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Old 09-08-2010, 05:38 AM
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Default Exploring Deep Philosophical Meanings in AVATAR

Basically this thread is my attempts to examine and see IF THERE ARE deep philosophical meanings in Avatar, similar to the deep philosophical concepts that are found in the Matrix. Mostly this will be my sharing my own thought processes in an ongoing manner. Think of this thread more as a 'fan fiction' of a philosophical nature!

I'M NOT putting this one in the Debate forum .. because I'm not really interested in debating it, although I do welcome shared perspectives. To quote from the Matrix to explain my stance:

"Not everyone believes what you believe!"

Morpheus' response: "My beliefs do not require them to do so."

So where I begin/began is first an exploration to see if there might be any significance to the name's starting with Jake and Tommy! This is the beginning of what I discovered!

A.

Jake – comes from root name Jacob – whom becomes Israel in Old Testament

Jacob means – supplants – referring to Jacob ‘succeeding to the birth rite of the first born’ over Esau

Jacob and Esau are twins – with Esau being the ‘first born’ twin

“And the children struggled together within her (Rebekah); and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

“The Midrash says that during Rebekah's pregnancy whenever she would pass a house of Torah study, Jacob would struggle to come out; whenever she would pass a house of idolatry Esau would agitate to come out.

“when Jacob and Esau were born of him, Jacob's hand held first the heel of Esau. For Esau is the end of the world, and Jacob is the beginning of it that followeth.” (Deuterocanonical Apocrypha, Esdras)

Rashi explained that Isaac, when blessing Jacob instead of Esau, smelled the heavenly scent of Gan Eden (Paradise) when Jacob entered his room and, in contrast, perceived Gehenna (Hell) opening beneath Esau when the latter entered the room, showing him that he had been deceived all along by Esau's show of piety”



My interpretation – twins represent our ‘dual’ nature at birth – that when we arrive in this physical world from the world of the womb (birth matrix) our ‘human’ nature that is more physical – which is indicated by Esau’s name and character being associated with the ‘beasts’ and the ‘natural world’ – attachment to earthly aspects is more predominate, and our second nature – which is our ‘spiritual’ self even though appears latent – but comes right on our heels (note significance of many traditions – image of hanged man in Tarot – that see spirit entering us through our ‘feet’ and eventually making its way to our hearts and head.

So Jacob name and character being associated with ‘supplanting’ and ‘a simple man, a lover of tents’ with tent reminiscent of Tabernacle – the place where the ‘spirit’ rests, and the concept of ‘house of Torah’ as in spiritual knowledge and teachings (which I note here, as later in this examination, will need to contrast this meaning and interpretation here, with Jakes twin being the ‘scientist’ and Jake himself not one) and the eventuality of ‘tricking’ or supplanting his brother’s birthright as ‘first born’ to receive the blessing from their father – would indicate that in the end the ‘spiritual’ becomes the more predominate aspect of our nature. Esau’s willingness to ‘sell’ his birthright indicates the state of our human aspects will influence us to make choices and decisions that are more reminiscent of a ‘lower’ or animal kind of mentality – to parley away so easily something of such ‘significance’ simply for something as hunger! Jacob refusing to ‘share’ or ‘tricking’ Esau is often the way that the spirit works, and innumerable references in many spiritual traditions to ‘hunger’ and ‘thirst’ indicate that before spirit can superseded our lower or human nature, we must be ‘tested’ by life experiences (ie: suffering) that will attempt to create this ‘hunger’ or ‘thirst’ in us so that we are ready to surrender to spirit.

Father and Mother – Male and Female – are often synonymous with the concept of Rational/Logical Mind and Intuitive Heart/Wisdom – Isaac favoured Esau – Rebecca favoured Jacob. Rebecca in the role of Intuitive Heart plays a role in the ‘trickery’ of Esau by disguising Jacob in the guise of Esau’s physical attributes – hairy body/hands – to assist Jacob in receiving the blessing from Isaac – or to trick the rational mind – Isaac whom is ‘blind’ into surrendering to spirit and thus passing the blessing on to the ‘second born’ or ‘spiritual self’.

