“There is in every child at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding.” Erik Erikson (1902-1994)
I would extend this to all humans young or in the twilight of their lives and everything in between. The psychological spectrum contains the means not just to learn, but to understand, and if you don’t truly understand you can still be aware.
We are not gods, just human animals. Some of us try to seek some awareness in our short time on this world. Filling the gaps with the supernatural is tantamount to burying your head in the sand and wishing the evidence to go away.
Erikson’s observations progressed the understanding about human development according to our life-spans, our life cycles, and the evolution of our wisdom and personalities throughout our lifetimes. Childhood isn’t the only time when we have an opportunity for growth and change, or a rebirth of ourselves in terms of understanding and awareness.
Taking the standard psychodynamic perspective and translating it into a biopsychosocial framework spurred research and theory on such topics as identity and generativity. The “miracle” of “vigorous unfolding” provides a metaphor that we now understand as the potential for continued evolution of personality over time.
So then in simple terms he highlights that we are not full and complete in childhood, but we can and should (and do) evolve through life as we both encounter new experiences and stimuli, and indeed learn life’s harsh lessons. As we read the texts and understand the voices of those who came before us, or are presently with us we can fulfil some promise inherent in the homo mind.
There can be many catalysts for the evolution for the ‘vigorous unfolding’, there can be a slow and steady progression, a trickle over time, or a period of rapid evolution (perhaps a revolution) brought about by a major catalyst for it; that of ‘change’. Without it a mind may stagnate.
I’ll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.
Duke Leito Atreides: (Dune (1984 Motion Picture).