kirtu wrote:Along the same lines there was a pair of anthropologists who decried the loss of Ladahki culture in the 90's and claimed that commercialization was principally the aggressive marketing of adolescent boy culture worldwide. This results in viewing all of life through the prism of adolescent boy culture values.
that's very interesting - i'd go along with it, and it ties in with a subject i've been thinking about on and off for a while.
basically, where i grew up and at the time i grew up, there was a practice of mandatory conscription - 2 years in the military - when a young boy reached 17 or 18. i went through that, one of the last such exercises before it was abandoned.
in the subsequent 20 years, a number of people i know (usually women) claimed to see a maturity difference between people who had that experience and people who didn't. that got me thinking about formal and informal rites of passage. with a friend of mine who is a native traditional healer, we looked into rites of passage and their slow erosion in his country. interesting things stand out: firstly, formal, organized rites of passage are often focused on young men. they also tend to follow a pattern - the young boy is separated, dies to their childhood, simulates a new birth as a man, receives a new name as a man, and - often - is scarred or marked as a mnemonic device. at that point, they take on a sobriety and maturity as adults.
even more interesting, while there are rites of passage for women, they tend to be less focused on a forced transition to adulthood and adult-style thinking, and more on welcoming the extensive changes in biology. one of the things that comes to mind immediately for me, courtesy of an education in biology and chemistry, is that the female
transition to adulthood is massively supported by the maturation of a complex reproductive system that - like the gut and digestive tract does - acts as a type of brain, regulating hormonal ebb and flow. at the same time, certain brain changes take place that assist in the transition too. so a basic level of emotional and mental maturity is a given for many women (though obviously each individual can still be socialized into infantile lifestyles by their community).
in men - who are essentially incomplete females from the biological point of view - these changes are much less influential and so it's much more possible for men to get bigger, to mature physically, and still have the emotional range of an adolescent. as a consequence, cultures all over the world implemented formal transition rites, often brutally, that ensured that the male transition occurred successfully. this was so important that it was usually marked by physical violence, injury, scarification, stress on the adolescent, duress and so on, all of which create a intense trauma experience that cannot be easily ignored. (like insurance, actually.
) basically, men seem to rely on external crutches and prostheses ("method") and women tend to rely on internal changes ("wisdom").
it would make sense to me, in this context, that commercialized culture is exporting the world-view of adolescent boys, since it's the commercialization of a culture that no longer does formal maturity rites. in further support of this idea, the core activities of commercialization are marketing and advertising, which depend heavily on generating a sense of the merits of immediate gratification. this works against the capacity for deferred gratification, obviously. what's interesting about that is that the ability to defer gratification - to ignore range-of-the-moment impulses - is an accepted criterion of adulthood in human beings.