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[livejournal.com profile] purejuice  has been writing for some time now on "ritual labor," and I've been following her thoughts with interest, giving the subject some of my mental attention if not much physical participation yet.  As thoughts raced through my brain last night, a few things worth capturing danced by, and I'm hoping to capture here as many as I can remember, so I can develop them and see how they interrelate.  So, in no particular order --

Miyazaki gets it. Disney doesn't.  Kiki, Sen, Sophie, all actively undertake ritual labors as part of their path to adulthood.  Sophie and Kiki do so willingly and for their own reasons -- Kiki is making her new home her own, Sophie is making her new home more liveable for all its inhabitants, including Calcifer, "the spirit of the place," who is threatened with destruction whilst Sophie cleans the hearth, but she "puts him in his place" and assures everyone's continued survival.  By willfully demanding a job from the woman who would otherwise enslave her, Chihiro gets to keep her sense of purpose and direction, even though she signs over her "identity" by giving her name to Yubaba and being assigned the name Sen.  Willfully choosing and participating in ritual labors earns Sen her place inside the community (though despite her labors her "role" continues to be "ousider" as far as the rest of the community is concerned) and the opportunity to survive long enough to free herself from her contract with Yubaba and free her parents from Yubaba's enslavement. 

The only Disney film I and think of in which the main character even attempts to participate in ritual labor is Snow White, in which Snow White discovers the home of the seven dwarves in the woods and proceeds to "play house" with it, cleaning out the dust and cobwebs and setting the table for the dwarves' dinner.  (Which has me thinking about the story of Goldilocks, too, who partakes of the bears' home comforts but doesn't do much else....)  Snow White's labor transforms her merely into a caretaker (albeit a beloved one) for the dwarves.  She only leaves that situation apparently dead, and when she is revived by the kiss from the prince, well, your guess is as good as mine where her autonomy goes after that. 

So there's that about Miyazaki and Disney.  Probably more, if I want to go down that path.

I'm also thinking of Heather writing about wanting to throw things away at the beginning of each year. Rituals like these define our space and our intentions. 

There was also something in my head about Maslow being wrong. 

I know there was more, but I'm out of time to write and need to get to my next thing.  There will be more about this, however.


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