Immaturity and Maturity

Immaturity and Maturity

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    By Dr Margaret Lowenfeld
    (Co-Director of the Institute of Child Psychology)

    (Report of the first of a series of eight lectures on “Some Problems of Adolescence” delivered at the Friends House, Euston Road, N.W. on Wednesdays beginning November 6th, 1935, two lectures being delivered each Wednesday.)

    In this course of lectures we are going to consider one of the most interesting and, at the same time, one of the most puzzling periods of human life; that is to say, the period between childhood and maturity, or adult-hood. In certain parts of Scotland there is in use a very neat technical term for this period, and I wish we had one as apt in England. They call a person at such a stage a “halfling”, indicating that he has left school and has not yet come to the age of earning a full salary; it is people who are still between the period when they are entirely under the direction of someone else for the larger part of their time and the period when they have to take their whole life into their own hands that we are going to consider; that is, the adolescent period.

    Before we can cope with the subject at all, it is necessary to consider very seriously and carefully some of the fundamental questions with regard to maturity and immaturity. It is a curious fact that in spite of the immense amount of work that has during recent years been done by the varied schools of psychology, philosophy and very many other forms of thought, political and otherwise, the question of what is a man, what is a woman, considered as a whole in contrast to the child or the underdeveloped person, has received practically no attention. What I am about to say is the result of my own personal thinking about this very perplexing problem, together with the results drawn from studied of the failure to mature, and I hope that during the discussion we shall be able to see whether I have succeeded in any way in raising in your minds problems that seem to me to be so very urgent in connection with the conduct of our public affairs in relation to the concept of maturity.

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