Disney Movies and Childhood Philosophizing
Growing up, most of my favorite movies were Disney adaptations or creations. I remember especially favoring two particular titles for their main themes of harmony and community, Pocahontas and The Lion King. There are lots of other themes and motifs which run through these movies, but I want to point them out for their connections to the natural rhythms of life.
“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance…We are all connected in the great Circle of Life.”
The Lion King
For those of you unaware, synchronicity means “the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” I have firmly believed in the interconnectedness of all things since childhood. When people intentionally sever their ties with others, it often results in a grimace of discontentment. When Mufasa died, I was upset because it wasn’t yet his time. His brother severed Mufasa’s connection with life and all his potential actions and their consequences. Of course, Simba receives the wisdom that even death has its place. Despite his father’s murder, Simba finds his place as a leader and restores balance to the pride lands, which were on the verge of collapse under the unnatural leadership.
Even with the interruption of his dynastic cycle, Simba returns to power, albeit with more effort than previously needed. He goes on a journey of redefinition when his world is turned upside down, and makes his new place in it.
“And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends.”
Pocahontas, “Colors of the Wind”
These lyrics are from one of my favorite songs ever, not just because it’s a Disney song. So much of this is about accepting others for their unique perspectives. It’s about appreciating the tiny parts of every little thing and the roles they play in the world. The song speaks for itself about unity and harmony. If you haven’t listened to it in a while, you really should.
Ecology: A Few Definitions
Why all this talk about nature and harmony? Why mention childhood movies? To explain why I took an ecology class my senior year of high school and freshman year of college!
I’ve always been a word nerd, so when my teacher told the class that ecology comes from the Greek oikos, which “refers to three related but distinct concepts: the family, the family’s property, and the house. Its meaning shifts even within texts….”
This word, ecology, means more than studying the environment. It encompasses the understanding of the world around you. Our scientific family are the Hominidae, but that includes a slew of other genii. Our genus is Homo and our species is Sapiens. All of these distinctions derive from a taxonomic understanding of family. But what of your nuclear or extended family?
Another interpretation of family are of those blood and law relatives we all share. Even that is limited in its definition, though. What of those families who choose to come together. They may not share any legal or genetic bonds, yet their experiential ties are of familial strength. When you are unclear of the definition of “family,” how on earth can you define a family’s property?
According to scientific terms, if the Earth belongs to us, doesn’t it belong to all genii within the Hominidae? I don’t agree with this, of course, as I’m sure many of you don’t. The meaning of ownership changes significantly. As a species, I think we’ve often conflated ownership with entitlement (i.e., colonization, slavery). I’m not going to trust our definition of family property, then.
Don’t even get me started on what constitutes a house. That’s at least an essay’s worth of writing, possible even a book’s worth. (Hmm, maybe one day.) I’ll do my best to summarize it: a shelter with roof and four walls; a refuge from emotional and/or physical harm; a base to refresh and recuperate; a gathering place of community; a place to run from, for some; a source of nostalgia and comfort; and often associated with origin and beginning.
I hope that we can all agree on this: We are one human family, in this reality we share and define, on this Earth we call home.
Not the Beatles song. I mean, creatively. There’s an entire slew of communing and communicating and whatnot mentioned by Covey with Principle 6: Synergy. It’s too complicated to put here. And I’ve chosen to make it more personal and big picture than he did. I’m talking about the cultural ecology of our species, as well as your individual ecology.
I could get super technical with cross-cultural and multicultural definitions from the social sciences, but I’d rather not. This is already a lengthy post, and I’m trying to capture your interest. (If you’d like to know more, I can always recommend a good book or two.) Summarily, this term involves the three dimensions of oikos discussed above: family, family property, and house. In the context of culture, this usually differs based upon collectivist and individualist bases, as well as religion and ethnicity. Property and house are also very variable. Communing in this sense would best be done by attempting value the differences between yourself and others.
Realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven R. Covey
Know thyself. Find your inner balance. These aphorisms define a little bit of what this existential homeostasis is about. Most of my posts are about getting to know yourself better, since that’s my goal as a young millennial wannabe writer. I’ve chosen to find my vocational family in words. My property is anything I can put to paper (digital or physical). My house is the ever-shifting ether of inspiration, wonder, and creativity made manifest. I’ve found creative cooperation within myself and my ability to appreciate the different things I’ve shamed about myself previously. There will be much more to come on this topic of creative cooperation within the self here.