The rejuvenation of innocence.
The child was conditioned by society, and stuffed with knowledge. The process is called by many names and my favorite is “socialization.” Children become socialized into the values, beliefs, opinions and practices of the herd, first, their family of origin, and then by neighbors, school, peers, media, etc.
Osho puts it like this:
In the second birth he is going to gain what was available in the first birth, but the society, the parents, the people surrounding him crushed it, destroyed it. Every child is being stuffed with knowledge. His simplicity has to be somehow removed, because simplicity is not going to help him in this competitive world. His simplicity will look to the world as if he is a simpleton; his innocence will be exploited in every possible way. Afraid of the society, afraid of the world we ourselves have created, we try to make every child be clever, cunning, knowledgeable—to be in the category of the powerful, not in the category of the oppressed and the powerless.
Osho. Maturity: The Responsibility of Being Oneself (Osho Insights for a New Way of Living) . St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.
Comment: The corruption on the path of the ego can be almost complete. And yet, deep down within, there is a Divine Spark that is with us always.
Things often have to get worse before they get better in terms of the consequences of our socialization. When we hit bottom, it dawns on us that there must be a better way. With this dawning begins the search which is captured in our Unitarian Univeralist fourth principle which is the affirmation and promotion of the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. It is this search which takes us to the regaining of our lost innocence. Jesus has told us that unless we become like little children we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. It is this recapturing of our innocence through the shedding of our socialization and conditioning that creates our salvation.
In A Course In Miracles this shedding of our socialization, our conditioning, in a conscious way, is what the Course calls “forgiveness.” We are forgiving our mistakes and the mistakes of others in thinking that our socialization is real.
The Course tells us this socialization is all an illusion. Maturity is the recognition that our socialization is small stuff and not to be taken seriously.
At a deeper level, where we recognize our inherent worth and dignity, our true Self is to be found. We are precious diamonds encrusted with the dirt and slag of socialization and conditioning.