Children’s culture, or their collective psyche, is far, far richer, deeper, wider, wiser and more subtle than the schematically naive innocence endorsed or exhibited by a majority of adults (who cannot or will not ever be able to appreciate it all). The children’s culture is embedded within the overall culture of all of us, but it is replete with a dense and fine array of sophistications, graces, interconnectedness, gestures and whispers, allowances and tolerances, stories for the select few: choreographies of psyche, mind and body, as the children skilfully manage to manoeuvre their ways through and in between the apparent incorrigibilities of the adults who, for their part, and in comparison, for a most part, exist only in the shallows. The depths are oceanic or, in other ways of perceiving them, they extend up and out to the stratosphere and beyond. Children are the mavens of a realm that many adults cannot even comprehend is there.
The underlying or overarching terrain of children’s wisdom is vast. It is like the ocean floor or the permeable veil where the atmosphere shifts into space. What wisdom falls at children’s feet and heaps around them in an interconnected all, an invisible mass, a gravity like the pull of dark matter, has accumulated by means of an incalculable stretch of the past. What has happened to other children, stretching back and back, and how those children have adopted their strategies of being, seems to flow into contemporary children’s innate understanding of the now. In my experience, children’s comprehensions of the weftwork of places (which they are necessarily obliged to share with adults, in cultural amalgam) extends far farther and deeper, and with myriad subtle tonal range, than simplistic developmental models allow for.
Amongst these places of shared necessity, there may be the select or selected few of the adult domain who are privileged to be witness-party to aspects of the underpinning terrain and the depth realm. They are the chosen few, finding themselves immersed, who are subsumed by the maven Will in often small and slight but highly significant subtle moments. Before long, and without always fully comprehending the process, or that the process is even happening at all, by shades and gradation, the chosen will find themselves deeply understood and trusted. Some may not know entirely why; some will comprehend, absolutely. Many adults simply will not fathom this thinking; some will think they do, but there will be an unease about it all; some, however, will know, because they have experienced it. These are a privileged tribe. They may go by a certain specific job title, or they may internalise and consciously absorb such vocational reason for being (in deed, if not on contractual paper), in their services for children’s play, or they may not know such titles but still be of the truly play-minded — it makes no odds: in any of these ways of being, perhaps there is the proposition of a collective noun to be considered: a Privilege of . . . (alliterate in any way you please). Membership is conditional, predicated on how we are and see.
In a similar manner to the understanding that is ‘the condition of an image, resulting from the act of seeing, (sharp or blurred, bright or faded) is at least partly dependent on the efficacy of our optical equipment’, that which we perceive in an experience of children and moments is at least partly dependent on the efficacy of our attitudinal-perceptual equipment. Children often seem to sense this efficacy in the chosen few because they, the latter, are replete with all manner of attitudinal conscious and unconscious ways of being, as the children experience them. The chosen may be subsumed, a process of passive immersion, but the perceptual engagement is a reciprocal proceeding. In the oceanic depths or in the high sky, there are many shades and gradations of blue to be experienced, seen, felt, other than merely the usuality of what is dully, normally, blandly known as blue, shallow blue. In the shared and privileged understanding of myriad blues, our perceptual equipment is known, by the children, to function beautifully.
Take a gift: a present of the present, a small flower maybe, or a sticker, an object treasured for a while, the slightest touch of an elbow, a Buddha look and a smile, a continued cue that stretches out over days or weeks, all of these and a thousand thousand more, can be imbued with so much more than the shallow perception will comprehend. Take the piece of paper on which is drawn and lives an animated stick man, going about his everydayness in his two dimensional world, observed by three dimensional others (who might, but barely, perceive a four or five dimensional space-time beyond them); the higher dimensional others, in their turn, observe down benignly on the merely three-dimensioned . . . the chosen few and the mavens of the deeper realm can read a gift in greater dimensional terms than stick men can.
Our base decides our stance defines our view. Those who are cut as, or who have been moulded as, fearful, whose base is that of fear, will see or feel or read ‘fear’ into that which is before them; similarly, those whose bases (and so, stances), whose worldviews are that of danger or the disquiet of disequilibrium, of impropriety or of a perception of lack of integrity, will see or feel or read these into that which unfolds or transpires in front of them. A present of the present, a small flower maybe, or a sticker, an object treasured for a while, the slightest touch of an elbow, a Buddha look and a smile, a continued cue that stretches out over days or weeks, all of these and a thousand thousand more, will warp under a narrow worldview glare.
Children’s ways of being and ways of seeing are far, far richer, deeper, wider, wiser and more subtle than this. There are those of this tribe endowed with scintillating empathy; there are those who radiate a calm, clear knowing. Children know languages that many adults cannot begin to read, and there is no Rosetta Stone, there is only invitation, in varying and subtle degrees of pace, of shades and gradations, subsummation into the variance depths of blue.
Ultimately, these words here may all be, in the main, entirely and uselessly academic, superfluous, impenetrable beyond certain degree; there are, however, those whose experiences (in their might) may shine, in and to them, that they, the chosen, select or selected few, could and can concur with such words played with here.