The Fairy Tale Twist

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The Fairy Tale Twist
I was recently having an email conversation with a very nice gentleman who had written me about a subject we're all more than familiar with, the sound of cables. He had never heard one cable sound different than another. Couple that with the fact he'd read articles focused on convincing people those differences do not exist, he was hard pressed to make space for a different set of experiences. How could that not be true? How many of us are open and anxious to have our hard-won worldviews changed to those of someone else? As humans, we're hard wired to get a taste of what's around us and then catalog and sort those experiences into boxes that fit our reality. It's how we construct our view of the world around us. In a recent podcast called The Fairy Tale Twist, one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, opened my eyes to how a long-held societal belief was crafted from a more modern version of fairy tales. Prior to the 18th century, the moral outcomes of fairy tales—those stories that first begin to construct our worldviews as children—was that good things can happen to average people. That even the biggest fool in the village might get the magic potion or become a prince. Then it all changed. During the Age of Enlightenment, classic fairy tales were rewritten to adhere to a different idea. That good things only happen to good people and bad things always happen to bad people. That's a lovely story to set a moral compass but it's one that is neither true nor helpful to children forming their worldview. A good way to make a child who does bad things (and what child doesn't?) worry themselves to death that bad things are now going to befall them, is to feed them the story at the basis of modern fairy tales. This is a tough concept to grasp because this notion of good things only happens to good people is so ingrained into our collective minds that most of us won't be able to see past it. It was a real eye opener for me.
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Paul McGowan

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