That one confused me as well. I think it contrasts with blames world for problems goat. I think either isn’t balanced. That’s one I struggle with – I tend to take everything on as a personal failure, and for me part of climbing to maturity is understanding what really isn’t in my control, and accepting that.
But yeah, yet another profound statement – I very much enjoyed exploring that one all over. I liked the goats on the climb as well because some of them were interacting with the ones on the bottom.
Personally, I don’t think that blaming the world for your problems is immature at all.
You were a prisoner, slave to the will of others, for 18 years of your life. School and parents had almost complete control over you; you had very little choice how to spend your time, what to learn, and to an extent even who to hang out with. And suddenly at age 18 you’re supposed to be all responsible for your shortcomings?
No. It’s society’s fault, not yours. All the more true the younger you are.
Yeah, my intent there was just kind of a personal responsibility thing, shaping the world one lives in and such. One is of course only so responsible for one’s world, but you gotta at least try. I reckon. And when i say “you,” i mean me, because i’m very much a slacker in this area, sadly.
I’m with the goat (He’s actually my favorite). A world for which we do not take personal responsibility stays screwed up forever. Taking responsibility is a good way to motivate ourselves to do some good, as long as we don’t let the inevitable depression get the best of us.
And anyway, living a “normal life” in the West usually implies considerable direct contributions to the world’s problems.
I think the asking goat is in the immature plateau because this comic is a snapshot that caught him at the exact point when he realizes it’s time to make the climb. All of the other goats in the immature area are pink, but he’s not. You can see by his facial expressions that he has some problems with the point of view being expressed, and so he’s changing color, “Pleasantville”-style, and his next step will be to start climbing.
Further to that, it looks like the Asker got some sort of crap answer but may not have had the skills at the time to reason effectively with a blowhard (If it’s even possible). Asker went on to being Obessed with Questioning, and learned critical thinking skills needed to move on to being Obsessed with Facts.
I’ve somehow managed to land right in between “Assumes Worst of Others” and “Assumes Nothing”. I try to be as sympathetic as possible (probably too much, really) and generally assume that people’s motivations are not their own, that they are propelled by neurosis and defense mechanisms so powerful that free will doesn’t exist for them. So even if they do horrible and immature things, there’s a perfectly good reason that they’ve resorted to these actions, right?
This probably files me under “Afraid”.
While a number of the red ones are obviously non-adaptive/non-useful and some of the ones in green are adaptive/useful, several in both are just attitudes, which may or may not be called for, depending on the persons life experiences and situation, and some of them are just tastes. To assert otherwise is to assume that all persons must want the same things out of life, which is stupid and naive. Obviously there are certain core things that are useful and desirable for pretty much everyone but not all examples speak to these.
Additionally, when judging another, one should always be aware that an apparent external attitude may not jive with the actually held attitude.
I’ve definitely heard her discuss her book a couple of times, and i most assuredly agree with her realism, her anti-”The Secret” attitude, basically everything she says. So i guess i’d hate to think i was putting across a disturbing-levels-of-optimism, change-the-world-with-your-thoughts kind of attitude. What i was going for i think was the suggestion that maturity can be a deliberate process as opposed to something that’s just inevitable. I’m not gonna pretend the comic is perfect though; it was basically the best i could do right now, and i could see myself completely rewriting it five years from now. Thanks for linking to this video, by the way, totally enjoyed it!
Needs a second axis for (external) Abuse, scaling (on the negative side) from minor irritation to oppression and torture, (and encouragement and enfranchisement on the positive side). There are discontinuities and holes you can fall into and can’t escape. Maybe there are solutions.
As usual good job Winston. I just have one question, mostly about your descriptions of objectivity and subjectivity. I always thought it was our subjectivity that made us human, and helped us understand others. Definitely knowing all the facts about something before you act is a must for insightful decision making, I’m not arguing that, but I guess turning everything into data is like seeing 27% oak and 73% maple instead of the proverbial forest. I know its just a little thing but I’d like to know your take on it, for my own learning if anything.
