Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursentary: Baymax

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I loved Big Hero 6. A lot. I mean, not perfect and with every chance of a round of painful sequels to follow in its wake, but still. I loved it.

Most of all, I loved Baymax.

If you haven’t seen the movie, or a preview, allow me to share a brief history: Baymax was built with the hope that he’d one day serve as a medical provider, hence his huggable and non-threatening form. He does what he can to help his patient—whether that’s a hug, downloading more information, or activating his glowy defibrillator hands—and when he is done, his patient will say “I am satisfied with my care.” He deflates, and waits for the next cry for help.


I don’t really want to spoil the movie too much (you really ought to watch it yourself) but still…

Baymax loved.

See, he’s an interesting guy—we know that computers and robots don’t really feel emotions (to the best of my knowledge). But think of love as an action, rather than an emotion.

Baymax loved.

When he hears someone in distress, he goes to see what’s wrong. He doesn’t sit and stare at you condescendingly and sigh before chucking a first aid kit at you; he doesn’t take the opportunity turn this into a lecture, beginning with the words, “You know, if you’d done a little extra thinking maybe you wouldn’t be in this mess.”

He gets up and gets to you, no matter what.

He proceeds to scan the person who is injured. He asks you what’s wrong, he asks you how you’re feeling. If he gets into your personal business, it’s only to help you, and to figure out what can make you better. There’s no teasing, no shame.

He merely acknowledges that there’s a thing that is wrong.

Then he makes the action plan. He sees that there’s a struggle, be it something physical like blood or mental like grief, and he decides to stop it. And he goes any length to achieve that. He will accept any challenge, and agree to do anything, so long as he knows it will help his patient.

This is why he is willing to follow Hiro everywhere. This is why he allows that kid to take advantage of his coding and his resources. This is why he consoles Hiro through it all and guides him to making the right choices: Baymax knows that hurting other people is wrong.

Baymax probably doesn’t feel anything. In fact, I don’t recall that he ever says anything to suggest he does. His entire purpose is molded by his task: to be the best healthcare assistant he can possibly be.

And yet, all of his actions are defined by a single, but not so simple, concept: love.

Patient before Baymax. Him before me. Them first and me second.

What’s more, from his originally programming, it’s impossible for him to do otherwise. He cannot cause pain and hurt for others intentionally. He can’t scream or curse or hate.

Baymax exists to heal and to love. The end, all done, bye-bye.

I think we should be more like Baymax. It’s hard, of course. It is incredibly easy to want things to work out for ME, because I am the one who matters here. I’m feeling that especially this week, which has been something of an emotional roller coaster and hands-on event with my innermost and most selfish desires.

But I know it’s better for the people I love if I act like Baymax. You over me. Your needs before mine.

You first.

Heather second.

Yeah, it sucks. But it works. And the fact that Baymax works is better than anything else in the whole movie. The fact that we love may be one of the best things in the whole world.

Have you seen Big Hero 6? What thoughts did you have on Baymax?


  1. I've never seen Big Hero 6, but Baymax sounds like a wonderful character!

    1. Watch it! Because he's awesome. And it's funny. And it's cute. :D

  2. I haven't seen Big Hero 6, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. Baymax is go cute and cuddly. Eek! Can I have him as a pet?

    1. I can only encourage you to watch it. I know, though! I would squish his vinyl body all the time! :D


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