Stage 2: Maturity is a process of acquiring sufficient knowledge and discipline to transform our self from helpless dependency to become a powerful creator. Our nurturers, culture, and circumstance, i.e. exogenous forces, add their influence to our inherited endogenous biology and genes. For simplicity, I label the product of the inherited and acquired forces that make us what we are instinct and tradition. As we acquire knowledge and strengthen our skill in common sense thinking, we create a third master of our life’s experience that is of most interest to us, self-mastery.
Throughout our immaturity, we are prone to obey the hardwired commands of instinct and tradition. As our freedom organ attains maturity, we increasingly (but never completely) empower ourselves to overrule instinct and tradition and direct our own destiny. It is critical to understand that we usually become powerful creators before we acquire significant mental freedom from instinct and tradition. Our power remains servant to the either/or two category thinking that supports bigotry, prejudice, win/lose confrontation, and harmful aggression until we teach ourselves to direct our power with common sense wisdom.
Maturity is characterized by the ability to delay instinct and tradition’s demand for immediate emotional gratification. Patience is required so that our intellect can acquire common sense knowledge. Knowledge of cause-and-effect added to intelligence is our means of making ourselves powerful creators and assuming self-mastery.
Physical, mental, and emotional maturity progress at different rates. We passively reach physical maturity as it slowly unfolds according to nature’s plan. Our cerebral cortex, what I call our freedom organ, is our source of mental maturity. It takes about 18 years for our cerebral cortex to attain full physical maturity, longer than any other organ. The process of attaining mental maturity is more complex than attaining physical maturity. Becoming our own person, what we call self-mastery, requires actively freeing our cerebral cortex from domination by instinct and tradition. We do so by teaching ourselves common sense thinking. Evaluating what our early dictators have made of us and then challenging their authority is a difficult task. Studies of adult development indicate most individuals don’t reach their peak of mental freedom from instinct and tradition until their late 20’s or early 30’s. Development of emotional maturity depends on some combination of physical and mental maturity.
Stage 3: Super-maturity is the self-taught skill of recognizing when instinct, tradition, and self-mastery become maladaptive, thereby inspiring us to create better solutions. We become super-mature as we collect the common sense wisdoms that enable us to consistently direct the power of our knowledge to constructive outcomes. Mature individuals, lacking super-maturity, direct their newfound creative will power to both constructive AND destructive outcomes. With unprecedented power, they are as likely to create Armageddon as Utopia. Our most important work-in-progress is to popularize super-maturity to consistently direct our knowledge to constructive outcomes.
Maturity and super-maturity are both acquired skills. We have an advantage if our nurturers and mentors provided us with a liberating education that emphasized common sense wisdom. World events and my own observations indicate that nurturers are more likely to demand that we remain faithful to the same traditions that they were taught by their nurturers, even when common sense wisdom would suggest otherwise. Even with an advantaged upbringing, most super-mature skills are self-taught, learned by seeking the wisdoms (strens) proven by others to direct the power of knowledge to constructive outcomes. The wisdoms that make us Mental Wealth millionaires are abundantly available to anyone who is willing to teach themselves patience and engage in the satisfying work of self-enlightenment. I know of no better way to popularize super-maturity to those who are disadvantaged and less receptive to education than first making ourselves and those closest to us Mental Wealth millionaires. Creating a domino effect is the most certain means to reach and teach the global population super-maturity.