Friday, July 25, 2008

The Age of Unbelieving

AMC is showing Bedknobs and Broomsticks tonite. I loved this movie when I was a kid, and watching it now, I realize how good it really is! There's a lot of history, some mythology, and all around fun all thrown together. The animation reminds me a GREAT deal of the Jungle Book and Robin Hood...which is one of my FAVORITE movies of all time. There was one point in particular in Bedknobs and Broomsticks that made me start thinking.

There's a song, towards the beginning of the movie, that talks about the Age of Unbelieving. For some reason, that struck a cord with me. In today's world, children are encouraged to grow up (in my opinion) way too soon. Their imaginary friends are discouraged, their daydreams torn down, and their creativity put into boxes that are "acceptable". I think this is a shame. Granted, the Age of Unbelieving comes to each child at a different point. But why the insistence on it coming soon?

I remember believing with all my heart that all I had to do was stumble across the right wardrobe, hidden door, secret room, etc., and I would be transported to another world. I would make plans as to what I would do once I found myself I would blend in, who I would talk to, what my course of action would be, and the like. I also never doubted the existence of dragons, fairies, magic, talking animals, or mental abilities (telepathy, telekinesis, and so forth). I listened to fairy tales with the utmost attention and intensity. When I could read, I devoured science fiction and fantasy stories, the one that finally engulfed me (and does to this day) the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey.

Of course, with time, I reached the Age of Unbelieving. Except, I didn't. I realized that the fantastical things I read about were confined to the pages of my books and to the realm of my imagination, but part of me to this day will not give up on their existence. In the back of my mind, beyond logic and education, I still believe in dragons, magic, and all the rest. How can I not? The world would be a much less satisfying and mysterious place, if therein did not exist magic and its creatures! And so, though I'm way past the Age of Unbelieving, I choose to believe.

Yes, I know they're not real. But why can't they be? At least in the realm of belief. After all, belief doesn't always reflect reality. So, why should children be discouraged from believing? Eventually they'll reach the Age of Unbelieving, and realize their daydreams aren't real in the traditional sense. That the dragons, fairies, magic, other worlds, all of it, exist only in their heads. But, in the incredibly potent and apt words of Dumbledore (via J.K. Rowling), "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry (substitute your name for Harry's), but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Anyways, I was just thinking.

***Note: I realize there might be some confusion regarding my "Dumbledore via J.K. Rowling". If you see the character as the product of the author, then technically it should be J.K. Rowling via Dumbledore. However, if you see the author as giving life to a character that was simply waiting for their pen stroke, then truly the author is the medium through which the character's words are delivered. Guess which point of view I ascribe to? :-)***

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Down with the Age of Unbelieving! You know what? You should read Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories". You will love it ^_^

    So, the 15 hour journey home was a huge mess. Long story short, Airtran decided to send out a flight while half the passengers were still trying to get their baggage checked, and then spent the rest of the day scrambling to get all the left-behinds to Baltimore. We were actually pretty lucky, at least we were guaranteed a seat home that day. The lady in front of us in line was still waiting on standby when we left, along with about 20 people >_<

    But anyway :-p I'm all done with classes, and completely loving having a job ^_^ I'm doing an internship with an environmental consulting company, EA Engineering, and it's pretty cool.


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