There is a daring wonder and imaginative outlook that powers the mind of a child, or a childlike mind. There are things in this world that are only visible to children. Things that can only be perceived through the unadulterated, unconditioned, uninhibited eyes of a child. If you cast your mind back to your childhood, everything seemed so much bigger. So much more intense. Years later, if you came back and visited your old school, everything seemed so much smaller and duller than you remember. Uninteresting. Almost embarrassing. It all seemed so huge back then.
And it’s not the perspective of different body height at play here. No, I don’t think so. It’s the loss of innocence. The foundation for that daringly wondering gaze into a world of the fantastical is innocence. When we grow up we lose our innocence. When we become adults we find ourselves inhabiting the wrong side of the childhood-adulthood dichotomy. We become those whom as children we looked on as nay-saying authoritarian spoil sports. As kids we frown upon those party pooper grownups designated to the administration of our development. Then we grow up and become the party pooper ourselves.
We have become the enemy. Now we have blood on our hands. And suddenly we find ourselves incapable of seeing through the eyes of our own childhood. We are locked out of an entire universe. A universe without bills, or work or obligations. A universe with far more important problems.
Problems of discovering questions to which adults seem to chronically lack adequate answers. The human brain is probably the most powerful tool we have out our disposal. And it’s wasted on adults. There is a single minded dogmatic conformism perpetrated by years worth of academic indoctrination, that goes all the way back to the first day of kindergarten and culminates in what is colloquially referred to as “being a productive member of society”. This dogma is what mutilates our mind, clips the wings of our own creativity and aligns us with a very very narrow spectrum of what is referred to as acceptable behaviour.
“Grow up!”. What do you think happened to the monsters under your bed? Or the ones in your closet? Where did your imaginary friends go to? The creepy things that lived in the dark corner of your childhood room and only came out at night when the lights were switched off? Gone? Never even existed? Then why are children still seeing them?
Most adult people I ask say they don’t dream much or don’t dream of anything interesting, or just can’t remember what they dreamt of the night before. Locked out. Blinded by responsibility. Productivity. Conformity. Tradition. These same people probably love watching Game of Thrones. Or Avengers. Battlestar Galactica. Why?
Why? Because somewhere deep within the forgotten and forgettable recesses of your reconfigured soul, in a cold and dark dungeon, is a cell that holds a political prisoner. Thereal you. The real you is captive to the now you. You can’t kill it without killing yourself in the process. So you lock it away and you don’t talk about it in polite company. Some of you keep them chained in the dungeons of your self-repression, this real you. And the rest of the world gets the prescribed and pre-approved and authorized now you. But you can’t let the real you die without dying yourself. So you feed it. You feed it with stories that try to imitate that other bigger universe. The one you can’t seem to see anymore.
Some of you will not turn your backs on that universe. You refuse to abandon the universe with a sun behind the sun. The universe with the Witch Moon. The universe with the living trees that have dead things living in them. The universe where in your dreams at night you fly from treetop to treetop and the leaves speak to you. Where the fantastical is every day and every day’s an adventure.
And so you make a deal with the monster under your bed. It agrees to move over a bit, to make room for the real you. To make room for all the wonder and enchantment. After all, who would ever think to look for them there?
At night you fly into the universe. And by day you go out into the world and play their game. After all, playing is what you do best.
Grow up? Sure thing. Anything you say. 😉