Thursday, 31 October 2013

My Interview with an Aboriginal Elderly

      My first impression of Amaroo was that he seemed to be well integrated and comfortable in his environment. His office appeared like a miniature home – with an intricate and vast collection of items that looked to be of value to his identity. I immediately sensed his positive energy and began to have heightened curiosity over what answers he may provide to my questions. I met two of his students, who happen to volunteer for him but were mostly there to seek his company. They spoke highly of him and I got the sense that they felt accepted and comfortable to be in the space where he was. His sense of humour was unfiltered and refreshing. I let him steer the interview in the direction which he felt comfortable as to not disturb any thought processes or to miss on other vital information, however irrelevant to the subject assigned, that I could utilize in my personal and academic life. It was clear he had an interest in teaching others about his background while being aware of the possible sensitivities they may have. I later understood his philosophy as a whole to be the influencing factor in his treatment of others.

     The Aboriginal member relates and recognizes himself as a part of an ecosystem; whole on its own and one that is not in need of humans to sustain its presence. “If we all left this building, the plants and the earth will take over and engulf the place; it’ll do without us,” he explains. All that mankind requires for living is perceived as essentially available in nature. In this way, the human is left to seek assistance and sacrifice from the elements of nature. Nature is defined as not merely the presence of living things or greenery, but as the essence of every living and non-living object which comes from “Mother Nature”. One has a connection with all the elements of Mother Nature and in order to survive and live amongst her presence in a peaceful way, an Aboriginal recognizes that he must confine in whichever object, living or non-living that he could possibly utilize for his survival. Amaroo explains how when man is forced to take the life of a plant to heal himself, he may offer it tobacco and seek its permission with full conscious knowledge of the sacrifice of this being that has given its life to sustain his. “Nothing is considered inanimate; all has a spirit.”

     With the emphasis on Mother Nature as being the essence of being and the provider, one might wonder where the woman fits into the Aboriginal philosophy. According to Amaroo, the indigenous community shares the realization that without women, man cannot exist. The women spends nine “moons” – synonymous to the monthly appearance of the moon- in pregnancy where she gives the “gift” of water in the form of embryonic fluid and the one of music through the beat of her heart. She mirrors Mother Nature and gives in the same way. During her cycling of the menstrual cycle, she is celebrated in the group for her ability to bear children and undergoes a specified ritual which involves beating percussion through drumming, seeking connection to Mother Nature through an expedition in the mountains and bonding with other women as well.  The man, on the other hand, is the provider of fire - another vital element for survival – and his presence in necessary that ultimately maintains a harmonic balance between fire and water; symbolizing the essence of male-female relationships. Indigenous members believe that they are born pure in their health, mind and spirituality. With the passing of time and the subject and object of wrongdoings, one can become scarred and his/her body will begin to show the signs of this disfigurement through illnesses and other ailments. So in order to maintain optimal health, one must use preventative measures through exercising of healthy lifestyle habits away from addictions and ingestion of harmful foods, along with avoiding a sedentary way of living. Indigenous members acknowledge and perceive the world as being interconnected; whereby the defect of one of its parts damages the orchestra as a whole.

    Offenses directed towards Mother Nature manifest themselves in a multitude of ways and encompass the social, as well as the ecological dimensions of Aboriginal discourse. A human must be mindful of his relationship to all elements of Mother Nature and the lack of sensitivity or good intention is a transgression on her behalf. One must be grateful for the “gifts” of Mother Nature- as well as the ones of women to their offspring as a whole- by firstly acknowledging their sacrifice and secondly, taking great care in these gifts as to never be wasteful or indulgent. Furthermore, Indigenous discourse generally involves thinking “7 generations ahead” and having full awareness of the circle of life by being careful to not disturb the cycles manifesting in nature. “We’re all related”, he tells me. “If you look outside you’ll see Mother Earth dancing this time round” – referring to the leaves falling swiftly in their diverse array of colors. Mother Nature then proceeds to arrange for the upcoming spring by preparing through the long days of winter; waiting patiently for the season of mating and rebirth under the blanket of snow when she will take on the massive burden of caring for the young once the weather gets warmer. She not only is a phenomenon in herself but she is an example for mankind to live by. Her cycling through the seasons mirrors the cycling of our days and calls on our need for rest and our inevitable rebirth with each passing day.

