Why Lie to Children?
Monday, 1 November 2010
There are no werewolves. There are no Vampires, mummies and no zombies. Frankenstein’s monster is fiction. There are no witches, no warlocks, and no wizards. Magic is fiction; there is no black magic, no white magic and no spells. Voodoo is hoodoo. I know this may come as a shock because they are so commonplace and acceptable to everyone from about the age of two upwards.
There are no ghosts, no Casper, no Ghostbusters, no headless spirits, a Ouija board is a patented game, and Tarot cards are merely playing cards.
I am not finished. There are no mermaids, no talking fish, no squarepanted sponges, and nobody can “breathe” underwater. There are no hobbits, gargoyles, dwarves, gnomes, elves, faeries, fairies, Tinkerbelle, Fairy Godmothers, will o’the wisps, sprites, gremlins, pixies, genies, lilliputians, yahoos, magic carpets, no talking dogs or cats, no winged horses, unicorns, carebears, Santa Claus, Tom Thumb, Thumbellina, giants, ogres, monsters, or aliens.
Oddly enough, there is no such thing as a force field, a phaser on stun, a transporter or teleporter, nor warp speed. There is no time travel, no invisibility cloak, no Superman, no Spider-man, no Batman, no Robin, no Joker, no Penguin, no Riddler, no Catwoman, no superheroes. No super strength, no flying, and no x-ray vision.
There are no robots, no galactic empires, no dinosaurs, no Cyclops, Orthrus, Cerebus, Thor, Odin, Wodin, Cupid and Psyche, Hercules, Atlas, Gorgon, Medusa, Wotan, Mercury, Half-Man half goat, half-man half-horse, Bucephalus, nor Pegasus.
Going even further, there are no saints, angels, no Jesus, no Mohammed, no Buddha, no active and participating or interacting God or gods, no sacred cows, no specially powered creatures anywhere ever. There’s no reincarnation, no heaven, no hell, no limbo and no purgatory.
Unbelievable to list them all; it just shows how much nonsense we fill our children’s heads with! They accept what we tell them — that there is a wolf out there that can dress up as an old woman, that a puppet can become a real boy, that an elephant can fly.
So why do we do this? It is a load of rubbish, that is obvious, so what end does this serve?
The answer seems to be that they share a complicity, that the growing out of each bit is the development of the person, the coming of age, coming to the truth as an adult. It is a cultural and multicultural thing. Our nonsense is different from other cultural groups’ nonsense, and in that we share a gullibility and suspension of disbelief for the sake of a grand tale and a good story.
Perhaps this is the only expression of imagination, for there is no other outlet for this brain activity, and perhaps humans are different from other creatures in inventing bizarre versions of our selves.
Maybe it is a way of living out wishful thinking, of connecting with the dead, with the past and with the future. Maybe we have a need to not feel we are alone to accept aliens or ghosts as “real”.
All I can say here is that although all of it is man-made nonsense, it is so prevalent and omnipresent that it must fulfil a serious purpose, it must be a necessary part of humanity. We lie to children to fire their inventiveness, creativity and imagination. When you think about it, why else would we fill their heads with such rubbish, and how else would we encourage and develop the fictional, wondering, arty side of ourselves.