For the first time in a long time, The Spear found himself in a Planetarium the other day. They happened to be running a show of sorts – as a Planetarium is wont to do – which, aside from a bit too much storyline fluff, wasn’t too bad.
The Spear is sure if he was still a boy he would have found it very informative, but alas, he found himself dutifully playing the role of the man-boy who knew too much (so far as primary-student orientated planetarium shows go). Yet if the sobs of one young girl in the audience are any indication, he is quite glad that some of the factual knowledge of the presentation didn’t come at quite so early an age.
SUN’S GONNA DIE BITCH
Yep, that’s right. The Sun’s gonna die, bi-atch. Blow up in a big fucking ball. KABOOM. Can’t handle that? Well time to toughen up Princess, because mummy isn’t gonna be around to hold your hand when the sun explodes and envelopes the earth in a great fiery ball – because she’ll be dead too.
Thus was the not-so-subtle message delivered to the horizontally-declinated children, staring with their doe-eyes at the dome projection, their mouths agape as a vision of inescapable doom was directly imprinted onto their psyche, forever.
For the purportedly well-educated adult, the knowledge of Sun Death comes as little shock; it’s just another kick in the nuts in the perpetual nut-bashing fest that we call life (and at least it is very, very distant). But for the young and still full of hope, knowledge of the death of the Sun must be distressing. What fucking hope is there of anything when even the most permanent and beneficent thing you can think of is going to up and fucking die on you and wipe out the planet and the human race in the process?
At least most adults have come to terms with their own mortality before learning of Sun Death, making it a novel non-event for most. These poor little bastards, who probably thought they were going to live forever, just had their fucking minds blown by a mortality bazooka.
The Spear doesn’t really know if there is a good way to introduce children to mortality. Modern society seems to have kept the reality of death pretty much out of sight (hospitals, nursing homes, lack of war and famine) and consequently out of mind for most.
As The Spear has previously argued, as we are so keen on delegating all education to state curriculum, couldn’t we make some room in the syllabus for some sort of discussion of philosophical matters such as mortality, outside of the ‘religious education’ of any particular doctrine? At least before the visit to the cold science of the Planetarium…