Innocence

We all remember a time when we look at things with wide open eyes, open mind, and curiosity. We accept things without prejudice, judgment, and reservation. We choose friend based on who they are sharing our common interests, dreams, and exploration of the outside world. We do not know right from wrong, understand good vs. evil, and have yet to learn the rules and regulations of the man-made world. It is a time of fun and game, no pretence and no self consciousness, no worry and no anxiety. It is a time of innocence that will last only a relatively short moment before we are forced to embark on a journey where we:

  1. Learn how to survive in the man-made world,

  2. Discover what and who we are,

  3. Experience love and hate, joy and sorrow, success and failure,

  4. Encounter injustice, discrimination, kindness, homicide, genocide, etc.

Learning

We start losing our innocence the time we begin to learn about our civilization and the man-made world. They chronicle how our life progressed from living in cave to air-conditioned room in high rise, from walking bare-foot under the hot savanna sun hunting for food to driving in electric car to buy grocery in the supermarket, from sitting around the bonfire watching the starry night sky to enjoying the entertainments in movie, sport, variety show, etc. in front of a 100 inch TV. All these advancements are the results of countless people working together putting aside the differences in religion, philosophy, and culture. But, there are also countless incidences of violent confrontation among people due to greed, lie, broken promise, infidelity, etc. Countless criminal and civil laws are created to prevent people from hurting and killing one another. We are learning that by working together we can solve any problem that Nature throws at us. We are also learning about our flawed human nature:

  1. There are people who find it easier to lie than to tell the truth,

  2. There are people who will not hesitate to take advantage of the weak and the less informed,

  3. There are people who like to make fun of other people’s shortcomings,

  4. Most of the people will lose their temper and or patience under the right circumstance,

  5. Most of the people blame the other party for the soured relationship,

  6. Most of the people find it easier to use violence to resolve immediate conflict, etc.

    As we learn more about the world we live in and about ourselves, we learn to:

  1. Reveal only enough true intention to get things done,

  2. Say or do things that is contrary to our values and principle to please the others,

  3. Be always on guard against deceit behind other people’s friendliness,

  4. Show not all the emotions to prevent from being taken advantage of,

  5. Be modest about one’s accomplishments to avoid jealousy and gossip, etc.

Independence

In the animal world, after spending a short time of innocence playing, exploring, and learning the tricks to survive the new world under the protection of the parents, each living thing is ready to fulfill its mission in life on its own. In the daily routine of searching for food, it has to be on constant alert for predators and changing environmental conditions. Even so, the end of game can come in any time. Only the lucky and the strong survive long enough to mate and reproduce. In the man-made world, after spending a relatively longer time of innocence playing, exploring, and learning the complex rules and regulations to make it in this artificial world under the protection of the family, each person is ready to fulfill one’s role in life. Finding food and watching out for predators are no longer relevant. Looking for jobs, raising a family, and socializing with friends are the new challenges. Average person can expect a long and predictably eventful journey through life. Disease, illness, traffic accident, or domestic violence is the possible cause to an early end of the game.

Pretence

In a person’s life:

  1. One will encounter people from all walks of life. Some will love you, some will hate you, some will hurt you, and some will help you. By the time, the person figure out who is whom, one will know that most things are not what they appear to be. There are price to be paid to trust anyone. Good and bad, right and wrong, truth and lie cannot be clearly defined.

  2. One will find that only love and protection from within the family are unconditional. Only advice and criticism from within the family are unbiased. Only within the family, a person can speak one’s mind freely and behave without inhibition.

  3. One will find it necessary to exaggerate one’s capability and or twist the facts to gain acceptance and or to attract attention in the society. One will come up excuses to explain one’s mistakes, attribute bad luck to one’s failure, and spend lots of effort to protect one’s superficial reputation.

    Innocence is the early mental developmental stage in the long journey of life. It reminds us how simple, straightforward, and pure things can be.

  1. Smile means joy. But now, it is also used to show greeting of stranger or no comment to irritating remarks.

  2. Laughter means happiness. But now, it is also used to ridicule other people’s mistakes or embarrassing moments.

  3. Trust, promise, and forever are no longer meant the same. We trust other people as long as our own interests are not compromised, we use promise as a cover to our wavering commitment, and nothing lasts forever – no love, friendship, and happiness can survive the ravage of time.

Challenges

As each person embarks on the journey to fulfill one’s destiny in the game of life, one will try one’s best to stay in the game that, now, requires more mental than physical prowess. The challenges will be figuring out how to make a living in a competitive society, finding a mate, raising a family, deciding who can be friend in times of need, and summoning up courage and resourcefulness to face and solve the uncommon problems that pop up along the way. Happiness is fleeting, misfortune can come suddenly, love can turn to hate in due time, a healthy body can be ravaged by cancer, life savings can be wiped out by lawsuit. Each person’s journey of life is Different, Difficult at times, sometimes Disappointing, occasionally Depressing, always Demanding, and is definitely not for the innocent.

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