“It’s not just learning things that’s important. It’s learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn things at all that matters.”

“That’s just what I mean,” explained Milo, as Tock and the exhausted bug drifted quietly off to sleep. “Many of the things I’m supposed to know seem so useless that I can’t see the purpose in learning them at all.”

“You may not see it now,” said the Princess of Pure Reason, looking knowingly at Milo’s puzzled face, “but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Why, when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world; when a speck of dust falls to the ground, the entire planet weighs a little more; and when you stamp your foot, the earth moves slightly off its course. Whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in a pond; and whenever you’re sad, no one anywhere can be really happy. And it’s much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer.”

“And remember, also,” added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme, “that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”

Your moment of zen. I reread “The Phantom Tollbooth” last night. It was as perfect as I remember.

I posted another excerpt over at Popcorn Youth, too.


2 responses to “WHENEVER YOU LAUGH

  1. it is the ‘you might not see it now but everything we learn has a purpose’ part that is to me better than all the rest of it.
    i’m in that moment now, where suddenly all the things gathered and hidden in the crevasses of the mind have suddenly come out and you see something you never saw before. you gather things like pieces to a puzzle but until the last piece is picked up and placed, it is all a big blur. but when that piece is found, everything becomes crystal, and it happens over years but it also happens in an instant. it feels crazy and this is a crazy post (yours) because it’s just where i am. you’re a little psychic, apparently?

  2. this is just where i am, too. recontextualizations. insights. life is a series of little deaths and rebirths. we all die every day, but we are born each day, too. identity is such a fluid thing. how will we ever know who we really are?? we’re not supposed to know. i don’t WANT to know. and then, suddenly, in a flash… crystal. psychic via emphathy. miss you xo

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