Mature character boils down to how gracefully we can accept a reality that doesn’t match our expectations. Children get their hopes up for one outcome, and when life goes another way, they whine about it. This is what we expect from children, but adults? This shows how little difference there is between children and adults. In truth, we’re all just large children struggling to be adults. Frankly, it takes much longer than a lifetime to reach true adulthood.
The public’s expectation of social change was terribly naive and doomed from the start. Society is like a huge ship with Captain Inertia at the helm. No wonder we say “The ship of state”. Turning a large ship around is a slow gradual process, as is social change. Seen up close, this ship of state is more an illusion than reality. The so-called state is really a horde of people, just as a beehive is really a horde of bees. The state is the people; the people are the state, and change is glacial.
Speaking of glacial, when the ship hits an iceberg, change is sudden. The ship sinks. I suppose the parallel to this in society is revolution. When the horde changes course, the state must follow. The events of the last few years sure look like the great ship of state has hit an iceberg. Revolution is in the air. Obama promised a civilized revolution… “Change we can believe in”. Now the Tea Party promises a more radical revolution… “Throw the bums out”. Then of course, there is the economic revolution that hit a few years ago. All this comes across as the natural and inevitable consequence of the contemporary “Get it now; pay for it later” approach to life. The horde has reached a dead end and desperately needs a course correction.
The “Get it now; pay for it later” approach to life flouts Nature’s most basic tenet… Living things work and earn their way for what they get. Struggle followed by reward. Modern civilization manages to outwit natural law with its “Get first; pay later” innovation. Nature rules in the end as chapter 16 suggests, Woe to him who willfully innovates, while ignorant of the constant. Payment—unpleasant and unexpected—always comes due. It’s as predictable as night and day to anyone who has a proper sense of awe. Otherwise, as chapter 72 notes, When the people lack a proper sense of awe, then some awful visitation will descend upon them.