Ever read "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll? It was through that poem that I discovered something about myself.
I've read it a few times and had a few theories on what it means. I always thought that the Walrus represented big business or government and the Carpenter represented religion and/or specifically Christianity (jesus was a carpenter).
I kind of confirmed within my mind this imagery when one of my political science college professors (years ago, btw) used it to help illustrate a point and also when Matt Damen's character said it in Dogma. (lol - Dogma is full of subtle and insightful imagery of religion. I guess I subconciously applied the truth of other things in that movie to the truth of the walrus/carpenter shucking lines)
Yesterday I, for some unknown reason, found myself reading wikipedia about this poem. Here's an excerpt from wikipedia's entry on the subject:
Someone... and thus the link to christianity and jesus as a carpenter becomes less likely.
There are many interpretations of the poem, the majority of which depict the Walrus and Carpenter to be corrupt leaders (whether it be in politics, religion, or business) leading their followers astray (in the form of the little oysters). The poem is often suggested to illustrate the nature of genocide.
Martin Gardner noted in The Annotated Alice that when Carroll gave the manuscript for Looking Glass to illustrator John Tenniel, he gave him the choice of drawing a carpenter, a butterfly, or a baronet (since each word would fit the poem's meter). Tenniel chose the carpenter. Because of this, the carpenter's significance in the poem is probably not in his profession. Although the two characters of the poem were interpreted later as two political types, there is no indication of what Carroll may have intended; Gardner cautions the reader that there is '...too much intended symbolism in the Alice books.'
Needless to say, it made me really rethink why I thought the carpenter was a symbol for religion or christianity in the first place... and consequently, I was forced to consider that there's A LOT of things I may ignorantly hold as fact just because it makes sense to me and it's stated by someone or something that is reasonably credible (like my pol. sci. professor).
My intent here isn't to start a debate about the poem or religion, the actual meaning of the carpenter/walrus is irrelevant to the point that "I really didn't put enough legwork into knowing whether or not what I thought was actually a fact". I just wanted to rant/vent for a minute and say "damn, that was pretty stupid. I might want to consider this new discovery before I speak in the future". Generally, I'm pretty careful to only speak things that I can substatiate as this is one of my pet-peaves (stating "fact" without proof)... but I'm forced to see the reality that my definition of "things I can substantiate" should now include every thing I hold as fact, no matter how trivial or minor that fact might be. I think this is profound since most us probably accept some tiny, minor, insignificant "facts" as truth - without putting any real thought into it and I realized that I'm included in that group.
This was just one of those moments for me that seemed like personal growth. And I thought I'd share that with anyone willing to listen. ;)
Anyone else got an example of this? Rant with me! And congratulations if you actually read this entire thing. ;)