Meet the Incredibles, the award-winning Pixar team’s superhero family that comes out of banal, suburban hiding to don their old costumes and save the world again. Bob Parr (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) was forced to give up his swashbuckling days and log in time as an insurance adjuster and raise his three children with his formerly heroic wife (Holly Hunter). But when he receives a mysterious assignment, it’s time to break out the super suit one more time.
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, More
Director: Brad Bird
The Incredibles is an opportunity to question the wisdom of conforming to the expectations of others, and of society in general. A point that The Incredibles makes for us, if we choose to see it, is that if the imperative is to fit in, to be like everyone else, then what is being special. About 15 minutes into this film the son, Dash, and his mother, the forced to retire superhero, Elastigirl, are riding home from a visit to the principal’s office, where Dash is being scolded for using his powers of speed to be mischievous in class. Dash says to his mother “Dad always says our powers made us special”, his mother says “everyone is special Dash.” Dash says “which is another way of saying, no one is.”
This family of supers known as The Incredibles, is a metaphor for every person in every family living within a society that is sending us a mixed message. Be great, be successful, be productive, but be all these things within a set of expectations that society says is acceptable. Fit in, conform, and don’t rock the boat. This voice of society tells us which skills and professions will make us more valuable than others and which skills and professions lesser members of our society, those with less intelligence, less beauty, less charm, less ambition, pursue. Where in these clear messages that say conform or else, do we find the space to discover who we really are, what makes us special, what are we good at, what are we passionate about, where is my voice to be found, what is the highest expression of me?
What’s In It For Us?
What The Incredibles so playfully gives us is the opportunity to discover that under the pressure of society’s narrow framework of conformity, we have come to fear that we are inadequate in some way. What can we do to turn that around? How about we redefine the power and meaning of fear?
Now with fear powerfully redefined to say go, then let us choose our fears carefully! After all, what we put our attention to is what expands! So, from now on let’s fear that we are infinitely powerful, that we shine so brightly that the light could be described as blinding, only to discover, that by shining that brightly we give other people permission to do the same. In doing so we give birth to a new kind of conformity, one that takes no persuasion, no convincing, and no pressure from voices or expectations coming from outside of us. It is a natural conformity of birthright.
We are all born a perfect reflection of that which creates us. Call it what ever you want, the name doesn’t matter. The entire universe and all life within it are a model of perfection and we are a unique piece of that glittering and diverse perfection. Because of that birthright, the perfection is not just in a few of us, it is in us all.
Remember you are what you watch.