Friday, June 19, 2009

A fairytale lesson

Little Red Riding Hood is a quintessential fairytale, possibly one of the most famous. What fascinates me most about the story of this little girl, is the degree to which is a reflection of human nature; we are told not to do something, yet we do it anyways. I often wonder why we insist on doing things for ourselves. Is it a desire to rebel? Maybe if you're a teenager. But now I am in my twenties, so does that mean I no longer have an excuse for outlandish behavior? I'm of the school of thought that we all need to experience things first hand, learning can't just happen in a dictator-esque style. We're taught from a young age that we go to school to learn, but what about all of the other equally important learning that happens outside of the classroom? It maybe that we are simply less conscious of the learning we do in other aspects of our lives, but I think it is important to pause and consider the vast amount of learning we do everyday. But also to think about how we put that knowledge to use.

The little girl had only been told to not stray from the path, there was no mention of not talking to wolves. Can you blame her sense of curiosity? I certainly can't deny that if I came across a talking wolf, that I would be able to breeze right by him, or any talking animal for that matter. While Charles Perrault will tell us that the most important lesson from Little Red Riding Hood is that ladies should not talk to strangers, I would suggest that the lesson from this fairytale is to never not question what you encounter. Even if it is something that seems all too familiar, or friendly, if it goes unquestioned we only disadvantage ourselves by passing up an opportunity to cast the nets of our minds a bit further.

Maybe in the case of this little girl, it's not a matter of doing something that she is told not to do, but rather engaging in something that in retrospect might not be the brightest idea. The key to this, is that you have to do something wrong first in order to make retrospective observations. Even as I sit here writing this, I find it difficult to wrap my mind around (intentionally?) doing the 'wrong' things. Though I think my mindset is the result of 20 some years of cultural conditioning; perfection is the only acceptable way to go. So I guess this leads me to pose the question, how can we unwind ourselves from the cultural sphere to transcend to a way of being that allows us to be free enough to feel comfortable making mistakes?

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