The Lego Movie
Philosophy 101 (Just Believe)
Written by: Ryan Fu @fu_beatz
I watched The Lego Movie over the weekend, expecting just another silly but funny stop motion/ computer generated animated film. But what I didn’t expect was to be engaged mentally and spiritually. It had plenty of jokes and puns, but the Lego movie also a lot of philosophical ideas. For example, the movie showed common archetypes like The Hero, The Lover, The Creator, etc. The movie challenges you to think about what you perceive to be normal. The film shows a lot of similarities on how people live their lives by the way they perceive themselves. The movie asks the question, everyone should ask themselves. Who am I?
Our anti-hero, Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, a very ordinary construction worker with no special qualities, goes throughout life by every last detail of the instructions, as do his fellow workers. I say anti-hero because in the first part of the story he does not want to be the hero. He does not want to stand out and be the man. He wants just to blend in and follow the crowd. Does this sound familiar?
In the Four Cardinal orientations, Emmet would be categorized in Social and Order. Emmet needs to be liked by everyone because he thinks this is the way it is. The same way he needs to follow instructions for everything he does in life. He is not living his own life. He is living life not to his own ideals, but for someone else’s ideals. He wants be told what to do because in his mind he is only a worker and that’s all he is.
The antagonist film is Lord Business, voiced by Will Ferrell, an uptight CEO who has a hard time balancing world domination with micro-managing his own life. The similarities with Emmet and Lord Business would be they both want to be loved and be perceived as good. There differences would be Lord Business actually knows who he is and what he wants. Or he thinks he knows who he is because he feels like since I created this world, I should be the one who controls it. You can say Lord Business has a God complex, wanting to control every aspect of people’s lives by what they read, what they watch and what the believe.
In the Four Cardinal orientations, Lord Business would be categorized in Ego and Order. His archetype would be the creator and the ruler. Since he is the creator, he should be ruling. The Ruler’s motto is “Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” He believes the only way to have a perfect world, is for people to not create or build things because it messes up his creations. He wants everything to say the same. He hates change. Does this sound familiar?
But with the help of many Lego heroes in the movie like Batman, Wildstyle, Vitruvius, etc. Emmet starts to realize he could be potentially something more then an ordinary construction worker. People constantly tell him he is much more then what he thinks he is. Emmet begins to question, who he really is? Can be a master builder and save the day?
In the Myth of Sisyphus, a philosophical essay by Albert Camus, Camus talks about the absurdity of life. He questions how should the absurd man live? In the essay, Sisyphus is doomed in hell for an eternity rolling a rock up a hill then rolls it down and repeats the process again and again. Camus presents Sisyphus’s ceaseless and pointless toil as a metaphor for modern lives spent working at futile jobs in factories and offices. “The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.” This is the truly tragic moment, when the hero becomes conscious of his wretched condition. He does not have hope, but “there is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” Acknowledging the truth will conquer it; Sisyphus, just like the absurd man, keeps pushing.
Once Emmet realizes he was living a life of absurdity and pointlessness, he begins to see what he can be. He begins to question everything. Great philosopher, Socrates believe that you need to consistently ask yourself who you are, to better yourself. He believed that it is by realizing how little we know that we can eventually gain true knowledge, since preconceived untrue beliefs make it difficult to find the truth.
I don’t want to give out huge spoilers here but here is the part of the movie that was thought provoking. If someone gave you an idea about yourself and you became that idea, then afterwards you found out the idea was a lie, would you stop being that idea?
If you told you could be the next President because I gave you a magic pen, then in the process of being the next President, I told you the pen wasn’t magical at all. You stop trying to the next President? Of course, not! You realized it’s all about what you believe. Whether you are trying to be the next Barack Obama, Lebron James, Bruce Lee, an 80’s Astronaut or whatever you aspire to be, you have to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!
You hold the keys to your success; start building the future you want because you’re a Master Builder!