Tiarnan is 7. Though pretty young by most
standards, he has clear views on many things. April 2nd was a case
Tiarnan sidled up to me as I sat at my
“Why do some countries like to fight?”, he
began, clearly grappling with the sheer puzzle of it.
“Because they think they can get something
by fighting.”, I answered, quite simply, while I appraised his reaction.
Tiarnan laughed, without the hint of a
delay: “They will never get anything by
“The Americans fought in the Middle East,
because they wanted oil.”, I countered, more to expand the conversation, than
to contradict his view.
“Why do they want oil?” Tiarnan, began. “They
have legs. They can just walk to
There was something in him that was aghast
at the whole idea. He seemed to think the Americans were being very silly,
I thought his understanding was wonderfully
apt, so I let the matter stand unanswered.
What strikes me as funny about this is
that, from the point of view of a child, the adult world can seem very silly.
The things adults do just don’t seem to be rational, when approached with the
clarity a bright child is able to bring to the situation. They have a very
uncluttered view of the world and see, in some ways, the core that adults learn
to overlook. In a way, it is silly that we have built our world to be dependent
on artificial transport systems, when we have a natural one at our disposal. It
is silly that we design our cities such that long distance driving is required
to get everything we need to live, instead of living locally, with all our
needs in easy reach – on foot. Modern adults have, in some ways, designed a
very silly world in which to live – and a young child can see that. I must say,
though, that it is refreshing to hear it said.
Of course, once the world’s oil runs out –
which will probably happen without a viable replacement to hand, then the silliness
of the world we have built will become clear, not only to our children, but to
all. Then, perhaps, we will, indeed, use our legs, to do what they were meant
to do: put the world within our reach. It is going to be a sobering shock for
most people – yet that is the world that is promised to come, on the basis of
one unavoidable fact: our oil reserves are finite and running out fast.
Yet, I can’t help but note that the end of
oil is likely to result in behaviour which would meet with Tiarnan’s
disapproval: resource wars fought over the remaining crumbs of oil. My little
son wouldn’t be impressed.
It is funny to note that if the world were
designed by children, it would be both simpler and somehow, potentially, nicer –
at least if designed by Tiarnan. His world is a world without war, lived
locally at a gentle pace. It is not such a bad place to consider.
Thank you Tiarnan, for showing me your
understanding of how the world should be.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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Labels: cars vs. legs, In the eyes of a child, resource wars, the futility of war, the silly adult world, Tiarnan Hasyl Cawley, Tiarnan's philosophy, Tiarnanism, walk everywhere, War and Peace