Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quote of the Day

IT's funny, I don't really read fantasy much anymore. I don't know why exactly, maybe it's just the library I now live near not having much of a selection and not disposable income to waste on buying books - I've mostly been reading mysteries. But recently a few volumes came in and I picked them up, and I found myself in the second volume of what is apparently an in-progess trilogy. The book is called Fugitives of Chaos and is more erudite than fantasy is normally credited with (or, for that matter, actually is), most of the time.
I like the book, and am sorry to have begun in the middle, but will almost certainly read the third book when it is finished. I was very taken by one quote:

When I was young, I thought the act of getting older meant, year by year, getting more sophisticated, more hard, more cool, and unpitying. Less innocent.

Maybe that was a childish idea of what getting older was about. Maybe adults, mature adults, get more innocent with time, not less. Because the word "innocent" does not mean "naive," it means "not guilty."

Children do small evils to each other, schoolyard fights and insults, not because their hearts are pure, but because their powers are small. Grownups have more power. Some of them do great evil with that power. But what about the ones who don't? Aren't they more innocent than children, not less?

Now, having a toddler at least gives me a pretty close view on how purehearted children are. I think that when we use that term, it's probably inapprorpiate for children - especially very young ones. When they're angry, they would happily kill you. But that's also largely because they have no sense of consequence. They are little storms of emotion, and in five minutes, they will forget they were ever angry at you, and will sob like theatre actors if you go to the bathroom and shut the door with them on the outside. But there is something to Wright's comment: We act as if adults are somehow not innocent, but truthfully, most of us, even when we indulge in our baser enotions and thoughts, are relatively innocent. Most of us at least attempt not to harm others, most of them time. Even when we're thwarted, or angry.

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