By James Wadman
Society has misguided us into believing that boundless wonder has an expiration date in our lives. The difference between a child and a parent is experience, not the capacity for desire, curiosity, or even intelligent thought. I can’t be the only person to suggest that some of the most brilliant ideas are those voiced by children.
Anatomically, there are differences between the adult and child brains. Throughout late childhood and adolescence, the brain undergoes what is called “synaptic pruning,” a molecular phenomenon where unused circuits in the brain grow weaker and the useful circuitry grows stronger. For many of us that means that logical thought and responsibility increases as a function of growing up, while playful thought and uninhibited pleasure seeking is tamed by rationality. In modern society, synaptic pruning is an important product of our evolution. However, it is also an inherent limitation that forces us to cling to our biological history.
And for this I will suggest that maintaining the characteristics of a child’s brain can prove to be effective for a genuinely happy life, even if it would seem that this is fundamentally impossible given the previously discussed anatomical differences. Embrace your dreams, the chance to see new things in the world, and express yourself freely. Growing up, we learn to be responsible in a world that becomes increasingly competitive. Don’t let your curiosity fall victim to the false notion of growing up.