Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let's become children: Where ignorance is bliss

On the eve of New Year I toyed with several topics to blog on. The decade that passed has been eventful, especially for America. The decade opened with a tragic attack on 9/11 and is passing out with a gut wrenching economic crises, two wars and a failed terror attempt. I will leave those topics for magazines to ruminate endlessly and in turn let me leave this year with a fond, probably naive too, hope.

We were visiting my brother-in-law in North Carolina for X-mas. My 4 year old and his 3.5 year old both hit it off great. It was warming to see kids play with each other. Just like kids they would hug each other tightly and be chummy for the most part and then suddenly fight over a toy. After a short tiff all would be forgiven they would then go back to chasing each other with peals of laughter. Their love has an abiding quality and meaning. The fights had meaning only in that short lived moment, not beyond. What a lovely childlike, rather Godly, impulse that gets lost in adults. Having lost such a childlike quality we seek refuge in fancy theories and books and psychologists to make sense of conflicts that tear apart relationships and souls. Probably a deeper theology underlies in celebrating Gods as children, Krishna and child Jesus being the most prominent.

Often the phrase "ignorance is bliss" is used in a negative connotation. Not many realise that T.Gray actually meant it as a compliment and said it in a wistful mode that let children have their blissful ignorance after all once they grow up this world filled with cares will rob us of our joys. (Thomas Gray's complete 'Ode on a distant prospect to Eton' http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/884.html)

Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day:
Yet see how all around 'em wait
The ministers of human fate,.......
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.

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