“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” ~ Ted Geisel
Dr. Seuss, pen name of Theodor Geisel was a writer who, bored of Dick and Jane books, decided to reinvent early reading. He was bullied for being the child of German immigrants, was banned from writing for his college magazine after drinking illegal gin during prohibition, and had his first book rejected after publishers thought it might be a bad influence on children as it encouraged them to tell lies.
In short, he was the epitome of rebellion. Add that to his liberalism and war cartoons which opposed antisemitism and racism, and you may find him to be up there with the most progressive and exciting thinkers and writers of the twentieth century.
Here are 10 Quotes from Doctor Seuss to Help You Reconnect with Your Rebellious Inner Child:
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
The notion of the illusion of reality seemed particularly close to Ted Geisel, and he used contentious rhetoric and allegory, especially in his children’s books. He was also romantic. In true post-war and sixties-flair, love was his ideology and there are sprinklings of high vibration throughout his most popular works.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ~ From Oh The Places You’ll Go
This book is one of my personal favorites. Dr. Seuss had a knack for covering the conceptual components in a child’s life, from their love and understanding of nature, to their dealing with difficult and stubborn adults. This quote and the book it is lifted from, is all about the blessing of free will. We all have choices, so use them wisely!
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
I love this! We are all unique. No feeling down in the dumps about not choosing the path we have found ourselves on. No resistance to being You. Through the medium of nonsense and beautifully simple rhyme, Ted, like any talented poet or comic, shows us the simplicity of truth.
Akin to any Buddhist koan, or line from a famous Zen text, we can know that the most rebellious act we can undertake is to be ourselves, and recognize the bare fact that there is no-one like us. Perfect!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – from The Lorax
Every person’s rebellious inner child is an environmental activist, let’s face it. We all love the earth at heart, even if we have lost our way. The Lorax is a beautiful look at the faceless face of consumerism. And the Lorax? An old creature with a Kung Fu mustache who speaks for the trees. It feels like it shouldn’t work, but it does.
“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” – from The Lorax
Impermanence features heavily in perhaps Seuss’s most quotable books, Oh The Places You’ll Go, and The Lorax. In the former, it’s about the highs and lows, in the latter, it’s about the impermanence of the earth.
Planting seeds, and seeing them grow. Just as it took a child to bring big corps to question, so to did Geisel know that’s would take children to inherit and replant the earth. So, whether you’re one of those children, or their parents, we each have an important role in holding reverence for Gaia.
“I said, I do not fear those pants with nobody inside them. I said, and said, and said those words. I said them but I lied them.” – from What Was I Scared Of?
This book is so spooky, yet it teaches that rebellious inner child of ours that there’s nothing to be afraid of but misunderstanding. Our greatest allies are often the monster under the bed, if only we’d face them. A tale about a pair of pants who keeps bumping into the protagonist, it’s like any other Dr. Seuss; simple, original, and heartwarming.
“We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts! So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!” – from Horton Hears a Who
Existential, and drawing on parallel worlds, Horton Hears a Who is about making a stand for the underdog or vulnerable. If a minority were floating about on a speck, and you heard them, as a rebellious type you would do anything you could to help them, right?
That’s precisely what an elephant named Horton does, and, when you look past the anthropomorphism, it’s an attribute integral to human nature. In times of stress, we help each other and reveal ourselves to be generous and loving. But really, deep down, that’s what we’re like all of the time. we just don’t realize it.
” Well… in Who-ville they say, that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!” ~ from How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch is my favourite sort of character. The Miser, much like Scrooge of A Christmas Carol fame, (I wonder where Dr. Seuss got the idea?), is the ultimate anti-hero. Bad turns good is as satisfying as an old myth, and an important step on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.
Facing the rebellious inner child’s demons and their shadow-self is the most difficult part of the journey, where they are lured into temptation and nearly overcome. Luckily, the Grinch was saved by Christmas, and as the quote says, his heart grew three sizes in the nick of time.
“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” ~ from The Cat in the Hat
I felt compelled to include a Cat in the Hat quote, I’m not quite sure why. Is he a nefarious trickster? A hark back to fifties cautionary tales about strangers? Or is he the double-sided character that is highly misunderstood? The eternal child…? Ambiguity aside, this Geisel quote is all about boredom, bringing drama into monotony, and looking on the bright side.
Does the rebellious inner child become bored? They don’t want to. They like action, and probably loathe boredom, but then life is life, and knowing how to deal with rainy days is helpful to any rebel.
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… get on your way!” ~ from Oh The Places You’ll Go
Motivational rhyme like you’ve never seen it before, our mountains are inevitable, they’re big, sometimes huge, but there’s no need to dilly dally, let’s get going! My kids and I actually made an ode to Dr. Seuss and his characters based on this book.
Our mountains were armchairs and stairs, our waiting places amongst the toys. Our hot air balloon a throw, our stepping stones cushions. There’s nothing like Dr. Seuss to get us reconnected with our rebellious inner child, as well as our real ones.
Dr. Seuss, the master of rhyme, chief of allegory and captain of rebels, certainly knew how to lighten the mood. With his nonsense, his neologisms, his funny characters, he was one of a kind. And so are you!
Dr. Seuss by Shelley Adams