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The Giving Tree

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I apologize, and this time sincerely.

-Marcus

One more thing, which is the reason of my original comment. It is just that you sounded like a man who was a attacking me, rather than a woman who was respecting me (which is something that I am not used to in my daily routine).

Once again, apologies. And yes, I really don't think that you understand what I am talking about :confused:

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So, the Rainbow Fish has to sink to the level of mediocrity in order to be happy. This is taught in some schools. Nothing but socialist indoctronation.

Some? There are schools where they don't teach this?

I think socialists don't realise it's mediocrity they are teaching. They see it as spreading happiness.

They most evil child's fiction ever is a Polish (I think) animation which is gorgeously done either in painted glass technique or something of the like. It looks very beautiful, but the story is evil. It's about man killing god, creating civilization, which is shown as source of all evil, polution, war, etc. In the end, I clearly remember a scene where a woman resurrects the fox she was wearing around her neck by putting it on the ground and petting it. Then people went all naked, threw away TVs and returned to nature.

I don't know how the cartoon is titled, but "How to give children schizofrenia" sounds appropriate. :lol:

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It's interesting to see how differently people interpret this book, as well as The Rainbow Fish. I've read The Giving Tree to my children a couple times, and it never fails to make me cry. Of course, this was before I really understood Objectivism, but I think it would still make me cry. Why? I think it's the sadness of the tree at the end and the distance between her (?) and the man at the end.

I can understand the predominant interpretation that these books are about altruism and sacrifice. However, I can also see them as cautionary tales about living as a looter and a moocher - at least The Giving Tree. The man never learns how to be productive himself, he depends upon the tree to be productive. In the end, the tree has nothing left to give and the man is SOL. The man clearly doesn't understand his own self-interest, else he would find some way to perpetuate this resource - he would plant a forest of giving trees. He's shown as a moocher and a looter and the consequences are unavoidable. That's an important lesson.

Perhaps one of the reasons the book makes me cry is because I too see it from a parent/child relationship. I'm sure none of us here would consider giving what we can to our children to be sacrifices. My children are necessary for me to live a happy life - I would do all I can for them. They are a very high value to me, on par with my own life. It makes me sad to think of the time when I won't be able to give them what I can to make them happy. These don't have to be material things as portrayed in the book, but whatever I give them won't be a sacrifice - everything I give them is necessarily of a lesser value than their lives and happiness. No sacrifice.

As to The Rainbow Fish, I've never read the book, but judging from the synopsis given by Maximus couldn't it also be interpreted as non-sacrificial? Since the fish wanted others to like him, and that's why he went to the octopus, couldn't it be said that he valued friendship with others higher than he valued his scales?

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Jeff, I like your interpretation of The Giving Tree and your attitude to your children, although parents are not just giving trees, they are helping trees.

As to The Rainbow Fish, I've never read the book, but judging from the synopsis given by Maximus couldn't it also be interpreted as non-sacrificial? Since the fish wanted others to like him, and that's why he went to the octopus, couldn't it be said that he valued friendship with others higher than he valued his scales?

What kind of friends were that? Do you become friends with people that are jealous of what you have? If my neighbor doesn't like me because I have something he hasn't, I go and give it to him so we can be friends? That book is to teach small children to accept the rule that they have to share their toys in situations where the available amount was artificially restricted by adults, like nursery. It's not philosophy.

If this was an Objectivist story, the rainbow fish would invent the means to produce artificial scales and then sell them to others. Everyone would have more.

Edited by Jill

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Jeff, I like your interpretation of The Giving Tree and your attitude to your children, although parents are not just giving trees, they are helping trees.

I agree, or perhaps "Teaching Trees."

What kind of friends were that? Do you become friends with people that are jealous of what you have? If my neighbor doesn't like me because I have something he hasn't, I go and give it to him so we can be friends? That book is to teach small children to accept the rule that they have to share their toys in situations where the available amount was artificially restricted by adults, like nursery. It's not philosophy.

If this was an Objectivist story, the rainbow fish would invent the means to produce artificial scales and then sell them to others. Everyone would have more.

