Sunday, May 25, 2014

Child's play

Imagine a
radio program for children - perhaps age twelve to fourteen - that lets them in on deep and life- changing truths like this one:

The more someone understands something, and the more he knows of a particular kind of beauty, whether it's flowers, books, clothing or toys, the more he can rejoice in everything that he knows and sees, and the less he's fixated on possessing it, buying it himself or receiving it as a gift. 

A wonderful and profound insight, the seed for a precious self-awareness and appreciation of the common good! Could a child have understood this? I know I would have loved this sort of seeming paradox at that age. And I know children of that age would be able to appreciate it... perhaps most could, if we gave them the chance! (I can't say more than that I'd like to think I was such a one.)

Well, there was such a radio program - broadcast about eighty-five years ago when the medium was new - and the broadcaster was none other than Walter Benjamin! (Suggestive in all sorts of dizzying ways.) I learned about it from a BBC 4 radio program which someone posted on Facebook. Can't wait to listen to the German scripts, available here!

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