Topic the First - Asking "Why?"
There is a certain cliche of a young child asking "why?", getting an answer, asking "why?" to that, and so on until the adult finally dismisses them out of frustration. And we all smile and laugh at how ignorant the child is and pat ourselves on the back for being so grown up.
But I don't think this story is very funny. This story, told in countless variations, has the rather repugnant moral that it is rude and childish to ask that most important of questions. "Why?"
So why do parents near-universally admonish their children when they persist with the questions? What is motivating parents all over the world to teach their children not to ask "why?"? Do parents simply not want to admit to their ignorance? I thought so at first, but I suspect it is deeper than that.
It seems more likely to me, that this practice is a defense against acknowledging that one's answers are mysterious. It is easier for a parent to attribute a young child's lack of understanding to a lack of intelligence, than to comprehend that their own answer is a curiosity stopper and not an answer at all.
In essence, children are being trained to accept curiosity-stoppers without hesitation, by being reprimanded for continuing to ask "why?" I find this more than a little alarming; it would seem that for parents in particular, it is especially dangerous not to notice when they're confused.
Topic the Second - The Behavior of Hope
Is tenuous hope more emotionally taxing than certain doom?
I wouldn't think so, but whenever the subject of death comes up (among those who don't believe in an afterlife) I've noticed a very curious pattern.
I have only a guess, but it seems possible that when doom is certain, when there's no escape for you or anyone, it is easier to numb the emotions. Accepting the possibility of escape makes the doom not-certain, which forces fear of the doom to the surface.
Topic the Third - Abuse of the word "Love"
On another site I happened to be perusing, someone posted a bit of a rant about teenagers not knowing the difference between love and lust, to which I gave this response:
The word "love" is abused so much because we live in a society that looks down on pursuing relationships based on lust. A society that goes out of its way to make us feel bad about ourselves if we want to be intimate with someone we don't love. So of course the emotionally vulnerable try to convince themselves that love is involved even when it isn't, because they don't want to feel that misplaced guilt.
It's kind of sick, when you think about it. Real love* is quite rare, so believing that it is only proper to form a sexual relationship with someone you love, causes all kinds of problems. It is simply not healthy for the human animal to form sexual relationships that rarely, so due to this erroneous belief, you get people thinking they're SUPPOSED to be in love, or ASSUMING they're in love, or just TELLING themselves they're in love, because they've had it drilled into their heads that it's wrong to feel otherwise, and that what they're doing doesn't actually feel wrong so it MUST be love.
You want kids to stop abusing the word "love"? Stop teaching them that they need love as a justification for acting on their lust.
* I define "real love" as the state of valuing another's quality of life more than your own quality of life.
Topic the Fourth - A "Good" Parent
Let's take a moment to think about how modern parents are generally expected to treat the subject of their offspring's sexuality. This is one of those things that I firmly believe any good future for humanity will look back on in horror.
With alarming commonality, adults with maturing offspring go out of their way to stunt their children's sociosexual development, due primarily, I think, to a desire to conform to the current societal archetype of Good Parent. Despite ambiguous-at-best psychological evidence, parents fight to keep kids ignorant, unequipped, and chaste due to the social consensus that having sexually active children makes one a Bad Parent.
I would even go so far as to call such deliberate impediment of sociosexual development a form of abuse, despite its extreme prevalence and acceptableness in today's world.