This writing is from a guest writer, my brother Bob. He originally sent this in an email to me. I asked for, and received, permission to reproduce it here on this blog.
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First the clinical definitions:
- Moron is a controversial term once used in psychology to denote a category of mental retardation. Rafter, Nicole Hahn (1988)
- A person having a mental age of 8 to 12 years who is capable of doing routine work under supervision. [eg Foolish]. Virginia S. Thatcher, Alexander McQueen; The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language; Consolidated Book Publishers, Chicago, 1971. ISBN 0-8326-0021-0.
- Moronic – having a mental age of between 8 and 12 years.
Now a modern expose on children at the upper end of that age range from the parenting book “Parent Power,” Chapter 13, “The tweenager”. (Emphasis added).
“Like the two-year-old, the tweenager is a rebel in search of a cause. The defiance of parental (and most other) authority is blindly reflexive. However, the tremendous growth of language during the intervening decade has replaced the monosyllabic no! with a peculiar form of self-centered ranting that makes no sense to anyone but the speaker. And like the toddler, the tween is an emotional basket case, careening wildly from one passionate extreme to another — a bull in the china shop of feelings.
But there is a method to this madness. Just like the two-year-old, whose behavior is the echo of a consciousness that is rapidly expanding, and propelling the toddler from explorer to experimenter and observer to doer, the tween is making a similar leap in the ability to flush out the mysteries of the universe. After ten years of grappling with the logic of concrete, measurable relationships, the tween is beginning to grasp the abstract, the hypothetical, the stuff of no-stuff-at-all. Not surprisingly, the tween is as hopelessly drunk on this process and its attendant revelations as the two-year-old was.
About this time, the brain begins to process and organize information in a radically different manner, adding new dimensions to the tween’s perception of the world and further complicating the self-image. Pre-adolescents tend to be introspective; that is, they think a lot about themselves, sometimes to the point of obsessiveness. They reflect upon and evaluate their own behavior, their feelings, and even their thoughts. This ability to look within brings into clearer focus not just the person-that-is but also the person-that-could-be, the ideal self. Comparisons between the real (present) and the ideal self generate either aspiration or anxiety, depending on such factors as how much discrepancy there is between the two and whether the pre-adolescent has a basically positive or negative self-regard.”
Imagine a person who’s environment never forces them out of this intellectual phase. Image what happens when self-centeredness is embraced instead of challenged, and the person is encouraged to make up their own reality to please their emotions. Image if all the stuff in bold is not channeled into alternate behavior but embraced as “natural” and acceptable — an acceptance of existential self-realization. They’ve begun to “process and organize information in a radically different manner”, but never finished this development where one finally becomes capable of matching the concrete logic in the early years with the abstractions of the real world in adult years.
The last sentence in bold is the clinical description of the dangers of an adult that never grew out of this tweenage process of intellectual development. They are left selfishly aspiring to glory or lashing out at anyone who stands in their way or challenges their belief system. Having never learned to temper the irrational with facts at this stage of development, they are left as adults incapable of working through the obstacles that reality of life will impose on them. Those with positive self-regard condemn as evil those who challenge their beliefs of entitlement. Those with negative self-regard end up with anxiety disorders, also condemning as evil those who resist their irrational ranting, but with stronger emotional attacks or violence.
The embracing of existentialism at all levels of education has left us with a nation of clinical morons, trapped in the intellectual morass between concrete logic and the abstractions of reality.