Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Wed Jul 4 01:41:26 2007
Philosophical Coming-of-Age

Philosophical coming-of-age happens when people become sufficiently broadly read and reflective that they're able to rethink themselves philosophically. My idea of the basic process is this - while they provisionally keep the value conclusions that society/upbringing gave them, they take on the responsibility to, at once or one-by-one, remove these conclusions, understand their values that relate to those conclusions, and reinterpret/remove them, possibly adding new conclusions to either replace them or as appropriate based on what they discover. At the end of the process, they have a deeper understanding of how they view the world, their value conclusions are re-rooted in their own values, and they're ready to begin the continual gradualist and punctuated reworking of their conclusions. Important to note - the scope of this is very broad. At a bare minimum, any time a historical society has gone a different direction than modern society on any value arrangements (be it polygamy, pedophilia, notions of honor, attitudes towards suicide, etc), that past is a license to carefully evaluate those conclusions, ideally giving little or no favouritism to one's own society (beyond what's inherent in the values in one's upbringing, which may change). Time and growth may then or later inspire difference that extends beyond historical cultures...

I don't think most people come to such a coming-of-age, and I doubt it's usually possible before someone is well beyond the age of majority (even for really smart people) - having enough life experience and having a certain level of idealism beaten out of oneself by life is needed to shape one's character and wisdom appropriately.