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[A few quotes] and [an article].
Vitenka particularly likes the passive voice one - though that's ore about responsibility than maturity.  (And also, it tells him how to get Microsoft/Word to shut up about it!)  --Vitenka
I like them, although one of them in particular incites the 'if that's what growing up is, I don't want to' reaction - the one about maturity being letting go of all the ideas and dreams created during growing up. And another point, which I'll put below.. - SunKitten

Now this is something I've seen all over the place.

Now, it may be InternetDenizen specific - but growing up seems to be massively more optional than it was to our parents.

Or maybe, when they were young, our parents enjoyed taking a little drive out into the country, and playing with model trains.

And our grandparents liked lavender PinCushions?

Annnyway - the point I am trying to make is that people (that I talk to, which means internet people) don't seem to have grown up.  I sure as heck haven't, nor have any desire to.

Is this deliberate?  Is it a fad?  Is it wrong?

All confusing things.  It's certainly made the holders of 1970-1980 copyrights happy.  They get to make whole new sets of action figures.

So what do people think?  Do they intend to change and put aside their childish things?  Do they intend definitely not to?  Or are they just going to take it as it comes?

Personally I think it's a sign of prosperity, and a little-suspected self correcting feedback mechanism.  People doing too well, got too much free time?  Delay adult hood so as to not create too much competition.

I can't help but wonder if this is related to the deliberate breeding of infantile characteristics in house cats.  (Kittens are cute, so we select breeds that stay kittenlike for longer.)  Obviously not quite so deliberate in the case of human breeding.
This is also true for dogs. Modern dogs exhibit behaviour similar to that of wolf cubs. As one Usenet contributor put it, 'Dogs are retarded wolves.'  Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily. Trainable, docile dogs are rather more use than independantly-minded wolves - SunKitten

The opposition today released a pamphlet encouraging people to breed more.  I'm gonna stop now before I talk about the rainbow last night or a lone cloud scudding across the blue sky, before this turns into a WikiBlog?.

M-A: Well, here are some thoughts that come to my mind:
Surely it means also that they used to think that way?  Or that children in stereotype think that way?  I agree with what you're saying, but you don't say "You're worrying about arthritis and complaining about needing hip medication?  Oh ForGoodnessSakes?, WhenWillYouGrowUp?"  --Vitenka
Well, I think, generally, people don't accuse other people of being childish because they're doing something that you used to do, but rather because they're doing something that, gut feeling, they don't think is compatible with being "mature".  Whatever that means... so it's not unbeliveable to accuse an OAP of being childish when they're being pig-headed about something and refusing to have a decent/mature conversation instead. --M-A
They are?  Really?  --Vitenka  (If you can find that article, it'd be great, BTW)
[Here's] one, for example.  Google brings up quite a few pages for relevant searches. --M-A

So what do people think?  Do they intend to change and put aside their childish things?  Do they intend definitely not to?  Or are they just going to take it as it comes?

I think there's a misconception somewhere along the line. I have definitely not stopped liking the sort of media - animation, comics, fantasy books - that I liked when I was little, but I definitely think I have changed with respect to the sort of *content* that I most enjoy within those media. To some, the former means I have not grown up. To others, the latter means I have. I think everyone changes, and amn't sure what "growing up" means. - MoonShadow

Good points - but have you stopped liking, oh, I dunno, TomAndJerry? cartoons?  TheDarkIsRising?CuddlyToys? (PlushyCthulhu springs to mind...)  I guess that's a slightly different question - have people grown up as well as stayed young?  --Vitenka

