JosiewithBunny - Copy1 - Copy

The world is so full of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses

In my edition of A Child’s Garden of Verses, the illustration next to this short poem titled ‘Happy Thought’ is a cheery scene of children on a bright sunny day. Fresh fruits, kittens, flowers, a singing bird, and the rippling water of a lake.

Is the world only ‘so full’ for children, for whom and about whom ostensibly this poem is written? Perhaps the fullness that children experience is fundamentally a matter of inexperience, of not seeing things as clearly as adults do? So does clearer vision reveal that things are not as good as we thought?

Clearer vision does in fact reveal that ‘things’—in the sense of the amazing natural accoutrements of the world—are not themselves happiness-producing. Yet at the same time the child-like conviction that a world so furnished can and should be a happy place seems to embody a wisdom that we adults often lack.

The world really is full of a number of things. And they are a sure sign that we can, and even should be, as happy as kings.

R.L Stevenson (1850-1894) is the great Scottish author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped and other classics.

Originally posted at Bacon from Acorns.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Previous articleGetting Detroit’s Goat
Next articleFPR and Contemporary Conservatism
Avatar
John A. Cuddeback is a professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where he has taught since 1995. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America under the direction of F. Russell Hittinger. He has lectured on various topics including virtue, culture, natural law, friendship, and household. His book Friendship: The Art of Happiness was republished in 2010 as True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness. His writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, and The Review of Metaphysics, as well as in several volumes published by the American Maritain Association. Though raised in what he calls an ‘archetypical suburb,’ Columbia, Maryland, he and his wife Sofia consider themselves blessed to be raising their six children in the shadow of the Blue Ridge on the banks of the Shenandoah. At the material center of their homesteading projects are heritage breed pigs, which like the pigs of Eumaeus are fattened on acorns, yielding a bacon that too few people ever enjoy. His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household is baconfromacorns.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. Amen. And as St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us, we must see reality, rather than a debased version of reality muddled by our own narrow perspectives. How much more adventurous and brilliant is the world seen as God made it and as inhabited by people designed and destined to be reunited with their Creator! Deo gratias.

Comments are closed.