How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda... yeah, we've been watching FX today
And it has led to some important insights....
"We need more of... this"
"You just gestured to all of me..."
Insight: People are a whole package. Yes, we all have attributes, lists of those things that compose us, but we are a complete organism - a whole package.
People, humanity, seems to have a need to take things apart in order to put them back together. We tend to label the components, looking for the exact spot in a system, the exact location of a glitch that we need to tweak or fix. Industrialization seems to have moved us to a place where our most basic thought processes incline to interchangeable parts theory.
DaVinci recorded a minutia of biological information in his studies of the human body. The Portuguese led the way in conquering the seas through the myriad components of navigation. The defeat of the Spanish Armada (ships sunk with ammunition on board because it didn't fit the cannons on board) led to an interchangeable parts mentality in the military, eventually championed by Eli Whitney and used in machinery production, from the cotton gin to the tractor. The very basis of our economic machine is interchangeable parts - each new model of car has only one or two things different from the past one because its design is based on the components, the hardware that has already been produced - the molds and dies that have been cutting out fenders and pumping out headlights that have been stocked and stored in warehouses, waiting to be assembled... (think Johnny Cash, "One Piece At A Time")
But the sum is greater than the parts! Identifying the parts does NOT define how they work together. Interestingly, the most contemporary medical research is showing just how little we "get" that... one of the most compelling "theories" that is shaping the way doctors practice is based on Microbiology - the idea that there are zillions of bacteria all over and in our bodies (that we are in fact only 10% human according to an article in the Smithsonian, July-August 2010). I'm not sure if I read it somewhere or if it's just a "gut" feeling (pun unintentional but well placed) but it is just this kind of complex whole, sum-greater-than-parts, macro understanding that would explain why Autism is related to intestinal function (called the gut-brain connection that is talked about with the Gluten-Free-Casein-Free diet, and the autism-vaccine discussion).
What if we are looking in the wrong directions, trying too hard to find pieces?
"The point is, stop trying to be what you are not."
Insight: What if we stop trying to be what we are NOT? what if we start looking at WHOLES instead of parts? What if instead of making lists of all the thorns and roses, we just accepted that they go together - that they are part of the same plant? What if instead of weeding out my wickedness and trying to make sure people only have to work with my strengths I could learn to accept that they are flip sides of the same coin? To me this is heavily related to the recent Pantene commercial about double standards - and the conversations about how Autism shows up in women. When does assertive become bossy? When does controlling the environment (sensory overload) become manipulation? When does neat-freak become OCD? When does the lack of flexibility & literal thinking translate into being a territorial b!t@#?
"There is no secret ingredient!"
Insight: Things are special because of their innate being. The soup is good because it is the perfect balance of ingredients and methods. It is good just because... it is good. It has been through some refinement, some trial and error, and with practice each batch is consistently good. There are no pieces missing of me either, or of you! I am good just because... I am good. I have been through some learning curves, but the more I am true to my ingredients and methods, the more consistently I am good. Again, it is the sum of all the parts that makes the perfect soup, and me. Finding balance and harmony in all those ingredients & methods makes the best me... and there is no secret ingredient or magic cure or essential act or missing piece needed!! I have all the elements I need already.
I have to say that I really appreciate the messages in these movies. The hero saves himself - no damsels in distress or trying to counter the fates. They are messages of fulfilling destinies - of encountering fates, learning to embrace the True Self. And those Selves are NOT perfect. Hiccup could easily be classified Aspergers (right down to the physical awkwardness), and definitely an outcast. Po is considered the exactly-wrong-guy-for-the-job, adopted and doubted. It is only when they embrace and exploit their differences that they can solve problems - and not just for themselves - but for those lives around them they touch...
I know every generation searches for its identity, tries to find those attributes that give it "a place in History"...
Is there a Big Picture connection here? "Kid's movies" about self-knowledge and being True to Self... a rising number of children being labeled as so "different" they are Autistic... some of those children so different that they can't use words... some healers claiming that they can communicate empathically/ telepathically... some parents & psychics even claiming that we are witnessing the evolution of man...
That sounds pretty far fetched, pretty "out there"!
While the rest of the world was trying to make better candles, an Aspie invented the light bulb... a man who was partially deaf, didn't speak until older, dismissed by schools as a child for his inability to learn... the man who said, "I have not failed, I've just found 10000 ways that do not work"... someone who devoted untold hours to a crazy pursuit, a vision only he could see...