The well known novel of Don Quixote talks about the adventures of a man who has read so many chivalric romances that he lost his sanity and decided to revive chivalry and fix the world under the name of Don Quixote. After getting himself on his ‘stud’, Don Quixote comes upon wind mills and sees them as giants that he wishes to engage in fierce and unequal combat. The novel goes on.
I am not a literary critic nor have I any sense or right to talk about this marvelous work of literature. I know, however, that the sad reality behind Don Quixote’s insanity lays in the comedy that is life. By ‘comedy’ I do not mean the insanity Quixote is in, but the insanity we as humans enforce upon ourselves to tailor our senses into what we think is right.
Going out and coming back into my flat everyday, I use the elevator with my almost-two year old son. There’s a nice long crack on the side of the mirror in the elevator and I never really saw it as more than a danger if not changed since kids in our building could very easily be playing in the elevator and a wrong move could shatter the mirror. For a few days, my son points at the crack, smiles, and says ‘rainbow’.
Much like Quixote’s Sancho, I couldn’t see the rainbow.
I couldn’t see the beauty in the crack nor could I see how it was interpreted to be one. I looked closely, there are no reflected colorful lights coming out of the mirror, it was a very normal crack. The first time my son said ‘rainbow’ I said, ‘no, it’s a crack.’ He ignored me and kept seeing the rainbow. I really hope that he continues to see rainbows in place of cracks.
Now the question is, why do we find it so easy to tailor our senses based on what we learned? Yes, all the tacit knowledge we have in our minds cannot be unlearned which, in the long run, takes us away from all creativity and submits us to the mold that is ‘human.’
Creative thinkers, artists, musicians, and theorists do not let themselves succumb to this mold and do not allow any outside constraints on their minds. We are told to ‘think outside the box’ when looking for creative answers, but the issue is the way we think. Rules and givens that make up our lives should be challenged when looking for answers. In the movie The Matrix, Neo meets some children with the oracle, one child was bending a spoon using his mind. The question is not how to bend the spoon, there is no spoon.
I realized that telling our children ‘no’ eats away at their creativity bit by bit and thus we are shaping them into what we deem fit. Yes discipline is important and so is the enforcing of our values but there must be a time and place where children can be children without us questioning their rainbows. Let our Dons be Quixote’s.