We want life to make sense. Yet it doesn’t.
We believe in Cause and Effect, clinging to the notion that our existence will follow a logical path. Yet it won’t.
We rise in the morning with a plan that the day will occur just so. We base our expectations on past experiences and our understanding of life and the people who travel with us. Yet events unwind and unravel anyway.
We speak and expect a certain, logical response … and we are surprised when something unexpected occurs instead.
One moment you’re laughing and sharing stories with a friend. family member or coworker. Then, without warning you are covered in Humpty Dumpty’s shattered shell, certain only moments before he was secure up on that wall. But now, despite great effort, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t seem to put Humpty Dumpty — or that relationship — back together again.
One moment, you are off to a simple Tea Party. Then, somehow, you are surrounded by mad people and never get a cup of tea at all.
One moment, life is simple and the project is under control. The next moment the Red Queen is yelling for your head.
One moment, you know exactly where you going and who you are. Then, you slip down a Rabbit Hole, chasing a White Rabbit who carries a pocket watch and is somehow chronically late to everything, and you find yourself interrogated by a Caterpillar. You follow directions, drinking and eating things as you are told. But you are stuffed into a teapot and lost anyway, discovering you don’t know who you are because somehow you have changed.
We seek logic, order and control. But, life is a grand, unpredictable mystery full of players who go off script much too often. It’s an ongoing Adventure to keep you moving, with good, bad, evil, sadness, loss, surprise, despair, excitement, tears, boredom etc etc. Life is anything but logical and predictable, no matter how we try to make it so. It’s full of impossibilities and rabbit holes and mixed up messages and conversations that make no sense and occurrences that are anything but what they seem. And when you find yourself wondering where you are going, what the heck went wrong or what road to take now, you realize that the Cheshire Cat was correct after all. If you don’t know where you are going than it doesn’t truly matter what road you take to get there.
And that’s when I find that no matter how I look at it, it’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Looking Glass World and I am Lewis Carroll’s Alice, stating that it would be ever so nice if something made sense for a change.
Have you ever read Alice Through the Looking Glass – or Alice in Wonderland for that matter? Wonderland was created in 1865, while the Looking Glass sequel was published in 1871. They have long been considered classic children’s tales but few children actually read them anymore. Many have seen the Disney-inspired Alice cartoon or the more recent live action adventures with Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp. But it all began with a story told to entertain a little girl.
But did you know that these two little books have inspired hundreds of subsequent works, including a seemingly endless number of books, films, TV series, comic books, manga art, graphic novels, and even role-play and video games? We find fascination in Nonsense.
This doesn’t surprise me. I love everything Alice. Her imagination, cleverness, witty repartee with Dinah, Hatter, Cheshire, and Absalom the Caterpillar — and the manner in which she deals with the numerous creatures — make her compelling. I admire her adventurous spirit as well as her unquenchable, limitless curiosity which enable her to venture beyond the constraints dictated to her by society, rules, Queens and authority figures who make the rules. She won’t be told or limited.
Why all this Alice, you ask? Perhaps I should have begun by saying this was a book review. My year began reading Alice Through the Looking Glass. And as I read, I related to life in Wonderland … a world full of nonsensical occurrences with moments where nothing makes sense or follows an expected, logical order. After all, we are all Mad … the Best people are you know. And our world is strewn with flowers who criticize and call you a weed and oysters gullible enough to be misled by a clever walrus. And despite warnings, the Jabberwocky looms ahead, a beast we don’t understand but battle all the same.
Somehow, amidst the Nonsense, we can find Hope. We can embrace the Impossible and find Adventure in the Wonder happening around us. And we will continue to make our way down the path. I guess that’s why I love Alice so much. Her curiosity and sense of adventure keep her from giving up when she gets lost and give her the courage to love the Bandersnatch and battle the Jabberwocky.
Don’t try to dissect Alice. There’s truth in nonsense. Pick up the book or jump through the Looking Glass and see where it takes You … Jenni