Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Adulthood and Armageddon

thermonuclear test (photo: United States Department of Energy)
What does it mean to be parental or shall we say act responsibly in the most symbolic meaning of the term? Even if one does not have children, there's a certain point in life where one takes over and where generationally you find yourself in the position of authority, literally for the world. From an ultimate, eschatological or teleological point of view, you would find yourself responsible for the well-being of others, whether one is talking about society in general or merely those closest to you, say in a community setting. Perhaps this is best illustrated by the current spate of weather catastrophes America has experienced, the most recent of which has been Hurricane Harvey. Children expect to be taken care of. The same is true of the old and infirm, who can no longer take care of themselves. But what about those able bodied men and women in between. It’s hard to exactly numerate the demographic, but perhaps it’s best to use movie ticket admissions. You have children’s tickets sold to those 12 and under and senior citizens admissions for the 62 and over crowd. By this criteria adults are defined as those who are neither children nor seniors. When a Jewish boy or girl reaches the age of 13 they're bar or bat mitzvahed and become, from the point of view of religion, a man or woman. In actuality adulthood probably begins in American society at a later date say from 25-35 depending on education, culture and the extended adolescence provided within certain demographics. However, it's this group of people who become the caretakers or givers rather than the care receivers. Though there are no shoulders left to cry on, the benefit may derive from the duty to keep a stiff up lip and resolve in the face of the impossible. As an adult you now have the dubious pleasure of remaining responsible even in the case of Armageddon when there's nothing left to be responsible for.

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