Coming of Age Rituals

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright August 2017


What are coming of age rituals going to be in this era of driverless cars, cyber muses, TES, and wearables?

Driverless cars means we will lose getting a driver's license as a widespread coming of age ritual. Likewise, those people who are living necessity lifestyles, not ambitious lifestyles, are not going to have getting a hard-to-acquire diploma and job as coming of age rituals. What will be the replacements for these?

Some Possibilities

Here are some possibilities for coming of age rituals for the 2050's.

Getting awards -- This has been a common ritual for many generations. The problem is: how much weight does the community give to the award? This varies all over the map from "[yawn] That's nice..." to "Wow! You have that! Let me open this door for you!" (as in, an opportunity) So if it is going to become a coming of age ritual, what needs to be clearly and widely established is how significant the award is. It must decisively rise above the crowd.

Peer pressure -- How is, "I double dare ya!" going to be handled in an environment with both helicopter parents and pervasive surveillance? Related: How are gangs and gang initiations going to be handled? Will becoming a gang member still be an informal coming of age ritual? A possible new wrinkle: Will there be ways to be a VR/AR gang member, so you can join a gang while you're still at your desk in your parent's basement?

Military service -- Even though cyber and robots will be doing most of the actual fighting there will still be human soldiers. They will be mostly succoring the human casualties of the robot vs. robot fighting, but they will still be considered soldiers and they will still go through lots of training and rituals that are comparable to contemporary military training. Those who go through a stint of military service will receive recognition in their community. They will have come of age.

Religious service -- Gaining attainments in a religious order is another traditional form of coming of age that is likely to continue into the 2050's. Religion changes with time, geography and social circumstances so the attainments of the 2050's will be a bit different from those of the 2010's.

Having a child -- this can be a coming of age ritual that endures -- especially teenage pregnancy. Lots of emotion behind this one. And, probably, lots of cyber muse support. If the cyber muses are dedicated to keeping the human population up, and most people are urban dwellers with low fertility rates, they will be engaging in child-encouraging activities. It will endure but how it is conducted will be quite different. This will be a time when baby clubs are the social centers for most child raising.

Cyber Muses and Wearables -- How will cyber muses and wearables affect what are coming of age rituals? Will there be "child" and "adult" cyber muses? Will there be "child" and "adult" wearables? Will getting some adult versions take passing some kind of moderately difficult test? Will the difference be visible to others in the community?


Overall, what will kids have to work hard at, and accomplish, and aspire to accomplish, to be seen as having become adults? These will be the coming of age rituals for the 2050's.

Q: Will a coming of age event even be important in necessity social circles?

A: It will be important because this is supported by instinctive thinking. Because of instinct it will likely become even more important than in the 2010's. But, because of instinct, the rituals could look quite silly when seen in the context of harsh reality. Think of fraternity and college marching band initiations.

Coming of Age interacting with Tender Snowflake child raising

One of the big influences on Tender Snowflake coming of age rituals will be wearables. Wearables are important because they will be able to modify the fear emotions. How will Tender Snowflake child raising and fear modifying wearables interact? The Tender Snowflakes are going to be easy to scare, and their thin-skin outrage emotion easy to provoke. How much will wearables modify these? How much will they suppress? If they do suppress a lot of them, how will Tender Snowflakes differ from people who have learned fearlessness, tolerance and patience by education and widespread cultural experiences, and don't feel the fear or outrage, wearables or not? The two upbringings won't be the same, and how they will differ will take some thinking about.

And what will be coming-of-age rituals for Tender Snowflakes? What will be something they routinely engage in that requires a lot of sustained effort and uncertainty -- like getting a driver's license did in the 2nd half of the 20th century?


Coming of Age is going to change a lot by the 2050's. The world will be so different that coming of age rituals must also become different.

I foresee that communities all over the world are going to be searching long and hard for good answers to this question. And, it is likely the answers will be community-oriented -- as in, different for each community.



--The End--