     Amaroo recalls nostalgic memories of hunting trips with his father that was a time for connecting to family and keeping traditions alive. He remembers hunting various animals that would provide his family their required protein – while emphasizing hunting for the sake of maintaining a necessity which comes with the sacrifice of Mother Nature. “We don’t believe in hunting sports”, he states. Amaroo mentions that much of the issues mankind faces with the environment such as global warming and the scarcity of fresh water came about from a desire to have what one does not need. In the pursuit of money and power, Amaroo brings his point to light by recounting instances where he has witnessed and heard of accounts of capitalist efforts to force and bribe members out of their native land for the claim of precious resources like gold, wood, mercury and diamonds. This has inevitably lead to the destruction of wildlife through grazing of trees and careless forest fires and to the pollution of water tables and many lakes. Despite the unfortunate circumstances and pressures the indigenous community has faced and continues to, Amaroo never forgets to mention particular individuals who have been able to raise awareness and collect solidarity for efforts to halt more cruel acts to the environment and to other human beings as well. He appears too humble to also mention his own efforts on an academic level that have resulted in revival of indigenous tradition, raising of awareness of the humanitarian as  well as the  environmental conditions while spreading the word of co-existence and respect of all that is living and non-living. He mentions his philosophy while also acknowledging his current conditions of living and the need to adapt in some ways to the mainstream lifestyles and the state of his environment.  He admits that his shoes have rubber soles and he sports a miniature diamond on his finger while driving a car. However, his reality which fulfills a purpose in society compels him to conform to a specific extent in order to be able to carry on his role as an academic and teacher. We both seemed to agree on intention and not being wasteful or indulgent with our consumption as being important in affirming both traditional beliefs and the realities of everyday living - they don’t appear to contradict one another. Although it doesn’t make witnessing a place of memory and connection to nature a few years later become grey with infrastructure, pollution and housing a less than complicated reality. Nor is it any easier to listen to families of members who were forced to enter residential schools and experience brutal living conditions and unjust degrading and inhumane acts. “When water is still, our reflection becomes clear. But as soon as you make a change to it, the ripple propagates everywhere and clouds our vision.”

Stay tuned for part 2

Subscribe to Random Rants to receive the latest posts via e-mail by clicking the third top                          right option on the home page. Jazakum Allah kair.

Monday, 28 October 2013


Combinations of sounds.
With meaning derived from 
entanglement of thought.
No rules.
No two are alike.
I can paint from the old,
or I can let the present 
sweep itself into colors,
I can remake,
or invent from nothingness,
and textures.
My words 
my word.
My choices;
my life.

Friday, 25 October 2013

10 Ways to Wake Up Happier

Exploding Comics

     The struggle to get up in the morning can become debilitating and it can ruin your mood for the rest of your day. Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl, the thought of waking up happy on a Monday morning probably sounds like something out of a movie - unrealistic and downright not happening. But believe it or not, , it's not impossible to wake up feeling motivated. We tend to believe that happiness comes from events. So, rather than assuming control of our emotions or feelings, we attribute our reactions to external causes -thereby granting them access of our most influential of emotions. Most of the things we let bother us on a daily basis are only a result of our own attitudes. All it takes is a slight shift in perception of control and things will not look so catastrophic and detrimental anymore.

   Here's a few tips to wake up happier tomorrow:

1. Post your plans for the next day somewhere in your room:

     Post a note somewhere you can see first in the morning with your top 5 tasks for the upcoming day. Make one of them time sensitive and obligatory so that there is no excuse for delay. Keep them as specific as possible so they don't overwhelm you the next morning.

2. Plan something outlandish each day:

    In addition to writing your daily tasks, you can make it a habit to break the routine by choosing to do something out of the ordinary. Examples of this can be taking a new route to work or calling up someone special. You can find some other ideas here.

3. Keep the shutters open:

     Let the sunlight hit your skin before you wake up. It will activate your waking hormones and set your circadian rhythm in proper form.

4. Prepare everything beforehand:

    Choose your outfit and iron your clothing the night before. Also, organize that bag along with any other necessities beforehand. You will wake up to your day easier because your clothes will indicate to you that you've got things to look forward to. Saving time and energy by doing so also wakes you up easier.

5. Drink water first thing in the morning:

  Before you grab that coffee, drink plenty of water -especially after fajr. Dehydration causes fatigue and puffy eyes and drinking water helps restart your internal system.

6. Praise Allah:

   The best way to feel good in the morning is to know God still exists. The thoughts that He chose to wake you up this morning to live another day is one that can help you get up much easier to fulfill your daily duties. The morning dua is meant to remind us of our deen to set our day towards acquiring good deeds;

"The morning has come to me and the whole universe belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, O Allah, I ask of you the good of the day, it's success and aid and it's nur (celestial light) and barakaat (blessings) and seek hidayah (guidance) and seek refuge from the evil in it (this day) and from the evil of that which is to come later."

7. Do a morning dance:

     Exercise wakes up  your muscles and sends blood to your brain. You'll feel alert and ready to take on the day. However, for some of us who can't see themselves jogging in the morning, a simple dance routine can put a smile on your face and give you the benefits of exercise. Try the macarena -no one can do that dance with a straight face.

