So over the weekend, I found myself at a fun day, trying to enjoy my days as a youth when I saw a child walking around with tears rolling down her cheeks.. I noticed she was alone and had a look of confusion on her face, so I went over to her. A midst the tears, sobs and ‘nose naught’, I managed to decipher the word, “Mommy” and figured she was lost. I took her to the announcement booth when she suddenly dashed from my side to a lady engrossed in conversation on the other side. The child was relieved to see her but the feeling never seemed mutual. The mother gave me a thumbs up for my effort but in my mind, I gave her a thumbs down. How does one lose a child and not realize? The question rested on my mind and it lead me to think of an episode of Rugrats and object permanence.
Well, this blog may have a little more ‘psycho babble’ than some of you bargained for- but bear with me while I make these important points. So, object permanence is a term coined by Psychologist Jean Piaget, which explains that things continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard or felt. The irony is that he stated that this is usually obtained by the age of one!
This bothered me a bit, as it was obvious that this lady had forgotten the child. It’s similar to people who forget to pick up their kids from school. It leads me to wonder whether the people who assume or selected as leaders, guardians, caregivers etc are all fit to be and whether they have achieved this rather simple milestone.
In my Psychological pursuits, I claim to be eclectic, but I really ascribe to Neo- Freudian principles. They usually involve stages and also gives room for persons who have not successfully gone through each stage. This one is different, it assumes that once one is not developmentally challenged, then this is how it goes and Piaget, I love you, But I beg to differ.
According to this guy, object permanence is one of the infant’s most important milestones, as it involves gaining a certain level of understanding in the first developmental stage- known as the sensorimotor stage, which lasts from 0-2 years. This stage helps with perception, a key part of human existence. The infant at this point understands the world around him using his mouth and hands mostly. It is also in this stage that the investigation skills present themselves and a child is said to have gained object permanence when one hides something under a blanket and the child goes over to it, removes the blanket and laughs at you. Done are the days of Peek- a- boo! Peek a boo shows lack of object permanence. It actually is that funny to babies because what they see is you disappearing and appearing like magic! Awesome!
According to me, object permanence is one of a human’s most important milestones as it involves gaining a certain level of understanding and it usually (but not always) happens in the first developmental stage known as the sensorimotor stage, but can take some time to be achieved, which may last from 0- 100 years. It is from acquiring this stage that adults should understand the world around them and not only use use their mouths (in terms of nonsensical speech and harsh, slanderous words) and hands ( in terms of beating, shooting or stabbing those with opposing views or who hate us) in comprehending the world around them. It is in gaining this milestone that the investigation skills present themselves- as an adult should not just accept a point because one said so or because the term, “It is scientifically proven that,” is placed before it. This is demonstrated when something is hidden or unknown and the adult opens a book or a web page, does sufficient research, finds the truth and laughs at you. It seems like here are still the days of Peek-a- boo! As our leaders do crap, cover it briefly with the label ‘New Government” and reveal it once more and we are ecstatic- filled with glee and hope, as though the past five years have magically disappeared in our minds. It is actually funny as these adults have not obtained object permanence and are once more enslaved to the system….. The leaders say, “Awesome!”
So, object permanence is the most important of the Sensorimotor Stage, huh? The first stage. What about the other traits. Well, this stage, most infants in the first month or so still have very poor vision. Some adults still have blurry vision. The truth stares them in the face but denial or some other obstacle prevent them from planning well for the present or the future. Those who haven’t completed this first stage may have good sight, but no vision. Sad!
Well, infants in this stage have very short attention spans. They cannot stick to a task at hand and oftentimes end up with a whole bunch of unfinished products, what is done is usually faulty and someone else usually has to pick up the pieces and a carefree attitude is present. They really forget about the objects or subjects that they should be addressing, which leads me to believe they also lack subject permanence, which is my term 🙂 The issues plaguing the people are forgotten once the people are out of sight or no real pressure is on them to address it. Sounds familiar?
Babies, they say, do not possess abstract thinking… i.e. thinking outside the box. The are confounded to what they see or what they have been conditioned to do. They cannot accept anything outside of what they know and they cannot accept any way which is different. It is their way or the… tantrum. Children in the Preoperational Stage- kindergartners, cannot accept different points of view, they do not possess concrete logic and cannot give any real explanation for anything. They live in a fantasy world and often confuse “dolly house” and the real thing. I am very concerned, that it is in describing infants, that so many adults and leaders are coming to mind.
Us as adults Piaget stated as having Formal Operations. A higher level of cognition, abstract thought, deductive reasoning, problem solving, attention to detail and all things bright and beautiful. Seems like only a small percentage of the population, ones who are often caught up in their own matters or the ones who become advocates.
Think about it, we need leaders and parents , which according to Psychology and common sense… have actually accomplished their infantile milestones or else… The world is in big trouble!