Morals We Learn as Young and Forget (to develop) While Growing Up
Today, almost every couple in the world has at least one child. We all know that we’ll leave the world to our children, so it would be great if they were good people. That’s our task, to teach them how to be good people. I guess we all tell them to love and respect each other, not to lie, not to steal… What happens when we/they grow up? Magically, everything (or almost everything) we/they learned as a child – disappears. Children’s mind is open to many things, they learn and adopt things they see or hear very fast. One of the best ways to reach a child’s mind are cartoons. You must confess, Disney is very good at it. Cartoons are not only for children, because they have many layers and messages. The basic message is the one that even a child could see, and it is a good beginning, but what happens next? Instead of developing what we learned as children, we completely forget it. I know that some will say that it is normal that we are maturing and rejecting childish stuff, but that’s just why we should watch cartoons again when we grow up. Then we’ll be able to understand hidden and underlying messages we couldn’t see when we were children. Here, we present you a list of cartoons that, though adult, you could watch again.
1. Let’s start from Aladdin.
2.”True love” – The Little Mermaid.
Another seemingly impossible connection – a human and a mermaid. Two different worlds, but still together. This cartoon doesn’t stress social class differences that much as a will to fight for a true love. We all know a saying – the true love conquers all! Some even make fun of it, those are mostly people who failed at love. And because they failed, it means that there is no love, or that it can’t conquer all obstacles? Oh, come on… They have to ask themselves – did they fight hard enough, or better, was it really the TRUE love? Look what Ariel did, metaphorically - she disobeyed her father, the king, left her sisters and everything she knew for something completely unknown, she traded her voice for legs at sea witch’s, only to be with the one she loved! The moral of this cartoon is that we must fight for our loved ones, no matter how impossible or hard it seemed. No one says it will be easy, as it wasn’t for Ariel, but it pays off in the end. And for those who do not believe – love DOES conquer all!
3. Beauty and the Beast
Another love-related cartoon. One of the more complex ones. The first layer, or the first message of this cartoon that everyone can see is that the physical appearance isn’t the most important, but the inside beauty is what really matters. And that’s a good moral for the beginning. The second subliminal message is that a person who refuses love becomes a ‘beast’ in a way. Look at him – he refused love, and the enchantress turned him into a best that only can be saved by love. And only when he learns to ease and control his temper, become kind and appreciate people and things around him, he will become a person. The third, and the deepest underlying layer of the story is that Beauty and Beats represent two parts of a person – the rough and smooth one. In that case, the captivity in the castle represents that a person cannot ‘escape’ from her/himself and must work on bringing those parts together. Only when the rough part becomes smooth, and the smooth part learns how to control the rough one, a person really becomes complete. There is a motive of rose, which represents love through all the cartoon. The second and the third part a child could not really understand, so there is a proof that cartoons are not only for children.
4. The boy that everybody loves – Pinocchio
A cute wooden boy and his adventures is something we all watched and loved as children. As The Beauty and The Beast, Pinocchio also contains several levels of understanding. Let’s begin with the simplest one. The most obvious is that if you wish ‘upon a star your dreams come true’ and of course what makes everybody remember Pinocchio is his nose that grows every time he lies – so it is bad to lie. Certainly, those are things we teach our children, despite the fact that we all lie, sometimes… But, if you pay more attention and try to reveal other messages that Pinocchio is hiding you will be surprised, for sure. The cartoon is based upon several esoteric teachings. It begins with (our) creation. In the beginning Pinocchio is human-like, but still lifeless piece of wood, as to say an incomplete person. He must self-improve through self-discipline, self-knowledge and strong will power. The basic teachings of Gnostics. He starts his way through life. Father sends him to school, which is representing knowledge, but he is intercepted by Foul fellow the Fox, who shows him an ‘easy road to success’. So he comes to Stromboli, where he acts in a play. But, soon after, he realizes that it’s not the good way – he’s been captured in a cage, unable to go away, see his father, he will be replaced when something more interesting shows up and all the money he makes serves to enrich Stromboli. Rather realistic review of show-business. When he escapes the cage, with help of the Blue Fairy, he is again on the right road, together with his conscience – Jiminy Cricket. But for the second time, he meets the Fox, who takes him to the Pleasure Island – a place without school, meaning knowledge, and laws, meaning morals. Children are allowed to do everything – smoke, drink, destroy everything, and in the end of that kind of behavior, they become donkeys who are perfect for working in mines. It is a relation to the ‘narrow-minded’ masses, that can be controlled through mass media… Big, ignorant masses are fantastic thing to control and use as you wish. When he finally realizes that it is not a place for him, he escapes and goes home. He founds out that his father was swallowed by a whale. That is a parallel to a Book of Jonah, a story that can be found in Christianism, Judaism and Islam books. That’s Pinocchio‘s final test – he has to escape the darkness of the obtuseness and ignorance (represented by whale’s womb) in order to be a real boy, as to say an illuminated person. Meanwhile, he proved to be brave, unselfish and truthful, what the Blue Fairy asked him to become. Finally, he becomes a real boy!
