Youth is potential. This is what we love in the young ones. The younger they are, the more unspoiled, the more options are open and they’re a blueprint of all new things that could be in this world. There is nothing here but potential. As we grow up we start to sacrifice pieces of this potential to get socialized and become functional members of society in some niche. Specialization is a sacrifice of the limitless but necessary to proceed to other stages of life. But some people get stuck, never choosing, and therefore staying forever nothing but potential. It seems romantic and kind of infused with a “renaissance man” note, but it is sad because nothing ever gets realized in full – that’s the Peter Pan story – never growing up, living in an imaginary nonexistent land beyond the clouds and stars, unable to form a relationship with a real girl and depending on a fairy buzzing around. He’s the king of a kingdom filled with equally unrealized subjects – the lost boys, lost in every sense of the word and dedicated only to hedonism in the absence of any superordinate goal in life. In staying forever young, forever on the brink of becoming, hedonism isn’t enough because if it is not balanced with effort and, not being viewed as rest and play, pleasure becomes meaningless and void.
Living in an imaginary bubble of self-made rules and ripped out of society, Peter Pan really has no real male mentor to model his role in the world by. The only grownup he has to look up to in Neverland is Captain Hook, a narcissistic scared adult that masks its fear by imposing tyranny to keep the panic away. But Hook has every right to be afraid. His fear is legitimate because a crocodile in the story is not just a crocodile. It represents all of the things under the surface, all of the devouring lurking things in nature and the unknown that could take us out in an instant. This crocodile swallowed a clock out of all things and you can feel the fear rising as the ticking approaches. The ticking means the crocodile stands for thing we’re all powerless against – time. No one can beat time, it will come and take a piece of each one of us, and it’s already got Captain Hook’s hand, always coming back for more. Hiding or destroying all of the clocks he can get his hands on will not stop the passage of time. It might make him be less afraid by not hearing it, but time will pass anyway because clock is just a device, a metronome. The larger the fear the bigger tyrant captain hook becomes in order to try and control it, controlling others in an attempt to soothe his own realization that time is coming to get him, always.
So if you’re stuck in Neverland of some sort, relinquish the status Q, find a mentor and get the hell out of stagnation. Look the crocodile in the face, uncover the clocks. We all have certain amount of time here and the fact that it will at one point run out makes us take on the world in urgency and try to create something beautiful in the space between the start and finish line. Crocodiles can be motivation and not a fear from the deep dark waters – if you choose to not deny their existence. It’s all neural. Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.