SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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tance. Infantile grown-ups carry these even further, and are unable to make dependable attachments to other persons. The love of parents toward their child is largely because it is their child; and infantile A 'loves' B, only because B 'adores' A and gives up his individuality. The moment something changes in B, all the 'love' A had disappears. The unbelievable bitterness which appears in divorce-court scenes shows clearly the value of infantile 'love'. Such 'love' is often based on purely egoistic grounds. They 'love' what they represent to themselves, what they once represented, what they would like to represent. Infantile parents see all kinds of perfections in their babies, although a sober outsider does not share these opinions. An infantile mother treats her child like a doll, plays and is thrilled with it, but soon gets tired as the responsibilities become irksome. An infantile father sees in the child, first, a toy, and, later, a nuisance.
Infantile adults have little regard for, or endurance of, life responsibilities. They tire quickly, are easily discouraged and frightened. They are thus irresponsible, unreliable, and a source of suffering for those connected with, or dependent on, them. This permanent suspense for others produces, perhaps, one of the most serious sources of worries and unhappiness. Since it is persistent, it gives continual, painful nervous shocks, the cumulative effect of which is bound to be harmful.
The infantile individual himself cannot fail to notice that something is wrong, for life makes him quickly aware of it. But, in his self-love, exaggerated self-esteem., he overlooks his own shortcomings, and blames everybody and everything but himself. In the face of 'injustice', he becomes discouraged, timid, or bitter and pessimistic. He is unable to discharge his duties, and becomes a disappointment as a father, husband, friend, and, ultimately, as a human being and citizen. Bitterness, disappointment, and painful semantic shocks pile up on all sides under such conditions.
One of the important characteristics of infantilism of all degrees takes the form of exhibitionism, an impulse for showing off, even by crude display of himself, his body,. This tendency is very common, and leads to many results of a very undesirable social character. Infantile men and women are primarily in love with themselves and care only how pretty they are. They spend large portions of their income and life on dresses and grooming, which, of course, have no social value. Such types live in an infantile world and are socially useless, often parasitic on the social body. Often those who support them ruin their lives to satisfy these infantile semantic characteristics.