Archive for May, 2011

be like despereaux


Watched the movie “The Tale of Despereaux” last night. While I didn’t so much like the movie, I fell in love with the big-eared mouse that didn’t sport the name Mickey.

the premise

despereauxDespereaux goes to school to learn to be a mouse. This means that he learns to be afraid, to cower and to run away from things that could hurt him. His teachers show him how scary things are and, when he doesn’t cower in fear, tells him he’s not learning.

Despereaux, unlike all of his fellow mice, is not afraid.

the awesomeness

How amazing it was as a child when we weren’t afraid of anything (or at least, not afraid of much).

We had no sense of time, no idea what “the real world” was (many times I still think I have no idea what the real world is), no idea what heartbreak felt like, no clue as to the incarnations of treachery, politics or Osama bin Laden.

As children, we ask endless amounts of questions and receive answers from those with experience, from those who have seen and felt things we never thought possible outside of our wild imagination. As a result – both directly and indirectly – we conjure these concepts and ideas as we age. As the world gets more complex and the responsibilities bear down upon us like the world upon Atlas’ shoulders, we become less than what we were supposed to be. We become adults.

stay child-like

My favorite quality of Despereaux is the child-like awe in which he holds the world (see my post on staying child-like).

Simple things like sunlight he marveled at. Stories of unadulterated bravery and heroism he drank in. Beauty unrestrained he loved without lust. We’re not born to be politicians, or to be bitter, or to be disillusioned with such a messed up world. We learn it; hence, we make the world a messed up place. An endless cycle.

Despereaux just hangs onto that child-like sense of wonder without even realizing his good fortune in that mere fact alone. So much that I found myself a bit jealous.

cynical realism for the common man”

I’m a cynic. Not born one. Not even raised one. But become one.

There are times where I say being a cynic is fun. And believe me, it really has its moments. Especially in the face of insanity, the State of the Union and inane dinner table conversation. I can make fun of things that have merely a perceived impact on dramatists and people who act in real life.

However, I’ve found over time that being a cynic, while fun, is not a proper – or feasible – path to contentment. It’s an excuse. An excuse to take no action in the face of tough decisions. An excuse to criticize others for their actions as we sit in our own tepid pool of inaction.

Simply put: Cynics don’t make the world a better place. Indirectly, the residual effects of our actions can, but it’s only by accident. Only by happenstance (e.g. you piss off a writer with your witty criticisms and she writes her magnum opus in a fit of anger and despair).

closing simple thought

We all need to be a little more like Despereaux. We all need to lose a little bit of our fear, regain a little bit of our child-like state, and just dance with no music on.

And so I ask: “Are you a man, or are you a mouse?”