Monday, October 20, 2008

Peter Pan Complex

As part of my ongoing political education, I'm looking into the sociobiological (hardware) and psychological (software) causes of the modern dilemma.

Briefly, modern people are oblivious to reality, tend toward schizoid "religious" and symbolic thinking, are narcissistic and disorganized, look toward external solutions to internal problems, and yet are ceaselessly vociferous for their right to be so -- they always demand more freedoms, less responsibility, fewer shared moral obligations.

In essence, they're brats made possible by society's success, and that's why society declines. It's like alcoholism or obesity, a problem caused by a success. When you win you lose. Or more accurately, every object and trend on earth has a Bell Curve life cycle: starts slowly, builds momentum, and as it peaks you realize it's about to drop, so it drops and then disintegrates slowly to full stop. Societies grow, empower illogical and unrealistic thinking, then hit their apex and decline into third world status on their way toward breeding their population down into chimpanzee status by valuing only the oblivious, narcissistic, etc.

A Peter Pan Complex fits into this narcissism and withdrawl from reality by convincing an adult that "to stay young" is a good goal, even if biologically impossible, which then has that adult using that "staying young" as a justification for irresponsible behavior. Because it is contra-reality, Peter Pan Complex behavior eventually destroys the more delicate aspects of an adult's life -- family, friends, trust, hope, love, etc.

Amazingly, Peter Pan Complex is hard to define. Carl Jung wrote about psychological archetypes, and one he noticed was the puer aeturnus, or eternal boy; the term entered pop culture with he Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up, by Dr. Dan Kiley (1983). Absent those more elaborate definitions, we have the vernacular:


Peter Pan complex - the psychological condition of an adult who refuses to adopt adult responsibilities


I worded this one myself because the others were so vague. UrbanDictionary tells us that it refers to people who live with their parents. Wikipedia uses the condescending and inaccurate term "socially immature." I prefer to diagnose the actual symptom, which is a refusal to adopt the responsibilities of adult behavior, and to confuse lack of adulthood with eternal childhood.

This psychology is quite interesting and anecdotally, increasing in prevalence in the West.

3 Comments:

At 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting


I am socially akward and I have some issues in starting a new relationship, but once I am devloping I am prone develop it endlessly... In some way I am puer and another I feel like I lived one century years. Today I am breaking down some superego restrictions and rules, but Im not sure if I am mature. From some year to now I am more expressive and lively, and I joke more frequentely I am now irresponsible to systems and more responsible to people and I am getting crazy. I am not sure if I am doing the right thing, but I think people are now more important. Make sure some years ago I was schizoid and rules, systems, time and so on were more important, Well thats it...

 
At 9:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree with you, I think you are overlooking other possible causes of such a state of mind. For example, one might wish to stay young forever as a result of tragedy or suffering in one's childhood, or maybe even just inappropriate, uncomfortable situations introduced to a child too soon, like sexuality (molestation, or worse, rape)
I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm merely giving you another suggestion to think on.

 
At 3:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very label-heavy and symbol-laden piece!

 

Post a Comment

Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home