Intellectual & Emotional Maturity

73 QUESTION: You have stated that emotional maturity is the willingness and the capability to love. It seems to me that intellectual maturity must mean something else. How do the two interplay and influence each other?

ANSWER: Both are necessary functions of the healthy individual. As I once put it, they are like the two legs you need in order to walk through life. Intellectual maturity is your capacity to think, to judge, to evaluate, to discriminate, to form concepts, to plan, to use your will, to use your mind, to make decisions, to utilize your assets, to direct your life and, last but not least, to educate or reeducate the childish emotions by implanting your own concepts that you have arrived at independently, by thinking things through. Not because others have said so, but because you deliberated on them and thereby made them your own.

Thus your intellect can influence your emotions through your capacity to think. On the other hand, unchecked and childish emotions can influence your thinking capacity by coloring your views and making you lose objectivity. Your capacity to think is intellectual maturity. And the way you manage your emotional reactions, feelings and instincts determines your emotional maturity or lack of it.

QUESTION: Might one be developed much further in one direction than in the other?

ANSWER: Indeed, very often there is an imbalance between these two legs, with one leg more developed than the other. This imbalance hinders the integration of the human being. Among other aspects, the purpose and aim in this work is to achieve a proper balance.

In many instances, a person is more developed in one direction or one area of the personality, with a weakness in the other. Many who do not pursue a path such as yours continue to nurse and cultivate the already overdeveloped aspect. That, of course, is not healthy; it does not bring the desired harmony and balance. It is done because people prefer to think of their strengths rather than of their weaknesses.

QUESTION: Would you say that emotional immaturity is indicated by an emphasis on strong likes and dislikes, without discriminating as to what the values are? We use the wrong yardstick. Instead of measuring and discriminating, we are either for or against something, because we like or dislike it, regardless of its intrinsic merit.

ANSWER: Exactly. That is the subjectivity that arises out of childish emotions. Of course, a halfway intellectually mature person will find adequate reasons to hide this emotional reaction and subjectivity. That is what is called rationalization. Thus an intellectually mature person will find reasons and explanations for his irrational, emotional, subjective behavior or attitude.

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