Saturday, October 17, 2009

How to Offend Almost Everyone

There’s a certain amount of religiosity when it comes to having children. They approach life with the attitude that it is all about personal enlightenment through experience and the acquiring of arcane knowledge. They repeat pleas for stuff as though they are chanting, and come up with meaningless epithets and koans without even trying.

They study the visual scriptures of Disney and Pixar, happily absorbing themselves in these up to five times a day, the TV facing west to avoid the glare of the sun, the spectral glow informing their decisions and slowly cramping their ability to make independent decisions.

They commune with nature in a personal way, summoning up spirits and emotions direct from the soil and the plants within it, personalising and deifying the creatures lurking within. They name them and anthropomorphise them, give them human frailties and powers. The eternal mysteries of sun and moon govern their lucid hours, and the control of light is imperative to their settled sleep, much as the ancients constructed temples of standing stones to echo the course of the sun and moon, the nightlight becomes the security beneath which dreams are fashioned of endless pleasure, rather than the gnawing fear of ill-defined monsters lurking in the dark.

God is in the details, for them. The complexities of how deceased domestic animals pass the time in eternity a deep philosophical problem. Yet in their innocence it is accepted that animals are good, and humans also, in some way, redeemable. Small things can shake them in a massive way, and, conversely, huge issues are merely subsumed by a general acceptance that life is a continuum of mystery and confusion, and that some concepts are larger than the mushy span of grey matter inside our heads.

They live with heart, pure hearts. They are quick to acknowledge the presence of evil and the unpleasantness it causes when it infiltrates the architecture of their existences.

And asleep, they are beatific, holy even, their tiny faces not in constant struggle, but at peace. In the same way that people follow austere gurus or meditative holy men or women, the absolute nothingness of a child at sleep is something to be craved.

This isn’t a comment on religion, on who or what you pursue in your quest for fulfillment- that’s up to you- but merely an idea that, perhaps, children are a hand’s-breadth closer to god than we shall ever be as adults.

And they come up with jokes like: Why did the priest take a machine gun to church? He wanted to make the people hole-y.


  1. Hence the term "child like faith" :)

    Something we should all strive towards

  2. @acidicice: Totally! Adulthood seems like such a hindrance sometimes.

  3. Hmm. That last line makes me think of the little girl, who when given a new teddy said she was going to name it Gladly. When asked why Gladly, she said it was after the song they sang in Sunday School: Gladly my cross I'd bear.
    Such innocence.
    Got to love it :)

  4. Adulthood is the ULTIMATE hinderance...yes.

  5. I often wish I could still have some of that kind of faith...

  6. @TBFKAMP: We just used to make up rude words to the songs in Sunday school
    @Beej: WE should start life as adults, and work backwards.
    @angel: ANY faith would be good right now.

  7. I love that kids totally believe they have the right to know everything and that all knowledge is within their grasp. It is only later we start to question if we are clever enough to understand certain things.


Say something! It can't be worse than what I have said. Note: Sometimes you have to press 'comment' twice. Stupid comments thingy.