Yet with all Hollywood visions, it presents a post apocalyptic view of humans and, again, states this in bipolar terms of good and evil a future which runs shallow of the real intent and potential of the human race. Humans are vilified as the invader aliens, while the Na’vi are elevated to the status of demi-gods with their connection to their planet and their ability to fly and ride and jump beyond human skill. Of course the story is a repeat of the 16th century conquest of the new world, a repeat of the evils of technology, a mish-mash of every story that has been told for years about human imbalances and insanity. Even the Na’vi state clearly that they hope to cure the sky-people’s (human’s) insanity.
But after the battle of technology versus the animals, I was left feeling that there is no solution. The only solution is to escape and hopefully find a world where consciousness will not destroy itself by ruining its home, self, body, and surroundings. I was left, like all films of this day and age, with that nagging feeling that we are working really hard to justify the Armageddon we are creating. The end times are an even more logical conclusion now than ever before. Did our ancient pre-global ancestors do the same thing destroying their habitat before catapulting into space as DNA clusters in hopes of falling into a new world? Will we ever wake up to this memory?
This sense of doom in the face of things is why movies today bring me so much pain. There is no real healing available or offered. We were judged and found wanting. We are living in the post-apocalyptic halcyon days where we are feeding off of a story whose inevitable conclusion is once again to just give up. The earth is dead and we are just waiting for the drop of the conductor’s batton signaling the end of the music. Meanwhile we dance back to lives of self fulfilled ego emptiness and powerlessness to be part of the real change.
Even the theater where we watch this amazing film was part of the message. Like an ironic twist, we were subjected to 25 minutes of commercials laced mostly with recruitment videos for the armed forces. Then got to watch what evil the armed forces are within the film. The pre-film emcee was constantly telling us how soon we would be in the feature while we were subjected to the most annoying push of products; so much for the beauty of the natural world! The movie was to begin at 12 noon. We had to endure this onslaught well beyond 12:15. Topping that off was an infomercial telling us that the onslaught allowed us to gain access to the movie at a reduced price… Be thankful for the intrusion of imbalances of our world so you can sit there slopping popcorn. Wow, we are insane as babies!
This cultural insanity to which we are subjected to everyday leads most of us to a glazed-over stare at the world and a sense of complete powerlessness. The message is often lost in the drama of a daily life out of balance. If we did not get the message the 60 times before, how are we to get it now? Barbara Tuckman noted that a significant number of people have to suffer and die before real change happens in our cultures. And even then the seeds of that destruction are planted deep within the very successes we laud every day. We act in our own self-disinterest not aware of these daily acts.
I am not decrying or justifying the end times. Rather that the confusions of our day and age cannot be solved with a passive spectacle in 3D on the screen in a dark movie theater. It takes real work to implement real change. As I dropped my plastic 3D glasses in the bin after the movie, it became more apparent that we do not understand the circle of life. This new fangled method for being entertained would have been a curse to Pandora. She would have communicated horror through our connection at the lack of knowledge about life out of balance. But we were entertained and returned to a world crumbling from within.
We have so much knowledge about our world. The Na’vi are ourselves. We do know about the beautiful ever mind of life. We know, if we listen, about the genetic code and the lack of balance in our oceans. We know all the things the Na’vi know. And we act in contradistinction to our prime directive every day. We are, as Casteneda notes, insane apes. And we struggle with that horror every moment of our lives. I hope that Avatar can, in this new millennia, actually awaken us to our true selves… but there have been a million prophets before, and after the popcorn moved through the system, we are back at our lives over consuming our daily bread.
When I wrote this it was in that post movie haze which always strikes one with wonder and awe. As the days have wandered, and the ideas continue to nag me from within the movie there are several post movie phases that I have gone through.
The salvationist theme present in the movie is so painfully obvious. The idea that we need to be saved from ourselves, our dark (white people) side which conquires what it does not understand is blatently obvious in the film. Would that Cameron had varied the view of the corporate officers to be more diverse, it may have hit more closely to home that we are all involved in the persecution of the planet.
The second is the continued repetition of the age-old theme of foreigner goes into a new culture and learns, adapts and turns on the dominator culture. The list is long of movies that repeat this one theme. And yet, what better way to clearly state that we need to remain open to perception and awareness of other beings, life forms and the like. The story is the same. Ultimately I think that the problem is that we have set the universe up as an unfriendly place. And what universe would be friendly to a species that would rather kill than understand and connect? There must be something in our genetic code that says “kill first ask questions later.” But can our ration and empathy overwhelm that part of the brain? I hope so.
The idea that movies should be just enjoyed and forget the reading into it was proposed by a number of people across the spectrum. And yet, why do we have art, are attracted to art if not for something of the truth that stirs in us. Are we stirring up the internal workings to actually change or is it another blind experience. I noted that never before have I wanted to deeply connect to the earth again as I had my vision quests and wanderings in the forest from childhood to now as I did after seeing this film. This film has brought me microscopic eyes… the ability to see the world in such great detail and gestalt… that we are in awe. This film did just that. The post film days have been filled not just with awareness, but hope that these eyes will not fade, that I must practice each day to keep my eyes open and alert to the beauty and wonder of the world… don’t get lost in the illusion of money and power which is the drive of the modern world everywhere. I want to leap like a Na’vi into the air, into the living trees or onto the back of a great bird/dragon… And remember this thing called life. I want to taste and sustain my awareness that I am tasting the whole world when I eat. Yes it was a movie to enjoy, but it went far beyond others and returned me to the real world that I chose to live in with awareness.
Salvation is not necessary. We have nothing to save. We have only to return to the root being of our existence to know there is really nothing wrong if we listen to our source, the mother…earth… our father… sky… We don’t need saving, we need cleansing. To bathe in the beauty of the world and to release these tensions which keep us separated from everything and everyone. We are already there. Turn off the noise and listen. Practice beauty. This is the greatest gift we can give our selves. We are not alone, we are connected to everyone and everything… feel, be and do… will change when we recognize this awareness and begin to act upon these impressions we have ignored.