Patriarch blind – blindly following the traditions and teachings of his forefathers. No longer able to discern the ‘spiritual nature’ from the ‘human nature’. (which then after I found the quote from the Midrash – that would contradict this part of my interpretation. But then the interesting thing about ‘mythical stories’ is that they carry multiple meanings – some of which can contain the ‘duality’ of meaning (opposites) within their single story line! (think about the duality of messages contained for example within drum n bass ASC music) Hence why as when they are particularly associated with ‘spiritual’ traditions can be seen as timeless in essence and scope.


OK HERE's the beginning of the name Tommy exploration:

B.

Tommy – comes from root name Thomas – particularly doubting Thomas of the New Testament

Doubting Thomas is a term that is used to describe someone who will refuse to believe something without direct, physical, personal evidence; a skeptic.

The term is based on a Biblical account of Thomas the Apostle, a disciple of Jesus who doubted Jesus' resurrection and demanded to feel Jesus' wounds before being convinced, although the Bible does not mention if actual contact took place. After seeing Jesus alive and being offered the opportunity to touch his wounds, Thomas then professed his faith in Jesus. For this reason he is also called Thomas the Believer. The Biblical account then reports that Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed," suggesting that Jesus' preference was for faith over skepticism.

Other appearances of Thomas in some passages in the Gospel of John, the disciples are resisting Jesus' decision to return to Judea, where Jesus' fellow Jews had previously tried to stone him. Jesus is determined, and Thomas says bravely: "Let us also go, that we might die with him.” He also speaks at The Last Supper, Jesus assures his disciples that they know where he is going but Thomas protests that they don't know at all.

NOTE: Thomas the Apostle is considered in the end to have been a devote Believer of Christ and devoted his life to teaching the Gospel, Missionarying to India and was eventually martyred!

The king Misdeus was infuriated when St.Thomas converted the Queen Tertia, son Juzanes, sister-in-law princess Mygdonia (a province of Mesopotamia) and her friend Markia. The King Misdeus led St. Thomas outside the city and ordered four soldiers to take him to the nearby hill where the soldiers speared St. Thomas and killed him


Thomas is also more specifically identified as "Thomas, also called the Twin (Didymus)".

Few texts identify Thomas' other twin, though in the Book of Thomas the Contender, part of the Gnostic sayings, it is said to be Jesus himself: "Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself…"

The Acts of Thomas, sometimes called by its full name The Acts of Judas Thomas: 2nd/3rd century (c. 180-230) Gist of the testimony: The Apostles cast lots as to where they should go, and to Thomas, twin brother of Jesus, fell India.



My interpretation: So here in Tommy's root name, we have at the outset a threefold inference to the aspects of Thomas, the relationship as a 'twin', an implied associative meaning of skepticism to 'scientist', and the reference of being 'killed' by violent means! (Will explore the ‘Jesus’ reference and relationship deeper as well, later, after have time to synthesize)

As relates to Avatar, it would appear that it is focusing in on the more ‘traditional’ reference to Thomas as the Doubter, and in particular the reference to ‘skeptic’ and skepticism .. which is an attribute clearly associated with ‘critical reasoning’ an in philosophy and ‘science’, the need to ‘discover, analyze and interpret the Truth', through an 'intellectual' process.

If you define Truth as loosely and broadly as what is really the case, how are you going to discover what is really the case ... One ... method that arises around science and philosophy which is the method the philosophers typically call critical reason and the idea there is that human beings going to figure out the truth for themselves. 'Matrix Return to the Source' - documentary

“The egghead and the jarhead. Tommy was the scientist, not me. He was the one who wanted to get shot light years out into space to find the answers.”

Tom was supposedly a brilliant scientist with PhD honours. He was killed when a thief attempted to steal his wallet, and was subsequently shot by the assailant, three years into his training
[I]


... to be continued delving into the connections of names and relationships between the association of Jake/Jacob Tommy/Thomas/(Esau) etc and how it relates and significances in AVATAR!

REMEMBER THINK FAN FICTION here!
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"Its only 'here' that we lose perspective, out at the Cosmic Consciousness Level things get a lot clearer. For example, there is an actual star pattern that is traced in the shape of a Willow Tree, across the breadth of the Milky Way! And no wonder Indigenous peoples refer to the 'here after' as the Happy Hunting Grounds! Has it ever occured to anyone why the bioluminescence dots, on the Na'vi!"

