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Written by Timothy Sexton
"The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey."
The essential component of all quotes in this book is the educational value provided. Is the book entertaining as all get out? Heck, yeah, but what really separates the books about Pooh and his friends from the overwhelming rabble surrounding them on the shelves in the children’s literature section is the uncommonly subtle way that A.A.. Milnes draws each character starkly as an archetype which lays the foundation for interpreting their quotes from a sociological perspective. This particular quote is an easy and prime example. Pooh is representative of a stage of development in which he has yet to assert a defining personality. As such, he is still trapped solidly within a state in which everything he sees is funneled through a perspective searching for how that vision applies to his own identity. Bees, for example exist for a variety of reasons, but for now Pooh is only capable of trying to determine their purpose through a lens of what they can do for him.
“Christopher Robin had spent the morning indoors going to Africa and back, and he had just got off the boat and was wondering what it was like outside, when who should come knocking at the door but Eeyore.”
Here’s the thing: Christopher Robin never really went to Africa. Milne is describing with perfect lucidity in the mind of children playing, the essential component of the imagination. Such a simple declarative type of sentence, yet endowed with a world of wonder. Much like living in the Hundred Acre Wood itself.
“They're funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you're having them.”
A very philosophical work of literature is this book. The above quote has all the hallmarks of one of those Yogi Berra-type famous quotes that seems to be deep until you realize it’s really not. Instead, this quote at first really does not appear particularly profound, but once you start expanding its meaning to the level of observations you hear every single day from legion of Captains Obvious all around you, you start appreciating just how connected into the zeitgeist of what passes for communication in the modern world Eeyore really is. Which may go a long way toward explaining exactly why he's such a depressive donkey.
“You can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count.”
Spelling isn’t everything. But, of course, that’s not what Rabbit is really talking about here. Don’t expect your friends to be perfect and they will remain your friends a lot longer. Rabbit is a nutjob for being organized and he certainly has a tendency to view himself as smarter than the average Pooh Bear...or Piglet...or Eeyore or...certainly Tigger...but even with all his flaws, he recognizes the value of overlooking the many flaws that can be found in friends if you just stop to look. Just as the ability to spell Tuesday really doesn’t count when it comes to friendship, so are there many other things that maybe people put a little too much value on. Start giving the people you care about a little break. If they want to spell Tuesday with a double-O instead of a U and an E, so be it.
"'Owl hasn't exactly got Brain, but he Knows Things. He would know the Right Thing to Do when Surrounded by Water. There's Rabbit. He hasn't Learnt in Books, but he can always Think of a Clever Plan.'"
Piglet is very small and that diminutive status lends him a quality of fear and anxiety which, in turn, causes him to cling to the others just in case he might need assistance doing something he cannot do for himself. As such, he is a great observer of others with an intuitive understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of others. Partly this is due to the fact he needs to know those qualities in the event he needs them, but it is also partly because he genuinely possesses the sensitivity required to detect those qualities in others.
Piglet: “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
Pooh: “Supposing it didn't.”
And there you have it. Proof positive that Pooh's outlook toward the world from the perspective of how it relates to his own search for identity is, ultimately, a very admirable essence of Zen. The House at Pooh Corner is a very Zen place to be. Pooh is on the trolley and if you ever have any doubts, just reread his insightful response to Piglet's anxiety.
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