The Ages of Man: Maturity and Withdrawal

“Socrates says that youth must get educated; grown men employ themselves in good actions; old men withdraw from affairs, both civil and military, living as they please without being bound to any definite duties.”

Michel De Montaigne

Life is Seasonal

There is a time and place for everything and what comes up must inevitably come down. There are fine distinctions between the places you find yourself and the deeds you carry out in the transient phases of life and while one may be useful at one particular point, it may be futile in another.

So, the man who is evolving and moving from one stage to another naturally reshapes his deeds to suit his needs. Knowledge is all-important to the youngster in the same way compelling practice is vital to the adult. As we move ahead, the system we follow changes, as do our actions and perspectives.

The bustle of adulthood balances the withdrawal of old age. For agedness gives man the chance for true reflection away from busyness – tranquility serves man a chance to humanise his soul, save he is ready to openly admit it.

The Haste of Modern Life

Withdrawal is normally cast in a bad light, for we live in a hasty society where rapidity and irritability take center stage. Everyone is in a careless hurry to reach the ‘good life’ yet in doing so they turn aimless and mad, losing touch with the basic virtue that ties Man to God.

And when I say God, I don’t mean the material God but the inexpressibly obscure God that marks everything there was, is, and ever will be.

The more man deadens his inner recognition, the more subject to ignorance and disorder. So, a man unable to periodically walk away from madness is damned to its servitude – at variance with his intrinsic self.

To be readily given to withdrawal is to gladly open yourself. Detachment is release from the ties with the exterior world – the more you undo yourself, the less hooked.

“Miraculous wonders depend on our ignorance of Nature not on the essence of Nature. Our judgement’s power to see things is lulled to sleep once we grow accustomed to anything.”

Michel De Montaigne

Attachment’s effect glues you to things you do not own. The backlash is blindness – the inability to rationalise and discern things. Ergo, when you unknowingly split nature, your senses stifle.

The Four Ages of Man by Nicolas Lancret

From Youth to Manhood

I trust that a young man should expose himself to a necessary project. That is, to instruct his judgement and puzzle out knowledge. Though, I stress the former before the latter. Before wrestling productively with learning, he must sharpen his prime faculty and set right his moral code.

The youngster shall not cleave himself but instead line up with nature – and if possible, shun the oblivion of her rightness so that his acumen is not twisted by senseless ways.

A shift transpires between youth and maturity. While the former is mostly adapted to learning, the latter to industrious practice. So, a youngster diligently prepares himself for a bigger duty and ensures that his passage is reliable and orderly.

To the learned youngster, adulthood is a chance to carry out everything he understood and studied. He will set out to hit grand strides and manifest all he desires for the leading benefit of goodness.

But many youngsters going into maturity have a tightly impoverished attitude towards life’s call to adventure. Lacking bearing, their perception is perplexed by indolence and dumbness – what they are really seeking is freedom from hardship not defiance against lowliness.

Idiocy is Doom

The common man with potential is not impelled by his shortcomings, he is comforted by the reassurance of freedom from danger, despite the harm torpor inflicts on his nature and impetus. Sadly, many are doomed by the truth. As grave a failing as it is, countless are so defeated by their oblivion, so penniless of perception, that no good turn will be bad enough to enlighten their vile poverty.

Unless man savors competent duty, he will not discern the meaning of excellence. He will not perceive the importance of separation.

First you snatch your duties, then you conclude them.

Withdrawal is more valuable when you have been of service to a purpose more enduring than your existence. When you at last untie from the duties of manhood, there is a divine joy for a merited repose – when the time is ripe, retreat too is wanted after having tackled an honourable role; a role that furnished you with real significance and fortune.

“Anyone who holds his own life cheap is always master of the life of another man.”

Michel De Montaigne

The withdrawal of oldness is not convenient to the man who already committed himself to a life of futile wrongdoing and bondage. Sense and slavery don’t mix, real merit is found only when the chains of vice are pulled apart and a more cultured judgement transpired.

A Closing Comment

Thank you for reading. If you find my work useful, you will likely find my book to be a worthy investment for the development of your wisdom and strength of character. If you value my work and would like to support it, you can get purchase my audiobook by clicking here.

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