In defense of Willow and Jaden, two teenagers just figuring stuff out

Willow and Jaden Smith recently sat down with New York Times’ T Magazine to joint-interview about their new albums. The conversation got super philosophical, and both siblings delivered some notably out-of-the-box remarks. Rather than people going “Wow, look at those Smith siblings digging deep and delving into the mysteries of the universe,” the press went into full-on takedown mode, calling the siblings everything from “weird” to “crazy.”

As aforementioned, it’s true, the Smith siblings definitely push the boundaries of publicist-approved “normalcy” in their interview. Willow describes her music as, “The feeling of being like, this is a fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.” Jaden claims school “is not authentic because it ends. It’s not true, it’s not real. Our learning will never end.” Willow talks about “caring less what everybody else thinks, but also caring less and less about what your own mind thinks, because what your own mind thinks, sometimes, is the thing that makes you sad.” And both Jaden and Willow share some deep thoughts on the nature of time. (Willow: “I can make it go slow or fast, however I please. That’s how I know it doesn’t exist.” And Jaden: “. . . If you are aware in a moment, one second can last a year. And if you are unaware, your whole childhood, your whole life can pass by in six seconds. But it’s also such a thing that you can get lost in. . . because you have to live. There’s a theoretical physicist inside all of our minds, and you can talk and talk, but it’s living.”)

So, yes, the Smith sibs definitely touch on some out-there things in their interview. You know who else had some out-there thoughts? Socrates and Plato and Aristotle. And teenagers. That is the time when your brain is growing and you’re starting to question the world around you. It’s when some people start really wondering what life is all about, and they get really deep and they write some heavy stuff in their journals—stuff about time and space, about what they’re even doing in this universe.

Not everyone gets down and dirty with metaphysics as a teen, but some of us (cough, cough) questioned the nature of everything in a way that probably annoyed our parents. But whatever, we were teens, and so are the Smiths. They’re entitled to get deep on us and have theories on things and philosophize. Their brains are cranking with all the thoughts that flood you as you grow up into an adult.

Willow and Jaden are so young (14 and 16, respectively), and even though these sibling are super rich and super famous, rather than spend their time diving into giant pools of money like real-life Scrooge McDucks, they’re reading at a Ph.D level (Willow is currently devouring “quantum physics” while Jaden is blasting through  “ancient texts [that] can’t be pre-dated.”) and they’re trying to wrap their brains around how everything (and I REALLY mean EVERYTHING) works. I think rather than lay the smack-down on the sibs, we should be giving Willow and Jaden big props for tackling the big stuff.

And yes, some of these statements may not completely hold up under intense scrutiny. Rather than ding the siblings for a wobbly theory or two, we should be cheering these kids on for having theories at all. I think the Smith siblings shocked the world with their curiosity and intelligence and unwillingness to conform in this interview, and I think they are now being punished for not playing the child star roles they were expected to play.

(Image via Nathaniel Wood/New York Times)