You’re right to ask, because i always kind of use subjectivity in a purely negative sense, when you quite correctly state that it’s a positive thing when you look at it in another way. I would say i was defining it as “acting on personal bias,” whereas it can of course mean “having a particular perspective, often necessarily.” I should have been more careful, i think.
What say you, those reading this? What do you think of when you think of subjectivity?
In response to the query about subjectivity.
To me it is more an state of keeping things in perspective. Although seeing other perspectives through the use of objectivity is necessary, it’s also vitally important to keep a grasp of reality. I’m not sure if this has much to do with the move to maturity. (Perhaps by learning to find a balance of the two?) That’s my two cents…
There’s opinion and there’s fact, and we all make decisions based on both. Sometimes it’s even necessary; if you can’t get all the facts, all you have is your preconceptions, so that’s what you use.
I think the trouble starts when we forget (or, more often, “forget”) whether we based a decision on fact or bias. So when new info arrives, our ears are stubbornly closed, even though we had no reason to be so sure in the first place.
I think we don’t have enough time to analyze situations to be awesomely objective. Speaking for myself the best I can do is to refine my inherently subjective filter with an even-keeled awareness of my limitations. (EX: I DO-NOT know everything)
I try to find a balance between jumping to conclusions about others prematurely/incorrectly while realizing that I can never possibly tie up all loose ends in a purely objective way. If I waited for A-L-L of the facts, I’d have hesitated too long to act. . . for better or for worse. . . Being able to act at the risk of being wrong trumps hesitation. Just gotta learn from the bad calls/plays.
Thought provoking. I think that believing that any one of those traits equates to maturity is a little shortsighted – one can be “focused on friends” out of narcissism and insecurity rather than maturity, etc. Likewise, the “immature” behaviors by themselves are not necessarily indicative of psychological immaturity either.
The dividing line between the two conditions might work better with your depiction of sexuality in “monstrous discrepancies:” I’d argue that anyone who thinks they hold the monopoly on the truth and sees everything in black and white is immature… similar to labeling someone as “immature” based solely upon the fact that you find their demeanor inconvenient (as some of your other readers seem to believe in their comments…).
I think you have to accept it as a metaphor. Thus, the motivations of all the characters are truly pure and obvious. If you start trying to analyze the motivations of every goat, then obviously the metaphor breaks down.
After going through the whole archive, I’m really glad I discovered your comics. They are absolutely impressive and insightful.
On this one though I’m wondering why is the goat who died to win battles immature and the goat who won the war mature? One may win battles for right, justice and etc., yet lose because all is not within his/her own grasp.
I reckon it’s not the actual role they played in the war, but their own perception of it. The bottom guy clearly let the whole thing get to him and can’t percieve it on any level other than the one that he was directly involved in. The top guy realized the role he played in the whole thing and I think it’s that awareness of his role in something much greater that puts him up top.
I saw the gravestones as being a sort of summation of the two worldviews. So immature goats might win a few minor victories (probably by being the loudest person in the argument, causing everyone else to give up, lol), but the mature goats “win the war” by living a much more fulfilling life and dying happy.
Wow…just wow. amazing and insightful as always. keep up the good work.
I probably missed something, but some of these comics I would want to actually buy and hang them up to provoke thought and encourage self-improvement
Are you holding out on us? Your maturity spectrum only has the “RoyG” part. Where’s “Biv”? Do the goats that aren’t content with maturity transcend to the blue or find the clarity of indigo? Personally, I like the idea of a kind of maturity overshoot up the mountain a bit. I have a feeling you could do a pretty interesting critique of “transcendence”. As usual, thanks for an entertaining and thought-provoking comic!
I have been called mature for my age, but I do tend to get into depressive ruts (blaming the world, feeling scared, thinking I know everything, etc.) Luckily I’m a pretty good climber (to use the comix analogy) and I have my better moments, I think.
This comic really does help in understanding one’s personality. I’m against labelling people, but the large variety of different traits shown means one person can identify with more than one… er, goat.
