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I've previously discussed individualism in relation to the season 5 trailer as well as in relation to cutie marks. However there's so much more to say about other episodes and aspects of the show. I suppose the best place to start is right at the beginning with Friendship Is Magic. It starts out with Twilight saying she doesn't need friends. Of course by the end of the episode she's made five new friends and now realizes the importance of having them. What's important to note is that these friends are not simply ponies like Twilight. They all have distinct personalities and talents. Each of them contributes to the group in unique ways. There is no correct way to be, as shown by the way in which they all provide useful services. To go further, every one of them has a special trait that powers the magic of friendship. What's important is that no element is more powerful than the other and all of them are necessary. As we see in The Return of Harmony, all of them play an imperative role in channeling the magic of friendship. Not only is everyone important, but nobody is replaceable. When Twilight substitutes Spike in for Rainbow Dash, their magic fails. All of these support that the FIM universe sees everyone as having value. But more than just that, it also encourages openness to other ideas. To illustrate exactly what I mean, I'll use a character who seems at times to be unappreciated by the other characters in the show: Pinkie Pie. From the first episode it's shown that others don't always approve of her antics. The others roll their eyes when Pinkie begins singing. But as they soon find out, this is actually just what they needed. Just because something seems counterintuitive, doesn't mean it's wrong. No episode demonstrates this better than Feeling Pinkie Keen. It's often criticized for promoting blind faith and promoting close-mindedness, but it actually does the exact opposite. Twilight plays the role of a dismissive intellectual, who despite being presented with indisputable evidence in favor of pinkie sense, still denies it because she can't wrap her mind around it. There are plenty of scientific facts that are hard to understand and explain, but it doesn't mean that they aren't true. That's the message that episode was trying to get across and unfortunately many interpreted differently. But the fact remains that it's promoting the inquiry of all ideas. People's questions and observations are all valid to discuss. Even if it's wrong, this principle is still important. An instance where this occurs in the show is in Putting Your Hoof Down. Iron Will promotes a new philosophy for Fluttershy to follow. Of course in the end she finds that adhering to this overly assertive philosophy is a bad thing. But despite being wrong about adopting this, Fluttershy still grows from the experience. Even in failure there are positive things to be found. Furthermore, it doesn't end with them telling Iron Will he's no longer allowed to preach his ideas. He has a right to do so and it's up to the individual to decide if it's right for them. In a different sort of show, you might have him get in trouble for spreading this harmful philosophy. One of the key tenets of individualism is freedom for the individual to make their own choices, free of restrictions of state control. This is why fillies and foals can print gossip columns in their school paper. It's why it's legal to sell magic comics that can whisk you away to their dangerous worlds. It's why your allowed to journey out into the dangerous Everfree Forest if you want to. What's fascinating is that even with all powerful rulers in place with no checks and balances, Equestria is not an authoritarian or paternalistic state. Not only are you allowed to make your own choices, but expressing your individuality is encouraged. Take the CMC. Throughout the series they've explored numerous activities in search of their true passion. Nobody is telling them that they should do a certain thing or to do something because others in their family have done it. Look at Applejack. Despite being the legacy of apple farmers, she's free to explore other possibilities by living with relatives in Manehatten. It's through revelation and her own free will that she decides to return home to her roots. Just as there's nothing wrong with freely choosing to be different, there's nothing wrong with choosing to be the same. On the other hand, you have Rarity who is nothing like her parents. She's adopted a different way of speaking and behaving that way makes her happy. There's no resentment on the part of her parents for being so different. They love her all the same. To be clear though, the show promotes sincerity in following your true path. It's fine if you're like Rarity and want to be different because that's who you are. It's also great if you're like AJ and truly want to do something that your friends or family are doing because you truly enjoy it. But you shouldn't act in these ways out of obligation or if what you're doing isn't truly you. Fluttershy in Green Isn't Your Color learned this. Even though she was good at modeling and she thought doing it would make others, namely Rarity, happy, she stayed true to herself and quit. You should be honest about yourself with others and not be fearful of disapproval. Another notable pegasus who tries to live artificially is Scootaloo. Rainbow Dash is her hero and she wants to be like her so much, that maintaining that appearance becomes an unhealthy obligation. As a result, she's terrified to admit that she's scared during Sleepless In Ponyville. It's only when Scootaloo is honest about her true feelings that the burden is lifted. Again in Flight to the Finish Scootaloo is worried that she's unable to fly like other pegasi. Similarly in the episode, Rainbow Dash is trying to temper her personality to adhere to the arbitrary standards of others. What they both realize by the end of the episode is that each of them are who they are and that they shouldn't concern themselves about not living up to others' expectations. Both of them are unique individuals, with no more or less intrinsic worth than anyone else. Moving on to Rainbow Dash, she's someone who's learned to differentiate between herself and others, namely the Wonderbolts. In Wonderbolts Academy, she disapproves of the Wonderbolts' practices and rather than just going with it, she quits. You shouldn't change your own standards to match others' even if the people in question are your heroes. Then in Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 Dash realizes that her inability to learn in conventional ways does not mean she's stupid or that there's anything wrong with her. In the end she discovers a way of learning that works for her. The episode recognizes that we are all individuals and that the way one person is wired is not inherently better or more correct than another's. Moving on to the end of season 4, the final thing I'll examine are the roles of the princesses in MLP. While it is established that inherited royalty exists, the alicorn rulers all have their roles because they bring a powerful and unique trait to the position. More than people who have positions of power, they are special and irreplaceable. When Twilight's lamenting that she doesn't have a true role, the other princesses reassure her that she has a part to play and that she's a princess for a reason. Twilight's not there because she's super powerful or a popular figurehead. She's there because of her unparalleled ability to understand and spread the magic of friendship. She's no more or less important than the other princesses, just different. In conclusion, MLP celebrates individuality and the freedom of people to choose their own path in life. I think it makes perfect sense that the show has attracted such a diverse fan base, since one of its fundamental missions is to promote such a society. We're all different and that's ok. Great friends and people come in so many different ways and at the end of the day, the fact that their great friends and people is what's most important. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hey guys I hope you enjoyed this! I'm planning on making this into a video for my YouTube channel, which you can find right here http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLZRDWZRD I'm posting it as a blog here first because I'd very much like to get your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment below! And if you like this, go check out my other two blog entries and my latest MLP analysis videos, which are directly linked in my profile!
