There has been a lot of noise about what Richard Dawkins thinks of fairy tales. First the old thing said: ‘it’s rather pernicious to inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism.’ He then said ‘Santa Claus… could be a very valuable lesson because the child will learn that there are some things you are told that are not true. Now isn’t that a valuable lesson? Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect in some cases, because after children learn that there is no Santa Claus, mysteriously they go on believing that there is a God.”
A question I have for the celebrity Dawkins… what does believing or not believing in Santa have to do with believing in God? And what is ‘the desired effect’? Do we all have to be atheists? Is this observation a non sequitur or am I Mary Poppins?
Dear Dawky, fantasy is a necessary requirement for the human mind. It forms a part of the exquisite orchestra of our brain activity. Most of the time we and Dawky meander about in a Beta brainwave state, going to work, talking to cronies, writing boring memos and combing our hair in a flattering sort of way. Beta brainwaves might be the preferred place for materialists who like a sensible life on the reality plane, and imagining that it is the only place to be… but that is not possible, any more than it is possible to live in a sunny land without a shadow. Beta brainwaves might appeal to Dawkins, but there is a lot of other brainwave activity beyond the realms of reality.
When it comes to imagining and imagination, there is the Alpha state, something entirely different, so that when you close your eyes and start to mentally meander in the Alpha state you can conjure up images or ideas about dragons and fairies, Cheshire cats and Jabberwockies. Why that? Because we all need to.
The conscious mind, which amounts to a tiny sliver of our brain, the teeny weeniest bit of our noddle, needs the Beta state, to talk and be and get on the bus. But the Alpha state takes us elsewhere, and it is the beauty of Alpha and then Theta that carry us to deep and amazing places where the imagination runs riot, and we speak in the language of the subconscious, in metaphors and parables. The subconscious occupies a vast cosmic territory in the brain, and it needs all the metaphor and fantasy there is… in fact… when you go into an Alpha altered state, you just ditch the Beta state, and connect with your creative self, your compassionate self, your brilliant, inspired, spiritual self and feel the benefit of this freedom on every level. It is a perfect way to fly – so long as you don’t need drugs to get there – which is easy with meditation and hypnosis.
By the way… please note that the greatest spiritual minds – Jesus and Buddha to name but a few… created ideas that were woven into the mindset of women and men that have lasted for several thousand years and more. There is a good reason for this… they both spoke in parables. They understood that if they expressed their ideas symbolically, using metaphor, people would be able to connect with them at the deepest level. And so… may I make a suggestion Dawks? Learn to write in a lovely creative imaginative way using metaphors and allegories, and your ideas might just last a decade or two beyond your own lifetime.