The Couch
Perspectives On Kung Fu Panda
Title Perspectives On Kung Fu Panda
Message Perspectives On Kung Fu Panda. The Panda is a sensual dreamer, confined in his barely analysed place within a social and familial hierarchy seemingly without original talent or goal. All he has, in the initial situation, is his happy-go-lucky nature, and affection for his one dimensional noodle shop owning father and a propensity to dream beyond his station. His initial dream -that which propels him psychically beyond his mundane circumstances- sees him as a master, and acknowledged and popular force encompassing both power and popular belief. He is politician, statesman, warrior -perhaps- all rolled into one. As a compensatory fantasy it is enormous and to imagine the fictive reality as a possible world would be to enter the paranoid fixations of the schizophrenic. However, it is his down to earth, down at heal circumstances and his simple acceptance of them -provisionally- where we begin to warm to the hero of the tale. Up on the hill, the temple, the symbolic centre of popular belief and power for the rural community, a group of five diverse creatures demonstrate their mastery of the art, hoping to acquire knowledge of a secret scroll containing the text of texts, the essence of the symbolic, necessarily the ultimate symbol of power and influence. Currently the spiritual master -a tortoise- plays the game of appearances; while seemingly placid he knows the secret of the 'nerve centre points' (a metaphor for the body and its mortal limitations) he can overcome age, ignorance and fear by merely retaining hold of a technical knowledge. Even the Kung Fu master cannot rival his technical knowledge, which we must see, irresistibly, as the current global role played by high technology and the small group of corporations that control the means for its development and control. The 'old ways' are embodied by the five martial artists; they are interested in acquiring power and success through force alone. They are unable to grasp the subtle reality represented by the tortoise grand master and and his cherished scroll. When the Panda lands in the centre of the mystic circle during the ceremony to choose the Dragon Master -the one who gets to read the ultimate text and therefore become superior to even the tortoise supreme master- the tortoise master instantly chooses him -a fool without the physical mastery of Kung Fu- to be the new disciple. This throws the symbolic order into chaos; there is a disillusionment among the practitioners. We must recall why the finding of a Dragon Master has been forced on the temple ruling faction. The former student of the lesser master -an ambitious lion- has been imprisoned in a distant kingdom due to an inability to capture the subtle reality of the new technical order -our current technological climate- he only understood brute force and the old technology of brute mechanical force -read the backward looking religions and fixation on global dominance through means of force alone (terrorism). As the lion heads, after escaping prison, toward his former kingdom in his futile quest to finally read the 'final text' and therefore achieve dominance he easily defeats the five Kung Fu students and therefore demonstrates the ultimate futility of the old ways and the impossibility of any of them understanding the new master text. It takes the useless Panda to grasp a new vision of innocence in his simple pursuit of the sensual joys of everyday life (food) that seems to undermine old notions of propriety and order and reflects the increasing dominance of global capitalism in the face of the widespread dissolution of religion and superstitious belief. He alone grasps that the text has no final meaning and therefore reaches a carefree existential awareness where the body and sensual existence are given primacy over intellectual reasoning and theoretical master narratives.
Ownership Nexus
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Submission Date 08/11/08 - 1:25 PM

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