Maturity isn’t a quality of only the mind. The simplicity of this understanding can have a transformative effect on an individual. It need not have any such effects on society. It might even be childish in itself to consider those ideas that can bind societies and lift them up. There have always been individuals in a society that developed personal realizations. Everyone has some capability for the same, however, it is rarer to recognize the realization and persist with it. It is the individual realizations, their recognition, the periodic self-examinations, and then the ever-present underlying will to persist that drives a man toward his destination. All of this gradually, with patience settles into a purposeful, meaningful, restrained expression. The individual has matured, but the learning never ends.
There are so many qualities a human being is capable of developing. Not only is one born with certain tendencies and abilities, there is then, the prospect of focusing on specific activities and develop the corresponding qualities. If a man, for instance, takes an interest in gardening, then he develops the qualities of patience, care, tenderness, and of course an appreciation for natural beauty. When he sees weeds in the garden, he may even admire their beauty but for the sake of the health of the plants he planted, would remove them from the soil. The weeds being hardier than the plants needing special care, do not require sympathy from the gardener. Those weeds will come up again. If not in the garden, then somewhere else they will. Another man, if he takes an interest in working with wood learns the skills of a carpenter. He learns to select his wood, study it, get familiar with the tools and how each tool serves a specific purpose. He too develops patience, but also his muscles and the skillful use of every precise motion of his arms and fingers. It simply is a thing to behold a skilled worker at his craft. Without such specialized functions, we wouldn’t have the world that humankind has built. What is more, this world will also not be sustained without specialized human activities. We live in a world of paperclips and airplanes, of needles and of skyscrapers, but also of mud houses, windmills, and open pastures.
Maturity, specialization, and narrowness
By virtue of the specialization of human activity and the resulting changes in how the human mind works, we have also developed our concept of maturity in accord with that. It also has to do with how one’s “sense of the self” develops with time. There are some individuals who are not content to be just a part of the masses. They are also endowed with abilities and the strengths to pursue their goals with a dedication and energy that is not common to others. In this, they seem built to stand apart; possibly lead toward a vision and purpose that others can share with them and support. If such an individual finds a very specific pursuit, he will not be deterred. His determination will come through and express itself in that particular activity – be it hard physical work like weightlifting, or be it playing the guitar, or in chess, or writing, or inventing the iPhone. Others become consumers of their accomplishments or admirers, but not the same as those individuals.
On the other hand are those who have found great fulfillment in doing nothing extraordinary. In fact, their lives are very “normal” – family, friends, a regular job, some weekend fun, and then repeat the set cycles.
So, in order to find the accomplishment what kind of person would we wish to look at, which one to emulate? A person knows very well what he or she is like and going with those natural propensities, one is bound to find himself or herself to be a certain kind. It is possible to see already, that our understanding of and how one performs the understood definition is tied to one’s role in life, situations, and how one wishes to live their life according to the self. There isn’t one kind of maturity. The same person ideally would be able to focus intensely on a given task and be fully absorbed in it. If a child would enter his “workshop”, he would have the ability to take a moment and put his tools away out of consideration for the child. He would tell her kindly not to enter without knocking, and come only if it is something very important. Hopefully, he would have his wife to look after the child’s needs when he is himself intensely occupied in a work that demands absolute attention.
The flexibility of the mind comes up as a very significant factor; remembering again, as mentioned at the outset that maturity isn’t simply a mental attribute. It is not that the mind turns into wind or water, but that if the need be, the mind can have the gentleness and fluidity of either. Either one is also a force to be reckoned with, as we know the powers of furious weather phenomenon. It is what many are accustomed to addressing as the wrath of “Mother Nature”. It is understandable that if the gentle breezes and streams of water are allowed to flow unblocked and unhindered, there is the possibility of living in peace for the air and the water and all they touch. Here, it isn’t simply about damming up the waters or the impossible task of capturing the wind, but about human emotions that come deep within the heart into mind. Restrained, suppressed emotions if not allowed to be expressed in meaningful and useful ways will bring about the resultant breakouts, the same as are in nature. A human being, too, is very much an expression of nature itself – a part of it, a representation of it. Only that, a human is far more capable than any one force or expression of nature’s basic elements. Rather, in a human being are all the abilities of fire, wind, water, earth, and sky.
