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Tuesday 17 March 2009

The Kingdom Of Childhood

The Kingdom of Childhood is one of adventure and risk. There are dragons to be slain, dark woods in which one could be lost forever, glorious victories, kindly witches, wicked fairies, and a whole host of heroes and villains. It's a kingdom - like the Brontes' kingdom of Angria - filled with intrigues and intricacies that the adult mind struggles to understand because, while that kingdom never really goes away, it is viewed from such a grown-up perspective that the dragons, woods and villains are simply replaced by the stresses of work, lack of work, struggle and economics. The problem with adulthood is that we feel we ought to have slain and the dragons of childhood and are too grown-up to believe in the magic we once knew was true.
What is truly sad in recent times is the way in which we have not only smothered our own sense of childhood but, with an obsession with safety, have smothered that of children too. Adventures - though they doubtlessly continue though children's eyes - are inhibited by ridiculous laws of health & safety. Everything is cocooned and children are regimented to pass tests, till their brilliant imaginations have no outlet and all that is original is crushed out of them.
To my mind, this has been going on for a long time - a hundred and fifty years or more - probably since the beginnings of the agricultural and industrial revolutions, when people were suddenly regimented into working by the clock rather than by the sun; when animals were fed and fattened beyond what is natural, and humanity was herded en masse into cities and towns. More recently, it has taken a different turn - now, it is about creating little cogs to fit the wheel of 'society' - emphasis on maths and science, compelling everyone even in the most practical lines of work, to pass exams and gain some meaningless qualification - disregarding those whose natural talents are more artistic or creative or manual.
And what is the outcome? Well, isn't it obvious that sooner or later Nature Herself would rebel against this regimentation. Now, the banks collapse and whole false stability of economics is shown in its true light as something that can't be, and never could be, depended upon. This follows half a century of similar collapses. All those false institutions that attempted to control have been crumbling. Churches are emptying, the statesmen and women are not respected - and why should they be? - and everything that was set up to control and deprive people of their innate right to be who they are as mature and worthwhile individuals living in harmony, rather than cogs in a machine, is being shown for what it is.
This 'global' (how politicians love that term!) mess, which might well have been manufactured by those with an agenda to control, seems to have really turned people back to their own inner resourcefulness. My solution, for what it's worth, is a return to the archetypes of childhood. Once we see that the dragons and dark woods are not external to us, but are characters of our own making, we see that within us is the ability to slay all those dragons, to take risks and have adventures. There's no need for us to be kept 'safe' by those in power (in any form). We have within ourselves, the ability to live, to succeed in whatever we are created to succeed in; basically, we are free.

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