Yeah, I am writing about Winnie the Pooh.
Deal with it.
As I was watching this silly little movie with my son, a funny moment happened. Christopher Robin left a note to the animals of the 100 acre wood that no one but Owl could read. At the end of the note Christopher said, “I’ll be back soon.” Yet when Owl read the note, he read “Backson”. Naturally, everyone wanted to know what a Backson was, so Owl described a fearsome creature that lived in the 100 acre wood that kidnapped Christopher Robin. I’m not sure how Owl connected the misinterpreted “back soon” into a loathsome monster like the “Backson”, but he did!
What happened after this revelation made me laugh and gave me pause at the same time.
In a moment all of the animals of the 100 acre wood started to project their worst fears on this fictional creature. In fact the rest of the movie involved finding this creature and saving Christopher Robin from his murderous tentacles. And, this is is all because of a misinterpreted word.
And, I know this is a silly kids story that I shouldn’t be reading much into. Yet, I feel like there is something to be learned about the human condition. Often, without any realization, we will project our worst fears onto a person or object, often demonizing the subject in question. Let me give an example.
I have a very good friend in ministry who tends to do his work in a way that is quite different than most churches from his heritage. While this guy doesn’t necessarily do things differently to spite his tribe, he is often viewed as a bit of a rebel because of the folks he works with and the way he looks.
To be plain, I feel like this guy is an easy target. And, I have seen people project a lot of their fears about church or faith on him that are not necessarily fair.
And, we do this with anything from politics to philosophy. When we see or hear someone that we disagree with (and, I’m not saying it is wrong to disagree), we seldom stop there. Our natural instinct is to find more and more ways we are right and they are wrong. We then find ourselves projecting all of our anxieties and fears on that person, even if in reality they do not represent those things.
In short, we dehumanize people via the route of demonization.
The Backson is a funny character because of the over the top fears they project on him. But, how often are we guilty of the same offense when it comes to those who make us uncomfortable?
I am not advocating a egalitarian utopia where no one disagrees. What I am advocating is for us to be people of depth who can disagree without demonization.
So, who is your “Backson”? Be honest with yourself and reflect on the ways that you have allowed differences in philosophy to decend into demonization.
Share your thoughts on this!