The world is turning on its head and he’s spinning fairy tales…
Besides that, what on Earth does Putin have to do with anything?
Bear with me and your curiosity will be satisfied.
Most of us believe that bed time stories come from the ancient past, that they were passed on across generations by the regular folks, from the ancient equivalent of you and me to our nephews.
Lets give this idea a second thought.
First of all there weren’t so many ‘you and me’-s readily available until recently. No more than 50 years ago most people with enough time to think about such ‘frivolous’ topics as ‘bed time stories’ didn’t have enough education to be interested in such things. In those times most people worked/fought hard in order to make a living, and a small minority was rich/powerful enough as to live somewhat insulated from the daily worries of the commoners – ‘what will I be eating/feeding my kids tomorrow’. The rich and powerful had their own set of worries, even if of a different kind: how to rule efficiently enough as to maintain/enhance their power and how to pass on to their successors the skills needed to ‘keep the show running’.
In those times the commoners, and their children, worked so hard that they fell asleep while eating ‘dinner’, they didn’t have to use any bed time stories.
Meanwhile the rich and powerful were so busy with their daily business/routine that they didn’t have time to loose with their children so they hired teachers and helpers to raise their offspring. Oftentimes this entire ‘nursery crew’ was under the authority of a spinster aunt or something similar but nevertheless they were all quite apprehensive of the entire situation and didn’t have the guts to contradict and chastise the ‘young princes’ directly. The deadlock was solved by the some of them who summoned enough gumption to invent meaningful stories/fables and use them to educate the future generation of rulers.
Seems far-fetched? I must remind you two things. In those times Europe, and the Arab world, were choke full of story tellers. Remember the minstrels who spread out the story about Tristan and Isolde or Scheherazade, the world’s first spin doctor? So there were plenty of stories waiting to be reshaped into learning materiel for the offspring of the ruling class. And the second thing is that the ruling class had enough means to hire the best teachers available. So sharp minds plus plenty of raw material equals a lot of excellent ‘bed time’ stories that actually started as lessons for future rulers.
And when did all this come to an end? When the rulers became careless or unable to maintain the balance needed to keep the entire kingdom in working order? When the entire situation became complicated enough so no individual ruler, no matter how capable, was anymore able to keep in the air all the problems that needed constant juggling? When the commoners, enticed by the incessant humming of the minstrels who had adapted for the general audience the empowering messages meant initially solely for the princes’ ears and by the technological advances that made even their humble lives a little easier and a little safer, became emboldened in their natural quest for autonomy? When all these three conditions/developments ‘conjointed’ into an explosive situation otherwise known as pre-Revolutionary France or in other circles as the Enlightenment?
The point I’m trying to make here is that ‘bedtime stories’ are extremely important. As long as they do the trick and the next generation is successfully initiated in the mores of the old one so it is able to understand and keep alive the traditions yet retains enough independence to be able to bend those traditions skilfully enough as to make them useful in solving the current set of problems, the whole situation is ‘on tracks’ and able to move.
If, for no matter what reason, the flow of information that should run from one generation to another is perturbed in any way the ‘train’ is in great danger. If the flow is too strong and the manner in which the information is presented becomes too imposing the ‘education process’ is transformed into a ‘training session’, the next generation looses it’s ability to think for itself and to solve by its own the smallest of crises so the whole thing ends up as a catastrophe.
If the flow is too weak, either because the ‘teachers’ have lost heart or ‘the pupils’ were allowed to become too cocky – or both – the situation starts to resemble a railway with no rails: the train simply has no clue as to where ‘the way’ is and either grinds to a halt or ends up in a ravine.
OK but …”what on Earth does Putin have to do with anything?”
Well, my favorite story is the one about the emperor who, at the advice of two of his courtiers (his ‘esteemed couturiers’ actually) started to walk naked through the main square of his capital city.
Do you remember that story?