Now, since it is sundae and pseudo-shabbat for the christianists, or at least most, it seems appropriate to muse on the nature of humans.
First, I ran across a medicalist study [Link] of adolescent mentation. This study finds:
“fear is hard to extinguish from the developing teenage brain, and once a teenager’s brain is triggered by a threat, the ability to suppress an emotional response to the threat is diminished – which may explain why they often seem permanently anxious and stressed.”
So the basic idea is that teenagers are all walking around scared of something? It’s pretty easy to understand the persistence. After all, whatever you first learn on a matter stays with you even when you learn/know that first learning to be inaccurate.
But what causes the threat? Let’s see. You spend about ten or twelve years getting used to being a child and then, over the course of a year or so, boom!, it all changes. Is becoming a proto-adult the threat, or, as Ovid argued, it is the metamorphosis itself?
I don’t have too many memories of being scared and fearful as a teenager. But then I was an introvert and naturally oblivious because my interests were deeper than the attraction of society. Perhaps sometimes being a dork is beneficial? If anything adolescence was less fearful than being a child because there were fewer bullies beating up on you. And parents had moved from beating you with a belt to trying to influence you psychologically. So it has to be a sort of alienation and ill-at-ease rather than a panic?
The second piece is about some burial goods in an 800 BCE Danish site. The goods are the remains of some cloth made from nettles that is identified as being woven in the Austrian alps. And what intrigues me is not the mediocre journalism about the extent of the trade routes in those days, but that cloth would be a trade good. Yes, cloth was a high value thingie in those days, was down until looms not-powered-by-humans were developed, which was about the time of the industrial revolution. And cloth is a good thing to have a trade demand for because it is low in density and packs and travels well. And this was for a grave – maybe – or at least a treasured possession.
And I can attest that clothing is often a treasured possession. Often more than jewelry and even maths books. Certainly me campus of the Boneyard physics department shirts and my Yankee army war college hoodie are precious to me despite looking rather like the remains of those grave goods. But it still seems a bit amazing to me that cloth would get prioritized along with gemstones, and oddities, and precious metals. I thrill that someone would walk all the way from the Austrian mountains to the Danish bogs with cloth in a pack.
Probably a teenager?