There are times during the maturation of individuals when the devices employed to achieve a new level of personal responsibility and understanding must be shed like a chrysalis to continue progress toward an independent life of informed personal choices. Parents must take the training wheels off their kid’s bicycles once the evolving confidence they gave the child becomes cramped in the restricted mobility that kept them safe while learning. This release from the tether of apron strings must continue throughout one’s life lest the adventure of curiosity’s quest grow barnacles moldering in some snug harbor tied up to a dock made from theories harvested inland and milled to lumber now saturated in conviction as a preservative against the natural changes wrought by the same sea of the unknown the mind has ceased to sail.
The movie Devil’s Playground
They are essentially kicked out of the daily life without scorn and may retain their family’s room and board, but may return to the fold only when voluntarily declaring their undying devotion to the Amish prophecy. It’s training wheels removed from life so experience may be tested against the wisdom of their early education with no requirement that it even be applied. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a civilization or religion displaying such wisdom, much less such confidence in itself as justified by the eighty-five to ninety percent who return to the community. This after periods of years out here, unless of course, that early training only created Manchurian Candidates of them and they really couldn’t stay gone. I can certainly relate to their revulsion at in-yer-face capitalism’s disposable consumption culture and preference for life with more reverence for nature. It’s determined the choice I’ve made without a community to return to, although mentors in the community of the mind, diamonds in the rough, tough school of hard knocks and mind locks, are lighting my drop out along the way.
This metaphor of training wheels evolving into retardants of the very abilities they honed if retained beyond their benefit, like any good one, seems to apply to any scale of human activity from learning to ride a bike, to a grad student actually graduating to live and directly observe the nature of her/his field interest in an actual field, to an employee learning a skill well enough to open his own business, to the human race evolving beyond its training wheels — western civilization’s updated version of the creation myth: that competitive commodification of the planet and each other is a natural enactment of the survival of the fittest has been taken too far. We must realize the true meaning of Darwin’s term to be the survival of those sane enough to adapt, to fit into the inevitable, infinitely profound wisdom of nature and the intrinsic sanity of symbiosis with the other parts of this planetary body upon whose health we all, of necessity, depend.
Like the quadracyclist, academic and company man took their new skills to the next level of possibilities, the human race can carry those beneficial skills of science and technology along the evolutionary path of its maturation.