Friday, May 29, 2009

Existentialist Walt Disney

My philosophy thesis is about Disney as the concrete example of existentialist freedom. For those who don't know, JP Sartre defined man as the constant power to reinvent himself. That means exactly that you are not determined by the circumstances of your life, they did not mold you: you are not a mere result of them. Unfortunately, people tend to see others as such results. That is why Schickel, for one, tries to revert everything in Walt (actions and thoughts) to his background. He says, for instance, that in Disney movies, nature is "sanitized" because that is what the farmer does. He says Disney didn't like bankers because Elias didn't either, and that bankers were those who sentenced the small farmers to constant indebtedness. In such a line of thought, no matter how full of erudition, any person, no matter how virtuous, is only a cog in the machinery of events that constituted his own life. And to think that Shickel often accuses the "Disney" people loved as an image "made" by the machinery he himself made. There is no room for freedom, for self- creativity, for creativity at all in such viewpoint. In fact, Schickel himself is the one obsessed with machinery as way of explanation. But here go a few characteristics of Walt that show he was constant self-creation, the beauty of pure freedom: He was unpredictable; he escaped all molds and expectations; he was an artist and innovator and he had the most amazing courage. Courage only exists in the face of freedom. If you are a result of your background, you are only responding, not being brave and, for sure, not creating. As for Disney's dislike of money men it is more than better explained by Disney himself: in their greed for immediate profits they stunted creativity. Last but not least, is Walt's integrity as a characteristic of existential freedom. Integrity is not given, or caused, otherwise it would not have the merit attributed to it. Integrity is one aspect of one's own self-creation.

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