Pt 2 (and 2.5)I admit now that I likely could have chosen a more adult sounding example...But that would have been less Fun... Also i apologize for rambling a bit ahead of time, i'll try to be breifer in my next installment.
Morality from Fables (and the Morality of Friendship)
For many years Humanity has used stories and fables to teach important lessons and even instill a sense of Morality to new and old generations alike. Be it through the stories of Aesop, the parables in the Bible, or even a TV show like My Little Pony: Friendship is magic.
Fables have a unique quality to them, They tell a story in which something happens based on a common thought, or commonly made mistake. They show that holding that idea or being willing to make that mistake will cause undesirable things to happen. Then at the end usually comes forth and tells you the idea or mistake (In case you did not pick up on it) and reiterates how not to make the mistake. Thus teaching listeners/readers/viewers not to hold that idea or make that mistake.
Time For an example, but Aesop is too obvious and over used, so I will use a different example. I Choose My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! (MLP:FiM)
In the Episode of MLP:FiM “Read it and Weep” The group’s athlete Rainbow Dash breaks her wing and has to spend a few days in the hospital. Usually having such an active lifestyle, she claims it will be torture being bedridden for a few days. Her Bookworm friend Twilight Sparkle offers her a book to read, at which Rainbow Dash makes fun of her by saying only eggheads read books. Predictably in her extreme boredom she eventually gives in to the book and finds out she loves action/adventure books, and in the end of the episode is forced to admit to her friends that she now loves to read and apologizes to Twilight Sparkle offering the moral of the story, “Don’t knock it til you try it” or don’t make fun of or discredit something until you understand it.
The characters in the story do not have special powers that allow them to overcome the situation, they do not have a higher power that solves the problem, or even just a wiser individual to explain the mistake before it is made. They have to ‘uncover’ the moral on their own, most often times by committing the error and suffering the consequences.
I think this appeals to a facet human nature, the desire to pass down knowledge. We have the ability to learn vicariously, a situation does not have to happen directly to us for us to learn from it. Some fables may give a fear based lesson, but it is usually a direct and practical fear. In my example Rainbow Dash’s life is enriched by her acceptance of reading, an enrichment that she never would have had without that experience.
MLP:FiM has many such morals and simplifies and teaches many issues that I am surprised made it into a child’s show at all, much less in ways a child should understand.
Many issues Such as:
Racism: You should not mistreat someone just because they are different. (Zecora, Luna)
People Changing and redeeming their past (Luna)
Words instead of Violence (Dragon Shy)
Overcoming fears (Dragon Shy)
Growing Up and Responsibility (Babby Ponies)
Greed (Spike grows up)
Pride (Read it and weep)
Being More than yourself (Elements of harmony, Return of Harmony, Dragon Shy, Others)
And of course
The Power of Friendship!
Which is shown in the Virtues embodied by the Mane six Ponies
Loyalty Rainbow Dash
Laughter Pinkie Pie
Freindship Twilight Sparkle.
And the Biggest lesson Is that We should all Love and Tolerate each other and our individual thoughts and actions.
Another of the big Lesson that sort of unifies and makes MLP;FiM a source of some kind of morality instead of just a culmination of life lessons, is that we are capable of more than just our single self through friendship.
One way this is true is that we ourselves can unlock our full potential for friends, when others depend on us we have purpose and reason to push ourselves to our limit in times of need. Sometimes it can be really easy to give up on yourself and really hard to give up on a friend.
E.G. The group’s most timid member, Fluttershy, conquers her fears and stands up to a mighty dragon whom her friends had angered because she knew that they would have been severely injured* (And the entire countryside choked with smoke) if she had not.
*Its still a kids show, death is a little much. So just injury.
Another way we go beyond ourselves through friendship is being part of a group whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. My Little Pony goes to great lengths to teach that friends can achieve much more together than any of us could do alone. Whether its working together as a group of friends to stop a great evil of Discord , working together as a community to clean up after winter, or even just putting an end to a spat between sisters.
Through this collection of fables we learn the value of Friendship and the practical moral of Love and Toleration.
Everything is easier with friends by your side, so we should all Love each other and tolerate each other and our differences so that our lives may all be enriched by the Magic of Friendship.