As a child, one plays.
As a youth, one studies.
As a young man, you join the army.
As a grown man, you engage in commerce.
As an established man, you marry.
As a married man, you raise children.
As an older man, you retire and engage in community service.
This seems like a pretty good plan to me.
Every part of a person is represented in this scheme. For example, in the army you learn important basics of operating your body, being orderly, operating in teams, focusing on tasks, and keeping your head when all about you …
Just about everything you’d like to do in your life is represented in this scheme: Study, adventure, romance, family life, and let us not forget loafing and playing.
If this scheme were widespread, the culture would at any one time have plenty of play, study, adventure, business, romance, family life, and wisdom. Because there would be citizens in every one of these categories.
A culture can become unbalanced. North Korea has way too much army, and so they suffer the financial drain. They could use their army to provide other functions, but then they wouldn’t really be army, would they?
Our own culture probably has far too little army. I never served. At the time, our nation was sending us off to be killed in Viet Nam. This did not seem the path of wisdom to me at the time.
However, it means I missed a special part of life. And I think our culture shows the general lack of the learning that comes from the army. Sure, we can laugh about some of the clumsy ways the army can operate. But in college, I noticed that my student friends who were ex-army, ex-navy, ex-marine were some of the most focussed students. Their heads were on straight. More than I could say for myself and lotso my friends.
What do you think. Is the Chinese Ages of Man concept a good one?
(No cussing, please.)