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The Lessons of Children

Here's a good lesson in self-trust: take a look at children, or babies, or even the few remaining uncivilized peoples of the world. Study their faces, their behavior. Their minds aren't divided and rebellious like ours! They don't automatically discard ideas like we do when our mental computer calculates too much opposition to it.

Since their minds are whole, their eye hasn't yet been conquered, and when we look in their faces we are disconcerted.

Infancy doesn't conform to anyone—
we all conform to it!
It only takes one baby
to turn all the adults in the room
into four- or five-year-olds.

The baby's magical charisma could be available to all of us in youth, puberty, and even adulthood if we'd just let it shine through us, unadulterated.


The Power of Teenagers

Don't think teenagers have no power because they can't express themselves the way we might like. Listen! You can hear them expressing themselves loud and clear in the next room. They can speak perfectly well to their peer group. Through silence or shouting, they know how to make us adults very unnecessary.

The casual sense of entitlement kids have when they know where their next meal is coming from—their princely refusal to acknowledge that you might be doing them a favor by feeding themis just healthy human nature.

A boy in the living room is like a heckler at a show.

Independent, irresponsible, a spectator of the people and events that pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, swiftly and unceremoniously: good, bad, interesting, silly, cool, trouble. He never worries about consequences, about special interests. He gives an independent, genuine verdict. You have to court him! He doesn't court you.


The Jail of Consciousness

We adults are thrown into jail by our consciousness. As soon as others applaud one thing we say or do, we're committed.

From that moment on,
we're forced to factor the approval or hatred
of everyone we know into everything we do.
There is no unlearning this.

If only we could go back to that naive way of being! Imagine if someone could put aside all his attachments, seeing life once more from that same unaffected, unbiased, unbribable, unafraid innocence. He'd be terrifying! He'd comment on whatever happened, giving opinions that wouldn't seem like mere points of view, but like the absolute truth. His words would stick like darts in people's ears and inject them with horror.

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Last Edited: May 03, 2000
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© 1997 Richard Brodie. All rights reserved.