Wishing Upon a Star

From 2003-2010 I had the privilege to teach apologetics to 12th graders at a Christian school near Philadelphia, PA. In order to try and communicate to my students the character of the culture in which we all lived I would sometimes use, and yes, even sing, phrases or lines from popular songs. Well, they were popular to me, even if I did sing them badly. Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” and B. J. Thomas’s “Hooked On a Feeling,” were two of my favorites, but perhaps the one I used the most was “When You Wish Upon a Star” from the 1940 Disney classic Pinocchio. Anyone who thinks that a self-absorbed, retreat-inside-yourself, feelings-obsessed-activism got started at the turn of the millennium really never paid attention to Pinocchio.

After all, Pinocchio teaches us that all we have to do is wish upon a star and anything your heart desires will come to you. All that matters is whether your heart is in your dreams. It does not matter who you are. You wish sincerely and hard enough your dreams will come true.

The object bends to the will of the knowing and desiring subject. The media need not report on or about reality; they can create it. You know, it all depends on what the meaning of the word is is. There are no borders, no boundaries. The Constitution is a document that says what I want it to say. I find in it a right to X, therefore that is what the Constitution says. Without borders or boundaries, there are no such things as contradictions, and we certainly are not going to confront our favorite politician on his or her contradictions, well, I mean, those do not exist anyway, because, after all, we don’t want them to.

All that matters is feelings. “I feel like you are not listening to me.” Therefore, I am not listening. “I feel like I got the right answer.” I had a Christian school student say this to me a couple years ago. He wanted me to give him credit for a correct answer, when, in point of fact, he had given an incorrect answer. The question was a straight factual question about the number of soldiers in a particular army. He felt like he got it correct, therefore he should have been given credit for a correct answer.

Of course, what happens when you live long enough is that the empirically objective character to life slaps you around. Well, as long as you are unable to insulate yourself from it by political power and money. If you have enough money and political power, you can get away with every criminal activity under the sun, and you are free to convince yourself that you are completely right in doing so. You see how this works? Your crimes are transformed into non-crimes because of your desire. You meant well. That is the only thing that matters. The ends completely justify the means. You borrowed money, well you don’t have to pay it back, because your intentions are good, so that was money you deserved. You cannot require students to pay back loans in a border-less world. In a border-less world there are no crimes, just people who have more money and power than others.

But you have to be taught all this. This is what a lot of young people have been taught over the past 30 years. They have been taught it by some of the older people in their lives. Hard to call them adults. Just older children. And, after all, isn’t that what we are talking about? Children love to play “make believe;” the will determines everything. But alas, reality resists my will and yours and everyone’s, and eventually you are left screaming at people because they won’t bend to your game of “make believe.”

Objective, empirically verifiable realities smack you right in the face and you do not know how to handle it. Well, you did not have to because your mom and dad, and the rich people on the school board who were friends with your mom and dad made sure that the principal told the teacher that you were free from the consequences of your behavior. It was grace, you see. No borders. Mom and dad’s reach extends past the principal and teacher. No borders means no bodies. So her body becomes mine, because I want it. There is just power. The will to power. Yes, we can. A president’s re-election slogan and Bob the Builder’s mantra. A make-believe world for 4 yr. old’s. Meanwhile, the sun comes up and the sun goes down.

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