- Education and Science
Winnie the Pooh and the Meaning of Life
Think think, think think...
Chances are you've seen the show Winnie the Pooh at least once. And, chances are, you've long since forgotten about it.
You most likely watched it when you were young, maybe 4 or 5 years old. A few years passed and you began to shed your childlike behaviors. You started getting rid of things; your stuffed animals, your Barbies, your Hot Wheels. And before you knew it, you had grown up.
Recently, I found myself sitting in a rather uncomfortable chair, waiting for my checkup with the dentist. I flipped through a few magazines, but it was all the same: DOW is lowest it's been in years, suicide bombing kills twelve, stimulus bill being reconsidered, tax cuts imminent... Not wanting to sit there and twiddle my thumbs for the next half-hour, I continued to look for something, anything, that would keep me occupied. My gaze settled on a book I hadn't read in most likely over a decade: "The Sneetches" by Dr. Seuss. I had no better options, so I thought "Ah, why the heck not?"
Thirty minutes later, I was still dazed and amazed.
I had always respected Dr. Seuss for his way with words. The way he weaves and warps his words, his poetic style, even his cartoony illustrations are done with a finesse that most authors and artists only dream of. But there was something else about his writing, something I didn't quite understand until now.
There was philosophy in it. Philiosophy. In a childrens book. Ideals of equality and loving yourself for who you are. Of course, this got me thinking: what other childhood memories where more than met the eye?
And that brings me to Winnie the Pooh...
Symbolism in Winnie the Pooh
I popped in my old favorite "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day", got out my notepad, and started watching. I watched closely, looking for any deeper meaning behind those lovable little balls of fluff. Here are my thoughts:
Winnie: Let's start with the shows namesake, Winnie the Pooh, or as I call him, "Pooh-bear". Pooh-bears favorite food is honey or, as his jars dictate, Hunny. Everything he does is in the pursuit of more honey. He eats and eats and eats, and just won't stop. I believe that he is symbolic of obesity, an extremely large problem in America. Some even go so far as to call it an epidemic. I'm not going to quote some BS statistic stating what percentage of Americans are obese. However, I can personally say that about one in every 3 or 4 people I see walk by are overweight. Heck, I used to be pretty overweight and I didn't care about what other people thought. But when I started learning about the health issues associated with obesity, I changed my ways.
Another interpretation of Pooh-bears behavior could be a representation of gluttony, one of The Seven Deadly Sins.
Piglet: Small, scared, and a little bit wimpy, Piglet seems to be a physical manifestation of fear. While many episodes end with Piglet conquering his fears or overcoming great obstacles, on the whole he is quite the pushover. It only seems fitting that he represents Americas many fears: terrorism, an economic crisis, worries of tainted food, police brutality, and a plethora of other problems. We live in an age of fear, but if we can trust our economy, if we can trust the food we eat, if we can trust law enforcement to not abuse it's power, we just might be able to beat our fears.
Eeyore: The pessimistic one of the bunch, Eeyore is almost always feeling down. Constantly ignored and his opinions undervalued, Eeyore tends to keep to himself. At first it reminded me of my junior high years, but them it hit me: depression. This one actually hit pretty hard, because me and most of the people I care about have dealt with extreme cases of depression at one time or another. It takes a hold of you and your life and doesn't let go. Some people get better, some people don't. But one thing's for certain: it has a huge impact on our lives.
Tigger: This one's just too easy: pride. Tigger loves himself. He has a huge ego, he's competitive, and he constantly lies about his abilities in order to inflate his ego even more. It seems that each day, people become more and more egotistical. We're completely self-centered, selfish beyond reason, and extremely vain. We care too much about what others think of us. We obsess, every second of every day, about the way people view us. Plain and simple, we are a very shallow society.
(And yes, I did use another one of the Seven Deadly Sins)
While my interpretations might be flawed, I firmly believe that many of our childhood memories still hold some truths in our lives to this day. Even if you disagree, it's still fun to relive parts of your childhood. So pick your favorite childhood book, grab some movies you used to love, and I think you'll soon realize that enlightenment is everywhere.