Last edited by Mika; 09-08-2010 at 10:17 PM. Reason: to add more content!
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:53 AM
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Its late, I have homework, I shouldn't, I will be back tomorrow because this looks like my kind of convo...
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by caveman View Post
Its late, I have homework, I shouldn't, I will be back tomorrow because this looks like my kind of convo...
Same.

Though I guess one more late night won't hurt.

Expect something...
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"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:17 PM
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Me three. I love all this deep interpretation, I'm saving it on my computer so I can really read it later. Darn internet connection...
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman View Post
Its late, I have homework, I shouldn't, I will be back tomorrow because this looks like my kind of convo...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
Same.

Though I guess one more late night won't hurt.

Expect something...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Glass View Post
Me three. I love all this deep interpretation, I'm saving it on my computer so I can really read it later. Darn internet connection...


Hi! Welcome! I'm looking forward to your perspectives and discussion!

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"Its only 'here' that we lose perspective, out at the Cosmic Consciousness Level things get a lot clearer. For example, there is an actual star pattern that is traced in the shape of a Willow Tree, across the breadth of the Milky Way! And no wonder Indigenous peoples refer to the 'here after' as the Happy Hunting Grounds! Has it ever occured to anyone why the bioluminescence dots, on the Na'vi!"
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:04 AM
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Uhm...I think that miiight be a bit over-thought...but its a good hypothesis...
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:23 AM
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Ok, response time

First, I must ask, are you in college? You're interpretation is very deep on and multiple levels. You sound like either an avid interpreter of pure enjoyment, or a college level student who majors in English...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mika View Post
“when Jacob and Esau were born of him, Jacob's hand held first the heel of Esau. For Esau is the end of the world, and Jacob is the beginning of it that followeth.” (Deuterocanonical Apocrypha, Esdras)
I interpreted this, with regards to Avatar, that Jake's brother's death, was the end of the world. Earth is dead. And Jake, is soon to be re-born as an Avatar, would symbolize the start of the new world, Pandora. This is also supported by Pandora being a place of spirit, and Earth being (as depicted in the movie) destroyed by man's physical tendencies, aka consumerism/ materialism.

As for the other references, I cannot say much; I am not very familiar with the Bible. They do sound like valid connections though.

I will begin my interpretations of Avatar, which mostly revolve around central themes.

1. The Na'vi are not Na'vi. This is why I find Avatar's storyline to be original as well as brilliant, especially considering the time period: Cameron did not start planning Avatar as "lets make a futuristic Pocahontas." I believe he started very general, very broad, then added his own signature touches.

First, he chose a basic storyline - let's take two extreme human paradigms and make them clash. We take the best of all best principles and virtues and conflict them with the worst of all worst values. In short, good human nature, vs. bad human nature. So when considering this, the Na'vi are not Na'vi. They are humans, under such a radically different paradigm that they appear extremely foreign (aliens).

It is important to note how modern society (RDA) will label them as "beasts" and "savages", as to dehumanize them. However, as we soon discover, these foreigners are not so foreign and not so savage, and actually very human. I believe the Na'vi actually represent humans without the "modern-life cement" that covers our true identity. Basically, I believe all humans are Na'vi, but a thick layer of societal-cement covers that identity, such that, a person without such cement appears alien.

2. Theme - Humans and Destruction. If you look at the geological time period of the Earth, humans have been around for a blink of an eye. Yet, in just a short time there has been great devastation to the natural processes. This theme also appears in Avatar, as humans land after (however long Pandora was in existence) and immediately start destroying and raping the land.

3. Dreams, and Reality. When we go to the movies, we (assuming the casting is good) fill the shoes of the main character. So in a sense, we become Jake Sully for three hours. We can immediately connect with his character because he is paralyzed. It doesn't matter if you've never broken a bone in your whole life, when you see someone in a wheelchair, you feel bad. You feel like "Man, that would suck". So instantly, we fill the shoes of Sir Jake Sully. In addition, Jake's first words (I believe) refer to his dreams of flight and freedom. We can also connect, because (at the time most of us) subconsciously felt ourselves behind bars. We could recognize that we are not the freest we want to be, so we admire dreams of flight.

