Youth, Ritual, and Ceremony part 2
It is evident that adolescents (teenagers) are constantly “searching for identity.” Adults recognize that teenagers go through many phases of dress, behavior, ideals, and social activities before these youth reach adulthood and start the process of being “normal.” Some go through more phases than others based on maturity level. Most adults rarely take these stages seriously, and with parents, these stages or met with resentment, embarrassment, or even hostility and strife. I’m going to take the cliché route and hypothesize that adults may act this way because they have forgotten the seriousness, fear, and beauty of these adolescent whims.
The ages of 10 to 19 are not to be taken lightly. Suddenly, age is not two numbers, not one. It can even unconsciously symbolize the addition of a new and developing aspect of oneself. Now there is something else about me that must begin and take form. This something else is puberty and the biological reaction to this new double digit age.This something else includes psycho-social-sexual (pssd) development as well. The bodily transformation (bt) invokes fear and awe, while the psycho-social-sexual development induces curiosity as well as fear.
Now the bt knows what to do and cannot be stopped, however the pssd, while partially automated is something that must largely be willed into being. This is where the development of “testing the waters”, trying on different personae and making new daring social interactions begins. I find it important to note that: the more adult-like a teen is, the less likely pssd will go through to completion – it will be repressed; the same goes for childish (rather than childlike) teens.
So many factors stand as enemies to a good pssd. Childhood upbringing, home and town environment, schooling. The largest enemy in my view is civilization (which includes all of the above). In modern society, adolescent rituals and initiations lack substance and can even be outright dangerous. From hard drugs to sudden sex crazes and gangs these initiations are a danger to pssd. People who go through these types of initiations can be noted as living in a constant adolescent state for the rest of their lives, and that isn’t meant to be mocking. Then there are civilized initiations such as debutante balls, the “sweet 16/18,” or communions that offer very little to pssd other than a vague sense of importance, no response, or arrogance. Unlike tribal ceremonies where the goal and condition of personal and spiritual transformation is shown upfront and ushered in by the entire tribe, civilized ceremonies are just another party (or in the case of something like communion, just another after party).
So what is the last thing teens have to turn to in civilized society? The corporations. These “individuals” study youth well, from the moment they are born. They unfortunately understand how youth are. Youth is the time of the heaviest influence from corporations. So what do they do? Well, as I mentioned in the poem, they offer us many tools to initiate some sort of transformation either by ourselves or in groups. From music (which is very transforming, serious and spiritual) to clothing and other knick knacks of individual collectivity (having a sense of you in a group), stores and corporate industries really know how to push the pssd buttons of teens.
And what does it achieve? Orchestrated youth culture. Unlike improvised (underground) youth culture or tribal youth culture that leads to maturation of the spirit/psyche, orchestrated youth culture only prepares youth for a restrictive adulthood. That type of youth culture only prepares us to be controlled and at the will of industry so that industry can survive long term. The corporations haven’t a care in the world about the seriousness of adolescence, all they are doing is giving you want you think you want so that you will continue to grab at them when you’re an adult. Combine this with the obedience training traditional schools provide and what to you get? A confused, gullible, but otherwise civilized adult.
Some of us make it at least to the state of awareness of all this, hence the development activists, freegans, anarchists, followers of true democracy, free schoolers/unschoolers/democratic schoolers, freethinkers and more. For these groups it will take advanced and personalized study and secondary waves of adolescence (pssd only, as bt will finish) until such an individual will someday fall upon transformation and a higher stage of living.