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Passions in Poetry

Soul

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 10-18-2004 11:07 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Soul

I see that word used a lot, and with such
ease as to suggest understanding.

So then what is soul?  What or who
is it?  Where does it come from?
What does it do?  Where does it go?
How is it related, distinct, apart
from self?

As I understand Ernest Becker, from
“The Denial of Death”, he would
characterize soul as a mad fantasy
one creates and/or accepts as a defense
against what would be the greater madness
one would experience facing, without it,
the reality of personal mortality, extinction.

So . . .?

John
Alicat
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1 posted 10-18-2004 11:26 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Very interesting series of questions.  Soul, to this simple person, equates to lifeforce which all living things have, and, as such, is a reflection of how the body equates itself.  One example would be those quite advanced in years, whose inner age is in the mid 20's.  Conversely, there are those in their 20's and 30's who are very old, internally.

Main reason I have for souls existing is not so much a believe in God, though there is that, but also upon the knowledge that we are intrinsically electrical beings, and the energy emitted fills, and sometimes, overflows our physical form.  We are, in short, a mold, shaping the confines of electrical emissions.  And by doing so, our souls, in part, reflect the molding of our physical shells.
Huan Yi
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2 posted 10-19-2004 01:36 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

The Energizer Bunny could be characterized as an intrinsically electrical being
and the energy emitted helps him walk the walk and bang the drum.

A Japanese born and raised in Kyoto has a different mold than a German
from Munich.   Then their souls are different?   How: one’s AC the other
DC?

Could a bolt of lightning be characterized as a free spirit?


John
Essorant
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3 posted 10-19-2004 02:36 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

The soul is our being of spirit.  The body is our being of flesh.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (10-19-2004 07:23 AM).]

Stephanos
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4 posted 10-19-2004 10:25 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Actually the soul is what allows us to intuitively know that we are very different from an energizer bunny.  We are men, not machines.  We are creations of God, not mere machines called men.


Without a belief in the soul, we will be forced past the cultural "myths" around us, to see ourselves as essentially mechanistic, and nothing more, like every other physical thing.  But there's something in all of us that rebels against such an idea.  Why?  Because we are more than just physical conglomerates.  We were made by a personal being who is no mere machine, and we have enough of his "DNA" so to speak, to doubt "soulless" explanations of who we are.


Much becomes existential "wishfuls" apart from the doctrine of the soul ...


- a meaningful morality, as opposed to subjective ethics.

- an ultimate purpose for being, as opposed to "the noble lie".

- a hope for immortality, as opposed to a hope in science, cryogenics, or artificial intelligence to fill the gap.

- real beauty as opposed to merely imagined beauty.    



Stephen.
LeeJ
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5 posted 10-19-2004 12:05 PM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

The soul is man; man is the soul, though either cannot exist by itself
Does not the soul represent something living?

If it were not so….for example….how would a young dog know, it’s to turn and turn so that it can be lay down, upwind, to smell danger?  Instinct, genes, soul?

But my point being is perhaps, soul might be the reason for experiences of de javu or physhic ability?

The soul knows things that we are not taught in this life…it just seems to know things…for instance, it purifies our personalities…and when we do wrong, a war goes on inside…if we fight the personality of soul...the negative is in battle with the positive.  Think about something disturbing, and realize the uprest it sustains...now think about something that makes you utterly happy, which brings to mind a serene and peaceful outcome...?????  See the difference?

We definitely know there is a negative and a positive force involved, and when the negative force wins over…then the soul is disrupted…if we hurt another, then we hurt our own souls, progress and purpose for being here.

I believe it is one with a great power source (God)…and we are all one…alike….and in the soul world and what we do effect/affects everyone else around us…how we think, what we believe, even down to what we allow or deem as acceptable behavior. How we control and raise our children...it all has and sustains effects.  

