Calvin’s timeless wisdom: Why allow facts to get in the way of a good fantasy?

Information society, anyone?

I’m once again taking refuge in the make-believe world of cartoons. Dominating (and illuminating) my cartoon universe is Calvin and Hobbes, that inimitable character created by American cartoonist Bill Watterson.

Why do Calvin’s words remind me of some artistes, intellectuals even a few journalists?

Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

11 thoughts on “Calvin’s timeless wisdom: Why allow facts to get in the way of a good fantasy?”

  1. For a few journalists, Julian Assange has said that “you can’t publish a paper on physics without the full experimental data and results; that should be the standard in journalism”.
    I also share this tendency of refuge in the make-believe world of cartoons. liked the post :)

  2. I just love Calvin and Hobbes for bolding revealing the inner child in all of us. We do a good job covering up or suppressing that child most of the time. If we are more honest and open there will be more Calvins in this world and it will be a better place.,

    1. We do not need more Calvins. We need more people who are as true to themselves as Calvin without being as radically selfish as Calvin. As an adult, he could be an incredible force for good once he learned that what he wants and what is truly important in the grand scheme of things are not one and the same.

      Unfortunately people like Calvin and me naturally think that we’re the center of the universe, in a particular way – it comes from our perception that everything’s connected to us and vice versa, something few people share to the same degree. And since we back that up by a natural focus on personal and universal values, no wonder we tend to live in our own little worlds when young and try to reform the real world in our own images when older.

  3. @Sandra, We still have that choice, even if many of us may not realise it. As a T-shirt saying goes, growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. If the price of growing up involves conceding so much imagination, openness and creativity that we are born with, I’d opt not to grow up…

    1. Not everyone is born with this kind of imagination, openness and creativity. It is a matter of “core” personality type, and Calvin’s is rare.

      That said, we are all born with different kinds of imagination, openness and creativity and maturity involves not suppressing them, but employing them effectively and then developing other roles around one’s “core type”. Unfortunately, very few societies in this world – even self-described democratic ones – know how to let people be what they are by nature without sacrificing the need to “let all things be done decently and in order”.

    1. Which is worse: maintaining ignorance or promoting disinformation disguised as knowledge? Politicians throughout history have proved themselves very adept at both.

      “Useful idiots” or “those shrewd in their own sight” – may the Lord spare us all from both.

  4. The last thing this world needs is to be filled with immature minds like Calvin’s. There’s nothing innocent about attitudes like his – most of the time. Being true to himself and being truly innocent are not one and the same thing.

    Calvin (in terms of Jungian-based personality theory) is an ENFP in development. True to his type he’s very strong in value-based reasoning, both in personal and in universal values, but it’s still self-directed. His “inner child” really has to do with how he uses logical reasoning, which he doesn’t use as well as values-based reasoning. Not everyone’s mind is so constructed and so not everyone’s “inner child” manifests itself the same way. Suzie’s, for example, is quite different (she is an INFJ, like Hobbes).

    As it happens, ENFPs are very frequently drawn to journalism – and to politics. We apparently have one as the POTUS. And few things are more innocuous-seeming and yet more dangerous than a willingly ignorant ENFP. As an ENFP myself, this is something that I seek to keep in mind with regard to my attitudes, emotions and desires.

  5. Rakkav sounds like a single issue activist with no sense of humour. Pity he takes everything so literally and fails to see that Calvin is a caricaturization of reality. artists and cartoonists always take such creative liberites!

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