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"Philosophy of Education"

2009 year, number 2

Believing Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, with Alice

John Colbeck
Keywords: Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, impossible things, ecological crisis, global warming, survival of humanity
Pages: 91-96


A Simple Paradox and A Stark Perspective are presented in this paper. The simple paradox is that we have called many ancient philosophers 'wise' and 'great' but we have largely ignored or reversed their wisdoms. Three of the 'greats' who have lasted longest are Lao Tse, Socrates/Plato and Jesus/his authors. All three sources advocated 'not knowing', more than once. Christian, Rational, Intellectual Philosophers have reversed that spirit or attitude. If the 'greats' were right and wise, then we - Christ-ian-based, Rationalist, Intellectual Philosophers - have almost everything at least half wrong: upside down ("The first shall be last." Top people are the bottom. Power tends to corrupt.), back to front (mirror reversed. We need to say "And vice versa,"and "Nohow, contrarywise" to most of our most sacred 'cow' beliefs and attitudes." We also have things inside out (our positivist focus on superficial, surface-observe-able, literal meanings and evidence is mistaken - less than half the truth and the less important and powerful half). All the 'greats' warned us against vanity and thinking we know, in vain.
The stark perspective, more and more evident every day in global warming and our mistaken annihilating of millions of species (especially rain-forests), presents us with a predicament. We must believe that impossible measures can and must be taken if we are not to decimate or possibly annihilate our own interdependent family of life-kind in this century. Rain needs rainforests; rainforests need rain. We need both and more.
I list only a few of the 'impossibles' which we have to make possible … or else …