Anyways, this cross-sections into other themes. Next comes the re-birth. A new beginning - something we all want. A new life on a new planet. All past experiences are forgotten and previous judgments and limitations are lifted. And at this time, we see Jake receive some of his freedom, so in a sense, we receive freedom. Re-birth is a re-occurring theme, as Jake repeatedly returns to his Na'vi life.

From this point forward, wheelchair life becomes reality and Na'vi life becomes a dream. In a lucid dream we are not limited, just as limits from the wheelchair are lifted in Jake's Na'vi life. As the story progresses, Jake becomes attached to his dream, and reluctant to return to "real life". Several quotes support this theme of reality vs dreams: "It's like out there is real life..." I may have misquoted. But you get the idea. Moving on...

Just as Jake transfers back and forth between reality and a dream, as an audience, so do we. Naturally, we don't want the dream to end, hence the "what just happened" feeling after the movie. As the movie draws closer to the end, the dream and reality are faded into one, until finally, the dream becomes reality as Jake enters his Na'vi body, permanently. It is interesting how this moment affects the PAD. As an audience, we are Jake. But in this last moment, we become separated - Jake continues living the dream, while we are stuck in reality. I think this might be the biggest subconsciousness factors for developing depression.

The last moment connects two, possibly three themes. First, the re-birth. Second, the plausible tie-in to the bible (Jacob being the start of the new world - Jake opening his eyes to a new world), as described above. Thirdly...

3. Transfer in spirit. I believe the last moment of separation between the viewer and Jake to be the biggest contributor to PAD. We are left on Earth while Jake is re-born on Pandora. Initially, this is sad. However, I think there is an important theme, which can relate to the cure to depression. It comes from how Jake's spirit was transferred from one body into another. It is a transfer of spirit, a change, just like what many of us have felt in our own lives after seeing Avatar. We have all internally changed to some degree. I think this is a way Cameron is saying to the audience "we can all make a change for the better, starting with the self". It gives hope in wake of a degrading planet.


Ok, so that's all that I have for now. I might add more when time provides. Sorry for the mammoth post
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:04 AM
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Ok, response time

First, I must ask, are you in college? You're interpretation is very deep on and multiple levels. You sound like either an avid interpreter of pure enjoyment, or a college level student who majors in English...
Thank you Caveman, :') for your words, because I never got the chance to go to college, just a couple of classes, and I so consider myself, therefore, not a very good scholar at all! So yeah I've basically just discovered that I have an avid fascination with philosophy and am essentially, just learning to 'stretch my wings', in trying to grasp the concepts (utilizing a lot of philosophical insights that exist around the Matrix). I literally woke up this morning 'feeling' like being Jake, as he begins his journey on Pandora in his Avatar body! All these/those new ways of learning to 'see'!



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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mika View Post
“when Jacob and Esau were born of him, Jacob's hand held first the heel of Esau. For Esau is the end of the world, and Jacob is the beginning of it that followeth.” (Deuterocanonical Apocrypha, Esdras)
I interpreted this, with regards to Avatar, that Jake's brother's death, was the end of the world. Earth is dead. And Jake, is soon to be re-born as an Avatar, would symbolize the start of the new world, Pandora. This is also supported by Pandora being a place of spirit, and Earth being (as depicted in the movie) destroyed by man's physical tendencies, aka consumerism/ materialism.
Absolutely! Which also I thinks heightens the whole sense of Paradise/Garden of Eden/Heaven impact that it immediately has on us as the viewers, and why we long to 'be there' than here so ardently!



Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman View Post
As for the other references, I cannot say much; I am not very familiar with the Bible. They do sound like valid connections though.
Neither am I, at least beyond sort of a basic reading/understanding of it. This is another learning/interpreting as I go process in motion, in that regards!

Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman View Post
I will begin my interpretations of Avatar, which mostly revolve around central themes.

1. The Na'vi are not Na'vi. the Na'vi are not Na'vi. They are humans, under such a radically different paradigm that they appear extremely foreign (aliens).


