The Thinking Poet


The Childhood State


 This extract expresses the deep truth of the “Childhood State”.

 The Dean is in the Cathedral for Christmas Day service:-

 “ As the Te Deum soared to the roof, to the sky, and took wings to the four corners of the earth, he felt himself built into the fabric of the singing stones and the chanting exulting figures all about him …………Adam Aynsworth was not surprised. He had had a similar experience long ago as a child, although until this moment he had forgotten it. The human brain was an organ of limitation. It restricted a grown man’s consciousness of the exterior world to what was practically useful to him. It was like prison walls. Without them possibly he could not have concentrated sufficiently upon the task he had to do. But in childhood and old age the prison walls were cloudy stuff and there were occasional rents in them.”



 Going through my manuscript of “The Childhood State” in preparation for a presentation to the Forum Friday next, I realise how essentially simple is its message. Yet it is this very simplicity that causes the truth to be so elusive. The thesis, in essence, is that we are physical entities subject to organic growth over a period of four-score years, plus or minus some. The brain we recognise as the cognitive centre of our being. We perceive our environments and derive meaning from them as we form concepts. This process, because gradual, we take for granted. With the flight of years infancy gives way to youth and adulthood. Consciousness is such that it takes the present status quo as the criterion for judgement. Whatever reflection we indulge in – and reflection is all too rare – tends to be self- or ego- reflective, and of a “question and answer” nature.

Rarely do we attempt to ponder our beginnings, and this for a very good reason. Our earliest mode of awareness has become largely inaccessible, inundated by time. Metaphorically our child hood is like St Enedoc church near Padstow which disappeared under the sand.

What we have done by the time we reach age twenty, or less, is to have made a “universe” for ourselves. Through our neural processes the perceptual/conceptual mechanism has mapped a universe. What we ignore, or forget, is that:-


The map is not the territory explored.

 The child is the explorer. The child experiences, feels, knows ecstasy, (also fear and pain). The off-shoot of the child is the map-bearer and user. By means of the map he thinks rationally, finds his way pragmatically, plans a life, tries to make choices and judgements, sometimes connives, sometimes is kind, is haunted by a sense of morality, is even more haunted by a dim sense of “desire” for something that once was, and which is coupled with a sense of the numinous, of holy awe which takes the name GOD

The Childhood State Page 2