Sunday, 30 September 2007

Mysticism versus rationalism: a tale of two sisters

Is it possible that each of us is genetically predisposed to either mysticism or rationalism? As a case in point, here’s a conversation I recently overheard between my two daughters (aged 3 and 5) – a clear case of unflinchingly nihilistic rationalism versus unwaveringly optimistic mysticism:

Younger sister: I would love to see a shooting star.
Older sister: Why?
Younger sister: So I could make a wish.
Older sister: What would you wish for?
Younger sister: A pony!
Older sister: But, you know, there aren’t any real shooting stars.
Younger sister: Yes there are!
Older sister: No, there aren’t. We call them shooting stars, but they’re just little pieces of space-rock coming through the atmosphere. [Gleefully] Just ugly pieces of rock.
Younger sister: Oh. [Long pause] Well, I will wish for a shooting star then.

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