Saturday, August 3, 2019

Universal Acids in Fairy Tales :: Dennett Civilization Essays

Universal Acids in Fairy Tales Dennett's idea of universal acid can be found in many aspects of human civilization. Darwin's universal acid was released into the scientific world as other forms of acid were being released and eating away at foundations society had taken centuries to set up. With the foundation quickly crumbling it became the task of several self selected individuals to patch up the cracks that were quickly becoming giant holes. Universal acid is an idea or thought that has the potential power of disintegrating long held beliefs or truths. " Darwin's idea cuts much deeper into the fabric of our most fundamental beliefs than many of its sophisticated apologists have yet admitted, even to themselves" (Dennett 18). But it can also be an idea which has the means of molding societal norms through its mere existence. An example of this would be fairy tales especially those written by The Brothers Grimm. These stories were not treated as a lethal form of universal acid because they were used to create social norms. In the fairy tales little girls and boys learned how to be women and men. They were also taught the rules of engagement for this new and diverse wilderness called civilization. The fairy tales and other such stories transcended culture and language. All over the world there are variations of Cinderella and other popular fairy tales. The universal acid in these stories was used as a means for eradicating inappropriate or deviant behavior. The acid shaped and molded what made good little girls and boys. Those who were outside the parameters set by these stories would, according to the fairy tales themselves, meet with horrible consciences. They would either not be chosen by the prince or would not receive the award that awaited the good girl. This is displayed in Grimm's rendition of Cinderella's dying mother's words "Dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect you, and I will look down on you from heaven and be near you" (Grimm 121). Being good is never enough. In order to survive happily in the new wilderness and individual would have to be not only good, but pretty. Beautiful, would be preferred, but being just pretty could be utilized to the individual's and their family's advantage. Through these fairy tales beauty is equated with meekness and even temperedness. These things are then used as commodities to bartered the family's way up the societal ladder and therefore increase their chances of survival in civilization.

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