Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Psychology of Fairy Tales

From the New Republic:
 The acceptance of magic and fatedness in wonder tales can be fruitfully considered, I propose, from a child developmental perspective. If we take that point of view, we can understand that our vulnerability or susceptibility stems from a persistence in the mind of a receptivity we had when all the world was new. Fairy tales carries us back to this primordial kind of attention, the attention we gave the world when everything was “for the first time.” In earliest childhood, noticing and remarking matters most. Have you watched a small child gaze around, letting her eye be caught by this and that? Have you asked her to tell you about her day? The narrative will be disjunctive, lacking formal reason, yet filled with all that truly matters: filled what was seen, heard, tasted, touched, smelled, felt. The “why?” comes later. And of course such a way of perceiving is full of surprise: both unexpected delight and terror. Here is how a typical tale proceeds: Something happens. Then something else. Another occurrence. And another. And yet again another. But the nature and order of these events defy logic. Connections seem arbitrary if they exist at all and contiguous in a purely temporal register, with one experience simply following another. (Read more.)


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Chesterton did not agree fairy tales had no logic.

I do not agree with implication events are ordered such that a logic of foreseeability can be extracted from them.

And Tolkien did not agree fairy tales and childhood belonged together.

julygirl said...

Encouraging children to exercise their imagination creates neural pathways in the brain which lead to the development of creative thinking which creates even more neural pathways in the brain.