8. Eat breakfast in your pajamas:

  We tend to put more of our time on our looks and other preparations that food becomes the last thing on our mind. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes and switch up your daily routine so that your breakfast is consumed before doing anything else. Focus on foods with protein, fruits and ease up on the carbohydrates - they tend to make us tired.

9. Put your life purpose on your mirror:

    Write down your biggest motivators on a note and stick it in the middle of your mirror. You'll be forced to read it before you use the mirror and it will set your whole day in motion.

10. Make wudu:

     Making wudu prepares us for prayer and keeps us calm. So, don't forget your wudu and remember to say the shahada before you do.

Subscribe to Random Rants to receive the latest posts via e-mail by clicking the third top                          right option on the home page. Jazakum Allah kair.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

On Believing In Yourself

"So, tell me about yourself?"

My mind is blank.
As blank as the open sea;
As blank as an endless desert;
as blank as the canvas of a reluctant painter;
and as blank as the lit screen of a poet with that troublesome block

Who am I?

I certainly know what I am not

I am not that intelligent. 
I am not that artistic.
I am not that focused. 
I am not that eloquent.
I am not the one who gets by with a smile;
and I am not the one with enough to make a real difference.

I am just not that good enough

If you ask me why I am what I am

I'll tell you,

I just got lucky.

What I am is:

I'm the one who's bound to say something stupid.
I'm the one who trips over things others merely walk over.
I'm the one who has to multiply my efforts for a shot at normality;
and I'm the one who has to fill the cup to its brim to make up for its bland content.

I'm the underdog 

and besides,

I'm just humble is what I am

But something doesn't feel right
I feel that something just doesn't add up 

The facts.
oh, the facts

Your compliments don't make sense to me.
Your offers seem baseless.
Your love looks selfish;
and your time would be best spent elsewhere.

I'm just a burden on you

You seem to resist.
But why?
Why do you bother?
Don't you have anything better to do?
What do you want from me?


You want me to accept you?

What does that mean?
I'm not sure I understood correctly

That "want" word sounds strange
How could you want me when I don't want myself?
How could you accept me when I can't accept myself?

Something doesn't add up

I must be worth it
I must be everything you're looking for

and it's time to face those facts
It's time to believe in luck;
not my luck
but yours

and I know what I am

I'm not just the things I'm not.
I am a dancing swirl of dimensions.
All the failures
and all the successes
are my own.
All the insecurities
and all the courage
are interwoven
never separate from one another.
I am made up of a limitless array of elements
that just happen to be perfectly in unison
manifesting themselves in this strange and deviant body; 
a complex fusion of genes and organics
unreplicated and unmatched to anyone on this earth.

My combination is unique.
and so am I
but the most important of all is


Subcribe to Random Rants of a Muslima to receive entries directly into your inbox. Click the third right hand option to be added to the mail list.

Friday, 11 October 2013

10 Ingredients for Building a Deep Connection

     If you had a good 10 minutes with someone, what determines whether you'll "click" and whether you'll walk away and never see each other again?

     That's a tough question isn't?

      It's difficult to decipher how we've interacted in the past to strangers. Most of us don't even remember how we've initially met the close friends we have. We can try our best to put ourselves in an observer position and to replay those moments, but we can never be void of bias. Ever thought of those little nonverbal things we do? Those little gestures that come naturally and automatically which make the biggest difference. But let's be honest with ourselves for a second, there's no surefire "recipe" or "ingredients" to establish a connection with someone. What we can do is ensure that our actions match our intentions as much as possible. But even in our best intentions we may sometimes never build a connection with someone. Ultimately, the will to connect must be mutual. 

       On another note, it might help to first read "10 Signs You Love Someone for the Sake of Allah".

      Ever been to a therapist? Let's borrow some of their techniques to building rapport with strangers shall we?

     Here are a few tips to building a sincere connection:

1) Skip superficial topics and routine introductions:

     Most of us are not intrigued or more interested in someone who asks routine questions. "Hi""How are you?" "I'm fine thank you" "what do you do?" "my name is ___". You could be a vibrant and spontaneous personality, but these types of conversations restrict you from expressing your true self. Those lame introductions are not unavoidable. You will not need to introduce yourself with your name and your occupation if you intrigue the other enough to ask you for it themselves. Formality has a way of tainting relationships. Once a formal relationship gets labelled as so, it is often very difficult to rework the impression into a more flexible and comfortable one. It's probably a good idea to let the conversation flow flexibly according to the particular situation. It may be helpful to keep the environment around you in mind as well, because it comes with it's own conversation starters. Some conversations can be superficial while others can leave you feeling like a new person. What the difference then? A conversation doesn't have to be serious to be deep. But anything said with a bigger purpose in mind is enough to keep interest and spark a connection because it communicates something about your values and way of perceiving the world.

