Monday, April 19, 2010

What's to be done?

Fifteen year olds have many admirable traits. One of these is not their belief in their own infallibility, which is manifested in their believing themselves to be always right. Another distasteful aspect of the personality's of many young adults is their desire for "dirty" conversation. One unfortunate consequence of these two behavioral traits is the general disregard for polite conventions in conversation.

Both of these traits are understandable- the one a result of immature youth yet to taste the nectar of gray, the other the result of hormonal changes and other such things. As such, the bearers of these traits can not be castigated for having them; they can be taught to control themselves, and even to change them and begin the process of maturation, but to criticize? It can't rightly be done.

There is another species altogether, one that has long passed the age of crude humor and that realizes its own humanity, its own ability to make mistakes. The people who make up this group are not necessarily immune to the charms of the fifteen year old life, but rather recognize that while it may have been fun at the time, it is now time to move on. Because these people have lived the life and have come to recognize its deficiencies, they are uniquely suited to moving beyond it. There are certainly times when aspects of this life are acceptable; in a bar or among close friends, there can be no gainsaying the fact that behaving like a fifteen year old has its merits.

Be that as it may, there are certain people who do not appear to grasp the essential points of getting older, namely the recognizing of one's social standing and location in time and space. Whether these people are deluding themselves or merely have had their development arrested is outside the purview of this article, but the object is clear in either case. These people, being unaware (for whatever reason), or at the very least deluding themselves, are very firmly entrenched in their behavioral patterns. The reason they're so firmly entrenched is because they, like people many years younger, believe themselves to be infallible, and even worse have not the redeeming quality of being young and foolish. The result is a horrendous lack of social sense, grace, and tact. These people wouldn't know etiquette if it hit them in the head with a baseball bat.

What is to be done with these people? Apparently they are beyond the pale of humanity. Unlike their younger brethren, they have no future perfect. In point of fact, they have moved beyond the normally allotted time which is reserved for maturation and thus seemingly will live the rest of their lives in blissful fifteen year old-land. Blissful, that is to say, for them, for their contemporaries will undoubtedly be too polite to point out their failings. I suppose there is always the chance for a late blooming, but these sorts of things can't be counted on. Is there no other solution?

66 comments:

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Wait a second. Have you secretly visited the local (to me) area and not even stopped by to say “hello”?

I have found another reason, quite opposite to the belief in one’s infallibility. It’s a statement of “Well, I never said I am perfect. I am just a human being, with my own faults, etc.” Somehow they manage to use it as an excuse.

The Real Shliach said...

No, sorry. Evidently these people are to be found all over the world.

Excellent point.

e said...

you writing style is reminiscent of the stuff I'm reading for philosophy class, except that it's too easy to understand.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Said baseball bat comes to mind as an answer to your question

The Real Shliach said...

e: You mean my writing is too easy to understand? I didn't know it was possible to be "too easy" to understand. Isn't being understood a desirable trait?

Modeh: I like the way you think.

Dowy said...

wat is the nectar of gray may i ask?
i thought you were going to write about suspenders?

The Real Shliach said...

When you're young you think everything is black and white.

I was. This was more interesting. But, just for you, I'll write about that on BB.

Dowy said...

but why is it nectar? are you suggesting that you can get a taste of the black while still being white?

The Real Shliach said...

It's nectar because maturation is a sweet and heady knowledge that raises a person up and allows them to drink of the greatness of the world.

Can you get a taste of the black while still being white? Absolutely. In fact, this is generally what happens- a person has a blinding insight re: the other side, and suddenly all the scales fall from their eyes as they realize what exactly is happening.

The Real Shliach said...

I would, but he's dead.

Dowy said...

well i believe everyone has a different experience, changing your perception of right and wrong doesn't necessarily have to involve mixing the two, it may just be seeing them in a different light.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

“’Tis but a veil. A veil that can be pierced.”

The Real Shliach said...

Dowy: Who mentioned right and wrong? I'm talking liberal vs. conservative, Coke vs. Pepsi, Boeing vs. Airbus...

CA: Exactly.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Beijing vs. Peking?

The Real Shliach said...

ROC vs. PRC vs. Taiwan.

Dowy said...

you mean you always thought it was coke and then you tasted pepsi, and then the lightning bolt - you have to mix them together!

The Real Shliach said...

Actually, the idea of mixing them together has never occurred to me- do they taste good this way?

Dowy said...

both taste evil actually, in fact they are evil.

The Real Shliach said...

That is a rather harsh indictment. Actually, I like Coke.

Dowy said...

actually pepsi is evil, and coke is the root of evil.

The Real Shliach said...

What about RC Cola?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Ever tried mixing rum with chocolate soy milk (about one tea spoon of rum on a cup of the milk)?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Pepsi is evil, and the Coke is the root of evil? So, if you mix Pepsi and Coke, the former will disappear?

I think we can all agree that Dr. Pepper is the most noble soda drink of all.

The Real Shliach said...

No- Should I?

Correct- Dr. Pepper makes the world taste better.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Try it.

Never mixed Dr. Pepper with the world, but I’ll take your word for it.

I prefer this kind of politicians.

The Real Shliach said...

My one prior experience with rum was not a positive one.

Or theirs- that was the jingle they used to play in their commercials.

Apropos of?

