In the July 22 issue of The New Republic, Margaret Talbot demolishes Carol Gilligan and her latest book, The Birth of Pleasure, at considerable length; in the course of so doing, she produces the following impeccable definition of what it is to grow up, mentally and spiritually:
“But the cult of the young, the reverence for spontaneity, the romance of incomplete socialization: all this is itself a kind of immaturity. As most people get older, they realize that the first thing that they say or think is not always the truest thing; that their first thoughts are not usually their best thoughts; that what they write in a diary is not necessarily betrayed by what they say out loud; that the edited self, or the polished thought, is not an inferior or corrupted copy of a deeper, truer, better self. They realize that the truth that a child knows about divorce, say, or more generally about the social conventions of adults, is not a superior truth but a partial one, important to know and to credit, but necessarily occluded, like a glimpse through a crack in a door. The Catcher in the Rye is no longer their favorite book.”
Of course, many people get older without ever growing up.

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