2) Be authentic: 

    You can nod and mhhm all you like, but if it's not genuine, your eyes will expose your true bored and uninterested self. Try not to stare too long even if you are genuine about it. You are not obligated to put in excessive effort into this new relationship. So listen and let your body language tell them you're interested in what they have to say, just don't over do it. I know this sounds lame, but you don't have to agree with everything they say, just be yourself and you'll build a truer and longer lasting connection that way.

3) Embrace silence:

      You can emulate a deep connection by getting comfortable in the silence. Trying to fill in that time with constant talk might give off an insecure vibe. It also shows that you may be trying to hide your true self or that you're trying extra hard to accommodate for them. Let the pauses come naturally and be in tune with the person you're talking to. 

4) Avoid talking about yourself the first time you meet:

     It's easy to get caught up in talking about what we do for a living or what we study when we meet someone for the first time. But, even if they ask for it, try not to dwell on topics surrounding you. Healthy relationships include communication that is always a mutual give-and-take. Talking about yourself will label you as the high maintenance buddy that requires a lot of attention and admiration from others.

5) Use mirroring: 

     Mirror the person you are speaking to. That doesn't mean to become them. But it's an old trick psychology swear by. Mirroring a person's body language gives off a mutual energy that is natural to the party being mirrored. A person who is crossing their legs with their hands close to their body may not feel as deep of a connection with a confident other who sits comfortably with their arms stretched out on the chair beside them and their legs pointing forward. A similar concept to mirroring is also verbal reflections of feeling through paraphrasing.  Psychologists are famous for rewording words and re-projecting feeling from their clients to build rapport and make the client feel understood. Phrases such as "that sounds like that was a tough thing for you" and "so from what I'm getting, it looks like it was a breakthrough for you to see your mother react that way." The more detailed, the better. The good thing about this approach is that you're never being patronizing by trying to give advice or to change their beliefs. You're just showing your understanding.

6) Ask questions:

    The famous "how did you feel?" question does more than you'd think. Questions show your interest and they express that you're willing to listen further to them. Avoid superficial question though. Make them thought provoking.

7) Give it time: 

      There's no pressure. We are all unique individuals who have different approaches to building relationships with others. Some of us have learned to mistrust on default when we meet new people due to our terrible experiences in the past. So let it be and don't make it about you if they don't respond in ways you can predict. 

8) Accept their advancements:

     Meaningful connections require the work of two - and the disclosure and acceptance of two. Deep connections do not arise from a completely selfless way of thinking. We feel valued when we are needed, and if we are not needed we usually find no meaning in investing time and energy into what doesn't require our presence. We must face the fact that we cannot live independently without the help and support of others. When we don't find it within ourselves to accept the advancements of others, we indirectly give off the impression that we can do without them. So go ahead and accept those gifts and compliments and be easy on the thank yous. Thanking people too much gives off the impression that we expect little from the relationship, which doesn't translate into a deep connection. Feel free to disclose about your life and to ask directly for their advice.     

9) Have high expectations of who they are but not of what they'll offer:

      We tend to seek affiliation and connection with those who we feel can bring some value into our lives. Whether that be in the form of wisdom, humor or spiritualism, most meaningful relationships are derived from a reciprocal exchange of value which we invest a great deal of time, energy and attention into. However, oftentimes we choose not to invest in others because of our perceived value of their ability to add to our lives. Having high expectations of others as unique individuals with multiple dimensions to their personality keeps us open minded to making new and deep connections. Be careful not to get caught up in expectation. Having expectations of who they are doesn't mean that you should wait for them to offer you something. It's just a way of opening up our perspective of others in order to diminish any bias we hold within our perceptions.

10) Embrace their uniqueness: 

   Our friends and acquaintances who can recall minor details in previous conversation with regards to our lives give us a sense of being understood. Take extra care in remembering some of those details that others usually dismiss and let it be known to the other of your knowledge of them. We tend to recall things of which we find significant and relevant to our lives and if you point out what the other finds important, they feel instantly connected to you. It is also a powerful tip for establishing a special bond which embraces the uniqueness of the other. And always mention them by name. It works.

What are some other tips for building rapport with others? Share your tips below.

Subcribe to Random Rants of a Muslima to receive entries directly into your inbox. Click the third right hand option to be added to the mail list.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Wild Human

    Nature to us often appears a mere escape from life. So does family. And religion. It's almost as though the occupation with anything that doesn't make money or result in immediate reward is unnecessary for a prosperous and happy life. However, when we finally make that time to embrace the essence of true life and meaning, we do it on our terms. All that is not a priority for material success is a nuisance and the indulgence in its entirety is an expression of poor time management and is not to mention, an uncivilized lifestyle for the fast paced society in which we live in. Yet, we find our bodies and our most instinctual nature calling out to us for something other than work and that green paper we live to earn. Our bodies ache from the sedentary lifestyle we've occupied ourselves with. Our levels of stress skyrocket under pressure and insomnia reminds us of our mortality. We've shape-shifted the fruit of the earth into short term reward packages that have left us crashing in exhaustion. We wonder of the phenomenon of obesity, cancer and depression. Lest we forget that the paper tiger we are facing with our health is nothing but a mere representation of Mother Nature’s way of letting us know she mustn't be ignored or conceptualized down to merely symbols for vocational use. Mother Nature is the essence of our every being and she will not be compartmentalized. Man is a wild one; trying his hardest to maintain that ridiculous illusion of control. He doesn't know what he's resisting. It's almost insane.

