Please reinforce my favorite quote
May 19, 2015 4:13 PM   Subscribe

My favorite quote is, "[God has] hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." I'm looking for art, literature, and quotes with the same idea.

The idea is that children are radically better than adults, in some profound, unknowable way. Yet children do it effortlessly and adults just forgot how.

Another quote is by Pablo Picasso: "It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."

Ring any bells?
posted by cmcmcm to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Out of the mouths of babes...
posted by SemiSalt at 4:17 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: This is a major theme of His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman!
posted by jschu at 4:21 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Biblical: Matthew 18:3
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
posted by Sassyfras at 4:23 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: Pan's Labyrinth is in the ball park of this.
posted by lownote at 4:23 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: This is the big-R-Romantic conception of the child-- starts with Rousseau and is in high vogue all through the early part of he 19th century, with fits and spurts of popularity ever since. This British Library page gives a good rundown. If you're looking for particular passages/ quotes, William Blake and William Wordsworth are good places to start (the latter famously describes the child as coming "trailing clouds of glory... from God who is its home," until its "vision splendid" dies out in the light of common day and the "shades of the prison-house" (i.e., adulthood) close in around it).

Coming slightly later, Kingsley's The Water-Babies is an interesting look at childhood, innocence and wisdom. But really, variations on the preternaturally wise/uncorrupted child pop up all through 19th-century literature.
posted by Bardolph at 5:05 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." (I first saw this in a Bloom Country strip, but I'm sure he didn't invent it.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:24 PM on May 19, 2015

Response by poster: Bardolph,

Your second link is SO beautiful, thank you SO much! :)

I realized that I enjoy things that look at it from the adult's point-of-view.
posted by cmcmcm at 5:40 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: A chapter in Mary Poppins called "John and Barbara's Story" and Mary Poppins Returns "The New One" are about babies having to forget everything they know as they get older.

"Listen, listen, the wind's talking, said John, tilting his head on one side. "Do you really mean we won't be able to hear that when we're older, Mary Poppins?"
"You'll hear all right," said Mary Poppins. "But you won't understand." At that Barbara began to weep gently. There were tears in John's eyes, too. "Well, it can't be helped. It's how things happen,"said Mary Poppins sensibly.

That might be going back a little farther than you were looking for!
posted by hiker U. at 6:43 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: One of the driving questions in the linguistics & psychology of child language acquisition is basically "how the hell can babies learn language perfectly while adults don't have a chance?"
posted by karbonokapi at 7:16 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: (Okay, the problem with Zen parables is that they're phrased so simply they're often impossible to Google to find the right wording, but…)

A man visited a Zen teacher and asked, "Teacher, what is the heart of Buddhism?"

The teacher replied, "Do what is good and refrain from what is evil."

The man scoffed. "That's so simple, even a little child of six can understand it!"

The teacher replied, "And yet an elder of eighty-six cannot do it."
posted by Lexica at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

"I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now." -Bob Dylan, "My Back Pages"
posted by mermaidcafe at 7:32 PM on May 20, 2015

I think The Little Prince fits this theme.
posted by KevCed at 5:40 AM on June 11, 2015

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