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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Walt Disney – Continuing the Thought

Rarely am I this excited to delve into a topic, as I am with this one.  But, as Smee tells Capt Hook in the film Hook, “Captain, I’ve just had an apostrophe!”

As I said in my last post on this subject, ask any Disney fan what he or she finds so interesting about Walt Disney, and you probably find almost as many reasons as the individuals you ask.  To press further, what is it that you like about what it is you like about your reason for interest?  If you were to continue to press, I think you’d find that, what the initial reasoning, it would boil down to…  Whatever Walt does, even though you might not quite be able to put your finger on it, there is just something so right about him.  I too, in my interest, could never quite put my finger on it, until now.

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned what I thought was the apotheosis of Walt Disney.  For those unfamiliar with the term “Apotheosis”, defines it as follows:
1.  the elevation or exaltation of a person to the rank of a god.
2.  the ideal example; epitome; quintessence: This poem is the apotheosis of lyric expression.
I like the term, and what's more, there is a famous painting in the U.S. Capitol building called the Apotheosis of Washington, an artistic vision of elevating the man to the status of a God.

Read any number of books, articles, or essays on Walt Disney and you’ll find any number of authors attempting to deify the man.  We have seen this exaltation happen throughout history with individuals of great importance, but with those wanting to adore comes those equally intent on demonization.  Books, essays, and historical accounts are littered with myths, for both purposes, which cloud our judgments and understanding of many famous figures.  For those with the inclination, I’d suggest a simple myths search on the internet for you favorite historical luminary.  You might be surprised what you’ll learn.  Depending on a person’s perceived contribution, their real impact on society, and time, will help determine the level of deification or demonization that takes place through the legends and myths created and what sticks in the societal psyche.  It is, in my opinion, the desire and almost fixated need within the human condition to find explanation for those things we do not understand and cannot comprehend.

So, now I imagine, you are pondering, what does this have to do with Walt Disney?  In WALT AND THE PROMISE OF Progress City, Sam Gennawey discusses the concept of a “higher degree of life” and “a quality without a name” from an architectural viewpoint.  With “a quality without a name” representing a situation where we instinctively know that something is or seems right, even when we can’t really put into words why.  Could we expand these concepts into a more universal theory in human existence?  If they can be identified in any small part of our world, would it not make sense to assume that they are indeed are embedded, no matter how deep, within the consciousness – or maybe better put, the unconsciousness of all human beings?  Might these concepts be the unifying reasoning why so many people find Walt Disney such an interesting character?   I thought about claiming, at least for me, that Walt was the embodiment or physical manifestation of a “higher degree of life” and “a quality without a name, however, I think that only leads us to extend that deification concept, and which I do not favor.  So, I think it is better put forth that Walt Disney, whether he truly understood it or not, possessed a stronger innate concentration or development of these qualities, along with a good dose of honest humility.  So there it is…  Walt Disney was, in my opinion, the best possible example to date of a “higher degree of life” and “a quality without a name.”

So, as this idea percolates, I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts.  Have one you’d like to share?

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

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