Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lewis Carroll, Fear-mongering, and Jealousy



Lewis Carroll

My favorite person in literary history has to be Lewis Carroll. I know that's a strong statement, but I think about him all the time. I have been very influenced by Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, I love his poetry and riddles, and his biography veritably changed my life. I first learned about him at my Christian High School math class.  We talked about genius, how math and logic are connected, and we watched a biographical movie about his life.

I think what I adore about Lewis Carroll was that he was so gifted, and very blessed during his life, but as he was a strong Christian, he suffered very, very deeply.  He was misunderstood.  He was accused of things he didn't do. He didn't get everything he wanted in his life. But if you think of how many children he inspired, and how many people he touched by his influence, it is mind-blowing.  Our collective imaginations have been transformed by his work. I think he deserves a bigger place in history than he even now has.
If you haven't read any of his great works, or if you want to read a stunning biography, please keep Carroll in mind! So. good! Do me a favor and at the very least, try a read aloud of "Jabberwocky"

Fear-mongering

Seemingly unrelated, I want to talk about fear-mongering for a minute. I see people throw around fearful talk all the time. One person in particular who has a special penchant for arousing our fearful emotions is Donald Trump. I've written about him in the past - Why I Will Never Vote Trump, and Vote With Your Whole Mind. I do not like him, Sam I Am.

My Dad is a physician. All growing up, I remember he would tell us stories at the dinner table. He usually told us someone came in, and how that person was doing, and what they talked about. There was usually humor and laughing at dinner, as I recall. However, during the rare occasions that he mentioned that person's health or something specific related to geriatric disease or any kind of health problems, my Mom would interrupt. Many times, she would say, "We don't want to hear about that, Henry!"  Or just "Henry!" Or sometimes, "HENRY!!"  It was quite comical, actually.

Now, as you may guess, my Dad has the healing charism.  He has the disposition to be in a hospital, visiting patients, without being phased by death and disease -- or at the least, he is able to stay peaceful and calm in the midst of those situations.  However, my Mom kept him from bringing up disgusting or terrifying things, or discussing them at the dinner table.  I have always believed that if something causes you to worry, it will do no good bringing it up over and over again. I'm pretty sure fear-mongering isn't helpful, particularly, if like me, you struggle with anxiety.

Some examples:

"What if we end up dying like 'so and so'?"

"St. Therese had a horrible death-- here are several very specific examples of why!"

Or, fear-mongering in marriage:

"If you say that again, I will leave you!"

"This isn't going to end well!"

All of these things will do no good and instead will give you more worry than you need.  If you need to skip details when in discussion, please for the sake of your sanity, do so.*

Jealousy

I think many would-be creatives (would-be politicians? ahem) do not understand that if you want to be creative, you have to suffer, and they need a certain disposition and certain experiences, in order to lead a creative life. For Lewis Carroll, achieving a creative life meant a deep passion for children and children's stories. This was one of the main ways he was misunderstood.  Because of his close relationship with the real "Alice," he was accused of loving children too much, as many of his stories were borne of real interactions with her. It seemed strange that a professor of Logic at Cambridge would want to take a child to tea, but he was just that kind of person! He bore that cross with humility and courage. As a creative type myself, I have to cast aside all of my burdens, and especially my anxieties, or I would be apathetic about the things that really matter in life.  I have gotten flack from non-creative types, because they do not understand my brand of humor. They do not understand that mourning is a big part of being able to make art (or in my case, read and write).

Do you will that you would be able to make art? Do you have creative passions that you have pushed aside? My biggest advice to you would be to shed your doubts and fears. Shed doubts about your own abilities. Shed fears about what people will think of you or how they may judge you.  Do you dream of lucid thoughts and clear thinking? Do you wish to be a clairvoyant, or more articulate? Cast aside fear. Lay down the arrogance and jealousy. Move forward with the grace and courage of God, your Maker. Make a practice of not allowing yourself fearful or anxious thoughts. Turn off the news or radio any time the announcers and politicians bring up fearful things. It will do you good to do so.

*
We play into the Devil's hands when we use fear as a motivating power. That is exactly what he (The Devil) wants us to do. The spirit of God is one of peace. If *fear* is the platform, we play into the enemy's hands. Terrorism is the perpetration of terror and fear. This is a time of great need for strength, respectful dialogue, and courage.
Also: Donald and I are like green eggs and ham- and it doesn't end well. ;)
Linking up with Tuesday Talk

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