Would it not be simple to have a Cheshire cat that listens, a white rabbit that has all the answers and be busy and careless trapped in perpetual teatime? Louise Carroll creates a wonderland and fills it with simple characters. In his ingenious way Carroll critiques unbalanced simplicity: the hatter is useless; the cat disguises itself as being mad in order to be able to listen and the rabbit critiques but never lends a hand. Those who communicate dare not participate and those who participate are practically useless. This “wonderland” gives us a deceiving impression of how our world should appear. Though it is full of flaws, with a few minor tweaks it can be regarded in an entirely new light. We do not need a lot in order to simplify our lives. I would keep three belongings that would allow me to maintain a balance between my inner self and the world around me which in turn would help me lead a complete and fulfilling life.
For the mind, I would keep a multi-language dictionary that contains a dozen languages. Languages are keys to our ability to develop into what we are as thinking, creative, rational, social and emotional beings. Each new language opens up doors to a wealth of cultures of spectacular richness. In today’s society too many of us are trying to be rabbits that know instead of cats that listen. How much time and effort do we spend in the tea party of technology? Is it really worth the time and effort? Many times we are lost in the realm of technology and lose sight of our cultures. Growing up in Silicon Valley, I have come to realize the strength of knowing multiple languages. There is so much more to gain from the endless assortment of different beliefs than from mastering the mundane complexities of technology. It would be m uch more gratifying if I were able to read more literature and poetry from all over the world, grasping tightly to the plethora of diversity at my disposal. Think of how simple it would be if we could only understand the people next to us because we can communicate freely with them.
With the treasures of language strapped to my back I would need to be able to go places, mingle with the people, hear, listen, smell and feel the world around me. I want to move like the rabbit. A car will not do. A car would lock me out of my surroundings. All that is needed is a pair of roller blades. On roller blades I can travel, exercise and have fun while staying in touch and without being intrusive. If I get tired I simply carry them with me; if they squeak I oil them, and when they are beyond repair I replace them. Roller skates would give me the opportunity to be independent while still having contact with the world.
My third possession would give me the power to be myself in any dimension real or imaginary, to soar with dreams and burn with emotion – my piano. Like the dictionary nourishing the mind with millions of keys to culture in the forms of literature and poetry, the piano is a dictionary to the world of music. Unlike a language, music speaks its riches in an abstract form which jovially toys with the rational mind, and warmly sooths the unbound soul. Music paints on a canvas of silence taking thoughts, emotions, and passions and reviving them in the air. Words fall short of describing the powers of the piano. When I play it, we laugh, fight, cry and struggle together, intertwined at our very core. The piano’s welcoming keys beckon warmly to share my experiences with them. When I am angry, they quiver under my roaring fingers and when I am relaxed, they bounce tenderly, swimming through my body, and enlightening my soul. I c an create my tea party whenever I want without being trapped in it; with the piano I will forever be able to escape “wonderland” and return as I please.
Wonderland is a failed system which was created by Louise Carroll to critique our own. Like all good criticism it sends a constructive message which we can learn from if we read between the lines. With a dictionary linking me with many cultures I can be the cat without being mad. With the skates, giving me mobility, strength, and independence and can move like the rabbit, but stop to listen and lend a hand to those in need. With the piano picking up where words leave I can soar into imaginary wonderlands and come back by simply letting go of its keys. With these three possessions I have the means to rearrange wonderland into a working system. I can lead a simple, happy and fulfilling life. I have what I need to maintain my identity, the powers to enrich my inner being and the ability to apprecia te the world around me.