Those of us over 40 have probably noticed that today's culture encourages infantile language, images and behavior. I find "cultural practices today [that] routinely infantilize large swaths of the population" unprecedented.
...theorists suggest that – like individuals – a society can also suffer from arrested development. In their view, adults’ failure to reach emotional, social or cognitive maturity is not due to individual shortcomings. Rather, it is socially engineered.
Researchers in Russia and Spain have even identified infantilist trends in language, and French sociologist Jacqueline Barus-Michel that we now communicate in “flashes,” rather than via thoughtful discourse – “poorer, binary, similar to computer language, and aiming to shock.”
... the infantilist ethos becomes especially seductive in times of social crises and fear. And its favoring of simple, easy and fast ... political solutions ...
… an infantile society being attracted to authoritarian rule.
I experience value conflict - why not allow adults freedom to enjoy themselves, since they're not hurting anyone? But the overall trend, when you step back, disturbs. Collectively we appear to opt out of adulthood, just when adults most need to be in charge. There's something twisted about the erosion of adulthood, amidst truth eroding, in the context of our existential crisis.
We will see much more of it as conditions worsen. People who have not learned how to solve problems, resolve conflicts, and critical thinking resort to blaming others, scapegoating, using violent means, get depressed and anxious, using ego defense mechanisms, and underlying it all is fear.
There will be refugees all over the world, food shortages, unusually hot and cold weather patterns and people will feel helpless and hopeless.
What is the remedy? Is it possible to stay disciplined so that we can not only survive, but thrive? We need to nurture the community and use the principles of Riane Eisler to build a caring and compassionate "Partnership" society. Many will also have to learn how to grow food, pay attention to the quality of soils, keep potable water and learn how to sequester water and store it so that it is healthy.
We will all die in the end and we can choose to be angry, or depressed, or sad, or afraid, or helpless, or hopeless, or we can decide to be happy with what we have, grateful for family and friends, and work to solve problems as they appear. We have to learn how to analyze issues to find the causes of conflicts.
In my opinion, capitalism creates the gap between rich and poor; That old problem pops its ugly head again. Who has power and control? How does the government help or hurt creating a healthy society? Religion teaches dependency; in fact, it requires it. A person can't function if they don't know how to be interdependent.
We have the strength and wisdom to learn and do those things that need doing in an age of fundamental change. The use of knowledge based on dependable and reliable facts will help us to be strong, even when we feel weak. Ask for support and give support as situations change.
Worth repeating and emphasizing: We need to ... build a caring and compassionate "Partnership" society... A person can't function if they don't know how to be interdependent.
Related: parents unwittingly treating boys and girls differently in how much they speak to, comfort, and nurture them, from the moment of birth onwards -- perpetuating the Dominator Culture double standard that boys and men must downplay and ignore their emotional needs. (My comment on "Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Men")
On another subject: safe spaces on campus were criticized in the Alternet article as part of its otherwise valid observation of "higher education’s tendency to infantilize its students". On the contrary, I see safe spaces as part of people respecting and supporting each other.