And THIS was my all-time favorite from the entire film: You are too concerned with what was and what will be. There’s a saying, ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.’

Expand full comment

I know everyone gets busy but it bugs meI have a list of articles from you in my inbox that I can't wait to read (I've been busy!)...anyway:

"Life Lesson: Emotions cloud your judgment.

Wait until they pass to make decisions." I've read SO much about this in the last two years from business development articles...but I still do it!

Expand full comment

I'm going to ask my grandchildren for their thoughts on Kung Fu Panda. I expect I will learn some life lessons from them. Children can be so wise.

Expand full comment
Mar 27, 2022·edited Mar 27, 2022Author

Please visit Hacker News to read the comments on this post:



> I actually have found comfort in my personal life from thinking about that little passage...

This idea of finding comfort or guidance in movies is exactly how I feel, and it is what motivates me to catalogue the life lessons found in movies on "moviewise."

> Yeah I think mindfulness is not about ignoring your problems. It's more about not letting your mind wander unnecessarily.

Learning to focus is one of the hidden lessons in "Kung Fu Panda." Po's journey allows him to finally reveal to his father his true passion because he learns to focus on his own destiny rather than letting the pressures of the larger society, as represented by his father's expectations, control him.

> just pick something and go for it. Do it well - be excellent.

It's funny that another Jack Black movie, "The School of Rock" (2003), has a similar message: Do what you love because you love it. Even if you are not very good at it, you can find a way to fit it into your life. https://moviewise.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/the-school-of-roc...

Another movie that shows this lesson is the 2013 documentary "Salinger": Be driven by making your work great, not by the reactions of others. https://moviewise.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/salinger/

Which is influenced by Hinduism, "you should do your work as perfectly as you possibly can with no thought of rewards, and only that way can you be a really happy person.”

> The real depth, in anything insightful said, is created by the listener and how they choose to take the words to heart.

This is what life all is about.

> Slavoj Žižek's take on Kung Fu Panda

"The friend noticed there above the entrance to the house, a horseshoe, which I don't know how it is here. In Europe it is a superstitious item preventing evil spirits to enter the house. So the friend asked Niels Bohr, but what you mean aren't you a scientist? Do you believe in this? Niels Bohr says, of course, I'm not crazy, I don't. So the friend asked him, why do you have it there? You know what Neils Bohr answered? He said, of course I don't believe in it, but I have it there because I was told that it works even if you don't believe in it." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niels_Bohr

> The article explains why kung fu panda is a great movie by starting with a quote highlighting the pandas desire to break away from expectations to pursue his passion. By the end of the article, there’s a quote about illusion of control. It’s contradictory

I think the "desire to break away from expectations" and the "illusion of control" are not contradictory because they represent different struggles. The former is a struggle within, the latter is a struggle against the world. Understanding for yourself what you want to accept from the larger society, the expectations, is an inner struggle. Understanding that you have little control over that society, over life itself, is an outward struggle that doesn't have to consume you if you let go of the illusion of control.

The first one is about choosing what to focus on, the second one is about choosing to be at peace with that which you cannot control. These two work in tandem and are not contradictory.

> Oogway then responds with that line, which is basically saying no matter what he does, he's not going to prevent Tai Lung's escape.

This is the difference between fate and destiny. If what we do does not matter, then that is fate, which is very confining, like a prison where you are restricted from having any meaningful impact on your own life. If fate were true, we could all just sit in a room quietly, waiting for fate to intervene and lead us by the nose down a path we never expected.

But that doesn't sound like the life we experience. We do make choices, those choices have consequences, and our lives are different because of the paths we took. This is destiny, and it has to do with what we choose to focus on, good or bad. If you spend your time doing things that are healthy for you and others, you and those around you become healthier. If instead you choose to focus on potential catastrophes, then that is what you and those around you experience.

And this kind of focus will likely enable the catastrophe to materialize because part of you will be working to fulfill this negative expectation to justify all the life that was wasted in worrying about it.

I believe this is a tenet of Karma in Jainism: "There is no retribution, judgment or reward involved but a natural consequences of the choices in life made either knowingly or unknowingly."

"a good and virtuous life indicates a latent desire to experience good and virtuous themes of life. Therefore, such a person attracts karma that ensures that their future births will allow them to experience and manifest their virtues and good feelings unhindered" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation

Expand full comment