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die….beginning and end…only thing is, no one really knows if the end, is really the end…or another beginning…which I choose to believe….what we do know it this…there is a great power source over our universe…and in all perfection nature shows the imperfection needed to flourish.  Nature also shows us whole populations shifting and changing…living organisms…plants, insects, animals….the perpetual changes unstoppable, like the waves and tides…and the certain effects of the total system/ecosystem, the great importance of every thing's existence not to mention the fragile balance and significance and need for everything and the interaction of everything, one without the other is not? Now take into account the bigger things...and their importance, signficance...everything works...gravity...molecules...plants, animals, rivers, streams...fish, micro organisms, weather and weather patterns....?  My God, consider what we've got going on here...but if one would not be present, then evenutally, it effects the entire community...seen or unseen....

One step further is this…I believe our soul purpose is to love and take responsibility for one another…which is a soul system of ecology of it's own, a sort of human ecology.  ….

When one rejects what which is right/positive for the soul...the action violates the soul...such as alcohol, rape, murder, abuse of another...it violates the perpetrators soul to the point of stagnation of growth, guilt, hurt, until one can forgive self.  And when one learns how to forgive self, then the soul will automatically forgive others and be at peace, soul harmony.  

But if it has violated the nature of things...the severe consequences of that would be stagnation of soul, physical and mental disorder, and the depletion of societies due to loss of order

If you look upon the ripple effect and testimony of nature.  We are not one without the other...we need each other...to survive…as we need the air, water, food, self awareness, beliefs, care for everything on this earth.

Our purpose is to care for others and things as we would care for our own souls…considering the effects even our decisions make...and if we’d always keep that thought first and foremost, perhaps our balance wouldn’t be so upset as it is today?

We don’t need material things, even though society tells us we do...

What we need to achieve our purpose and accelerate knowledge is harmony...within and around?  

Even light and electricity
Think of the significant purpose of all things...the threads that bind and have been so delicately woven...science...yes, but much much more....there is something so vast and unexplainable...uncomprehensible to the human mind...and yet...without the soul....we would not be.

But then, until the day of each of our ends...one doesn't know, really, does one?

These are my beliefs...whatever gives your mind, body, soul peace, cuz they are connected...as well as to every other thing/being on this earth...we are indeed brothers and therein to...brothers of the universe as well...we are responsible for the well being of all things...not just ourselves.


Alicat
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6 posted 10-19-2004 07:49 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

John, you completely missed my point.  I did preface with living things, so I sincerely doubt that the Energizer bunny would fit that description, or lightning bolts, for that matter.  As for bodily molds, I can see how that can be taken out of context or miscontrued if one really wants a debate.  I really didn't think it necessary to include that our souls fill our bodies, and often look like us, though the apparent age might vary.  I did make reference to that, but didn't say the explicate words.
Huan Yi
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7 posted 10-19-2004 08:25 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Does a human fetus have a soul?
Alicat
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8 posted 10-19-2004 08:30 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Any answer to that question, John, will hijack this thread with political/emotional/religious responses.  In short, those responses would be better suited in the Alley, so feel free to create a thread there with regards to whether or not a human fetus has a soul.
Huan Yi
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9 posted 10-19-2004 08:32 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Alicat,

“ I really didn't think it necessary to include that our souls fill our bodies, and often look like us, though the apparent age might vary. “

So a hunchback’s soul will often
look hunchbacked?

John

Huan Yi
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10 posted 10-19-2004 08:36 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Alicat,

“Any answer to that question, John, will hijack this thread with political/emotional/religious responses.  In short, those responses would be better suited in the Alley, so feel free to create a thread there with regards to whether or not a human fetus has a soul.”

Sorry about that but your comment:

“ I really didn't think it necessary to include that our souls fill our bodies…”

made me wonder just when that happens.

John


Stephanos
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11 posted 10-20-2004 01:24 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

In order for our soul to "fill our bodies", our soul would have to be a lesser thing than our bodies.  It would be more accurate to say that our soul is a greater entity than our bodies alone.  That's why the cardinal belief in the soul doesn't limit the soul to the body.  


A very interesting question is how a merely physical "body" can objectify itself.  There is something in you (of you, above you?) which literally looks at your body, and objectively identifies it.  How can your body (your brain being merely a part of that body) objectify itself?  Something separate yet joined, transendent yet localized, common yet mystical is required... the soul.    


