Small Things

Small things amuse small mindsDoris Lessing


It probably is evidence of my engineering education and limited literary interests that I always thought that Small things amuse small minds was first said by my mother when she found me playing tic-tac-toe with myself when I was supposed to be cleaning my room.  It is a saying I have never particularly liked because I am very fond of small things, particularly small surprising things I see in the world around me, like a hummingbird momentarily motionless on a branch or a sprout of grass poking up through concrete.  Or this single viola, which has been thriving in the middle of our back lawn for almost a month, keeping its pretty purple head low enough to avoid the gardener’s mower while the violas I intentionally plant in my flower pots whither in the heat.

Of course, in turns out that Doris Lessing is a Nobel Prize winning British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer.  She also said, In the university they don’t tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools, also somewhat cynical.  And this: The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.   Also cynical.  I really dislike literary cynicism.  However, when she says That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way, I completely agree.  I just believe that such understanding sometimes comes from small things.  However, at ninety-three with a Nobel Prize in hand, I doubt Ms. Lessing cares what I think.

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2 Comments on “Small Things”

  1. I think only small persons can see something like a small thing. Even an ants are growing while viewing until become like the elephants that urge us to uplift the eyes and thus humble all our earlier judgements.

  2. cherperz Says:

    Recognizing that all the small things are part of the big picture is a admirable trait in a person. Even people that are 93 should be open to hear and consider other peoples thoughts. I would like to think I am still willing to grow when I am in my 90s.

    I think I disagree with her statement that we are the same person we were when we were young. I think life experiences can change us. Some people’s spirit is broken down by life, while others are lifted up.

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