The Question...ID: 546
posted: 01 Mar 2002
updated: 01 Apr 2002
On the ish site the other day, a quote was displayed was about tribal people not having any question as to the status of their adulthood, just as George Bush has no question of his status as President. I think it's about time I went out to seek my manhood vision and definitively draw a line separating my childhood from adulthood. I mean this seriously. For countless generations, the natives of this area went off into the world alone and fasting until they were granted a vision that would help to define their life and guide them along their path. This can't just be mumbo jumbo if so many people were rooted in it and learned from it. A vision must have been accorded most everyone who sought one, or else they wouldn't have kept seeking them, generation after generation. I'm curious as to whether such a vision can still be sought, and whether or not it will be granted. I wonder what your thoughts are on this.
Is this a foolish thing to pursue? In your opinion? Is there any merit in a 21st century digital white man wandering off alone into the vast open plains, eating nothing until he collapses into a hunger-induced hallucination that may or may not contain for him a guiding force to be present for the rest of his life?
When a tribal fifteen-year-old is initiated he gains adult status, but you have to keep in mind that he is not psychically transformed into an adult by this. He is officially a man, but he's not the man he's going to become when he's thirty or fifty. The system works because everyone in the tribe now knows that this boy is officially and permanently a man and accord to him all adult rights, privileges, and expectations. For you to go through such a process will not psychically transform you any more than it does the tribal fifteen-year old, but it will NOT affect your status in OUR culture; although you're past 21 (and therefore officially an adult), no one automatically accords to you all adult rights and privileges or expects you to BE an adult. That's just not a fact you can change.
So, going through some OTHER culture's adult-making process may be fun but it won't do the trick you particularly want it to do. But in truth it doesn't do that trick for the tribal fifteen-year-old either. The tribal fifteen-year-old is not the man he's going to become in ten years or twenty years or thirty years. Nothing can accomplish that for you but living through those years. There are no shortcuts to maturity, no magic rituals that will enable you to become what you're going to become ahead of time.
As to whether there is "any merit in a 21st century digital white man wandering off alone into the vast open plains, eating nothing until he collapses into a hunger-induced hallucination that may or may not contain for him a guiding force to be present for the rest of his life," I'm certainly not going to say that it couldn't happen (and I don't think being "a 21st century digital white man" has anything to do with it one way or the other).
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