Stealing spontaneity?

By Dora A. Ayora Talavera PhD

The Complexity and the beauty of human life are stunning. Looking at it since the moment of conception and the miracle of living to its biological end, leaves me open-mouthed.

Though for many people, the interval between life and dead is not enough, it is enough to take a look at the diversity of events that we can experience. As human beings try to understand the maelstrom of circumstances, we look for ideas that make sense to our experiences; from nature forces of mythological gods to scientific theories. What we say about the world determines our way of living.

Many people grow up without noticing how we adapt our lives to these ideas; developing behaviours, expectations and standards of living according to them. Some of these patterns keep our love of the wonder of living hidden, because they became a sequence of steps, which standardize what is “normal”. Developmental Psychology is a good example of this kind of speech. In its interest to understand, to explain, to control, leading us to generalize patterns and becoming “guides of living”.

What a loss! What a shame! How these perspectives reduce life to an only life spam; apparently, in which is not important social, cultural, economic and political issues of the places where we live.

It seems like it does not matter which is my neighbourhood, who are my friends, what is the religion that I profess, if I sing in a choir or I if am a boy scout, if my country lives any kind of “isms” like classicism, racism, sexism; if a natural disaster destroy my city, if there is no job, if families do not have free time and neither time to visit friends, if I belong to an immigrant family or if my country is in the middle of a war and economic depression.

This kind of discourses —I mean every theory that describes development-life as specific stages, stablishing tasks to reach to be a mature, independent and autonomous person— makes us look like beings determined only by biological and environmental conditions like our extended and original families. Putting aside, all the unpredictable and spontaneous occurrences of life; like an unexpected dead, a fantastic encounter, a chronic ill, an unimaginable success, an accident, winning the lottery, among many others.

Life is more that words can say. Discourses that divide development-life in portions —physical, psychological and cognitive— create an illusion; an illusion that makes us believe that life is easy to understand. If we idolize this perspective, we could agree with Developmental Psychology’s perspective, living life like something pre-established, organized and accurate; but stealing spontaneity of what is unpredicted, the joy of surprises, and the happiness of being alive.


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