THE STRAIGHT UP
The Puddleglum Philosophy My Manifesto for Hope
I didn’t read “TheChronicles of Narnia” until I was in college. Gasp! I know, what kind of childhood did I have? Even though I didn’t go through the wardrobe until I was almost an adult, themagic in these books still influenced my life. For me, one of themost powerful moments is the speech fromPuddleglum the Marsh-wiggle at the end of “The Silver Chair.” "One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'ma chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things — trees and grass and sun andmoon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have.Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seema good deal more important than the real ones. “Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world.Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it.We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game canmake “.. I’M BETTER OFF BELIEVING IN HOPE AND A BETTER WORLD, EVEN IF IT’S NOT TRUE.”
a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'mgoing to stand by the play world. I'm onAslan's side even if there isn't anyAslan to lead it. I'mgoing to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking forOverland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say." is convinced the characters won’t make it to the end of their journey. But in the end, when it really counts, hemakes this incredible speech and gives the characters the hope they need to win.This speech perfectly articulates the basic foundation of what hope and optimismare for me: I’mbetter off believing in hope and a better world, even if it’s not true. I’ve wanted to write about the Puddleglum philosophy for a long time and why we need more hope in our lives.This isn’t to say there aren’t bad things but rather that there aren’t only bad things.There are good things in the world, too. In fact, I would go so far as to say there are far more good things in the world than bad. I think the reason we tend to see somuch bad is because the bad things scare us, and it’s easier to profit frompeople’s fear.You can’t sell a world built on hope; hope is something we all have for free. At first, Puddleglum is as gloomy as Eeyore. He’s pessimistic, claims everything is terrible, and
The important thing to remember about the Puddleglumphilosophy is that hope demands action. Believing in a better world doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to bad things — it’s about using hope and belief to build that better world. Puddleglumdoesn’t just talk about how the "made-up things seema good deal more important than the real ones"; he applies action to his words, stomping out the villain’s magical fire and leading his friends “out in the dark to spend our lives looking forOverland.” When things seemawful, it can help to remember what gives you hope and joy. It can be the smallest things like trees and grass, the sun and themoon, walks with your dog, and good long laughs with friends. No amount of hope is insignificant. As long as we have hope and belief that the world is a good place, we have the power tomake that come true.
–Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225www.drpitner.com
Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs