This past March 2nd was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would have been 108 years old this year. So, I thought it appropriate to spend a little time reading one of my favorite Dr. Seuss’s books — Horton Hears a Who. After all, I’ve been feeling a little like a citizen from Who-ville lately, so I figured what better way to get a little clarity around why I’ve felt this bizarre way.
Here’s what I learned. First, it felt strange as a 62-year old man checking out a children’s picture book from the library, especially without having a grandchild in toe, but I’m glad I did, for here’s what else I learned, or really relearned. Dr. Seuss’s book are transformational, in that they can be read at many different levels. So I’d like to share what I gleaned from reading the book this time around, which also explains why I’ve been feeling like a citizen of Who-ville, and more importantly, why I am inviting you to become a citizen as well.
Let’s start by identifying the major characters of the story and the role I see each of them playing, starting with the main character, Horton.
In my Life On Purpose Perspective interpretation of the story, Horton is a visionary — someone who sees (or in Horton’s case hears) what others cannot.
Kangaroo and little Kangaroo are the “others” who simply aren’t able to see or hear what Horton the visionary can so they pooh-pooh his vision and try to throw cold water on it. (Know anyone in your life like that?) It’s a classic case of the Inherited Purpose shaping their actions rather than their true, Divinely Inspired Life Purpose.
Kangaroo and little Kangaroo are well supported by the Wickersham brothers (a family of monkeys) and the buzzard, Vlad Vlad-i-koff who represents the establishment that’s dedicated to maintaining the status quo. (After all, the Inherited Purpose is threatened by change.)
Now, Dr. Seuss does a clever thing that other talented writers do on occasion. He uses some of his settings as characters starting with Who-ville, which in my interpretation represents a new possibility for life — one that Visionary Horton can see/hear but that the established order of things cannot or will not believe in.
Another setting that worth looking at is the clover field where Vlad drops Horton’s sprig of clover on which sets the dust particle that is the home of the Whos. The clover field is all the stuff in our lives that can distract us from staying aware of our vision for what’s possible. Those distractions are such things as the following, especially if indulged in to an obsessive level:
• The internet
• Television shows (especially reality TV)
• Video games
• Family dramas, etc.
• Over indulgence in the acquisition of stuff
So there you have it. Well, not quite. You might be asking, “But what about the citizens of Who? Who do the Who represent?” Why, they are you and me — other visionaries who see and may even be living in the new possibility paradigm to some degree.
You see, the whole point to this story (at least my interpretation if not Dr. Seuss’s) is that we each need to join our voices so that the new possibility paradigm of a world that works for everyone (or as I like to refer to it, a World On Purpose) can be heard and realized…yes, even by the establishment that has been dedicated to maintaining the status quo.
And it’s happening all around the world. Just like the citizen’s of Seuss’s Who-ville gathered together in their Town Square and cried, “We are here! We are here!”, so too are we. And while the transformation may not be happening as swiftly or as completely as we’d like, all there is to do is to keep shouting, louder and longer.
Just like the citizens of Who-ville pulled out all the stops, using their tin kettles, brass pans, garbage pail tops and old cranberry cans, we are learning to use our resources to magnify our voices as well — the internet, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. So, keep shouting, “We are here! We are here!”
You may also realize that you’ve become one of the other characters in the story — Jo-Jo (who “lives in the Fairfax Apartments — Apartment 12-J”). Jo-Jo was the ‘shirker’, the very small shirker who was standing in his apartment bouncing his Yo-Yo, “not making a sound! Not a yipp! Not a chirp!”
That’s okay. Because remember, once the Mayor and he climbed to the Eiffelberg Tower, “the lad cleared his throat and he shouted out, “YOPP!” And it was that “one small, extra Yopp” that put it over the top.
Their voices were heard!
So, YOPP away little Jo-Jo’s and I’ll YOPP away with you.