A newborn is as perfect as it will ever get, its brain and senses wide open. From then on, it can only go downwards. Some go dramatically down (most), repressed and oppressed by the environmental conditions. They survive though, some better than others. Others (the few lucky ones) only get their potential reduced by a margin dictated by the inexorable selective environmental exposure. Like a mirage, they develop into balanced, happy adults.
Paradoxically enough (inevitable as well), the loving parents, even the educated and well-intentioned, are the cause number one of the newborn’s fall. From day one, the parents begin teaching the newborn the science and art of survival, which includes a variety of skills. They begin limiting the newborn’s potential, creating likes and dislikes, fears and phobias, ambitions and illusions, the notion of the good and of the bad, fixed patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Some of it is inevitable and will serve the newborn well for the rest of its life. Most of it is harmful, serves no practical purpose and will be excess baggage in adulthood for which one will continually have to pay a high fee.
For the balanced, well-intentioned parents, the problem is to train the newborn to succeed in a world that is not there yet. Parents train their offspring to be successful adults in their own world, not the world when the offspring will reach adulthood and will have to fence for themselves. Most parents teach their offspring particular skills and norms that will be obsolete once they become adults. Partly, this is inevitable once the cultural environment changes faster than any genetic evolution can cope with, which is our case. Our brain is still roughly the same as the brain of our stone age ancestors. The environmental and social pressures it has to cope with are not.
So what can we do? It seems to me that a solid agenda for any parent, one resistant to time and change, is to create for their young a close contact to nature, of which we are a part. We must awake our sense of the beautiful and the good, of wondering rather than rejecting, of ‘living it’ rather than ‘analyzing it,’ of open-mindedness and acceptance rather than pettiness and oppression. We must re-awake our values long obscured and repressed by scientism, technomorphia, and political correctness; re-awake our perception of entirety before particularity.
You are a survivor. You’ve done well, but you don’t need to stop there, no matter the odds. The next step, alas the most difficult, is to take away the ‘sur’ in survive, leaving only ‘vive’ back, which means ‘to live’. ‘Living,’ rather than ‘living in spite of,’ seems to me to be the ultimate goal.
Keep smiling. Life is great!