I've never read the book, so it's impossible for me to comment on the nuances. However, to your point, I think the lesson would then be: how to pick your friends. If the fish's motivation is simply to be liked, and the lesson is: The only way to be liked is by sacrificing, then I of course disagree with the lesson. But if the lesson is: Understand what you really value; does the fish really value his scales, or does he value having friends, then I think this is a valuable, objective lesson. Unless the book is clear about the fish's motivations and values, I don't think we can objectively claim he is making a sacrifice.

For example: If your neighbor doesn't like you because you have a rusty car in your driveway that you're trying to sell, but you value your neighbor's friendship, wouldn't you get rid of the rusty car? Now, if your neighbor is so petty as to allow such a small thing get in the way of your friendship, perhaps you should re-examine why you value his friendship, but weighing your neighbor's friendship against a rusty car with presumably lesser value to you seems like an important lesson.

I simply think it's interesting how completely opposite interpretations can be taken from the same text.

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When I watched a skit on The Colbert Report, this post came time mind. Colbert was making fun of an analogy Sean Hanity made recently on his Fox News show, the analogy was called Obama Plucking Tree of Liberty Bare. Here's some images of the tree Sean used to illustrate his example:

0_21_450_050509_hannity_tree.jpg

0_22_450_050509_ha_apples_0.jpg

0_23_450_50509_ha_tree_bare_0.jpg

*on the show the tree was animated, with the apples falling into the socialism crate.

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*snork* Yeah, that guy's show is nothing but propaganda (like all the news networks, not just fox). None of them know what the hell they're talking about when they discuss economics. They're like crack pots who think they can learn physics by reading laymen books and then say they found errors in quantum mechanics or Einstein's theories and the scientists are all telling LIES!!!!!!

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That book was disturbing to me before I was an Objectivist. I do enjoy his poetry books, though.

I think an interesting book to put into Objectivist thought would be my favorite picture book, The Story of Ferdinand. I see it as a story of a young animal version of Howard Roark, going against everything that he's expected to do to follow his own conscience.

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Another disturbing childhood book was "Stone Soup". They read that a lot when I was in elementary school.

For those not familiar it involves beggars coming to a village. Since the inhabitants aren't willing to give them food (offering to work for it never came up <_< ) they put a pot on a fire and threw a stone in it. As curious villagers walked by the beggars told them that they have the most delicious soup but it "just needs one more thing to make it perfect". So one gets conned out of a carrot, one gets conned out of an onion, one gets conned out of a bunch of salt and so on.

It was supposed to be about "sharing and cooperation". Luckily I had fiscally conservative parents so even at 6 I knew it was about fraud and theft. Also, that the stupid villagers deserved to get conned for not looking in the pot first and seeing there was noting in it but what they threw in. :thumbsup:

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I am reminded by this thread of the 'Chicken Little' story.

Who will help me plant the wheat/corn.

Who will help me weed the wheat/corn.

Who will help me grind the wheat/corn.

etc. to which the reply every time was 'Not I', said the various other farm animals.

This one has two endings apparently. The altruist ending where the meager bread produced was divvied up to even those who did not help, and the more capitalist ending where those who did not help in the production of the bread, did not partake in its consumption.

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This one has two endings apparently. The altruist ending where the meager bread produced was divvied up to even those who did not help, and the more capitalist ending where those who did not help in the production of the bread, did not partake in its consumption.

I'd heard there's a revisionist/altruist version of The Ant and The Grasshopper as well.

The one I had when I was a kid the grasshopper knocked and knocked on the ant's door when winter came but the ant just sat and enjoyed the fruits of his summer's labor ignoring him. The grasshopper starved to death.

Great story.

I heard there's a different ending now.. have you seen it? Know what it is?

I'm assuming that the grasshopper breeds excessively, elects a community organizer to rule over all, breaks in, rapes the ant's wife and takes all his food. Then the ant finds out since he isn't a party member he won't be getting the rationed medical care for the injuries he sustained during the burglary.

...or maybe the grasshopper gets a job as a philosophy professor at university and turns the Ant's own offspring against him with Marxist propaganda...?

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