Can I just take a moment to say how amazing virus comix is. And one of the things that really makes it amazing is not that the comics are so awesome (they are), but the huge emphasis on audience participation. Reading these comments brings so much more to the experience. Also, the incredible amount of talent that goes into the comics might have something to do with it as well.
I actually thought about doing that, but in the end i wanted to emphasize the contrasting-things, this-as-opposed-to-that aspect of it, thus necessitating words. Suggesting that respecting others’ intelligence is the opposite of being dishonest, etc. That’s my rationalization, anyway.
This one’s too visually busy to work without the tiny labels. Otherwise, contrasting goats would have to be much closer together for the sequence to be noticeable, which would have been too much like Monster Discrepancies. It fits with the whole concepts-are-the-landscape surreality Winston has going here anyway.
The only tiny change I’d make is maybe replacing the ‘subjectivity’ on the sign with ‘delusion’, since the crime is reflexively defending one’s own ignorance and frailty rather than just having a different perspective.
ive been wanting to send this comment for a long as time. but would you marry me? i want you to have my babies. jokes aside kinda, i like how the comics are more simplified. It makes it faster for me to read and understand, but its also cuz im too lazy to read alot of text. also nice goats =]
I’m guessing you’re alluding to certain recent webcomic events with the will-you-marry-me/babies thing. The unwelcome comments that I get are the ROWNTREE YOU LIBERAL FEMINAZI I HOPE YOU DIE IN A FIRE AND ALL YOUR READERS TOO YOU ARE THE WORST PEOPLE ON EARTH ones, as opposed to sexual advances. You get used to it, whether you should have to or not; takes about three years.
A hill with things you don’t like about people, and a hill with things you do like about people. How deep. Truly I just needed a venn diagram with circles labeled ‘mature’ and ‘immature’ to figure out what was good and bad.
Wait, no. Sorry for being sarcastic, but I disagree that things are that simple. For instance, ‘Focuses on differences’ is in the immature circle and I think the differences in people are why we need other people. It comes off as preachy, not really helpful.
Just bloody brilliant. I could not agree more. I’ve preached these sort of virtues for ages haha. Showed this comic to a few friends that ought to make the climb and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the realization dawn on their faces. I’ve read all of the Subnormality Comics and I only just realized I have never before left a comment. Please accept this blanket note of praise. Damn near every single comic has been enjoyable, well-thought out, and beautifully drawn. I look forward to each and every comic to come. Please, if there are more works of yours that I may ogle at, let me know
That was full of win on so many levels. The job on the colors, the crispness of the details, the goats’ facial expressions and body language. The readability of this one through the roof. Absolutely beautiful. +1 vote for poster material.
Side note : was happy to see 90% of my goats are on the mature side. Glad I kickstarted my climb a few years back. I can already die happy.
Side note 2 : Winston, about the labels and signposts; I didn’t feel it’s all about trusting the reader’s intelligence. Parts of it, yes, but with the kind of material you do, it’s a difficult thing to balance. What will be too much info, what will be not enough? Etc…
Take those 1-panel political cartoons or caricatures. They’ll draw, say, Harper as a monkey, but they’ll also write “conservative” on his tie, or writing “capitalism” on a pig’s tuxedo. Now that is babysitting the reader, taking him by the hand, etc. You have more content in your images, so you probably have a tougher act to balance.
Also, having many little signs everywhere gives the comic a “Where’s Waldo” feeling. I enjoy having a million little details to look at and those signposts and labels add to the pleasant visual overload.
HOLY CRAP YOU ARE A GENIUS WITH COMICS AND CONTENT.
I just got done blowing through your archives and wonder why I never found this earlier. Witty, uplifting, snarky and intelligent, this here comic be. It isn’t enough that it’s smart, but can cheer you right back up, like this goat comic today.
Do you accept awed, subservient groveling at your feet or do you allow us to partake in your talented wit and glory like a benevolent deity?
Only one thing I disliked. Blaming yourself for the state of the world is no more mature than blaming the world for yourself. They’re both unrealistic and immature views. I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree.
i believe subjectivity is the basis for individuality and humanity. biases are simply a method of evaluating and ordering our entropic universe, giving ourselves an identity and purpose in a world of 6 billion+ opinions.
