Monday, 13 June 2011

Philosophy for 4 year olds

The last post had an extract from 'Three Men in a Boat', and this sparked off comments about 'Swallows and Amazons' which had (obviously!) shaped much of your more precious childhood memories, as seen through the eyes of a fictitious group of kids during a long hot summer up there in the Lake District.

I never read 'Swallows' when I was a child - my literary heroes were Winnie the Pooh and Rupert Bear, dwellers in the Home Counties. Even now, when I see a little Bi-Plane going through the blue sky, I imagine a scarf streaming out behind and Rupert and his Chums waving at me down below.

If something extraordinarily out-of-season happens - like a butterfly fluttering about in a snowy winter landscape - I imagine that the Professor's machine has gone wrong again up in that tower, and has turned the seasons upside-down.

If I see a big, Chinese lantern hanging outside in the same snow, glowing like an orange setting sun, I think of Rupert's 1950s Christmas, and all the world is at peace - for a few seconds.

Winnie the Pooh was most older British people's first introduction to philosophy and - having tried Wittgenstein, Nieztche and Bertrand Russell in adult life - most of those people return to the Pooh model as the only one really worth living your life by. That was the genius of Mr Milne and Mr Shephard - it takes children to show you how to view the world.

That three-week childhood summer seemed to go on for an eternity, and the ten years spent as a genuine child has to be re-visited regularly to regain some sense of normality - IF they let you.

Go to Google images and type in 'Winnie the Pooh', and you will bombarded by an utter imposter who is trying to steal your childhood from you. Walt Disney created some wonderful imagery all of his own, but the Disney Corporation has spent the last 40 years trying to sell memories to children - I find it extremely hard to forgive them for that.


  1. Ok, I know I have already done this theme using slightly different words, but - I think - it's worth returning to on a regular basis, like those memories are.

  2. It is worth it Tom. And all of a sudden I am nostalgic for Babar and Celeste..........I always called him Baa-Baa but here they call him Bab-Bar the elephant..

  3. Rupert was my first teacher. There's not a character or story I didn't like. Sailor Sam should have appeared more.

  4. Winnie and Pooh et al and Rupert Bear and his gang are sacrosanct as far as I am concerned. I wish their memories to remain intact.

  5. There is only one true Winne Ther Pooh. Disney's bear wears his jumper all year round! That's just wrong.

  6. I didn't think you were ever a child Tom. What, however, is flabergasting is that you still have that child in you, deep down inside of you, really deep down inside of you

    Love Winnie the Pooh and all his friends.

    Nice post Tom.

  7. That's because I ate the child, Starting.