Brad Davis is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter, snuggled mainly under the banners of country (as in countryside, rural, farmland, or americana), bluegrass soul, gospel, and instrumental music.
Not to be confused with the actor of the same name who died of AIDS in 1991.
His This World Ain't No Child was released in 2004. The song is obviously a reference to human history as going through stages that parallel those of an individual human: infancy, childhood, (youth,) mature adult. He is right in noticing or acknowledging that parallel, but he errs in saying that humanity is going from childhood to the next stage (which he doesn't name). In fact, as we will see in a minute, Humanity is now in a transition phase, passing from the End of Youth into the stage of Maturity (mature adult).
Rocker Alice Cooper noticed that life has a youthful stage in his song, Department of Youth. His video is a celebration of, or depicts certain aspects of, youth (energy, independence, creativity). Have a look:
William Shakespeare Twelfth Night
Before adding some insights and corrective measures to the observations of Mr Davis, I want to include a short passage that I came across from a book called Conscience by Bifford Debs M.D. His writing style is fusion fiction: all manner of facts from any and whatever discipline are woven into the narrative. Under the sub-title Topic 192, in all caps, he writes:
There is a difference, as we all recognize, between children and adults. There are certain events that result in changes from the younger to the older -- some continue throughout one's life.
First is the obvious physical growth of a child. By age twelve years, girls (later for boys) begin to become young adults. By sixteen years (for girls) and eighteen (for boys), the remarkable physical changes have carried most of them into adulthood. Thereafter, maturation continues to varying degrees.
There are several so-called rites of passage that are recorded from birth to walking and talking; others are entering school and experiencing that society; still others are puberty and surviving the teen years; graduation from high school with its proms, dances, examinations and other ceremonies soon follow; then there is college, marriage, career and parenthood.
Of course the rites of passage continue into the next cycle, but this gets us far enough to differentiate childhood from adulthood.
He points out an internal event which perhaps has got some but perhaps not enough attention by the public at large:
There is a major consideration that must be emphasized at the end of the teen years; that is the development of the prefontal cortex -- without which moral and ethical judggement would be impaired. This is a reason why children must be judged against a different set of standards than we use for adults.
The lack of maturity of the conscience is the major differential factor to consider when comparing actions of the children with those of adults.
There is much that can be found on the internet about this delayed growth phase in the brain. Even books are written on this single topic:
But here's a simple diagram of this "CEO" part of the brain:
But when we probe further on this topic, we see that the onset of growth of the prefontal cortex is at the onset of the junior youth stage (around age 11). Certainly, youth itself is distinct from childhood, and backed by such significant biological event as the cortical lobe, all the more reason to make it a distinct phase.
So, not only should the characteristics of each human youth be noticed, documented, understoo, but something even more strange and amazing emerges: that is, the collective mimics the individual. The stages of growth in a single human are reflected in major historical stages of history.
We learn about this is in some passages from a religious source. As Sir 'Abdu'l-Baha, the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, explains:
Similarly, there are periods and stages in the life of the aggregate of the world of humanity, which, at one time, was passing through its degree of childhood, at another its time of youth, but now has entered its long presaged period of maturity, the evidences of which are now apparent.
Colleague, business associate, and friend Richard Dowling, professor with the University of Maryland, has eloquently and accurately described the stages of humanity as seen from the analogy of the individual in his essay The Maturity of Humanity which is part of his collected talks and essays The Youth and Maturity of Humanity (available in paper format at Amazon.com):
The Child is diligent with its body and acquisition of skills; the Young person is dedicated with its mind and emotions to the gaining of Knowledge; the Adult is devoted with its spirit and will to attaining the Wisdom of full, balanced experience. The Child finds the pieces of the puzzle; the Young Person discovers the parts of the puzzle; the Adult or Mature Person seeks the Always Emerging Whole that is in the Process of Emerging.The Child lives and plans for Short Term, the purely temporal span of now; the Young Person lives and plans for the Middle Term, the Existential span of my lifetime and group; the Adult lives and Plans for the Long Term, for the History of all Humanity -- Past, Present, and Future.The Child lives for Gold and Jewels and Shining Things; the Young Person lives for glory and fortune and fame and power; the Adult Person lives to Serve and Sacrifice for the Greater Good, the higher and transcendent peace and joy that this world, the purely animal and biological and even rational mind, cannot comprehend or fathom, cannot measure or imagine, cannot touch but only encounter and experience in the Life that goes on transcending and including, not excluding and destroying, not possessing and accumulating, not perpetually defending and fearing; in short, in the open and not closed life, in the growing and not stagnant life, in the deepening and no the surface life -- in the humor, contentment, acceptance, and joy of giving and witnessing rather than only taking and observing to control and manipulate.In the Childhood of Humanity, the Body and the Land were developed and disciplined by ritual and order and coordination; in the Youth of Humanity, the Mind and Emotions and the Sea were explored and the World Discovered, and it was all controlled by the Quest for Knowledge and Power as Bacon said and Defined and Constituted by Charters of Government and Structures of Learning; in the Maturity of Humanity, the Spirit will be opened and illumined, and through the air and beyond the Atmosphere, the Universe will be found and contemplated in its Infinite Vastness and Staggering Beauty. The Wholeness and Integrity of all things will begin to dawn in the Awakened Soul and Purified Heart, and at long last we will related to and love ourselves, others, and this spinning common globe that is our common home and perpetual common resting place, here on this beautiful earth withe our brothers and sisters, come full circle in our humility, one and integral with the earth we touch, in feeling, attunement, and atonement. pg 94-96
In another of his essays From the Medieval to the Modern World or From the Childhood of Humanity to the Youth of Humanity, he beautifully lays out in 7 charts the contrasting characteristics of the Medieval (Childhood, 500AD to 1452) and the Modern (Youth, 1687 to 2000) from various perspectives such as Spiritual/Worldview, Psychological, Cultural, Social, Political, Economic. He then goes on to list 14 Transformations (seen under the 3 dimensions of Objective, Subjective, and Interactive which again demonstrate these phases and stages of World History. N.B. 1453-1686 was a Transition Phase. Also note that these historical characteristics are described here as applying or being evident in Western (American and European) history. Other parts of the world obviously have stages and phases and development. But in order to repeat making mistakes and in order to see the values and priorities of the times we live in, those other countries might well benefit from the wisdom of Prof.Dowling's analysis.
Your humble bumble historical blogster, stedawa, even has a song for the Grand Occasion.
There are undoubtedly many other songs, such as Dylan's The Times They Are A'Changin' and Tracy Chapman's New Beginning that partly catch the wave and the spirit and espirit of the New Age, Page, Stage.
If any reader would like to add other titles to the list, please add them in a comment below.