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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Philosophy of Willy Wonka Final Megan Phouthavong Pt3 (14/4)

                                                                        There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You'll be free
If you truly wish to be

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanta change the world?
There's nothing
To it

In today's last installment of the Philosophy of Willy Wonka, I will be discussing the movie as a whole. The above lyrics are from the song "Pure Imagination" sung by WIlly Wonka himself before the children feast on mushrooms with cream filled spots and licorice trees. Could this world, the world of Willy Wonka, ever be a reality? 
While flipping through Philosophy Bites and A Little History of Philosopy, I noticed that there was nothing pertaining to the ideas of imagination vs hallucination. However, many philosophers such as Stroud, Pyrrho and Decartes discuss skepticism and explain that this world may not actually even be this world. How can we know whether we are dreaming or not? 

What is imagination? Imagination is the idea that we create ideas in our head to help us perceive how the world really is or is not. Children are the ones that use the most imagination. As children, we play pretend, many times in ways that are reality, like playing as cops, or play house, but also times as princesses or knights fighting dragons. Are the children in the movie WIlly Wonka using their imagination as the song above states? And if so, what are they really eating? Are they really riding on a river made of chocolate? Does Charlie and his grandfather really drink Fizzy Lifting Drink and float through the air? Is it "pure imagination"?
I've always been fascinated with the idea of Wonka's factory. Are these children and their parents eating things that are giving them hallucinations? This also raises the question about the difference between illusion, imagination, and hallucination.

Seeing little orange men with green hair would most likely be called a hallucination. According to Fiona Macpherson from a Philosophy Bites podcast I stumbled upon, hallucinations differ from illusions because illusions are just light coming in at different rates in your eye and reflecting off your retina to give you a skewed image of something. Say for instance you look at a watch on a table and you think the strap is navy at first glance, but upon further study, you see that in fact it is gray. That would be considered an illusion. A hallucination is a misfiring in the brain that causes you to see things that aren't really there. Are there really little orange men with green hair dancing and singing and doing Wonka's bidding? I may consider this a hallucination, but Stroud, Descartes or Pyyrho may say "This world is never what it seems. Question everything, believe nothing". 

Along with illusion and hallucination is our imagination. How much of what the children see, do they see because the idea has been planted in their head by Wonka? When Violet Beauregarde chews the gum, does she really taste a three course meal, or does she imagine it because she was told that was what she was supposed to be tasting? 

DIdn't turn out too well for her in the end. 

I find skepticism too vague for my tastes. I believe that I am sitting at a table, on my laptop, writing out this story, in real life. I'm not dreaming. Maybe one day I will find out I had it all wrong, but until then, I will enjoy this world as it is, and be grateful for every day I exist.

That's all folks. I enjoyed Intro to Philosophy and thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's posts. Have a wonderful summer! 

Word Count: 553
Total Word Count: 1508


  1. Actually Pyrrho's probably the only member of that trio who'd be open to the full imaginative possibility of Wonka World. But our world has its magical moments too. Like the day we had Loveless Biscuits in class, for example!

  2. Well I do have your happiness class next semester, and it will be the holiday season! We may have to have a repeat if those biscuits!

  3. Ah, that makes me happy!