Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Of Children and Old People

In American culture, neither children nor old people are very respected. We look down at children as being too young and inexperienced to know anything. The elderly are considered naive, behind the times, or too senile to make sense. In any case, they don't live in the real world. The irony is, children and old people are the only ones who truly get it.

Take children. They see every day as a day filled with possibilities. They appreciate the feel of grass under their toes, the magnificent beauty of a dandelion and the sound of a stream as it goes gurgling by. They have invisible playmates and they know how to use their imaginations. They often don't live in the "real world"--the world inhabited by working adults, and that's just the way they like it.

Now look at the elderly. They have been in the world of the working adult, and they usually value the experiences they have had. Many times they can see where they went wrong, but in their wisdom they understand it was all a learning process. Sometimes they even get to a point where they live in the imaginary world of the past (we often call it Alzheimer's). They don't live in the "real world" either, and that's just the way they like it.

The thing is, I'm not so sure the world of thought and imagination is as imaginary as we like to think. There are things that happen on the spiritual plane--the land of "imagination"--that often transform themselves into the physical plane. Imagination can be used to work through mental and emotional problems which have real world effects. Great inventions and masterpieces come from this place. There is so much more to the land of thought and imagination than meets the eye.

Maybe children and old people have it right after all.

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