Where are the revolting children?
I have just watched the Netflix original “Matilda the Musical” and it gave me some thoughts. What is the story actually about? While I did never read the novel from Roald Dahl, I still have formed my opinions on the story and what it is trying to convey. It was not my first encounter with the story of Matilda. I’ve also watched the 1996 movie interpretation, yet I’ve found the musical to be much more interesting.
The most emotional part was the song "Revolting children" where the children of the school are singing about how they are revolting and how they are going to change the world. The children sing about how they break out of the "prison" that is portrayed here as the school ruled by their headmaster who took control over their well-being and has very restrictive rules. The kids are allowed no fun nor any minor mishaps. Especially the refrain tells us a lot about what the children are going through:
“We are revolting children
Living in revolting times
We sing revolting songs
Using revolting rhymes
We’ll be revolting children
‘Til our revolting’s done
And we’ll have the Trunchbull vaulting
Now I have come up with my own interpretation of the story and especially the refrain. I want to relate this to the current situation in the world. In the story the children are revolting against the rules of the school and the headmaster. While I see the headmaster as us adults imposing the rules on the children. And the rules as the current social structure that we currently live in. Now this is not going to be a silly alt-right view but there seems to be something happening in our society that will change how we will have to function in the future. We set so many restriction on ourselves and push them onto our children.
What do I explicitly mean? Well our world has become very complex, not only from a technological point of view but as just mentioned also from a societal view. We want to avoid conflicts and any kind of potential harm, be it physical or psychological. And by doing so we put ourselves and others into boxes. Boxes we like and dislike. This black and white thinking may seem sensible for actually harmful ideologies, like nazism or the black block movement, but it should not be applied for everything. There are teachings from all sides that are important, and as I was told from some far left people: “You have to listen to all opinions!”, yet they themselves do never listen to outside opinions. Thus, I have to conclude their opinions to be one-sided and hypocritical. To make it clear I may be hypocritical on some points as well. Us humans are not perfect at all.
Now what would it take to be less one-sided and hypocritical? I believe that one has to listen to different points of views no matter if they are offending us or not, no matter if they share our views or not. And yes there can always be something sensible learned by doing that. I know that I am risking a lot by what I am about to say, but I give you an example using the psychologist Jordan Peterson. While there are things I do disagree with him, there also are a lot of things that seem true to me. I base this on my experience as a human being who got very involved with social engineering. It is important to be critical about everything on hears and sees, but that does not mean that just because some things being said seem ridiculous, that everything coming from the same person is unreasonable. Like I disagree with Peterson’s stance on transgender people, I do agree with his points on human nature and the issues of monopolistic opinions.
But our world is full of manipulation, while I believe that Peterson is actually emotionally invested in the topics he pursues, he does get shoved in the alt-right box. If that is true or not I do not want to judge. But it would put him in the same box as much more insensible people like Andrew tate, who is actually trying to convey his position as a converted muslim, or Ben Shapiro, who uses his jewish religion as a “get out of jail free”-card. Both of which are trying to attract specifically young men to join the alt-right movement. While I see myself as a left leaning centrist, I do not see myself to be associated with either the far left nor far right. But no matter where one is, one will be boxed in one or the other side.
From my view both extremes are harmful and one-sided in their opinions. Neither side wants to accept that it is impossible to create a homogeneous society in democracy. And both ends want to impose their views as the only true solution and thus tres to undermine the other side. Both sides scream for “freedom of speech” yet forbid it to the other. My suggestion would be that the right to freedom of speech ends where the rights of others get undermined. But the voice of reason is silenced by both ends of the political spectrum. Diversity is only allowed when you fit in one of the boxes.
And now we hurt our children with this way of thinking. We tell them what to believe, we tell them how to live, we tell them that the others are all evil. Fun is taken from them, no more free-time only follow the money. And nw we wonder why they are revolting when they get older. The rise in youth criminality is our own creation. The current society does not allow children to be children anymore. The parents’ political views also have to be the ones of the children. People from all sides of the political spectrum take their kids to protests without having allowed the child to form their own opinion on the matter while criticising the other sides for doing the same. It hurts me to see this kind of instrumentation of children for our own gain.
I would wish for the children to revolt, but everytime they try they get undermined and blocked by us adults. be it the ministry of education not listening, the political parties advertising to them or the media portraying a singular point of view. We must teach our children to inform themselves and create their own opinions. It would already start with a more agnostic upbringing. What I have seen is that children always become a reflection of their upbringing. And we allow them to be manipulated, being forced too many rules, too many restrictions, too much advertisements and not enough free-time to think for themselves. Instead of the children revolting against us, as it should be we are actually revolting against our children and thus, we have become the “revolting times”. We have become the Trunchbull.
To change this, we all should stop to think in boxes where it is not necessary. If a view is not undermining another person’s right we should allow it to be expressed and listen to them, even if we disagree. In a healthy society we can accept opposing opinions and teach this to our children. Since we humans are all imperfect beasts, we cannot allow to believe, without irrefutable evidence, a single opinion to be the only correct one. Thus, we should allow our children to revolt and form their own opinions free of political influence. Let’s allow the children to use “revolting rhymes”, and listen to them. A child’s self-formed opinion is as important as the ones from adults.
Homo homini lupus est.