I used to think that the older we get, the more complex our lives had to become. However, Gemma Harris has shown me that is one big misconception.
In Big Questions from Little People and Simple Answers from Great Minds, Harris shows how basic questions asked by children are profoundly philosophical. She asks thousands of kids to pose their most restless queries, and challenges accomplished subject matter experts to offer their responses.
What Kinds of Questions?
Why is the sky blue? What are dreams? Why can’t I tickle myself? Who is God? What does dead mean? What makes a rainbow? Is Santa real? These are just a few of the questions addressed in Harris’s chronicle of wisdom. But, in my view, the questions that illicit the most illuminating explanations are those that reference the all-engulfing mystery of love:
You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signaled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump.
Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)
And you can bring your friends to visit or read your favorite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.
P.S. You have to be brave.