other thoughts

Innocence vs Experience

[Saturday: 3.2 miles; today 3.2 miles]

I’m still watching these youtube videos. A recent one was this guy Jordan Hall. He tells an interesting story.

The part I’m particularly interested in is something he tells about being five years old and going to McDonalds to get a Happy Meal. He had seen the commercials of what a good experience he could have with a Happy Meal. But his expectations were not met and he concluded there was some fundamental lying going on which was a sign of a doomed society.

He goes on to talk about how he found various deceptive things going on during his education, and it really didn’t inspire him to do well.

My mother was a long time school teacher. One time I asked her which grade she enjoyed teaching the most. She said third and fourth grades. She said the “light came on” in third and fourth. I’m not exactly sure what that meant. But I get the idea.

I remember in third grade I made some kind of joke in class. I thought it was obviously funny. But the teacher heard it as an insult to her and she was not happy. I could tell she was not happy but it took me awhile to figure out why. And eventually I could see how it could come across as an insult. So my joke was a bust. But that’s the first time I remember putting effort into seeing someone else’s point of view.

Anyway, the guy in the video has his ups and downs and he becomes a very successful businessman (from what I can tell). I don’t think he comes back around to the Happy Meal issue directly, as to how adults should interact in a more honest way, particularly with children. Maybe the issue is not so much that the bubble of expectations is popped but that it is allowed to get so big.

There’s this thing about innocence. With children there is continuous education. And some of the education involves finding out that things are not as good as you understood them to be. Maybe this is a problem only for the kids who grow up in a nice environment!

This guy was traumatized by the empty promises of a Happy Meal. And I must admit he has a good point. We do have a lot of empty promises and outright scams in our daily experience. And less nefarious things like poor communication.

Experience has it’s own dangers. It seems sensible to experiment will all sorts of things: try it, maybe you’ll like it. But it doesn’t work that way. Because by trying you will be exposed to things that can change your fundamental nature and potentially risk your life.

There’s not really a solution to the problem. If you are ignorant you are in danger and if you are foolish in experimenting you are also in danger.