The flexibility of the mind truly comes to the fore, never in its lonely state, but when it comes into contact with other intelligent human minds. Each of those minds is capable of forming its own reasons, maintain perceptions, and relate to other minds. This is the miracle, of how the human mind works. It is expressed in flexibility. Flexibility surely does not mean that the mind has no stabilizing beliefs of its own or deep traits of character. In fact, the mind shouldn’t be so given to liberalism as to be completely devoid of belief and willing to accept anything. When that becomes the case, things like character, loyalty, integrity, and sincerity will no longer be, nor would we be able to establish a credible basis for any of those. No reason would remain for any person to follow a course, to stand for something. And then, from the potential depravity of every individual given over to absolute insolence and unbelief society, for the most part, will eventually be destroyed to become lower than any animal that exists on this earth. After all, human beings are endowed with the intelligence and the creativity to be just as foolish and destructive with these God-given assets.
It is difficult to say whether the mind is holding its beliefs or are the beliefs holding the mind. It isn’t actually one or the other. What seems to be the case is that the mind already possesses information and yes, there are beliefs as a part of it. With the passage of time, the environment and circumstances working upon each mind, the mind finally finds itself coming across beliefs that were potentially there, to begin with. It just finds the reason, the cause that brings about the expression of the belief. Whether it is to simply explain what is in the mind in the form of a scientific understanding of gravity, as Newton did, or it is the seeming instinct that guides an intuitive person to understand a situation, there is some mysterious power at work. To reduce it simply down to as the action of the brain is not justifiable. No brain works in isolation from the body it inhabits, and what inhabits the body isn’t fully understood regardless of what science may say. Whatever one may say is an indisputable truth about the soul, or the spirit, or the human brain, it is okay to listen to those ideas simply for the reason that these have become established into the collective, human spiritual understanding; we, of course, differ in details of understanding. Eventually, each person goes to a final way of thinking, also in recognition of one’s objectives, or beyond any personal interests. For those conscious, beliefs are the most important thing a person has. Aside from conscience, these are guiding a person in powerful ways.
Returning to some of the best words in how sincerity ought to be expressed through a person, in my opinion, on the issue of sincerity were written by Thomas Carlyle. The entire passage in his writing goes this way:
The Great Man’s sincerity is of the kind he cannot speak of, is not conscious of: nay, I suppose, he is conscious rather of insincerity; for what man can walk accurately by the law of truth for one day? No, the Great Man does not boast himself sincere, far from that; perhaps does not ask himself if he is so: I would say rather, his sincerity does not depend on himself; he cannot help being sincere!
The beauty of these words is that Carlyle has hit upon the essence of the expression. Now, if one takes the words of William Wordsworth in how such sincerity is expressed and what would be its result, then these words are worthy of taking note:
Happy is he who lives to understand, Not human nature only, but explores All natures,—to the end that he may find The law that governs each; and where begins The union, the partition where, that makes Kind and degree, among all visible Beings; The constitutions, powers, and faculties, Which they inherit,—cannot step beyond,— And cannot fall beneath; that do assignTo every class its station and its office, Through all the mighty commonwealth of things Up from the creeping plant to sovereign Man. Such converse, if directed by a meek, Sincere, and humble spirit, teaches love:
The expression of sincerity, especially the one without consciousness of it, finds its supreme human expression when it culminates in love.
A conclusion regarding the matter of maturity
The more one delves into the understanding of maturity, the more one begins to appreciate the spiritual element. In fact, then, there is also to consider matters, where what a person is on the inside, undergoes a transformation by forces not fully understood. The effects of those are still known, explained, and observed. For instance, notice the words of the Christian apostle, Paul:
1 Corinthians 2:13-16 New International Version (NIV)
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
Other writers would concur with the view of not necessarily dividing up a man into different kinds of maturity – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It is true, these are altogether related and even though can be seen in isolation from each other, function as a whole. While assumptions aren’t required to ascertain maturity in many regards, in the final expression of a man’s character maturity finally becomes the predominant evidence. To pay attention to such an important matter then, would be a lifelong endeavor, evidenced best through a willingness to continue to learn. It would include the making of mistakes, for maturity, isn’t the state of being free form error. It simply shows itself as the underlying will to persist that drives a man toward his destination.