Stephen.
LeeJ
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12 posted 10-20-2004 07:41 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Stephen....Bravo....smiles and hugs...what a wonderful way to express it.

Susan Caldwell
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13 posted 10-20-2004 08:13 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Personally, I think the answer is subjective.

To me my soul is the intimate part of myself.  It is that which feels the extreme of emotion.  It allows me to feel without touch, so see with eyes closed, and to love far more then flesh ever could.  
I have given pieces of my soul to my children and they in turn will pass it on to their children.  It does not die, but lives on forever in the ones I have touched.  It is my essence.

"cast me gently into the morning, for the night has been unkind"
~Sarah McLachlan~

Essorant
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14 posted 10-20-2004 06:30 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

It may help to think of it this way.

God gives the Spirit two houses:

Body, that is where the Spirit lives for time.

Soul, that is where the Spirit lives for ever.  
Huan Yi
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15 posted 10-20-2004 08:23 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Essorant,

“It may help to think of it this way.

God gives the Spirit two houses:

Body, that is where the Spirit lives for time.

Soul, that is where the Spirit lives for ever.  “


Now what is “Spirit”?  How is that distinguished
from Soul, distinguished from Self, distinguished
from Heart, distinguished from the drunk next door?

John


Huan Yi
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16 posted 10-20-2004 08:27 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Stephanos,

“Without a belief in the soul, we will be forced past the cultural "myths" around us, to see ourselves as essentially mechanistic, and nothing more, like every other physical thing.  But there's something in all of us that rebels against such an idea.  Why?  Because we are more than just physical conglomerates.  We were made by a personal being who is no mere machine, and we have enough of his "DNA" so to speak, to doubt "soulless" explanations of who we are.


Much becomes existential "wishfuls" apart from the doctrine of the soul ...”

Which doesn’t argue against it all being no more than a fear or ego response to
a harsher reality as Ernest Becker wrote.

John


serenity blaze
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17 posted 10-20-2004 10:20 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

This comes from my kids:

"In Kantonese, Jeet Kune Do - way of the intercepting fist - when you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water into a kettle, it becomes the kettle. Now water can flow or it can crash.

Be water my friend." -- Bruce Lee



(even the smilie was approved by them)

Peace

(I got some great kids.)

Stephanos
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18 posted 10-21-2004 10:09 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John:
quote:
Which doesn’t argue against it all being no more than a fear or ego response to
a harsher reality as Ernest Becker wrote.

In a sense you're right ... there is no empirical evidence for the soul, just as there is none for the "ego" or the "self" as distinct from nature.  The realization of this is where philosophical skepticism was born.


But some notions are what C.S. Lewis called "first principles", proofs that cannot themselves be proven.  But without them, nothing else can be proven.  I think the existence of the soul falls within this category.  These are justified primarily because of the absurdity of the contrary.  There's something wrong with a doctrine (such as the strict materialist view of humanity), arrived at by reason, which would in the end invalidate reason itself.


G.K. Chesterton put it this way:


quote:
Mysticism keeps men sane.  As long as you have mystery you have health;  when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.  the ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic.  He has permitted the twilight.  He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland.  He has always left himself free to doubt his gods;  but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them.  He has always cared more for truth than for consistency.  If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them.  His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight;  he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that.  Thus he always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.  Thus he believed that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth.  He admired youth because it was young, and age because it was not.  It is exactly this balance of apparant contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man.  The whole secret of mysticism is this:  that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand.  The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious.  The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid.  The determinist makes the theory of causation quite clear, and then finds that he cannot say "if you please" to the housemaid.  The Christian permits free will to remain a sacred mystery;  but because of this his relations with the housemaid become of a sparkling and crystal clearness.  He puts the seed of dogma in a central darkness;  but it branches forth in all directions with abounding natural health.

(From "Orthodoxy")

He also wrote
quote:
In the same way the insane explanation is quite as complete as the sane one, but it is not so large.  A bullet is quite as round as the world but it is not the world ...

