A Mature Society?

In maturity environment is something to which the individual contributes and for which the individual man or woman takes responsibility.

In a community in which there is a sufficiently high proportion of mature individuals there is a state of affairs which provides the basis for what is called democracy.

[...] a democratic society is 'mature', that is to say, that it has a quality that is allied to the quality of individual maturity which characterizes its healthy members.

Of a true democracy (as the term is used today) one can say: In this society at this time there is sufficient maturity in the emotional development of a sufficient proportion of the individuals that comprise it for there to exist an innate tendency towards the creation and re-creation and maintenance of the democratic machinery.

By 'innate' I intend to convey the following: the natural tendencies in human nature (hereditary) bud and flower into the democratic way of life (social maturity), but this only happens through the healthy emotional development of individuals;

In bodily development the growth factor is more clear; in the development of the psyche, by contrast, there is a possibility of failure at every point, and indeed there can be no such thing as growth without distortion due to some degree of failure of environmental adaptation [...] only a proportion of individuals in a social group will have had the luck to develop to maturity, and therefore it is only through them that the innate (inherited) tendency of the group towards social maturity can be implemented.

If the proportion of mature individuals is below a certain number, democracy is not something which can become a political fact since affairs will be swayed by the immature, that is to say, by those who by identification with the community lose their own individuality or by those who never achieve more than the attitude of the individual dependent upon society.

Maturity means, among other things, a capacity for tolerating ideas, [a capacity] which at its best is part of social maturity. A mature social system (while making certain demands in regard to action) allows freedom of ideas and the free expression of them.

[D.W. Winnicott]
Home Is Where We Start From ('The Meaning of the Word 'Democracy''), p.242-3
Human Nature, p.29, 59-60, 152

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