I wouldn't say I've stopped liking them; but I would say that most of the time, given a spare half an hour, I would get a lot more out of ScrappedPrincess or LastExile than TomAndJerry?, and I strongly suspect the reverse would have been true twelve-fifteen years ago. - MoonShadow
Which, like most of the Japanese cartoons mentioned here, seem from their descriptions to be teenager-oriented rather than actually adult; indicating growing up to some degree but not exactly fully (I've only ever seen/heard of one  Japanese cartoon that really worked on an adult level, the excellent Perfect Blue; I'd be interested in hearing of more).
BTW, where in LastExile do you see teenage crushes, precisely? ScrappedPrincess does contain one, I'll grant you, but mainly, I'd say, as comic relief from the more serious subjects it deals with. - MoonShadow
Based on the Wiki page, it looks like a 'gimmick' show where the idea is to gawp at the 'coolness' of the technology and the world in which characters have crazy Knight Rider-like adventures, rather than to actually say anything. Not that it can't: Firefly makes a good stab at blending action-adventure, weird world, and actually saying things (though it's not perfect, not by any means), for example. But it's rare that something for which the best description depends on it being 'steampunk' has much else to recommend it.
I suggest you watch some. Technology is not its main thrust. - MoonShadow
It sounds like GraveOfTheFireflies and NowAndThenHereAndThere would both be to your taste, as would AngelsEgg, SongOfTreeAndWind, RoseOfVersailles, BrotherDearBrother.. - MoonShadow
Kind of a separate topic that - though definitely a good point.  ScrappedPrincess is close, many anime have parts that are properly mature and need thought - but almost all quickly follow it with a bit of zany slapstick.  WingsOfHonneamise? has no non-art elements, but it also examine no taboo topics.  I'd also suggest the RurouniKenshin?/OVA unless having SwordFights? inherently kiddifies something.  --Vitenka (bear in mind that it has actual history element, rather than far off myth)
HaibaneRenmei is a perfect example of something that starts off childish and delves into very adult waters. RevolutionaryGirlUtena contains a lot of teenage crushes, but is both a childish show about swordfighting and elephants, and an adult one about psychology and growing up. - MoonShadow
I don't believe in an 'adult show about growing up'. By definition, adults are grown up. They don't need to read or watch coming-of-age stories; they've already come of age. The concerns of a story about growing up are fundamentally adolescent concerns (again by definition). That's not to say that such themes can't be interesting, but adults have other, more important concerns which are not addressed by reliving the growing-up process.  --ChiarkPerson
ISTM that stories of "growing up" or "coming of age" are amongst those which get the best reviews in Western cinema by adult/serious reviewers (one of the film review columns I read the most is the FinancialTimes?, for no other reason that it's often left lying around the MathWorksKitchen).  So while it may be that adults "don't need to read or watch coming-of-age stories" as ChiarkPerson says (and the issue of DoWeNeedStories is a different one for a different page), it seems that such stories are amongst the most interesting to read/watch from the POV of mature audiences in the West...  --AlexChurchill

Introspection / Retrospect are never of value?  Over done, perhaps - certainly not the be-all and end-all, but worthless?  Harsh.  --Vitenka
I don't believe I said anything nearly that strong.  --ChiarkPerson
Hmm, rereading, I guess that you didn't - but the "adults have more important concerns" certainly suggests that growing up is of lesser value.  Then again, the original thrust of this page was about the value of growing up.  After all, I've seen a billion growing up stories, and don't see it as something I've been through.  --Vitenka
Stories about growing up are of lesser value... to those who have already grown up. Not no value; but there are more immediate concerns. That can't be contentious? Those stuck in adolescent limbo by their own choice are not who I'm talking about.  --ChiarkPerson
ChiarkPerson: I can fully see where you're coming from now, I think. I disagree with you, but I am not sure whether this means much or not - ultimately, while I can say to you that I enjoy watching things "about growing up" and like watching a lot of things I do precisely *because* they don't accurately describe the humdrum mundanities of my day-to-day life, I suspect that all that this would prove from your POV is that I myself haven't grown up yet. Which I don't think I object to: if growing up means only enjoying the mundane and everyday, and only liking that which is relevant to the mundane and everyday, I don't want to be it. We are at an impasse. - MoonShadow
I'll certainly agree with 'lesser value' - but most people don't do things solely for their value.  Perhaps the world would be better if they did.  Or perhaps if the converse was true.  Anyhow, you seem to have hit upon the nub of my argument.  Whether you call liking such things 'not growing up' or 'growing up in a different way' - there is clear evidence that in quite a lot of cases it is happening, and that those who it is happening to like it; whilst many others, certainly many of an older generation, do not approve.  So - is it a real thing?  Are you the CounterExample, someone who uses wikis but has GrownUp?  In which case, it'd be lovely to get a view of what you think of the phenomenon - is it real, is it bad - and why (is it happenning / is it bad)?  --Vitenka
There's the rub, isn't it? Is it not growing up, or growing up in a different way? Is it growing up while still being able to enjoy childish things, or is it clinging onto childhood so that you never actually develop into an adult? Individual cases can be argued about, but there is a lot of the latter. As for whether such clinging is bad... Imagine someone who as a child likes sweets, and so keeps eating sweets, and as a result cuts themselves off from a vast range of experience because they never aquire more sophisticated, more rewarding tastes. But they still  like the sweets so you might say they never know what they miss, so who cares?  --ChiarkPerson
That's an interesting argument. Can you back it up with examples of fun adult experiences you enjoy that I, as one who hasn't yet grown up - after all, I enjoy coming-of-age stories and stories with teenage main characters - am missing out on? - MoonShadow
I don't know you, dear sir, so how can I know what you miss?
Generalise, as you have been doing. You suggested above that people such as me are missing out on experiences; I am asking you what those might be. - MoonShadow
('Tastes' shouldn't be misinterpreted to mean simply tastes in entertainment or food, but also for instance social relationships or self-understanding).  --ChiarkPerson