I believe the Na'vi actually represent humans without the "modern-life cement" that covers our true identity. Basically, I believe all humans are Na'vi, but a thick layer of societal-cement covers that identity, such that, a person without such cement appears alien.
I really like these interpretations. The analogy's provide a lot of insight similar in some regards to interpretations of the Matrix ...

"The point of the matrix probably to raise questions about our world. Its to make us think about our own world in slightly different ways, and maybe to make us ask questions about what the real limits and bounds on our own behavior."

The great symbol of people being batteries, while they sleep their bodies are actually batteries the city of the robots and this whole mechanical society, is a very powerful symbol, people when they are completely asleep to what’s going on around them, are exploited to that extent, they are giving up their very life force to run the society in a lot of ways.

'You are a slave, like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell, taste or touch, a prison for your mind.' Morpheus


If they don’t see selves through own eyes as authentic human beings, they are viewing themselves through a framework of ideas given to them by the hegemonismistic .. society."


Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman View Post
It is important to note how modern society (RDA) will label them as "beasts" and "savages", as to dehumanize them. However, as we soon discover, these foreigners are not so foreign and not so savage, and actually very human.
"The Second Renaissance the animatrix cartoons – actually tell you the fall of man, it starts out everything was happy, sort of the garden of Eden situation, civil society was fine, they had machines and all that was fine, but then two things happen, they use two words to describe original sin here - vanity and corruption. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise. Humans basically attacked the machines and the machines therefore turn on the humans and imprison him.

Incidentally to use the phrase that the machines had the ‘pure spirit of humanity’, Most traditions say that spirit is loving, kind and benevolent and your true nature until you fight it. Then it will appear as a demon or then it appears as a horrifying machine."




Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman View Post
2. Theme - Humans and Destruction. If you look at the geological time period of the Earth, humans have been around for a blink of an eye. Yet, in just a short time there has been great devastation to the natural processes. This theme also appears in Avatar, as humans land after (however long Pandora was in existence) and immediately start destroying and raping the land.
This was my morning thoughts on that same concept!

Welcome to … SULLY'S world.

“It is a century from now, and the population of our tired planet has tripled. Finally, drowning in its own toxic waste, starvation and poverty, the population has topped out at a nice even 20 billion. The Earth is dying, covered with a gray mold of human civilization. Even the moon is spider-webbed with city lights on its dark side. Overpopulation, over-development, nuclear terrorism, environmental warfare tactics, radiation leakage from power plants and waste dumps, toxic waste, air pollution, deforestation, pollution and overfishing of the oceans, global warming, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity through extinction... all of these have combined to make the once green and beautiful planet a terminal cess-pool.”

“His particular part of this undifferentiated concrete ratwarren is Charlotte, NC, but you could be anywhere. Its the same crowded, gray, trash-strewn high-tech squalor. The walls are gray, the sky is gray... the people are gray. They shuffle past each other in dense crowds, shoulder to shoulder, unwashed because of the water shortages, and sickly looking from the bankrupt diet of cheap carbohydrates and synthetic proteins. It looks like a cross between THX-1138 and a Calcutta train station.”

“The human race, using its technical ingenuity, has learned to keep itself alive, but it has lost almost all contact with the natural world, which it has strangled and crushed out of existence. There are no national parks left, only housing projects and protein farms. Yosemite is an upscale condo development. Most ocean-front property is used for mari-culture, since the only food source efficient enough to feed everyone these days is spirulina. It's amazing the things you can do with algal protein concentrate if you know your spices.”

From the original Avatar Scriptment

“From the time of the creation of Adam to this day there have been two pathways in the world of humanity; one the natural or materialistic, the other the religious or spiritual

“….whilst the soul's material qualities alone being exercised, they become terribly powerful -- and the unhappy, misguided man, becomes more savage, more unjust, more vile, more cruel, more malevolent than the lower animals themselves. All his aspirations and desires being strengthened by the lower side of the soul's nature, he becomes more and more brutal, until his whole being is in no way superior to that of the beasts that perish. Men such as this, plan to work evil, to hurt and to destroy; they are entirely without the spirit of Divine compassion, for the celestial quality of the soul has been dominated by that of the material.”

