"Growing Young" to Save Humanity
Ashley Montegu shares the antidote to "Psychosclerosis"
Calcified thinking will be our undoing. But, according to Ashley Montegu, a little childlike wonder goes a long way.
“What, precisely, are those traits of childhood behavior that are so valuable and that tend to disappear gradually as human beings grow older? We have only to watch children to see them clearly displayed: curiosity is one of the most important; imaginativeness; playfulness; open-mindedness; willingness to experiment; flexibility; humor; energy; receptiveness to new ideas; honesty; eagerness to learn; and perhaps the most pervasive and the most valuable of all, the need to love….
Perhaps the saddest loss of all is the gradual erosion of the eagerness to learn. Most adults stop any conscious effort to learn early in their adulthood, and thereafter never actively pursue knowledge or understanding of the physical world we inhabit in any form. It’s as though they believed that they had learned all that they needed to know and understood it all, and had found the best possible attitudes toward it, by the age of eighteen or twenty-two or whenever they stopped their formal schooling. At this time they begin to grow a shell around their pitiful store of knowledge and wisdom; from then on they vigorously resist all attempts to pierce that shell. This hardening of the mind – psychosclerosis – is a long distance from a child’s acceptance and flexibility and open-mindedness.”
Ashley Montagu, Growing Young