I doubt anyone here would make such a mistake, except to deliberately annoy.  But you've raised a point we already discussed, with no conclusion - and which sparked the wonderful CloneD546/TheNewTune  Is it inherently bad to avoid one experience in favour of another one?  Is it possible to say that WantSweeties? is inherently worse than WantSocialRelationship? - might not both be worth deep examining?  Are early desires actually simpler - and if so, are they worse?  Is it right that a connoisseur of sweeties is looked down upon, whilst a connoisseur of wines is looked up to?  --Vitenka

ChiarkPerson: Would you say that a taboo subject has to be discussed in order for something to be adult? - MoonShadow
Why would anyone sensible say that? I would however rule out the teenage crushes that seem to be the extent of interpersonal relationships in Japanese cartoon as being 'adult'. Adult means Six Feet Under or The West Wing, not Buffy, the Vampire Slayer or Dawson's Creek.
Would you say DonnieDarko is adult? What about WelcomeToTheDollhouse? StandByMe?? - MoonShadow
DonnieDarko is an interesting case; I think I'd go down on the side of it being 'adult' because I saw it as more about Donnie's mental condition than just general teenage 'nobody likes me I'm not popular I wonder if he'll go out with me' angst. But it's arguable. The latter I haven't seen.
I see the point here.  KareKano isn't exactly mature - it's squarely aimed at teenagers.  But it still deals with relationships in a more mature way than LoveHina.  Taboo was a bad way of expressing what I meant.  Especially with things like LegendsOfTheOverfiend? being most definately taboo, yet also incredibly immature.  Yeah, I know, overfiend is Anime's MillStone?, but you see what I mean.  The way a subject is approached is definitely as important as the subject in question.  But I don't think you'll ever see a mature and deep cartoon based on the subject of "Godzilla is attacking, the SuperHeroes? can do nothing, but here comes MyLittlePony to save the day!"  --Vitenka

