TITLE: "The One Form of Poverty That Should Be Shunned" AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: May 30, 2016 8:43 AM DESC: ----- BODY: In her essay "The Importance of Being Scared", poet Wislawa Szymborska talked about the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, which were often scary in ways that are out of sync with modern sensibilities. Of Andersen, she wrote:
He didn't believe that you should try to be good because it pays (as today's moral tales insistently advertise, though it doesn't necessarily turn out that way in real life), but because evil stems from intellectual and emotional stuntedness and is the one form of poverty that should be shunned.
I love that phrase: "the one form of poverty that should be shunned", as well as Andersen's prescription. I need to read more Szymborska. She is often quite funny. This book review quotes a passage from the review of a book on caves that made me smile:
The first to discover caves were of course those animals who could find their way in the dark. Cavemen, who had already lost this gift, couldn't venture too far into their caves. They had to stick to the edges. It's not that they didn't have the nerve, they just didn't have flashlights.
That joke hits close to home in my work as a programmer and teacher, and even as department head. Sometimes, I don't need more nerve. I need a flashlight. -----