     My own realization of our relationship to nature required a simple encounter. Short yet dramatic and memorable. One of these days I set time for family, that other neglected and for granted tree, on my way minding my own business and taking my younger siblings to spend more green on meaningless material, we encountered a flock of geese. I have become accustomed to believing this earth was our own material to mould. I mean how could it not be? We uproot trees from the untouched ground it sits in for generations at a mere shot at reorienting its environment according to what we prefer. Then we have the decency and find it perfectly acceptable to replant it where we see fit. But I was feeling pretty confident in my superiority and power as a human that I chose to cross an unusual path. Safety was everywhere according to my view. And humans were exempt from the dangers of the environment that should know better and get out of our way. The reality of my being was on the verge of exposure. My ego was blown.

     A flock of geese I see ahead of me. How cute. Harmless animals grazing on grass causing no disruptions to our ways, I thought; although their droppings were getting more difficult to tolerate and avoid. That's disgusting, I thought, at least we've evolutionized to be smarter than to defecate wherever we wish. However, our obvious toxic waste and dumping into the lakes and rivers was not a fact I was able to recall in my moment of patriarchy. I saw this moment as one where I could exhibit my power that comes with my manhood on the world around me. Figured it would also be a great modelling lesson for my siblings. So I approached the goose, stomping with one foot forward, and making the most foolish growl in attempt to move it out of our way, waiting anxiously for the moment when they flew and I had a good laugh.

     But that didn't happen.

     Instead, it stood facing me with the utmost certainty in its legitimate presence. And with those wings pointed to the sky appearing to call for help from a force I could not access, it hissed loudly and locked eyes with mine. Suddenly the adrenaline rush of excitement became fear. That was not a cute goose anymore. It wasn't small and helpless. It was now an equal.

   Quickly, I begun to realize I wasn't ready to face this danger, so I began walking. The goose did not take satisfaction from my leave. After all, I offended and questioned its existence. It wasn't about to leave me without a beg for mercy. I heard wings flapping and looked behind to see that it was flying dangerously close to my back. I ducked. And suddenly I was in the middle of the paved human road – familiar territory comes with security I presumed. Cars began approaching us. Honking in what appears to be an act of solidarity until the scared goose flew back to its original placement. You would think the goose won this one. But it didn't. Because the civilization and industry that keeps the status quo kept it from taking its rightful revenge. Whatever freedom we gave it could be quickly taken away, and it chose to abide by our ways.

    The earth in which we live in is an ecosystem. And we are somewhere in that circle of life. We take from Mother Earth and give nothing in return – expecting that our mere presence on her lands is a great favour we’ve done to her soil. Yet we forget that she is an instrument of God – the powerful omniscient being who sees the wrong doings and short-sightedness brought up by our ego. To fight Mother Nature and to seek that she hands up all her resources is ultimately the hunt of ourselves. We challenge Mother Nature and she calls God to put us in our place.

A Paper on Disney and Magic

 Why am I interested in Disney and Magic?
     I wrote this paper to encourage critical interpretation and general skepticism towards the media which we are exposed to on a daily basis. Our children are subjected to powerful ideas that shape their outlook on life from a young age. By shedding light on the ways in which media seeks to exert control on its viewers, hopefully we can be more mindful of what we choose to consume.

The Interaction between Science and Magic in Disney Productions

How do we distinguish the real from the imaginary in television programs? With subjective reinterpretation and rhetoric in the mass media so prevalent, this question becomes more difficult to answer. No corporation has been as successful as Disney in blurring the lines between scientific concepts and imagined magical themes[i]. Walt Disney was one of the first pioneers to push hard science in an entertaining way to mass audiences[ii]. Science became more accepted through magic largely because of his innovative efforts. This paper seeks to argue that magic can be a powerful tool to demonstrate science for easy consumption and reinforcement and science can formulate the basis for the use of magic. In definitive terms, magic is the manipulation of basic elements through animism for a desired goal and is based on the supernatural while science can be defined by its material constituent based on facts of nature rather than obscure concepts. Walt Disney himself was known to have considered himself “an entertainer who dealt with factual material”[iii]. The paper will specifically cover the interaction of science and magic by Disney for the aim of mass control and reinforcement through exaggeration of scientific themes, the mixing of the real the imaginary to achieve the desired narrative and using rhetoric and popular media to strengthen scientific concepts.