I can hugely see the OP's point.  I like it.  I'm fed up with some people seeing me host GamesEvening to play MagicTheGathering or SettlersOfCatan and wishing I'd just "grow up" (by their idea of "grown up" - dinner parties, AFAICT), while others see it (by comparison with, maybe, TopTrumps and MouseTrap) as indicating that I have.  I thoroughly agree with MoonShadow: everyone changes, and develops as they grow older, and everyone means something different by "growing up".  --AlexChurchill
(PeterTaylor) I see it kind of the other way round: when you reach adulthood, you're sufficiently mature to drop the pretense of teenagerhood that you no longer enjoy a board game.
Yes, I can sympathise with that. While in Canada, I was lucky enough to pick up a double-ended red lightsabre, a la Darth Maul. I found it great fun to play with (I was about 20 at the time, I think). The 16-year old boy who led our team told me that it was immature. Was I immature to play with a child's toy, or was I mature enough to not care about what people thought of me doing something I enjoy (which is what I told him)? - SunKitten
Rachael thinks the following quote from CS Lewis is relevant here: 'When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness.' I agree with him. And with SunKitten.
Whilst I personally think that not caring about other people's reactions is a good thing, I must say that I see such claims as potentially being at least as false as denying that you enjoy something just to look cool.  --Vitenka
If I understand you correctly, that's only true if you do care about what people think of you while doing the 'immature' thing, and you just say you don't. If you genuinely don't care, I don't see how that can be as false as denying enjoying something in order to look cool - SunKitten
Sorry - yes.  Assume that (at least most of) those who deny they enjoy things to look cool actually do - I see the claim of not caring what people think as being at least as often untrue whilst deliberately provoking such reaction.  --Vitenka
Interesting.  The question now occurs: If people do honestly find themselves bored by board games, or find coming-of-age stories get old, then naturally we shouldn't call that immature in and of itself. What is true maturity, in this context, then? Being able to allow other people to enjoy what they enjoy even if it differs from you?  --AlexChurchill
PeterTaylor would say that sounds like a mature attribute.
It occurred to PeterTaylor this morning to wonder how many people think Kasparov should grow up and get a proper job. I'm guessing not many.

One thing very interesting is quite how defensive this topic seems to make people.
Why's that interesting? I would have thought that saying "A lot of people insult all Magic players for _" in a context in which there are a fair few Magic players would provoke some kind of defence of _. In this case, _ is "playing Magic".

Why should we 'Grow Up'? If growing up means giving up what I like just because some people thinks the world thinks I should, then I see no reason why I should do it. Afterall, not growing up means fun, and if we can survive (enough money, home, etc) while having fun, why not? -ColinLeung

Small children cannot conceive of a point of view which is not their own. They simply do not understand the concept that there are other people who are not them, --ChiarkPerson

Good point, empathy seems to be a determining factor.  I'd add that there have been many studies done that a large proportion of techies (who a large proportion of those this page was initially discussing are) have some amount of the symptoms of Aspergers (or similar) - including a lack of empathy.  Question then becomes - cause or effect?  Are people diagnosed as being non-empathic becuase they stay 'immature' or are they staying immature because they are 'non-empathic'?  --Vitenka
Not so sure.  It is possible to be quite empathic and yet hopeless socially.  Being able to comprehend that someone is massively upset by something does not mean that you are equipped to help them.  Also it may be interesting to note that a (total) lack of empathy (and hence also understanding what is good or bad from another persons point of view) is a a fairly fundamental definition of a psychopath.  Not all techies / geeks / geologists like me are psychos, given to lying for personal benefit or indeed generally violent, if anything just the opposite, albeit "a bit odd" compared to "normal society".  What can be said about me is that I like playing card / board / role-playing / war games and I'm not ashamed of it.  I do not bow to that social pressure of it being perceived as geeky / strange / pitiful / just plain odd whereas a lot of people I knew at college did when in the presence of the rest of the herd.  I do not force other people to enjoy my hobbies - that denies the point.  If people will take the mickey out of me for something I enjoy, but which doesn't harm them in any way whatsoever, then I ask do I really want to know this person? --Jumlian

and that the world might not revolve around their having fun.  --ChiarkPerson
But what else does one lives for? Before one was born, the world might as well be never exsisted, and after one is dead, the world might as well be ended as well. It seems that the point to live is to enjoy life as much as possible, i.e. the world revolves around one having fun. -ColinLeung
Wow.  Even I didn't go so far as to advance that view.  Talk about a FlameMagnet?.  We can call it Hedonism?, I think - and keep the AfterLife? arguments elsewhere.  Even taking the premise as true though, I don't think I can accept it - without a radically altered definition of 'fun' anyway.  I've also introduced a split since the first point (lack of empathy being a defining characteristic) hasn't been considered here.  So 'What else does one live for' - You can advance that 'fun' is whatever you choose to live for (bad phrasing, but the reverse is ambiguous) - at which point yes; and you go back around to Grow-up meaning 'you choose a different value set to me'  And then we start discussing the relative value sets of pure hedonism using childish toys over, say, altruistic evangelicism.  And I don't see a way to rationally discuss that.  --Vitenka
Oops, sorry, got slightly carried away there... probably showed how immature I really am. ^^; -ColinLeung