” The intelligence of man is the intermediary between his body and his spirit. Illumined by the spirit through the instrumentality of the soul, man's radiant intelligence makes him the crowning-point of Creation. But on the other hand, when man does not open his mind and heart to the blessing of the spirit, but turns his soul towards the material side, then is he fallen from his high place and he becomes inferior to the inhabitants of the lower animal kingdom. In this case the man is in a sorry plight!”
- Abdu'l-Baha

“…vanity and corruption. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise.”
Second Renaissance - animatrix cartoons


mmm .. think i ran out of posting space, have to continue on next post!
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It was impossible not to have, It's impossible not to be, It's impossible not to still ...!



What this world really needs is more artists and environmentalists!



"Its only 'here' that we lose perspective, out at the Cosmic Consciousness Level things get a lot clearer. For example, there is an actual star pattern that is traced in the shape of a Willow Tree, across the breadth of the Milky Way! And no wonder Indigenous peoples refer to the 'here after' as the Happy Hunting Grounds! Has it ever occured to anyone why the bioluminescence dots, on the Na'vi!"

Last edited by Mika; 09-09-2010 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:07 AM
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Egads, I was never very good at this.

The Tree of Voices (and all of Eywa for that matter) = the Jungian collective unconsciousness.

If you are pure of heart you can pass through the Eye of Eywa to redemption. Like the eye of the needle and rich men in the Bible.

I see Jake as Galahad, one of two knights to get the Holy Grail - but the other one, Perceval, was a virgin, and, well...

From Wikipedia:
"So of the three who undertake the quest for the Grail (Bors, Perceval, and Galahad), Galahad is the one who actually achieves it. When he does, he is taken up into heaven like the biblical patriarch Enoch or the prophet Elijah, and Jesus Christ after he is risen from the dead, leaving his companions behind."

There you have another analogy, with the transcendence of Galahad after reaching his goal. And Galahad got there because he was pure of heart - echoing "Strong heart; no fear."



I discovered a book about a Colonel Quaritch by H. Rider Haggard at Colonel Quaritch - Google Books but I haven't read enough to tell whether it's relevant. Seems awfully coincidental though.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:32 PM
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I just read through everything posted so far. I'm a bit too intimidated to offer much perspective or discussion but I really do enjoy reading all of this, especially the meanings behind the names. I'm curious as to if James Cameron had/has developed any more backstory for Tommy and if he chose names with intended meanings behind them. I would mention that the original scriptment had Jake named Josh (and oh crap I just did) but that would open up a whole 'nother can of worms.

I am also a fan of the concept that "the Na'vi are not Na'vi." I'm pretty sure Cameron has said that they are supposed to represent humanity's higher selves, or humanity's aspirational selves. ...dunno where else to go with this metaphor at the moment except that I like it. I will try to write better posts on this in the future.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:51 PM
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Riffing off Caveman's exploration of the final moments, I see that as the question of rebirth. Are you willing to sacrifice all that you are to become something greater? Are you willing to risk your life? Remember, Jake had no guarantee of success; it's not like the Na'vi did this kind of thing all the time, and the last time they tried it (probably the ONLY time they tried it), they failed.

Are you willing to die in order to be reborn?

It is the ultimate question of identity. It does not need to be taken literally in the sense of physical death to be just as impactful. People routinely associate certain behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes deeply with their identity, and believe that if they were to give them up, they would cease to be themselves, even when those are traits that manifestly aren't working for them. I have seen thousands of people struggle with this so much when push came to shove.

I think we are talking about the death of the ego here, but I have not read enough Freud to go further.

Most nights now when I go to bed, I pray (in the sense of making a request, not to anyone in particular) to be reborn in the morning, in the sense of sacrificing parts of myself I still cling to: meanness, busyness, pettiness among them. It's not the only thing I do toward that goal, but I'll use every tool I can. This is a technique that can work for many people. Sleep is a time of renewal, rebirth, and in a sense, death. Which brings me back to the movie and its incessant parallels between seeing and dreaming. But I'll leave those to other people or other posts.