The History of Use of Magic in Science
     Before the Victorian Era, science was confounded to scientists in laboratories and most people did not have readily have access to this knowledge[iv]. It was also in the form of hard facts found in textbooks and science reviews away from mainstream discourse and pop culture(Secord 2002, 1648-1649). However, soon enough a man named John Henry Pepper began to reshape and redefine the way science was presented through his showcase of live experiments on theatre[v]. He put on a combination of “laboratory science” and “theatrical spectacle” to provide entertainment[vi]. The masses saw his rapid succession of experiments on stage similar to a way a magician does his tricks(Secord 2002, 1648-1649). This demonstrates the fine line that is often associated between magic and science. The presentation of novel scientific concepts to the ignorant eye serves the same purpose as magic – seen as almost supernatural due to the unexplained nature of its mechanisms. With public interest growing, Pepper began to showcase a realistic ghost display through optical projections used in the Christmas special “Charles Dickens Haunted Man” and then later appropriated by Disney in the “Haunted Mansion” ride(Secord 2002, 1648-1649). The famous “Ghost Show” by Pepper was another attempt at exploiting the mass interest at the time for spirits alchemy and magic for the benefit of science as a whole(Secord 2002, 1648-1649). While his intentions were to use magic to benefit science, Disney’s vision was to use science to advance magic and add more depth and dimension to the productions[vii].
            The first sci-fi productions in the nineteen hundreds like Captain Video (1949-55) and Space Patrol (1950-55) also drew upon scientific themes. However, in contrast to Pepper’s work, they were designed with a specific narrative and were based upon real world themes[viii]. The fear of increasing use of technology evoked a lack of sense of control in the masses and by structuring these fears in these programs, the illusion of control was heightened and people’s anxieties surrounding the future of technology were slightly diminished(Izard 1967, 36-41). Disney relied on the help of rocket and space scientists as consultants and commentators on Disneyland’s Television series, “Man in Space”[ix]. Disney also sought to increase the control in this area and was able to infuse science into its animations in a gradual fashion[x]. They employed this same method for their nature series “True Life Adventure” and were successfully able to gain credibility and trust of their viewers(Izard 1967, 36-41). Even provocative and avoidable concepts such as death, which is a purely natural phenomenon that evokes anxieties in many, were monopolized with the use of magic in the production of the famous 1929 “Skeleton Dance”[xi]. This short dance features spooky skeletons coming out of their graves at night to do a silly dance[xii].  Disney was able to shape the discourse on death in the public and to change the way death is perceived by manipulation of real elements into unrealistic forms in order to create distance between the audience and the anxiety provoking factor at hand[xiii]. However, with trust in mass productions comes a massive opportunity at control and exhibiting power. From this power, the animations received wide approval and quickly, Disney became the hub for limitless imagination.
“Disney understood that there were no borders between the personal/ ideological and the perceptual/political, and that all education was value- laden. For Disney, image was substance, and whoever controlled that image wielded both the power to affect views of the past and visions of the future.”[xiv]

Magic as Exaggeration on Science
     One of the ways in which magic was able to become popular in Disney was through exaggeration. By drawing influence from the natural world, Disney was able to construct their own realities within these boundaries and then later could begin to diminish these boundaries as they wished. Disney began showing the “True Life Adventure” series which highlighted footage of animals in their habitat under a narrative and a musical script[xv]. This series was different than the regular wildlife series being shown at the time in that it portrayed animals in a dramatic manner with the help of the instrumentals and the narration described their behaviour from a humanistic perspective[xvi]. So with science as the basis of their work, creativity and imagination was used to provide more mass market appeal to this series. Disney was able to gain wide success as a result and this was the first step in humanizing animals into beings capable of “moral behaviour”[xvii]. Walt Disney states:
“Our intent is not formal education in the natural sciences. Our main purpose always is to bring interesting and delightful entertainment into the theatre. But here nature's wonderful house is entertainment-and this entertainment is informative. .. . We can learn a lot from nature in action. Each creature must earn his right to live and survive by his own efforts and the thing which in human relations we call moral behaviour.”[xviii]
 Disney claims not to be an educator but to merely be a presenter of this new form of entertainment found in the natural world which happens to be informative. However, he dismissed the fact that the footage for the series took many edits and was manipulated into the intended narrative for the audience, with the obvious exclusion of some aspects of nature and science[xix].
            Other forms of exaggeration of nature were seen in Disney full length movies like “Bambi”. This was Disney’s first production to mimic wildlife so intricately[xx]. The cartoonist who drew the characters in the film studied animal locomotion from watching animals in the wild and drew scenery of actual reserves[xxi]. Bambi, the main character in the film, who is depicted as a helpless fawn that is desperately trying to survive the threat of man, was drawn with features similar to a human infant to evoke human sympathy[xxii]. This anthropomorphization of animals in this manner lead to the increase of sympathetic attitudes towards wildlife[xxiii]. This exaggeration employed by the producers towards animal behaviour proved quite effective in reinforcing the idea that nature is a place of peace and harmony, and that the only conflict received in the wild is in the hands of men, who hunt ferociously and coldly[xxiv]. Disney was thus able to use his own magic touch on nature to advance his own agendas. This resulted in a powerful shift in discourse towards hunting and animal treatment in general.[xxv] Therefore, the power of exaggerating scientific content for the sake of entertainment can prove to be quite effective in targeting mass audience and promoting a specific agenda. It is a clear of example of how magic and science are integrated in children’s programs and their interaction is proven significant is creating a successful production.

