More and more I find myself drawn to the great thinkers. My children have recently reminded me of the wonders of A.A. Milne, and so I would like to share some of my recent readings with you.
As you may recall, Edward Bear (or Winnie the Pooh) loves to eat. Specifically, he loves to eat honey, and views his world around its creation:
“If there’s a buzzing-noise, somebody’s making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you’re a bee.”
Then he thought another long time, and said: “And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey.”
And then he got up, and said: “And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” So he began to climb the tree
Winnie tries to get honey from the tree by climbing it, but of course this exercise is a failure as Pooh crashes into a gorse-bush. So with the help of his friend Christopher Robin, Pooh covers himself with black mud, lays hold of a balloon and tries to float into the air to the honey tree, disguised as a little black raincloud. After all, everyone knows that a raincloud doesn’t like honey – no, not a bit.
As the bees encircle the bear, Pooh concedes to Christopher Robin that his approach may not be working; after all, you never can tell with bees. Ultimately, the escapade ends in disaster as the balloon bursts and Pooh and Christopher Robin run for their lives from what I suppose was a maddened hive of africanized honeybees.
Was Pooh wrong to desire honey? No, this is the very nature of being a stout bear. Milne provides us with few answers:
Isn’t it funny
How a bear likes honey?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?
The real question is whether Pooh’s strategy was a wise one. Disguises rarely work, as even a Bear of No Brain at All realizes. I have to admit that I am sometimes tempted to disguise myself when trying to get what I want, whether by downplaying my Mormon-ness amongst the gentiles or by up-playing my rebelliousness amongst the Mormons. But the truth of the matter is that I’m not fooling anyone, any more than Pooh was able to fool the honeybees with his raincloud disguise. Hiding true intentions will not trick our opponents — political, religious or other — into letting us get our way, and it seems to me that attempts at subterfuge or misdirection have the potential to anger people more than honesty about our stated aims. Bears love honey, and the only reason Pooh is pretending to be a raincloud is to get that honey and eat it.