In Sweden we have a popular Summer radio program which has been broadcasted daily between mid June and mid August for over 50 years (since 1959); each day with a new host, who gets to talk about just about anything - usually based on their own life - and pick the music themselves. Not unlike blogging, actually…The hosts can be more or less well known authors, journalists, politicians, scientists, actors, athletes, businessmen - whatever.
This summer I have not been listening very frequently, but the other day I happened to listen to a culture journalist and critic, I forget her name but she was of Finnish-Swedish origin and had studied at Oxford University, England.
A theme she kept getting back to was Alice in Wonderland; following the white rabbit (intuition), and falling from one world into another, where the perspective is completely different and other rules apply than the ones you've previously been used to. She compared this not only to her time at Oxford, but for example also to her teenage experience of a church camp, or (a bit later in life) taking part in a game of live action role-playing.
All part of learning to look at things from different perspectives.
She also touched on the aspect - and in my own mind this was one of the things I kept pondering about afterwards - how falling down the rabbit-hole can also be used as an image of falling into depression; suddenly finding yourself in a world where nothing makes sense and everything gets twisted out of proportion. The first thing that happens to Alice in Wonderland is that she finds herself shrinking one minute, and taking on giant proportions the next; while (or perhaps because?) all the normal points of reference are suddenly just not there any more.
"Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle!"
– Alice in Wonderland Ch 2 -
I can’t recall when I first read the book, if in my childhood or later on in my teens. Either way, I’m left with a vague impression that back then I just found it a lot of nonsense. Re-reading it now as a grown-up, in English, I find it making more “sense” with every reading… Hm!
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