Source: MLP: FIM Marks and Recreation
Her passion is drawing circles. Her cutie mark is in writing haikus. These things are actually connected!
Kettle Corn’s circles resemble ensō, a form of Zen Buddhist calligraphy in Japan. Haiku is a form of poetry that originated with Buddhist monks in Japan.
I think this beautifully illustrates how our passions, our talents, and our destinies (as manifested in our cutie marks) are connected in ways that we can’t always see. It gives a whole new dimension to the themes that the show has explored in post-cutie-mark Cutie Mark Crusaders episodes. Getting your flank tattoo doesn’t set you in stone for your entire life like Rumble thinks. In fact, you can have post cutie mark crises, (as exemplified by Apple Bloom, Diamond Tiara, and Bulk Biceps). You can find whole other layers of meaning in what you do that weren’t necessarily apparent when you first got your mark!
Kettle Corn has a whole journey ahead of her. Parts of her personality, and parts of her soul are going to become clearer to her as she explores these Zen-related interests, but she will not have the words to articulate their connection. She will never know what Buddhism, or Japan is, even if her life’s journey is destined to be *weeaboo af.*
However, that doesn’t stop different elements of Japanese philosophy from making themselves manifest in her.
Think of the implications of that!
What if different life events, or passions that define who we are turn out to actually be connected in ways that we cannot see? Just like this little girl will never fully be able to articulate that her personality is essentially a running gag, referential to a place she’ll never see or read about, our own lives may never fully be clear to us except in the vaguest of feelings and intuitions.
Simply put, we lack the perspective to “get the joke.”
When I posted this theory on Facebook, I got one cynical comment about our lives being “jokes.” I want to clarify. I don’t mean that we are literally fictional characters and that our lives are literally one big meaningless joke. I’m saying that perspective is everything!
We know ourselves better than anyone else does, and at the same time, only see ourselves from the inside. Those of us who are prone to guilt look at ourselves more harshly than we look at others. We don’t extend the same kind of forgiveness to ourselves that we extend to our friends in the same situations. Conversely, those who are defensive actually repaint their own actions in positive lights. They refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing in their own behaviors, even if they objectively view those behaviors as wrong in others. That’s part of what makes life so confusing. No matter what, we will always lack the perspective to examine ourselves truly objectively.
We can try, we can even come a little bit closer with every revelation, but at the end of the day, we are still viewing ourselves from the inside. There’s an old saying, “I don’t know who discovered water, but it wasn’t a fish.”
It is as tragic as it is humorous. I think there’s joy to be found in that. I also think there’s a greater understanding to be had by it. While there are some truly messed up and evil people in the world, for the most part, when folks do wrong, they are usually just doing the best they can with what they have. Simply put, we mess up because we’re human.
Once you recognize your own trappings, however – once you contemplate and appreciate just how difficult it is to try to make sense of your own life, you start to realize that everyone else is going through the exact same thing. We are all feeling around in the dark. We all lack the perspective to gain a fully objective picture of ourselves. We are all suffering because of it: our friends; our enemies; our ideological opponents. That existential question – that suffering – is at the core of all of our beings. It is the one thing we all have in common.
While we, like Kettle Corn, will never find the answers – will never fully be in on “the joke” – we can still look at one another and attempt to be compassionate, and to show compassion whenever we can, even to those whom we oppose. After all, we’re all in the same boat.
Or at the very least, maybe we, like Kettle Corn, should stop, and simply take joy in doing something we love every now and again, and do it for its own sake. Maybe that’s all the answer we need.
A girl loves circles
But is meant to write haikus.
They are the same thing.