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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Paradise


Archetypally, Neptune is associated with paradises, where all needs are met.  Neptune corresponds to the first perinatal matrix BPM I, the womb before the onset of birth, and in the discussion of Disneyland’s structure, we compared Disneyland to the womb, and now, we will see how Disneyland relates to paradise.   



Paradise comes from the old Persian pairidaeza, meaning “walled enclosure, pleasure park, garden” (Partin, 1987, p. 184) and the word came into Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek with the same meaning.  The original Garden of Eden was described as paradeisos, and eden literally meant “delight.” Partin tells us that in African mythology, paradise was a place humans understood the language of the animals and were at peace with them.  Heaven and earth were in close proximity and there was literally a physical connection between them.  The Sumerian paradisial garden of Dilmun was a garden of the gods, not for humans, described as “being pure, clean, bright, a land of the living who do know illness, violence or aging”  (Partin, p. 184).  In discussing paradises, Partin notes that the Garden of Eden in Genesis is perhaps the most well known: a place where all was provided for, and there was ease and harmony between man and woman, as well as with animals.  Eden was an innocent place free of sexual tensions. 


Paradise is outside of ordinary time and is characterized by plenitude and extraordinary abundance, freedom, spontaneity, and bliss.  Constraints are absent or minimized.  Paradise is usually considered to have been primordial, to have existed in illo tempore or a fabulous time of beginnings.  Partin (1987) also mentions that along with paradise comes the longing for paradise, because the primordial paradise is gone but not forgotten, and he notes that a Freudian interpretation would link this as a wish fulfillment of returning to the womb. 


Not all paradises are gardens—they are imaginative and come in many forms, such as mountains, gardens, and islands, or combinations of these.  For example, Milton’s paradise was a combination of mountain and garden paradise, and was the origin of the four rivers.  Another characteristic of these paradises is that they must be reached by a journey.  While most paradises are perceived to be in the past, some are conceived of as being recurring, as in the Golden Age of the Greeks and the Krtayuga or Perfect Age of Hinduism, also known as satya yuga (Krta is the age of four, the winning throw at the game of dice, a frequent symbol of perfection, wholeness, and totality). 


Other paradises are thought to occur in the future, either after a Judgment Day as in Christianity, or after the return of the ancestors, such as occurs in the South Pacific cargo cults.  Secularly, paradises are clothed in the form of utopias:  “Utopias typically have some of the characteristics of paradise, often to a lesser degree….  It could be said that utopias are efforts to actualize the image of paradise, under the conditions of this world.”  (Partin, 1987, p. 189)  So already we can see here the interplay between nostalgia, in the longing for lost paradise of the past, and utopia, the paradise of the future. 


Yi-Fu Tuan (1997) compares Disneyland with Chinese cosmic cities and European pleasure gardens and notes the paradisial parallels.   A cosmic city was a combination of paradise and utopia, and was a gigantic walled in space where the designers could impose their designs which “includes nature—controlled nature.”  Contentment was the key to cosmic cities. Tuan explains that cosmic cities were so thoroughly planned that with poetic license they might be called a “sort of cosmic theme park” (p 191). 


Tuan (1997) notes that the pleasure parks of Europe were inspired by the Biblical Eden, so they strove to have climates of eternal spring, and contained a wealth of exotic plants and animals that would live peacefully together.  Some of this was accomplished, as at Disneyland by technology—using mechanical animals.  The pleasure gardens were also places of play, where “playing and role playing are part of the ‘fun’… Play accommodates—indeed requires—illusion.”  The illusions of the pleasure gardens were linked to those of pictorial painting and the theater historically. Tuan notes that Disney’s background was in the “quintessential American progenies” of painting and theater, “cartoons, cinema and television”  (p. 195). 

The cosmic cities celebrated timelessness in the eternal round of the seasons, while gardens encouraged timelessness through quiet meditation.  Obviously neither of these would work in our current culture of constant change, so how does Disney accomplish timelessness?  Tuan (1997) maintains that timelessness for Disney is accomplished through theme—the milieu or ambience, which is so “distinctive and entrancing that when immersed in it one forgets time.  To be there is to have arrived, no need therefore to worry about being elsewhere.  The timelessness of 'center' ritually evoked in the cosmic city,” he tells us “is at least hinted at in Disneyland,” in addition he mentions that the climate of “perpetual spring” conveys a timeless quality as well.  [More about themes can be explored on the "Art of the Show" excursion, located in Fantasyland.]


Disneyland fits many of these characteristics of a paradise.  Disneyland is a clean, bright, innocent, harmonious place where humans and “animals” can communicate—in the case of the strolling characters, and in the case of audioanimatronics, animals become actors and communicate with us, usually through song and dance; Disneyland is a different world, outside of time and protected from the outside by a large earthen berm, where the inhabitants—Mickey Mouse and friends do not age or get sick.  People often journey to get there and Disneyland is filled with delights of all kinds.  Nature is included and controlled at Disneyland, along with almost everything else within the berm, as in the cosmic cities, and the climate for the most part cooperates at Disneyland, in being eternal spring, or at worst an endless summer. Before considering the notion of utopia, we will first take a look back at nostalgia.

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