Today is Skeptics Day! When better to stop beating around the bush and just come out and ask: Do you believe in Dragons? And, if so, how and why?
Speaking for myself, I believe in Dragons.
Nor do I believe they are an subconscious amalgam of the everyday dangers confronting our prehistoric ancestors: winged eagle, scaled serpent, and ferocious feline.
Both are tempting explanations, but oh so mundane….
I also don’t relegate Dragons to the realm of myth and fantasy – holding them as mere creatures of our fertile imaginations. That way lies a dismissal of our majestic friends and their impact on our world.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a great booster of the imagination. As Mark Twain said, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” But let us heed Twain and use the imagination as a means to see not only what the majority of people believe to be real and true and right in front of their noses, but also what is rare and shy, just waiting to be found. Again.
I believe in Dragons. In flesh and blood Dragons, larger than life and twice as natural (thank you Dean Dodgson). I do not care that the traditional scientific community has found no evidence of their existence; to those doubting Thomases I would iterate the words of the poet Ralph Hodgson: “Some things have to be believed to be seen.”
I believe in Dragons because they make sense to me, surely as much sense as the platypus or the Amazon hoatzin. I believe they are ancient beings, magnificent and wise, who inspire us to look at our world with wonder, to question rather than destroy that which is different or misunderstood.
I believe in Dragons because part of ‘my soul is in the sky’ (Shakespeare) and airplanes just don’t cut it.
I believe in Dragons because at the end of the day, I want to say, as Ged of Earthsea did, “though I came to forget or regret all I have ever done, yet would I remember that once I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content.” (Ursula K. LeGuin)
Most of all, to skeptics I would say I believe in Dragons because I refuse to live in a world without magic, without the possibility of such wildness and breathtaking beauty.