In the world of the Pattermaster there is a clear distinction between a child and an adult. A transition takes place and the childhood shield comes undone. In our society, is there as clear a distinction? You can drive a car when you turn 16. You can see an R-rated movie when you’re 17. You can smoke cigarettes, buy lottery tickets and sign yourself up to be a soldier when you’re 18. You can drink alcohol when you’re 21. You can rent a car (with most rental agencies) when you’re 25. So perhaps our journey into maturity is a tiered process. More responsibility is placed on on you as you get older. This would make sense, except for two major issues. 1. Is there something inherently flawed about making the general assumption that chronological age connotes maturity? and 2. Isn’t being in the army a heavier decision than making the choice to consume alcohol or renting a car? If our determination of maturity is indeed on a tiered scale, these issues would lead one to believe it is a faulty tier, rife with inconsistencies.
And what of those people who are forced into maturity like Amber? Where do they fall in the tier? Does our culture acknowledge the maturity prodigies, or do we force them back into their chronological box? Do we skip them ahead in life, the way we skip the academically gifted along in school? Are they awarded with scholarships for their hardships at the hands of life’s toughest lessons? Or do we remain rigid in inside of our tiered constructs demanding they behave like the children their age indicates they are?
What would society be like if age were experiential instead of chronological? What if you amassed life points for different experiences? Could such a society exist? Could it thrive??