame so to speak. And people don’t want that, they are constantly trying to prevent it on a subconscious level, however this will happen eventually. You can rather choose the frame of limitation, or let another form of it take you on when you are thirty or in worst case, when you are forty. I see this all the time, people putting off maturity on the side without suffering immediate penalty, but all that happens in the end is that the penalty actually occurs and when it finally does, it knocks you out.
Think about it. You can be an idiot when you are twenty-twenty five years old, but what happens when you are thirty? People around you aren’t that thrilled about you anymore. And why is that? Because you haven’t left a positive mark on the world and you are still the same as you were at 20, fighting change, never willing to embrace it.
Let’s go back at Peter Pan’s story. Remember Wendy? The little kind of conservative little girl, middle class, who has accepted her mortality and maturity and wants to grow old and have a family, kind of what we are all aiming for in today’s society. And yet Peter Pan has to content himself with the choice he doesn’t make (the one where he has to grow up), therefore sacrificing the potentiality of a relationship and ends up with Tinkerbell that doesn’t even exist.
The problem of being a child is all that you are is potential, but that potential is low resolution. A child can be everything but he is not anything. In most cases people grow up, but suffer the penalties of the unfulfilled maturity. In any case, they become old infants, and there is nothing uglier than an infant that is old. Part of the reason is whether people want to or not, they choose their sacrifices, even unwillingly. If you think about it, the sacrifice is inevitable, but at least you get to choose it.
Once you pass the so called narrow period of training and educating yourself to be part of society and be a better person, you come out at the other end with a bunch of new possibilities at hand. The narrow path constricts you and scars you, but it develops you at the same time. The sad part for us dudes (also one of the paradoxes in life) is that you end up rediscovering that child part of your life that you left behind in the process of growing up.
In the ravages of time, passing through the narrow path of growth and maturity.
Don’t allow the comfort of life (I like to call pleasure island) to rob you of your future self in exchange for allowing you to pretend that you have an identity. The price people pay is mature debt, and trust me, the path gets narrower and narrower from there on out. I see it every day and it terrifies me, but I decided to embrace it, for it might scar me, but scars are a reminder for what we’ve been through. You will never be able to predict what the next day will hold, so don’t make huge plans based on mental mastrubation that will end up in disappointment. Rather think for yourself and live your life to the fullest. That is how you never constrain yourself to the possibilities you might have. Live your life as you want and be unapologetic about it.
Don’t allow change to capture you by surprise and envelop you in hopelessness.
THE TRAGEDY OF PETER PAN