Dowy said...

ok in my humble opinion, soda doesn't actually taste good; they just have good advertising campaigns.
likewise budwieser.
(that doesnt mean anything which is advertised doesnt taste good or is bad, just in those examples, and some others)

The Real Shliach said...

Well, as you say, it's a matter of opinion.


Budweiser I can agree with- why anyone should want to drink cold urine is beyond me.

Dowy said...

well you could drink it warm if you want

The Real Shliach said...

Warm urine is hardly more appetizing.

Yossi said...

I heard today about some fifteen year old being elected to city council, or something...
what exactly inspired your post?

The Real Shliach said...

Well, it certainly wasn't that. In fact, I bet that girl is miles above the inspiration for this post.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Forget about a 15-year-old. A girl was elected to a public office? How astonishing...

Yossi said...

only if it's true. I didn't see it on any news

The Real Shliach said...

Why is this astonishing?

The Real Shliach said...

http://www.vosizneias.com/53603/2010/04/19/los-angeles-ca-jewish-teenager-youngest-elected-council-member-in-u-s

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

And they say that Modern Orthodoxy is not a slippery slope. Heh!

The Real Shliach said...

Why, what's next?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Well, who knows? Women voting? Women as rabbis? Women fighting in the army?

The Real Shliach said...

Oh, the horror!

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

As long as they are not wearing denim skirts while doing all this, there is still hope for humanity left.

The Real Shliach said...

I'll take your word on it.

sarabonne said...

Wow, I came late.
re. maturity-I think prune juice might do the trick.

The Real Shliach said...

Quite unlike me in that regard, eh?

Which do you think would be more effective, prune juice or a baseball bat?

sarabonne said...

Quite true. Though you don't school...
I think the prune juice should be powerful enough to make a small tap from the baseball bat highly effective. In other words, both.

The Real Shliach said...

Yes, but in point of fact, this post was published before yours!

I don't suppose you'd mind participating in the education of a young person?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

You know, there was a fella called Paul Breg (I may be misspelling his name), who said that fasting is a really good way to stay healthy. He even predicted himself to be able to live until the age of 180 y.o. Now, he died at the age of seventy, because he was attacked by a shark, and a lot of water got into his lungs. But he looked not a day above sixty fo... I mean, thirty five.

(I am saying all this from memory. Wikipedia can show whether I am right or wrong.)

sarabonne said...

Fine, you win. You are the blogger-addict king.
As for the edumacation of a youngin, what have you in mind? And who, for that matter?

The Real Shliach said...

CA: Once again, this was apropos of...?

Sara: Quite.

Well, since you suggested prune juice and a baseball bat...

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Your vote on the left. My point: if you want to stay healthy, starve. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but hey, when you’re seventy years old, you’ll thank me.

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh, the poll. Quite.

Nemo said...

As the one who always likes to point out inconsistencies, I'd like to point out this inconsistency:

First, you say that typical 15 year olds cannot be blamed for the way they act in disregarding social standards because that is a result of circumstances. Later in the article, you say that they haven't recognized their social standing in relation to time.

If 15 year olds are typified by rowdiness and crudeness, doesn't that mean that at their age, that is the social standard?

The Real Shliach said...

In point of fact, fifteen year olds are typified by crudeness and a sense of infallibility. This is certainly the social standard of fifteen year olds, and as such can not be criticized. At the same time, it would be nice if these teenagers would act above their age, but it can't be expected.

Dowy said...

i thought you were complaining about someone who is older but just acting 15?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

In point of fact, fifteen year olds are typified by crudeness and a sense of infallibility. This is certainly the social standard of fifteen year olds, and as such can not be criticized.

Why not? I thought you were against cultural and moral relativism? If something is a bad behavior, it's a bad behavior.

Perhaps we cannot expect them to behave otherwise (the same way that we can hardly expect the chassidim of nowadays to behave as real chassidim), but we should surely urge them to do so and get as close to the ideal as possible.

Now, what I do think should be encouraged amongst the teenagers (perhaps more than amongst people older) is competitiveness and assertiveness (bordering on aggressiveness). Not only will this trait allow them to develop (psychologically) into normal males, but it will also prepare them for life.

The Real Shliach said...

Dowy: I certainly am complaining about someone who is of maturer years and yet is acting like a fifteen year old.

CA: Correct you are, that was an unfortunate choice of words on my part.

Who says we're talking about males here?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Well, that was my assumptions. Frum males don’t think about females, with very few exceptions.

The Real Shliach said...

The development of this post owes much credit to my wife- she and I shared an experience, discussed it, and I wrote it.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Oh. So, you’re like a hammer in your wive’s hands.

(Or, perhaps, you follow more the shitta of Alter Rebbe and not Maharal.)

The Real Shliach said...

Well, I was also disgusted by the behavior displayed and felt a need to say so.

Eh?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Why did you not avert your eyes?

Maharal: Abba is a tool of Hashem. (And therefore it’s not Atzmus, which makes Rambam’s statement inappropriate.)
A"R: sefiros of Atzilus are one with Hashem, although they still cannot be said to be Atzmus.

The Real Shliach said...

The rules of polite society would not have allowed for that.

Ahh, quite.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

And rules of G-d’s Law?

Dowy said...

could you just tell us what happened?

The Real Shliach said...

CA: Amazingly enough, the two were congruent in this situation.

Dowy: Not over here I couldn't.

Dovid said...

the girl's division was next door to the boy's? Feh!