With all sincerity, I like to count how many i resemble on both sides. then, the winning side reveals itself due to a number of goats; therefore i see how i am feeling at the moment. I find out where i am at in life. Good or bad. It all depends on my number of goats that represent opposite states of mind. I must leave now, for i have to go purchase some alfalfa and grains. Thank you to the artist, for this was an interesting and….fun.
AH. The thing I just realised it’s missing is “Thinks it’s about being serious all the time” and “Knows how to have fun”. There’s nothing more immature than some lifeless, bitter asshole who calls everyone who tries to enjoy themselves “immature”.
I think it’s not about balancing saying more versus saying less. It’s about creating a rich experience for the reader and leaving space for the reader to think their own thoughts. In this case, I think the explicit labeling of all the goats makes for a richer reader experience, since it allows me to really ponder each goat as a symbol of something in my life, rather than as a picture of a goat. Labeling the axis was good too, since it helps me ponder what all the green goats have in common, and what all the red goats have in common.
In response to “Blames self for world”, I think it was cool but I see why some people don’t. I would phrase it differently. Basically, the world is what we make it, so we all have to think about what we want to make it into. We can’t blame ourselves for the whole thing, but we do have a duty to work on some small corner of it. It might be more accurate to say “Blames self and everyone else for the world”, but that sounds too much like the corresponding red goat. “Holds self responsible for a corner of the world” is probably closest.
You put that perfectly. If people don’t get it, it’s because they’re not thinking about it, they’re not recreating it in their own mind and thinking “Now, what does THAT mean?”. Instead, they take simple labels and accept them at that, instead of the ramifications of what they actually meant. See, this comic is actually supposed to make you think, unlike other comics. People aren’t used to that.
I am the only contributor until i can track down an Infinite Number of Monkeys to take over the writing duties. I’ve already got a hold of an Infinite Number of Typewriters and a Near-Infinite Amount of Paper, and Rather a Lot of Desk Lamps, and a snack table with A Few Things of Instant Coffee.
I’ve liked most of your comics so far, and even when I thought you were moralizing a little, I didn’t really mind it because your presentation was entertaining and interesting. Unfortunately, this comic is all moralizing and no entertainment. To be honest, I would have preferred it if you had just had two columns of bullet points, one of them labeled “IMMATURE TRAITS” and one of them “MATURE TRAITS”, because at least then I wouldn’t be reminded of those stereotypical “THOSE FUCKERS, OUR SHIT” political cartoons. I’m not even going to get into the philosophical/ethical merits of this comic, because whether or not I agree with you does not matter so much to me as whether there is any reason to read Subnormality other than to find out about your latest musings.
I liked it. But I disagree with your “asks”. While people that ask too much are annoying, I think that asking questions is really important. You can listen all you want, but you need to ask questions in general and to people more knowledgeable than yourself.
This is great. You seem to be quite reflective in your latest comics, so the lateness is forgiveable (I’m always happy to see an update, however rare!) And for me personally, the timing is suitable; I’ve been struggling with the fact that I have to grow up, and I feel exactly like the yellow goats, hesitating as I look back. I’d like this as a poster.
Ha, you accidentally a word in the last sentence there. Oh, and everyone feels fear, it’s the people who go on despite their fear who progress. Maybe i should have worked that into the comic. Oh wait, i did.
Hi! I’ve just recently discovered this site a couple of months ago. I was linked directly to the Monstrous Discrepancies comic, your comics make quite a bit of sense to me, and I’m happy to be able to find a comic that can help me discover or rediscover the world and how it really works. For that, thank you. I, am, hooked.
Anyways, to the point. I was wondering if you would make a poster for the Maturity Climb. And if so, would I be able to get a deal if I bought both Monstrous Discrepancies and The Maturity Climb.
Thanks for your time
Oh, one last thing, would you mind explaining the last panel of Choose Your Own Adventure. Why are you referencing the three monkeys, I feel I’m missing something big.