Ever since finding this fandom I've found that I identify with it more than any other thing really. I can't help but see myself in the ponies and it just seems that by spending time watching them helps me figure out myself on a deep level. It would be cool to tell everyone about this world or simply express your interest by showing off what you like about it. Unfortunately, I'm unable to do that. My parents simply despise MLP. My mom found out I had been checking out these forums a couple days ago and thought I was going through some odd phase. She told me how dumb all this pony stuff is and that I should drop it and forget about it. The problem with this is that 1) she doesn't understand why MLP is so awesome, and 2) I have formed a connection with this community that makes me want to stay and explore more. I don't honestly believe I will ever leave this all just because someone who doesn't understand it wants me to. The issue this creates is one in which I can't express myself openly. I can't buy merchandise, put up posters in my room, or even talk about it in public because my family would react so negatively. Here there are many users who have said how their parents don't care or even support them, or they're moved out so it doesn't matter anyway. If you're one of those people, I envy you. Don't take it for granted, because some of us have to be very secretive about it. That being said, do you think sporting MLP-related clothes or having toys helps you express yourself? Many in the fandom are happy to do so and are proud of doing it, so I think there must be some connection with identity and this show that makes people happy and willing to do it.
So... I recently watched the Lego Movie... It was fun... I guess? But I went online to listen to Everything is Awesome the major song in the movie, because I liked it, and, in the comments, someone noted that this is the villain song of the movie. So, I wondered what about it made it evil... People went on to say things that opened my eyes to something... "This song basically tells the kids that they should aspire to be part of a team... It's so obviously the villain song!" That wasn't sarcastic... But what does MLP teach us? That friendship and teamwork are important, we need it! And this is where I found (yet another) flaw in society. We build our kids up, telling them that they're unique, that it's up to them to achieve their dreams, that they have to go at it ALONE. But they don't. In fact, they shouldn't! In order to achieve your dreams, you need the help of a lot of people! Parents, friends, business partners, employees, teachers... We need all of them... My dad likes to say that we're all part of a big team, dedicated to ensuring the future of our team... So, yeah... Now, I'm gonna go talk to my best friend and talk about that joint YouTube channel that we were gonna set up and start uploading to... Because there's no way I'd be able to become a YouTuber alone! And there's no way I'd want to!
There is that familiar feeling, a feeling of worry, dread, and depression, hovering on the edge of my subconscious, threatening to overflow into the active portions of my consciousness. But I will fight. What reason have I to be sad or worried? Stressful thoughts hover before my tired eyes but I blink them away. I have no reasons to be feeling this way, after all, I am happy and content, with loving family and great friends. So what could it be? Is it the taxation of the world finally taking affect; the wandering eyes and the loose lips that follow me and murmur as I pass them by, finally worming their way into my brain, telling me to want more? To desire to be something else, other than myself? That it is all meaningless? That I should give up? I have been struggling, it is true. Though I maintain a placid demeanour, the thoughts that parade through my mind leave me with a sinking feeling in my heart, a feeling of lacking, of loss, a fear of everything collapsing around me. "It would be easier to just give it up. Take the easy road; kick back and dispel all of these silly little pursuits, they won't help you find purpose. You have no promises of success, so why try?" whispers the throng around me, playing a funeral procession on my ear drums and heartstrings. But no, say I, for I have faith. Faith in my family to keep me straight, faith in my friends to keep me sane, and faith in myself, to continue being who I am. Faith is not just a matter of religious resolve, it is a matter of trusting assurance. I trust my family, trust my friends, trust myself. Never let me slip please, Lord, for I fear that I cannot survive the fall. So many of those surrounding me are giving up, succumbing to this life and it's empty promises of ease and leisure. Did I aim too high? Have I climbed this ladder of life too fast, just to lose my grip on the highest rung? It is THESE thoughts that I must dispel from myself, keep calm, and carry on. This post may not have much true meaning or insight, but you would not believe how good it felt to type it out.