Black and White

When a small child gazes with star-filled eyes to the universe beyond her little sphere, she sees briefcases filled with glittering treasure, vacations to exotic places, and good, righteous people who are pitted against corrupt, greedy, monolithic tyrants.

She does not understand what is hidden away in the shiny, leather black bag, so she assumes it is something wonderful. Now, the world is her playground, and who is to stop her from exploring it when she is no longer tied to mother’s apron strings? Most of all, she knows that good people are great people! A good person does not work a mediocre job, and a good person would never be lulled into working for something evil. Adults know evil, the small child knows, for evil’s is a frightening visage, and though the young child herself may be fooled by his offers of candy and sweet treats, she knows the adults are far too wise and understanding to be deceived by him.

Ah, for the eyes of a child! If only her faith in us were proven true. What if evil were so cut and dry, and not hidden away into the recesses of the best person’s heart? Then we could meet and fight against it.

We would conquer and purge the world, until it shone as glistening as the child’s wondering gaze. We would carry magical things in our shiny black briefcases, filled with more than tax reports and market slogans. We would safely and freely wander over the whole world – and yet, somehow, never lose our wonder at it.

As buried as the evil, or probably even further down, lies hid in our hearts the eyes of a child, hurt and disappointed by our mediocre lives. Her fantasy is disillusioned, but still she clings to it with desperation, afraid to let go and face the tangled, gray-scale world, where black and white is few and far-between.

We keep her there because we do not want to teach her. We keep her there because we do not want to disappoint her. We fear that if we face her, the world will be too tragic.

But she is a brave little girl. Let her out!

Take her hand and teach her your trade. Show her the briefcase, the little vacations, and the messy, funny people in the world, and you will be surprised. She will not run and cry and bury her face in her hands. She will not break down and cease to function, or die altogether, starved of wonder and joy.

No, for she will reinvent those dreams she once had, accustom them to your dreams and hopes and loves, and with the boundless energy of youth, she will remind you of what you never knew as a child: that no fairy-tale, to those who lived within them, was ever black and white.

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