Hey, I’m the guy who quit reading Subnormality when you deleted his comment about how Captain Estar is NOT the Book of Mormon. However, having downed an entire bottle of Bailey’s (on sale at Sainsbury’s, his place of employment) he is unable to stop himself from indulging in sheer indulgence. He has to admit, the recent comick is Really Good(TM).
Ha! I didn’t even see this one until I just went through some unchecked RSS feeds. Great to have something like this posted on my birthday I can really see my own growth over the past years there, too. Make a poster of this and I will buy it.
Focusing a bit more on the content, now, I find that I don’t agree with everything on The Climb. Shocking, I know! I think it may be not so much disagreement as pedantry on word choice and the like. “Blames self for the world” is pointlessly negative. I think I see what you’re trying to express, but I’d rather see that as “Takes responsibility for the world” or somesuch – a much more active phrase, too! One very important thing to note, I believe, is that the attitudes and behaviours on the red end don’t necessarily make anyone a bad person. “Can’t admit responsibility” is a weakness rather than an error in your ways.
I don’t claim to be perfectly mature and know all about it – just my two cents going by how I’ve seen stuff happen over the years
Oh, and my favorite set of goats: “Scorns others’ efforts” -> “Scorns indolence” -> “Wants to help”.
Gotta say I don’t think that blaming self for the world is exactly a sign of maturity…
Maybe I am reading it wrong but I don’t think that is a good mindset to be in and to be honest I think by being in that mind set people can make some pretty immature decisions.
I think it’s more like they’re accepting that they have a part in what happens in the world, if they want to change it then they need to start with themselves not others, taking responsibility for actions, ya know?
It just came out weird cuz it’s supposed to be a mirror image of the ‘blames world for problems’ thing
I blame the world for some of my problems, The world is an evil place!!!
What’s wrong with asking…? Nothing!!!
Responsibility is nothing!!!
When I “have to be right” I AM right!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I AM immature
the top…? maturity…? No… maturity is worthless…! That often mean getting boring…. and I have no reason to mature… I… am already dead inside… The only light comes from…….. her, my only friend, whom I love… But she… does not love me that way…. No, I hate maturity……….
It’s saying that the green goats are more mature due to the traits that they have: Empathy, self-control, objectivity, and prevention
The pink goats are immature due to their: complacence, subjectivity, and revenge.
Just a note to say that I bought this as a poster, and it’s hanging on the inside of the toilet door. I’ve got two girls and a wife, and the time they spend in there hopefully will trickle in the wisdom of this fantastic poster! Thanks, Virus!
I am a high school teacher, and I plan on purchasing this as a poster (unless you want to contribute to the educational world by sending me a free one.) I already shared it with my colleagues and one of my classes and they loved it. Thank you.
To Paul Friedman, who said: “The goat marked “Asks” ought to be labeled “Hears but doesn’t listen” (and be colored pink).”
That goat is yellow because it’s starting to be ready to climb the hill; it is not just absorbing what it’s told, but questioning even things that are presented as “fact”. The first day you stop simply accepting what you hear at face value is one of the first steps to true individuality and maturity.
And in case it wasn’t clear from how much I thought about the content of this poster, I adore it. It brought tears to my eyes, and when I have a bit more funds I’ll be getting a poster of it and #133 (Weird). Thank you again (and again!) for sharing your weird, wise and wonderful ideas and images with the world through Subnormality!
Whoever did this graphic, is a genius. It’s a complete life lesson in a nutshell. To those who discover that you are among the red goats: admitting it is half the battle. The key is to always want to improve yourself, to become a better person.
I grew up seeing this in my elementary school…
Now that I’ve been introduced to your work I’m amazed that such a wonderful artist made something that turned out to be one of the influences of my childhood. Thanks!
Personally I think any kind of obsession is unhealthy, so I don’t think being “obsessed with facts” would really be so mature, maybe focusing on facts instead of obsessing over them would be a better use of words.
Either way, I really like how you represened all this dicotomies, makes you think. *nods*