Is human civilisation about to grow up and take on responsibility for its actions?
“The Anglo-Saxon usage of the adjective “adult” relates to a grown-up person; in the German language “adult” is mainly used as a biological term for maturity. At the end of quantitative growth, the term in its neuterform “Adultum” could accentuate the emancipatory skills and knowledge of adulthood in social terms as a name for the coming age.
“As a term rooted in the tradition of the Enlightenment it would, as a name for an era, not compete with the “grand narratives” of modernity but become politically meaningful as a critical narrative of the post-growth society. Analogous to the individual coming of age, this would not only relate to the end of quantitative growth and the beginning of a change in values. It would just as much relate to the current global environmental and economic crises that require us to seriously take on responsibility for lifestyles and policy choices.
“The narrative intended with the term “Adultum” as a description of an era can be described as “adult idealism” in so far as that it does not blank out the current crisis and the threats to the future, but faces these challenges. Instead of lapsing into alarmism or resignation, this “adult narrative” encourages us to participate in a civil society which pushes democratically for more sustainable and socially just conditions and supports and advocates for projects that enable a more humane life in dignity for all around the world while ensuring that this remains possible also for future generations.”
Read the full story by Josef Senft….