I thought that, rather than starting with a description of maturity as end-gain, I would describe some aspects of immaturity. By immature, I mean to suggest that a person is not availing himself to life in the fullest sense: He is not bringing all of what he is, his self, in full contact with the world. He is not able to be fulfilled and grow in the most absolute sense. There are two themes running concurrently; self and full contact.
As self, in the fullest sense, a person is free to draw from polar opposites, and everything in between, of different aspects of his character. Tragedy, the mundane, or comedy could be reflected, for example, in grieving, indifference, and laughing, by a person who is able to access a full range of emotions. This applies also to cognitive functions as well, whereby a person can rationally assess all “means-whereby” alternatives in determining the most effective path to problem resolution.
Man’s needs bubble up from inside himself, and also come into being from environmental stimulus. In either case, man’s needs become figure against his background of experience and wisdom, and demand satiation. He senses a feeling of excitement, or alternatively – anxiety. One avenue for minimizing anxiety is to accept what is presented as given: to swallow whole without full and authentic assimilation. As an example, a school student might accept a math proof from an educator as true even though he doesn’t understand it, or perhaps disagrees with it. Rather than suffer the embarrassment and anxiety associated with asking for further clarification, he pretends to understand. Because he avoids the encounter with his class, and the potential embarrassment by risking not knowing or being incorrect, growth ceases to take place. The individual stagnates, or worse.
The Gestaltist term this type of neurotic avoidance as “confluence”. With bodies of water, it means flowing together. By going with the social flow, through confluence, we stay safe, but give up our individuality and independence. We give up the self.
With botany, seeds grow because they sit in soil, and are distinct from soil. With man, if child is “seed” and home and school “soil”, what can parents and educators do to keep soil “fertile”? When we assume the authoritarian role, do we promote full assimilation and growth, or capitulation through confluence? What is the short-term result? Long-term result?
I welcome your commentary. I am thinking, considering, and re-writing with time.