“Imagineering” – Blurring the Line between the Real and the Imaginary
            Disney has become the space for imagination to thrive[xxvi]. The use of magic in Disney productions adds not only an entertainment factor, but also contributes to ideas of escapism. The impact of its productions is not only limited to viewing through television screens and theatre, but also available for market consumption through merchandise and trips to Disney Land[xxvii]. Disney Land is a theme park where the public is invited to bring their fantasies to life and it works to conjure up images of Disney characters, music and pictures into the real world[xxviii]. People of all ages are invited to come to this place as a vacation and a break for the imagination to thrive. This “pilgrimage” to Disney Land is meant to revive one’s creativity and good memories, as though it is a ritual whereby returns into the world much happier and more satisfied[xxix]. Imagineering is a term referred to the blending of the engineering and imagination that Disney Land design and development arm is responsible for[xxx]. In order to produce a successful ride, the science which provides the mechanisms of the project must be combined with a creative background, which adds to the magical dimension of Disney’s work[xxxi].
            Disney’s “World of Color and Mathmagicland” essentially attempts to combine the same elements of real and imaginary as an entertainment form. The series takes on a scientific or historic background by explaining the history of color in Television in a dynamic way[xxxii]. Walt Disney himself is first seen explaining the facts while manipulating objects around him in a magical way[xxxiii]. He then calls upon a cartoon character that plays a professor to continue explaining the concept of color mixing[xxxiv]. However, this character is not just a cartoon animal that does what an animal does; he is depicted as human like, at some points even eating steak with a fork and knife[xxxv]. So although the series is based on science, it uses magic to make its content easier to digest and to appeal to mass audiences, especially children. It mixes elements of the real and the imaginary to educate and to ultimately create almost a controlled new world with different laws of perception. Magic, in its most basic definition, is the manipulation of basic elements for a desired result and Disney certainly achieves this; all while keeping a firm grasp on the material world which the audience relates to. Walt Disney’s perception on life is a direct mirroring of what his productions try to achieve. He is known to have stated: “many of the things that seem impossible now will become reality tomorrow.”[xxxvi]

Influencing Mainstream Discourse of Science
            As Disney productions become more popular, they gain increase credibility due to their multitude of years of experience producing Television programs. This credibility and their background in scientific education, however soft, have lead to the possession of a great amount of power in influencing mainstream discourse and shaping thought.[xxxvii] Disney has shown tremendous influence in ideas surrounding nature, history and people.[xxxviii] The movie “Bambi” has been able to generate mass disapproval for hunting animals and has as a result, restricted the sport of animal hunting as a whole.[xxxix] With regards to shaping history, many of the places recreated by Disney in their works have become widely known.[xl] The repeated presentation of these historical places through mediums which make reinforcing information easy has given power to these historical places to garner greater significance.[xli] With mass media appeal, Disney has the power to influence the way the public perceives certain destinations and how Americans, in particular, see themselves with regards to these places.[xlii] Main Street for example, was one of the place which after being highlighted through Disney, has been now associated with the American identity.[xliii] Also, it has attracted more tourists as a result and garnered more positive attention as a whole.[xliv] The interaction between magic and science is displayed in Disney’s ability to obscure perception of places through the use of magic and as a result, influencing history on the ground. Disney was also able to shape perception of people abroad through appropriating their culture in ethnocentric ways.[xlv] This offers a controlled view of the rest of the world and gives Disney the ability to shape discourse and meaning of other cultures and places. For example, the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney Land, visitors have the opportunity to watch simple prototyped robots dance to represent each country around the world with music playing in the background.[xlvi] The music played is based in American culture and the moving dolls are similar is size and movement, giving the illusion of harmony and peace. This has the power to influence the perception of the American child to believe that the outside world is how Disney perceives it. Mass media outlets such as Disney can have the power of formation of “closure and public consensus on scientific controversies”.(Kirby 2003, 231-268) Therefore, blurring the line between magic and science can prove to be effective in efforts of mass control over public perception.
            In conclusion, the influence of Disney on public perception and discourse on science and fact is greater seen with the use of magic. Magic can be at times used to demonstrate science and give illusions to control to the audience and ultimately to the producers. Disney uses its popularity, rhetoric and exaggeration of its messages to reach wide appeal and relies on the interaction of magic and science to do so. Magic allows for scientific fact to be easily consumed for the masses and yet is able to grant its user the ability to literally trick the audiences into perceiving a particular outcome, usually reinforced and motivated by some agenda at the hands of manipulator.