I think that's a non sequitur as far as the point Colin is making is concerned. Given a personal choice of things to do that don't affect other people, some of which are "fun" and others are not, which are all branded as means of entertainment or relaxation, children usually appear to put the "fun" criteria near the top when making their choice, whereas adults seem to see that as immature. I think Colin is saying that if this is true, he does not wish to be an adult. - MoonShadow
Is the point, then, that a child puts 'doing fun stuff' ahead of 'doing other stuff that other people wnat me to do that is not fun'?  As in - not choosing other leisure pursuits, but giving up leisure pursuits - devoting less time to them?  That sounds like the BritishCurse? and surely isn't sufficient?  However little time is spent playing MyLittlePony, it should still be spent doing something 'better'?  --Vitenka (These examples get stranger by the minute, don't they?  UtterFlutterPower?!)
The world see me being excited when I'm turning a pretty card board sideways to be childish. I see myself commanding a huge dragon (MTG: Rith ,the Awakener) to take someone's head off. Isn't the aim in life to enjoy it? How much more joy would being a adult offer me? Does not growing up affects my productivity in anyway? By not being childish the joy per cardboard ratio is pretty low. -ColinLeung

Slightly bigger children realise there is a world outside themselves but see it in black and white terms: does she love me or not? If she does I'm in heaven; if not I'll kill myself. Is he a good environmentalist or an evil evil capitalist?  --ChiarkPerson
Explain why those are bad things for the child in question?  --Vitenka
Whilst a child, they are not inherantly bad, as those around them realise that he'she is still a child, and so has an incomplete understanding of the world.  The danger comes if the child gets older, is perceived by those around them to be an adult, but still believes the world works along black-and-white principles.  Much misunderstanding and hurt often results. --M-A
And thus they truely grow up. People probably only really grow up through pain. The best grow up story I read involves a bunch of boys stranded on an island, and for some reason end up killing each other. -ColinLeung
LordOfTheFlies?  If so, not so much an analysis of growing up as an analysis of why childish, black-and-white thinking is bad.  Excellent analysis, though. --M-A
Hmmm.  Have we not had a big discussion on that book already?  Leaving aside that it's more what a reader gets out of a book than what the author puts in, I thought it more a treatise about the natural action of people without a social system.  (And a touch of the horror of unbridled human nature) Nothing about it seemes to matter that they were children, except to make it more horrific and that adults would have had preconceived systems making their deterioration slower.  --Vitenka

New section, to avoid untidyness.  Things that 'non grown up' people don't do.  - less obvious, perhaps - but perhaps as or more important?

DinnerParties is a good one.  I'd say CollaborativeSport?, but that's more a lazy unhealthy computer people stereotype than a kiddy one.  Ideas anyone?  --Vitenka
''Have mortgages, pay bills, hold down a full-time job? I do hope not, despite the fact I've found myself using those in discussions with people who insist I haven't...  --AlexChurchill
Well, havng a mortgage appears to be impossible in this half of the country except for company directors - but the strange thing is that most of the 'non grownup' people here do those other things.  Are they part of an erroneous stereotype then?  Thy don't seem to be particularly kiddy.  Perhaps it might be better to say woorying-about (mortgage, bills, job)  --Vitenka (worrying seems a very grown-up thing to do, and a very undesireable thing to do, and one that I don't do)

Ah, but is grown-up-ness something that you demonstrate by what you do, or is to do with the way you think and your attitudes to things? --M-A

