Life has phases.
Think about it. Some life-forms, like us, move through space. Other life-forms, like redwoods don’t walk about the forest. (Only ents do that!). But, internally, they move all the time. And, over a larger time scale, they move through a larger scale of space. But insects, trees, humans, fish — we all have phases.
When it comes to humans, the first nine months are a whirlwind of change! Perhaps, part of the reason we can “get away with” such a fast sequence of transitions is that we follow a modification of an evolutionary pathway. (Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny).
An evolutionary pathway is highly constrained as compared with what humans can produce. We can build an automobile-producing plant that produces finished automobiles that “work.” But at almost every point before that final assembly, the car doesn’t “work” at least as a car. Some hunks of metal, I suppose could serve as a doorstop. When it comes to life though, every single generation has to have some survivors. You can’t “invest” so much in one generation that the next one goes extinct. Well, you can, but if you do, your strain, species, etc. will die out.
Life, of course, is extremely diverse! There is life in Antarctica. And there is life in the Sahara Desert. Life flourishes in the Brazilian rain forest, and the jungles of Hawaii and the Outer Banks of the Carolinas and the Canadian tundra and even in boiling sulphur springs in the ocean depths at pressures that would crush you or me!
Every single one of these life forms has phases.
Let that sink in.
Life forms in all these absurdly diverse environments has found it “necessary” to go through phases.
When I consider human beings, it seems clear that we not only go through phases of a biological nature. We also go through phases in our subjective life and in our behavior. The two are related of course. When we’re born, unlike most species, we have very little clue as to how we are to behave vis a vis others of our species.
Very soon, we are (hopefully) bonded through love with our parents, siblings, and others. But at young age, there is no reasonable expectation that we will do the “right thing” or “be considerate” of others. Very young children are capable of empathy. But they’re also capable of rage or behaving in a rigid, self-defeating way and stubbornly stick to it.
In America, people are not deemed fully responsible to vote until they are 18, or drink alcohol until they are 21, or drive a car until they are at least 16. It isn’t that people are physically incapable of voting, or driving, or drinking at a much earlier age. It is that we realize it is necessary to learn from experience that it is better for everyone, including you, but also including people you care about.
Most people, myself included, “try out” some pretty selfish behavior in their early teens. And, most people, myself included, learn from these experiences, that it’s far better to be decent. Eventually, you discover that things like the “Golden Rule” actually make a lot of sense. As inconvenient as it may seem at first, as there are more and more people in the world, we have to make more and more accommodations to others.
Our bodies change over time. There are “phases” at long time scales as we go from infancy to childhood to puberty to adulthood to old age. There are phases at shorter time scales as we go from hunger to satiation and wakefulness to sleep. There are phases at still shorter time scale as we breathe and have our hearts beat.
We have both cyclical and non-cyclical phases. Hunger, breathing, and sleep are cyclical. Our height however grows in one direction for most of our lives and then, in old age, we may shrink slightly.
Our psychological maturity generally grows in one direction, but we can “revert” to an earlier phase of life. If we identify with a sociopath who has never learned how to trust and be trustworthy and who refuses to be fair or follow rules, then we too become as a child. Ironically, as psychological toddlers, we will insist on our rights ever more strongly even as we refuse to take any responsibility.
A nation of toddlers only will not long survive.
Trump refuses to take any responsibility for his actions in inciting a riot. He’s a toddler.
Trump’s followers who stormed the Capitol point their fingers at Trump. They are toddlers.
The lawyers who are charged with “defending” Trump give up because it’s too hard. So instead, they lie and use fallacious reasoning or no reasoning at all. They are toddlers.
The GOP Senators who don’t even pay attention to the trial are toddlers as well.
Those GOP Senators who refuse to take their oath of office seriously and who hand their souls and minds over to Trump for his personal use are Toddlers who are deluded into thinking they can hold on to power this way. They have no power. They are slaves of Trump.
They say “too many cooks spoil the broth.”
But I can guarantee you that a political party of toddlers with no adult supervision will vote for candy over healthy food no matter how many teeth fall out.