I used to be a Lost fan. When it came to the third series, though, I more or less stopped watching (I think I’ve seen the first two episodes). My interest seemed to wane, but I thought it was just generally the waning of my interest in TV series. Reconsidering, it is obvious that it isn’t as gripping as it used to be (e.g. the first series).
Anyway, today there is a post on The Thought Menagerie (the blog of another go player, Stuart – he comments with his name, so he doesn’t blog anonymously like I originally thought) titled LOST the Plot?, which explains the issue very well. (Warning: some minor spoilers for those that have not yet watched season 3 and feel the need to do so, unspoilt.) He quotes an interesting New York Times article that refers to James Randi’s website, where someone asked “Is a fascination and increased belief in the supernatural a sign of social decline?” Interesting thought.
I see two ways of teaching children to deal with things like astrology, “magic tricks”, etc. One is to teach them that it’s from the devil, and to be avoided. Astrology can indeed ruin lives, I’ve talked to someone who experienced that (it happens when you use it to guide your life). The problem some people have with “magic tricks” (illusions, and of course also with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) is that it increases children’s interest in “the occult”, and might be a “gateway” to “devil worship”? Sure, I guess it might, if a child believes that these things have “real, supernatural power”. (It does have the power to ruin lives, for sure!) So that brings me to the other thing you can be teaching children: that these things are nonsense, superstitions. David Copperfield has not made a pact with the devil (though he does have a nicely wicked sense of humour), he is an illusionist. If they know that, there is nothing to fear from reading Harry Potter, and great opportunities to laugh at the crazy “jou sterre voorspel” (your stars predict, for a literal translation) astrology section of the newspaper. Three guesses which one I prefer.
So who will be first to claim I’m naive?