During tonight's class, I realized that one of the most exciting things about childhood is that there's no cone of memory for children to access when they react to their perceptions; or childhood is precisely that time in which many of our habits (and cones) are being built or formed.
I, for example, thought extensively about outer space as a child. When I learned that there were planets bigger than ours and even other suns larger than our own, I extrapolated that the beings inhabiting those planets must have been infinitely larger. When I saw a big building I wondered if it was secretly an alien scientist sent from another planet to take measurements and notes on ours, and so I looked for clues that it might be a sentient being and not really a building. (I never did find any evidence, they were very clever scientists.) Eventually, I grew out of this.
I think this process of becoming an adult or learning the norms of society is very striating in a way. We learn the typical ways of responding to or looking at things; we become habitual creatures, asking please and saying thank you. I'm not saying that these are bad things- I think that the ways we learn to relate to and perceive the outside world are often necessary. I think it's equally necessary, though, to develop ways of seeing/thinking/feeling the world that are more akin to childhood. While I'll never look at buildings again in the same way, I think that sometimes we need to see possibility rather than automatically acting or reacting. This, as we talked about in class, is where art seems to come in, widening the gap of indeterminacy and allowing for potentially new experiences or emotions. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this (I promise that it's not just nostalgia!) but maybe I'll come back to this post with some links to other things, to artists, or something...