5. The Chinese legend of Mulan
A rather newer cartoon than the previous ones, released in 1998, reveals the legend about a Chinese girl who couldn’t find herself in devoting to physical look and finding a perfect husband. As the first impression, you see a ‘division’ on male and female roles in the society. It is strongly specified that a man should work, maintain the family united, go to war if necessary, and a female has to feed the family, do the housework, look good and please the will of her husband. But, unlikely, in this cartoon we can see something completely different – a girl who couldn’t fit in, and whatever she did, she brought the shame on her family’s name. So, she found a way to express her real self through doing men’s stuff. She escaped from home and went to war disguised in a warrior. There, she found true friends and a perfect soul mate, who loved her for what she really was. For the first time in her life she felt good. The ‘Reflection’ song she sings perfectly shows it. So one moral of this story is that you must be true to yourself (‘True to your heart’) and follow your inner self, to find your place in this world and above all – to be truly happy, no matter what people say, they will always talk. On the other hand, this cartoon deals with two eternal motives – love and honor. She went to the army because of love she had for her father, to save him from certain death, and she returned her family the honor she stained, after showing extraordinary bravery in the battles. Some might say that it is a feminist cartoon, but I think it just counters the old male/female considering stereotypes.
6. Forever a child – Peter Pan
Another movie with a lot of hidden messages and theories. Peter Pan, a spirit of youth that will never die, a boy who doesn’t want to grow up, to lose the innocence of a child and confront to the responsibilities of an adult. That’s what it says in the beginning – All the children, except one, grow up. What does that mean? It means that the spirit is immortal, that we all should preserve some child-like attributes. A child’s happiness is an expression of love which it carries within, and the child cannot realize any different behavior (of adults). Running around and playing games are expressions of pure love and joy, but sometimes the adults (especially parents) limit their/a child, even punish it for that. But they forget that a child instinctively knows what’s essentially good or bad. A normal thing for a child is that if it feels threatened, it just defends itself and continues to play, but after several unpleasant experiences with adults, who suppress and stifle child’s love and happiness, they start to lose their innocence, bit by bit, and feel resentment. They’re no longer able to forgive, they’re frightened, because they don’t realize what were they punished for. And, of course, after years of treatment like this, they develop individual reactions that, unfortunately, make them the same as the adults. So, they grew up. I think that’s exactly what Peter Pan didn’t want, neither for himself nor for other children. In the beginning Peter lost his shadow at Wendy’s. Shadow was a subject of many psychological theories – K. G. Jung said that it represents a seat of creativity, a distant and indiscriminate aspect of mind, or repressed good characteristics or natural reactions. Wendy found his shadow and sewed it to Peter – so it means that one must confront his/her creativity, use it, try to reveal the unconscious side, not to repress things. And what about Captain Hook and the crocodile? Captain Hook is a grown up, he can’t stay in Neverland – a child’s state of mind, so he’s been chased by a crocodile, or better say the clock that ticks (louder in the Captain’s head than anywhere else) inside the crocodile, that is a constant reminder that the death is inevitable and the crocodile will be the executor. And in the end, when Wendy and her brothers come home by golden (once Captain Hook’s) ship, their father, though he didn’t believe in children’s stories etc, can see it, and he says ‘I have the strangest feeling that I’ve seen this ship before, a long time ago, when I was very young’. It clearly means that there is a bit of a child in each and every one of us, it is the question do we let it out or suppress it? Think about those stuff while raising your children. The last thing, did you notice that in this cartoon only children fly? A child’s mind knows no boundaries, there’s nothing impossible to a child.