PeterTaylor would consider an appreciation of complexity to be a fairly mature attribute. (Note: I didn't just say that appreciation of simplicity is immature). But then that might be because he's a geek who considers himself to be an adult.
I would consider maturity a mindset or set of mindsets. It is often characterised by certain things, like having children and/or a mortgage, holding down a full time job or getting married, for example. However, I think it's possible that one may do all those things and not be mature. The things do not make maturity, only signify it. What maturity *is* is something less tangible than behaviour, and might differ from individual to individual. I would say, at a guess, that an ability to empathise is a sign of maturity, as is not being so worried about what other people think of one. But they aren't themselves maturity - in fact, they are signs just as working and paying the mortgage are. They're probably better signs, but they don't themselves make maturity. And the result of all that is, well, I don't know. It's a rather hand-wavy topic, I think - SunKitten
And I forgot, but I was also going to say that maturity is not binary - I suspect that most people are a mix of maturity and immaturity depending on the subject of conversation/attitude - SunKitten

Thought of another point.
I've "not grown up" playing with computers and card games and such.  But then, when younger, I didn't much like football, or fast cars, or underage drinking.
So, and perhaps this is part of the newspapers much derided LadCulture? or YobCulture?, perhaps I have merely chosen different pursuits from the norm - and it's merely a question of how much time is spent being immature - the stereotype of a couple of decades ago being that once a week time is taken out to play around, perhaps now it is a little more?  --Vitenka


To me it's all about expectations. All of us feel that we're expected to "be a grown-up" and that we're cheating in some way if we refuse, that it's bad, irresponsible and selfish to remain childish. (Mainly because that's true; part of maturing is becoming able to take on a share of the responsibility for the things that need to be done to keep your life and the lives of your dependents if you have any ticking over. Which is not to say any of us enjoy hard work). And we all have an idea that we've absorbed from the culture around us of what exactly a "grown-up" is supposed to be. Here's a thought: try writing down all the things you think a real GrownUp does, has or is; if it helps, think about what you feel you'd have to do, have or be to qualify as one in other people's eyes. Now for each item on that list, write down why you think that and who or what you first saw giving an example of that in your life. (Difficult for some of them, isn't it? These are things we absorb from years of subtle cultural conditioning.)

Last of all, write down the five things you never want to have to stop doing just because you have to have to hold down a job in order to live - and think about how many of those really are incompatible with paying bills on time, buying houses and doing other things that keep an adult life going. Based on that, do you still think you're refusing to grow up?

What occurs to me is to ask why nobody separates retaining a sense of fun and expanding interests you first developed as a child (good things) from being genuinely immature and childish (Bad Thing).

-- Lark, in didactic mood. (Have I put this in the right place on the page? Damn newfangled technology, now where's my Ovaltine..)

This is as good a place as any to put this.  I think this page has demonstrated that a lot of us are strongly in favour of keeping a sense of fun, and being open to a variety of interests no matter what the general public thinks of them, whilst not being against responsibility, maturity, or holding a full-time job and a mortgage.  Is there anyone here still objecting to any particular leisure activities on the basis of the activity itself being a sign of "not having grown up"?  --AC
On re-reading this, quite carefully, it appears that no-one who posted anything to this page ever thought that anyone was immature because of the leisure activities they chose.  A couple of people claimed to have encountered this attitude outside of the wiki, but that's different... --M-A
Uh.. yes, that's literally true - no-one's directly accused anyone of being immature; but a number of people do (or did) definitely think some leisure activities are (were) "immature" (I myself could probably make a list of ones *I* think of as "immature"). The point is, what can this mean if it *doesn't* mean that the activity is a sign of "not having grown up"? And should this imply anything about people who enjoy the activity? And even if it did, should this mean such people should abandon such leisure activities or object to them? AlexChurchill and the Lark have addressed this issue to some extent.. - MoonShadow

The BeachBoys? [had something to say on the matter].

Responding purely to the title...

You are reluctantly forced to realise that you have already assumed the grown up role (if you've not done so before then), when you have children and find yourself relied upon to argue in favour of the more cautious and responsible options when a decision is being made.  Fortunately, that doesn't exclude deciding to spend time playing board games with friends or consuming fantasy.  I had to veto digging up the garden in order to turn it into a trampoline-themed ice-cream restaurant, though.--DR

OP = Vitenka
CategoryRant; see also WebComics, CategoryAnime, TheGoodOldDays, [Network on Transitions to Adulthood]...

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