Their (materialist) position is quite reasonable; nay in a sense it is infinitely reasonable, just as a threepenny bit is infinitely circular.  But there is such a thing as a mean infinity, a base and slavish eternity.  It is amusing to notice that many of the moderns, whether skeptics or mystics, have taken as their sign a certain eastern symbol, which is the very symbol of this ultimate nullity.  When  they wish to represent eternity, they represent it by a serpent with his tail in his mouth.  There is a startling sarcasm in the image of that very unsatisfactory meal.  The eternity of the material fatalists, the eternity of the eastern pessimists, the eternity of the supercilious theosophists and higher scientists of today is, indeed, very well presented by a serpent eating his tail, a degraded animal who destroys even himself.



Such thoughts are (to me) about the best there are at expressing the necessity of believing in your own soul.  Isn't it interesting that the opposite of "fear" and "ego response" is something like courage.  But the strict materialist worldview, or even self-view, makes the distinction between fear and courage a triviality.  



Stephen.
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19 posted 10-21-2004 05:37 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Body ("house #1"): Spirit's house

Soul ("house #2"): Spirit's body

Spirit: ("housekeeper") Breath of God, life, inspiration

Self: ego, one's own person


God enlivens and inspires the Spirit, the Spirit enlivens and inspires the spiritual body --the Soul--and the Soul enlivens and inspires the physical body--the Body.  

Juju
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20 posted 10-22-2004 09:41 PM       View Profile for Juju   Email Juju   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Juju's Home Page   View IP for Juju

When you look in to a child eyes you can see the light from their eyes, the inocence and beauty. No one can explain what physically what a soul is, only we are the soul in the body.

Juju
Arnold M
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21 posted 10-25-2004 02:26 AM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

I know of a book that teaches us the truth concerning body, spirit and soul.  While penned by men it's author is God, our creator, who inspired them.
In Genesis 1:26 God said, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness..", and in 2:7, "And the Lord formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul."
Soul is the consciousness, the feelings, the desires, produced by the breath of life vitalizing the body.  "Being" is used in some translations for "soul".
A word study of "soul" in the Bible is most enlightening.  While there are many verses relating the soul of man to his feelings, desires, knowledge etc, I believe some are the most important, such as: Many times humans are called souls, Gen.12:5, 14:21, 46:26; Exod.12:4,15,16; Acts 2:37,43, 27:37; Rom.13:1 etc.  Many times the soul is said to die or be dead: Lev.19:28; 21:1; 24:17; Num.23:10; 31;19; Josh.2:13; Judges 16:30; Psalms 78:50; 116:8 etc.
When man dies he returns to dust: God told Adam in Gen.3:19, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." KJV. And other verses: Job 10:9; Psalms 90:3; 146:3,4; etc.
Upon death a man's soul is said to go to "sheol", OT, "hades", NT, which means "the unseen". Psalms 16:10; 30:3; 49:15; 86:13; Acts 2:25-28 etc.
I hope all will be helped by this.
Arnold
Brad
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22 posted 10-25-2004 07:20 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
But the strict materialist worldview, or even self-view, makes the distinction between fear and courage a triviality.


Where do you come up with these things?

It's interesting that Chesterton shifts the argument from contradiction to apparent contradictions as none of those things he mentions are, in fact, contradictory.

Interestingly also, the Logical Positivists weren't interested in explaining everthing. To paraphrase Wittgenstein,

"What can be said can be said clearly, what cannot should not be said at all."

Sorry, I don't have the time to get the exact quote.

But the soul, being anything you particularly want it to be, means what you want to be regardless of what you've actually said or done, "They don't know the real me, that's not me . . . ."

It's quite seductive, don't you think?


Stephanos
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23 posted 10-25-2004 09:46 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
"What can be said can be said clearly, what cannot should not be said at all."



But is it true that what cannot be said clearly should not be believed at all?  

If that's true, then even you Brad must discard much of what you believe even now.  The naturalist or the Christian both are bound to ambiguity on many points, like it or not.  That's the way God made it.       