1. Ralph S. Izard, "Walt Disney: Master of Laughter and Learning," Peabody Journal of Education 45, no. 1 (Jul., 1967): 36-41,; Ralph H. Lutts, "The Trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney's Bambi and the American Vision of Nature," Forest & Conservation History 36, no. 4 (Oct., 1992): 160-171,
2. Izard, Walt Disney: Master of Laughter and Learning, 36-41.
4. J. A. Secord, "Quick and Magical Shaper of Science," Science 297, no. 5587 (Sep. 6, 2002): 1648-1649,
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. J. P. Telotte, "Animating Space: Disney, Science, and Empowerment," Science Fiction Studies 35, no. 1 (Mar., 2008): 48-59,
12. Ibid.
13. Izard, Walt Disney: Master of Laughter and Learning, 36-41.
14. Telotte, Animating Space: Disney, Science, and Empowerment, 48-59.
15. Ibid.; Izard, Walt Disney: Master of Laughter and Learning, 36-41.
16. Ibid.
17. Gary Laderman, "The Disney Way of Death," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 68, no. 1 (Mar., 2000): 27-46,
18. Ibid.
19. Ibid.
[xx]. Richard Francaviglia, "History After Disney: The Significance of "Imagineered" Historical Places," The Public Historian 17, no. 4 (Autumn, 1995): 69-74,
21. Izard, Walt Disney: Master of Laughter and Learning, 36-41.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid.
26. Lutts, The Trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney's Bambi and the American Vision of Nature, 160-171.
27. Ibid.
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid.
30. Ibid.
                31. Ibid.
32. Francaviglia, History After Disney: The Significance of "Imagineered" Historical Places, 69-74.; Alexander Moore, "Walt Disney World: Bounded Ritual Space and the Playful Pilgrimage Center," Anthropological Quarterly 53, no. 4 (Oct., 1980): 207-218,
34. Ibid.
35. Ibid.
36. Francaviglia, History After Disney: The Significance of "Imagineered" Historical Places, 69-74.
37. Moore, Walt Disney World: Bounded Ritual Space and the Playful Pilgrimage Center, 207-218.
38. Izard, Walt Disney: Master of Laughter and Learning, 36-41.
39. Ibid.
40. Ibid.
41. Ibid.
42. Telotte, Animating Space: Disney, Science, and Empowerment, 48-59.
43. David A. Kirby, "Science Consultants, Fictional Films, and Scientific Practice," Social Studies of Science 33, no. 2 (Apr., 2003): 231-268,
44. Laderman, The Disney Way of Death, 27-46.; Lutts, The Trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney's Bambi and the American Vision of Nature, 160-171.; Francaviglia, History After Disney: The Significance of "Imagineered" Historical Places, 69-74.; Telotte, Animating Space: Disney, Science, and Empowerment, 48-59.
45. Lutts, The Trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney's Bambi and the American Vision of Nature, 160-171.
46. Francaviglia, History After Disney: The Significance of "Imagineered" Historical Places, 69-74.


Francaviglia, Richard. "History After Disney: The Significance of "Imagineered" Historical Places." The Public Historian 17, no. 4 (Autumn, 1995): 69-74.
Izard, Ralph S. "Walt Disney: Master of Laughter and Learning." Peabody Journal of Education 45, no. 1 (Jul., 1967): 36-41.
Kirby, David A. "Science Consultants, Fictional Films, and Scientific Practice." Social Studies of Science 33, no. 2 (Apr., 2003): 231-268.
Laderman, Gary. "The Disney Way of Death." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 68, no. 1 (Mar., 2000): 27-46.
Lutts, Ralph H. "The Trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney's Bambi and the American Vision of Nature." Forest & Conservation History 36, no. 4 (Oct., 1992): 160-171.
Moore, Alexander. "Walt Disney World: Bounded Ritual Space and the Playful Pilgrimage Center." Anthropological Quarterly 53, no. 4 (Oct., 1980): 207-218.
Secord, J. A. "Quick and Magical Shaper of Science." Science 297, no. 5587 (Sep. 6, 2002): 1648-1649.
Telotte, J. P. "Animating Space: Disney, Science, and Empowerment." Science Fiction Studies 35, no. 1 (Mar., 2008): 48-59.