At the life stage called Adolescence (defined as a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood), the sometimes moody, awkward, depressive and even suicidal behaviour of young individuals is routinely blamed on hormones and/or the somewhat euphemistic growing pains.
But it seems strange that at time in your life when the world is your oyster and you are able to finally be in charge of your movements and actions, you would slip out of happiness and into the black hole of depression.
The word legal, in the above description of Adolescence might explain away some of this, as it alludes to a version of said coming of age that is acceptable to the system, rather than to the individual in question.
But I think there is a bigger story here and it has been described by some psychologists as Resignation, the point in a young person’s life where they become resigned to the Human Condition. By that I mean the imposed Human Condition that instead of setting one free, locks you up in the chains of duality, where you realise that you can’t really just be yourself. Instead you have to conform to a set of rules and regulations not of your making.
It’s a bit like the feeling a budding entrepreneur gets when she realises that instead of setting her free from the ties that bind the wage slave, she soon has to conform to laws, rules and a form of discipline that seems a long way from the freedom she expected to feel when she started her own business.
Resignation can lead to a kind of beaten acceptance of the way things are, and for the majority of people, this is where the excitement in life ends.
Oh yeh, life goes on
long after the thrill of living is gone
Jack and Diane, John Cougar Mellencamp
In an interview, the late Stuart Adamson explained poetically how this can look for many of us:
“My mum and dad [also] had some great friends who played folk and country music (my mum does a mean Patsy Cline) and they would come to our house after the bars were closed and people would sing through the night. This made me aware of the power of the song and how music was interwoven with the lives of the working class Scots I grew up amongst. I would watch these big rough, hard men declare their love of family and the land — emotions they would be embarrassed to admit to in conversation — in songs old and new. I realised a lot of my schooling was solely aimed at my learning to accept my place in the British class system and railed against it. I believe the measure of a man is in his actions and not his social background (maybe this is why I like the US…another disenfranchised Celt)… A lot of the darkness of the Steeltown album comes from remembering my first experiences of the prejudice of class and nationality and the obvious truths that little had changed in my adulthood. The desire to write initially grew out of just wanting to be a “real” band and then I found I was driven to communicate some of the joy and frustration of the human experience…
finally the dream has gone
I’ve nothing left to hang upon
I came here with all my friends
Leaving behind the wait of years
Leaving alone in a flood of tears
Steeltown, Big Country
…Those are the people I grew up amongst and I could see the beauty in such simplicity as well as the anger and beaten acceptance. I think that frustration and learned apathy is the daily bread of the great majority of people in the world and as such represents the greater part of life experience, certainly in the western world and is to me a fertile source of inspiration.”
Resigning from Resignation.
The book FREEDOM: the end of the Human Condition by Jeremy Griffith offers a deep insight into and a way to understand Resignation in Adolescence that can quite possibly change or even save lives. It’s a long and intense read, but it promises a new way to look at and embrace the duality of human existence. A way, it is claimed can save the human race and the planet from catastrophe.
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