It's just, as Chesterton put it so well, that keeping the center foundations, keeps everything from becoming obscure.  Of course, you would (and have) pointed out rightly that everything isn't obscured for you, regardless of your beliefs.  But the Christian answer is that's because you continue to have foundations quite regardless of your beliefs.  A human soul (at least for the time being) doesn't require a belief in the soul.  


Though the Christian would also point out that this "clarity", "sanity", or relative wholeness is not guaranteed for all time, being not at all independent of the proper response to the God of all souls.
quote:
But the soul, being anything you particularly want it to be, means what you want to be regardless of what you've actually said or done, "They don't know the real me, that's not me . . . .
It's quite seductive, don't you think?

Not always.   The teaching that is sobering for every man is quite the opposite ... there is the possibility of the soul being what you don't want it to be.  There is the necessary task of seeking the will of God for the soul.  


Otherwise, you seem to be suggesting that no saints have shown positive evidence for being really so.  Though it's true that, as Paul said, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels", is it true to say that earthen vessels have never poured out anything divine?  We can still criticize any vessle with such a common skin.  It's been my experience that only the unstudied or offended tend to think that there's no evidence of God through humanity.  Knowing you're not the former (you're a pretty bright guy in my estimation), you might be offended somewhat by religious hypocrisy... which I can relate to, and sympathize with.  But there might be something to be seen and possessed beyond it.  A softening of the heart (not to be confused with a softening of the head) is what is reported by many who come to believe in more than they presently do.  



Stephen.      

      
Stephanos
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24 posted 10-25-2004 10:15 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
PRINCE CASPIAN lived in a great castle in the centre of Narnia with his uncle, Miraz, the King of Narnia, and his aunt, who had red hair and was called Queen Prunaprismia. His father and mother were dead and the person whom Caspian loved best was his nurse, and though (being a prince) he had wonderful toys which would do almost anything but talk, he liked best the last hour of the day when the toys had all been put back in their cupboards and Nurse would tell him stories.



He did not care much for his uncle and aunt, but about twice a week his uncle would send for him and they would walk up and down together for half an hour on the terrace at the south side of the castle. One day, while they were doing this, the King said to him,



"Well, boy, we must soon teach you to ride and use a sword. You know that your aunt and I have no children, so it looks as if you might have to be King when I'm gone. How shall you like that, eh?"

  

"I don't know, Uncle," said Caspian.



"Don't know, eh?" said Miraz. "Why, I should like to know what more anyone could wish for!"



"All the same, I do wish," said Caspian.



"What do you wish?" asked the King.



"I wish - I wish - I wish I could have lived in the Old Days," said Caspian. (He was only a very little boy at the time.)



Up till now King Miraz had been talking in the tiresome way that some grown-ups have, which makes it quite clear that they are not really interested in what you are saying, but now he suddenly gave Caspian a very sharp look.



"Eh? What's that?" he said. "What old days do you mean?"



"Oh, don't you know, Uncle?" said Caspian. "When everything was quite different. When all the animals could talk, and there were nice people who lived in the streams and the trees. Naiads and Dryads they were called. And there were Dwarfs. And there were lovely little Fauns in all the woods. They had feet like goats. And -"



"That's all nonsense, for babies," said the King sternly. "Only fit for babies, do you hear? You're getting too old for that sort of stuff. At your age you ought to be thinking of battles and adventures, not fairy tales."



"Oh, but there were battles and adventures in those days," said Caspian. "Wonderful adventures. Once there was a White Witch and she made herself Queen of the whole country. And she made it so that it was always winter. And then two boys and two girls came from somewhere and so they killed the Witch and they were made Kings and Queens of Narnia, and their names were Peter and Susan and Edmund and Lucy. And so they reigned for ever so long and everyone had a lovely time, and it was all because of Aslan -"



"Who's he?" said Miraz. And if Caspian had been a very little older, the tone of his uncle's voice would have warned him that it would be wiser to shut up. But he babbled on,



"Oh, don't you know?" he said. "Aslan is the great Lion who comes from over the sea."


(Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis)

Wanting isn't always a bad thing.  Often it's the prelude to possessing.


Stephen
 
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