Friday, 25 May 2012

Metamaturity

Metamaturity is hypothetical third emotional state beyond immaturity and maturity.

It is generally assumed that there are only two states of emotional development, namely (a) immature and  (b) mature? Why can’t there be a third stage beyond maturity? Let’s call this third stage ‘metamaturity’. Couldn’t it be the case that the traits of a metamature person might sometimes resemble those of an immature person and yet not be the same?

For instance, an immature person laughs at X slipping on a banana skin; he laughs because he is selfish, because he can’t empathise with the pain of X. A mature person refuses to laugh; he is silent to demonstrate that he takes no pleasure from the humiliation of X. But a metamature person might laugh, and laugh loudly, to express defiance at the cruelties of fate, to vocalise his solidarity with X against the whims of the universe. Clearly this laugh still sounds like an immature laugh, but is entirely different.

The next time you are tempted to call someone “immature”, stop and think for a moment. Are you quite sure they aren’t being metamature instead?