Monday, October 29, 2012

Monstrous Monday: The True Monster


"They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.
“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.
“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy..."
- A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

One of my most favorite stories is a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  What? Surprised an atheist can enjoy a Christmas story? Or even a ghost story?  Well I can and I do.

The above scene from the Second Spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, is telling.

The greatest monster we face today is Ignorance.

As American we seem to want to embrace our ignorance as some sort of badge of honor.  We watch stupid TV shows with stupid commercials for products we don't need or are even bad for us.    We revel in it.

Of course then it is no surprise that there are those that want to dumb down our schools. Have them learn stupid fantasies because they are too ignorant or too lazy or both to learn the truth.

There is another quote often attributed to G. K. Chesterton.

“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that monsters exist, but because they tell us that monsters can be beaten.”

Ignorance can be beaten.  But it is going to take a lot more work than most people are willing to do.