Discovery magazine had this article online addressing the ‘age depression‘ we might have created with our modern educational system. It is interesting to think about how extreme specialization can also lead to immaturity in other aspects of life. I was thinking about it and wondered if WoW and other quest like games might help address some of the need for rights of passage and create opportunities for social learning with diverse groups of people.
A “child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge” is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, “unfinished.”
“The psychological neoteny effect of formal education is an accidental by-product — the main role of education is to increase general, abstract intelligence and prepare for economic activity,” he explained.
“But formal education requires a child-like stance of receptivity to new learning, and cognitive flexibility.”
“When formal education continues into the early twenties,” he continued, “it probably, to an extent, counteracts the attainment of psychological maturity, which would otherwise occur at about this age.”
Charlton pointed out that past cultures often marked the advent of adulthood with initiation ceremonies.