Last edited by Sempu; 09-09-2010 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempu View Post
Riffing off Caveman's exploration of the final moments, I see that as the question of rebirth. Are you willing to sacrifice all that you are to become something greater? Are you willing to risk your life? Remember, Jake had no guarantee of success; it's not like the Na'vi did this kind of thing all the time, and the last time they tried it (probably the ONLY time they tried it), they failed.

Are you willing to die in order to be reborn?

It is the ultimate question of identity. It does not need to be taken literally in the sense of physical death to be just as impactful. People routinely associate certain behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes deeply with their identity, and believe that if they were to give them up, they would cease to be themselves, even when those are traits that manifestly aren't working for them. I have seen thousands of people struggle with this so much when push came to shove.

I think we are talking about the death of the ego here, but I have not read enough Freud to go further.

Most nights now when I go to bed, I pray (in the sense of making a request, not to anyone in particular) to be reborn in the morning, in the sense of sacrificing parts of myself I still cling to: meanness, busyness, pettiness among them. It's not the only thing I do toward that goal, but I'll use every tool I can. This is a technique that can work for many people. Sleep is a time of renewal, rebirth, and in a sense, death. Which brings me back to the movie and its incessant parallels between seeing and dreaming. But I'll leave those to other people or other posts.
Very interesting. Verrry interesting... Unfortunately I don't have time right now to give a proper response. I will though Something to think about during my run in the cold rain. Training - something else to think about. Jake had to train to become a Na'vi. This means there was conscious effort to make himself stronger both physically but more importantly mentally and spiritually.

I'll be back.
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:08 PM
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Another coinscidence in how the philosophy behind Matrix and Avatar seem to cross is this part of the Animatrix Episode called , "The 2nd Renaissance" , it refers to how man made the machines and how they forged their own downfall , it's one of my favorite passages , and somehow you can draw parallels even to our present time , our society :

"In the beginning there was man , and for a time it was good , but humanities so called civil society soon fell victim to vanity and corruption , then man made the machine , in his own likeness , thus would man become the arcitect of his own demise."

It's weird how you could use the word "machine" as a metaphor for the machinery that is mankinds society and economy that is tearing it apart from it's nature if you transfer it to the humans that are represented through the RDA in Avatar , the only thing that is driving them is to find resources to keep the machine alive that has replaced their hearts and soul , they forged their own downfall , their own demise , sure they got served the pros of "wealth" and they are handed the scepter of the world they created , but they are now only mear shadows of their own existance , still they are caught in a vicious circle , which is namely based on the will , on the need to GAIN , to gain in growth , strength and to gather resources , you could technically say they are caught in the process of spreading and conquering into infinity without a specific aim .

I believe a part of the philosophy of Avatar is around how we lost something , or exchanged it for something that is just not worth it , it also suggests us to hold on for a second and take a look in the mirror , basically it's an analizing of mans past , of mans true form and the possibilty of how this failed experiment could be fixed into something good , Avatar actually suggested us a way to , the problem is , are we willing to pay the price back that we owe the ones that we've sold ourselves to .
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:53 AM
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Well, I finally got to this thread later than I promised. Sorry. :embarresed:

Pretty much everything that I was going to bring up has been brought up, except for one.

Remember how a few months ago the Christian Church got up in a tizzy about how Avatar was some form of Paganistic propoganda? IIRC there were even a few threads here about it, "A common ministers reaction to Avatar" comes to mind. Though, the thing that I find ironic is just how paganistic Christianity's creation story, and the Garden of Eden, are. Humans were close to nature (like the Na'vi), humans were close to God (like the Na'vi), and humans even contacted God through a tree (eating the fruit of the Tree of Life) like the Na'vi. Just like humans in the Garden of Eden did not worship the Tree of Life, per se, rather worshiping God through the tree, the Na'vi don't worship the Tree of Souls, rather worshiping Eywa through the tree. Eating the fruit of the Tree of Life was our form of tsaheylu.

Also, continuing with the idea of consumption being a form of tsaheylu on Earth, people today use Ayahuasca (the Vine of Souls) tea to induce religious experiences, similar to the way eating from the Tree of Life would probably be like (though probably less messy, as people who have studied ayahuasca probably know ). Indeed, it seems like plants do speak on Earth too, we just listen a different way.
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