Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do They Eat Fish, or What?

We have interesting conversations in our house from time to time, mostly because Eustacia thinks about interesting things. Not long ago, she asked if mermaids eat fish. While she and I discussed the notion, and I said that if humans, being mammals, eat other mammals, then it seems fitting that mermaids would eat fish. The subject seemed reasonable to us until Husband said quite plainly, "Mermaids don't exist." Bubble popped.

Now, with No. 1 home for a few weeks, bringing with her a different perspective, we can completely exhaust the subject of whether or not mermaids eat fish and whether or not they exist. No. 1 introduced the philosophical idea that if an object doesn't exist, any statement about it can be true. Santa Claus is bald, for example, can be true because he doesn't exist. To that, I asked how do we know if he's bald or not because no one has ever seen Santa without a hat? Eustacia agreed, but Husband and No. 1 think we're nuts.

Back to the mermaid question, while we all agree they do not exist, we do not agree on how we view the world. You can see it as black and white and decided they do not exist plain and simple. You can decide they do not exist but believe in the possibility they could. And you can prefer a world where they can exist and then live slightly above reality so that discussing whether or not they eat fish does not seem a waste of time or mental energy.

I fall into that last category, and I think Eustacia joins me there. There are no mermaids in our world, but is there harm in wishing there were and seeing this world as a place where fantastical things can be true on certain planes of thought? A person who wishes to believe in mermaids can easily accept Santa Claus with or without hair. She can believe in garden fairies, too, and malevolent trolls under the bridge, and tiny mice who makes shoes while everyone else is sleeping.

I like that kind of a world, and that's where I prefer to live. Where do you want to live, and do you think mermaids eat fish?


dive said...

Santa Claus doesn't exist?

Actually, that's got me thinking, Robyn … I wonder what they've been serving me the past few years at the sushi bar whenever I ordered mermaid.

kyle@sift said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kyle@sift said...

Mermaids only eat fish when they amazingly encounter a human who will buy them a plethora of evening gowns and take them out to dinner. The rest of the time they eat oysters and seawood because they are both good raw.

MmeBenaut said...

Hahaha! Husbands are good at bursting bubbles occasionally. (That's not necessarily true because husbands DO exist!)

I'm going to apply this theory to the fairies in my garden from now on. Please thank D # 1 for studying philosophy for me. :)

Alifan said...

Oh Robyn, how lovely, I think it is so wrong when young Mothers tell their children not to believe in fairy tales.... it is what children thrive on.... learning to believe this is not just a harsh cruel world, but a loving fairytale one.. of course they all make up their own minds later, but my fairies at the bottom of my garden certainly exist!!!!!

Luckily my hubby never burst the bubble..., probably that is why Dive and Full turned out as they did!!! tee hee...

lynn said...

I must admit I was right there with your husband, even in the first few words I was thinking well, there are no mermaids so no they don't eat fish.

Having said that, I do love philosophical conversations (that's what Eustacia's studying surely?) and am more than happy to discuss hypothetical situations, so based on the hypothesis that mermaids DO exist, then of course, they would eat fish, at least some of them would, based on the principle you point out that we eat animals. Ah. We don't eat humans though. Hmm. lol. Interesting.

By the way, where on EARTH did you get the idea that Father Christmas isn't real? Pah! You do come up with some stuff sometimes, Robyn.....sigh.... ;)

Mark said...

I think all realities should be accepted for what they want to be, not for what we try to make them.

BUT. How can you ignore the obvious. Fish sees girl. Fish tries to swallow girl. Tries. And thus an eternal love story begins. Girl and fish as one forever.