Na'vi sociology - Tree of Souls - An Avatar Community Forum
Tree of Souls - An Avatar Community Forum
Go Back   Tree of Souls - An Avatar Community Forum » Avatar » General Avatar Discussion

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-03-2011, 02:25 AM
Clarke's Avatar
Karyu
Clarke wants his own Avatar.
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Scotland, 140 years too early
Posts: 1,330
Default Na'vi sociology

(Split off because we rather drifted off the topic of AI from here)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dstroudswan View Post
I see your point, but the Na'vi rely very heavily on equality and community. Though I suppose that could be skewed in certain situations. Then again, Neytiri didn't seem much more well-off than any other, and she was the leader's daughter.
We don't really see that much of the Na'vi freely interacting among themselves. Either the focus is on Jake for whatever reason, or the event is ritualistic, i.e. the hunt, what little we see of the funeral, and talking to Eywa. The film doesn't really show us how the clan is structured to any great degree. Also, a dictatorship-like structure of a single leading couple seems to clash with the socialism elsewhere.

(This is apart from the fact that the socialism itself seems to be unexplained. Evolution dictates that individuals should be greedy, and only co-operate to the extent it benefits their group. The obvious explanation is that Eywa is modifying them somehow, but that raises the very big scary question IMO of "Why?" Also, to a lesser extent, "How?")
__________________

Last edited by Clarke; 12-03-2011 at 02:55 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-03-2011, 02:48 AM
Tsamsiyu
Aquaplant has no status.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 691
Default

Evolution doesn't dictate anything like that, it just usually makes sure that the most useful attributes are passed on, and what attributes are useful is always dependant of the surrounding environment, or society as it's in this case. So if altruistic tendencies are useful not only for the individual, but for the overall species as well, then evolution would prefer such attributes.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-03-2011, 02:58 AM
Clarke's Avatar
Karyu
Clarke wants his own Avatar.
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Scotland, 140 years too early
Posts: 1,330
Default

I was more thinking that before you have a "society" at all, you start off with individuals who are greedy to some extent. If they weren't, they wouldn't have survived.

Also, I'm not sure altruism applies to the whole species immediately. You only want people which are similar to you to survive, and that's more likely to be localized to your region/clan/family than it is to encompass the entire species. In fact, if the Na'vi have an equivalent to Dunbar's number, it's exceedingly unlikely to cover the entire species. (Since there are tens of thousands of them in the nearby region alone.)
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-03-2011, 03:22 AM
Tsamsiyu
Aquaplant has no status.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 691
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
I was more thinking that before you have a "society" at all, you start off with individuals who are greedy to some extent. If they weren't, they wouldn't have survived.
Greed isn't an inherent attribute, but a product of surroundings. Lets say for example that the Na'vi have loads of foodstuffs available, so there's no point in being greedy when you know that you don't need to hoard food in order to guarantee your survival. Greed stems from the struggle for survival in an environment where there are more takers than there are resources available, so when you have the chance to secure any of said resources, you must do so, or you end up loosing them, and that's the mechanism that feeds greed.

Quote:
Also, I'm not sure altruism applies to the whole species immediately. You only want people which are similar to you to survive, and that's more likely to be localized to your region/clan/family than it is to encompass the entire species. In fact, if the Na'vi have an equivalent to Dunbar's number, it's exceedingly unlikely to cover the entire species. (Since there are tens of thousands of them in the nearby region alone.)
Well that was what I was sort of going for, but maybe I worded it rather poorly. But let's assume that the clan who fares better because of said altruism becomes dominant in the gene pool because of their success, then eventually it will affect the entire species. That's the theory anyhow.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-03-2011, 05:53 PM
Moco Loco's Avatar
Dandy Lion
Moco Loco is a lion in a low place
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 2,915
Send a message via Skype™ to Moco Loco
Default

I'd like to agree, but I wonder how Eywa affects all this It's been called a "global network", but I wonder if na'vi are really talking to each other on opposite sides of the planet.
__________________

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-03-2011, 06:13 PM
Human No More's Avatar
Toruk Makto, Admin
Human No More has no status.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: In a datacentre
Posts: 11,751
Default

There isn't socialism. People have their own things, and their individuality.
__________________
...
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-04-2011, 01:02 AM
Tsyal Makto's Avatar
Tsulfätu
Tsyal Makto glad to be home!
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Body - Chicago, Spirit - Pandora
Posts: 1,873
Default

If you had to put a label on it, I'd call it libertarian socialism (no, that's not a contradiction). A combination of communalism and individuality and egalitarianism.
__________________


The Dreamer's Manifesto

Mike Malloy, a voice of reason in a world gone mad.

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." - Inception

"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
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-04-2011, 01:34 AM
Crickett's Avatar
Tsamsiyu
Crickett has no status.
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 608
Default

I would just call it a tribal society.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-04-2011, 01:49 AM
Tsyal Makto's Avatar
Tsulfätu
Tsyal Makto glad to be home!
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Body - Chicago, Spirit - Pandora
Posts: 1,873
Default

Well, yeah. But if you had to put the mechanics of a tribal society into modern ideological terms, I think libertarian socialism is the most accurate.
__________________


The Dreamer's Manifesto

Mike Malloy, a voice of reason in a world gone mad.

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." - Inception

"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
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:01 AM
Raptor's Avatar
Fast mover
Raptor has no status.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Quantico, VA
Posts: 401
Default

This is an interesting topic. As far as we know, does the Na'vi even have a social hierarchy? Also, are positions within the clan given based on achievement or family history? How much to they weight competition vs cooperation?

JC is supposed to address this in the novel, which I haven't heard any updates about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke
Evolution dictates that individuals should be greedy, and only co-operate to the extent it benefits their group.
Nope. Evolution dictates that the ones who possess higher fitness (i.e. more likely to pass on their genes) survive. That doesn't automatically mean that individuals have to be callous and greedy. It does fuel competition, but saying that evolution made everyone and everything inherently greedy is a gross oversimplification. I like being competitive, but there's a line (albeit a thin one at times) between being competitive and being greedy.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:37 AM
Tsamsiyu
Aquaplant has no status.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 691
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor View Post
I like being competitive, but there's a line (albeit a thin one at times) between being competitive and being greedy.
I don't really see the connection between those two, because greed is a personal attribute, whereas competition is the evaluation of two or more individuals.

If I'd want to be greedy, then I'd take money from you, but if I'd also want to be competitive, I'd challenge you to a race for money. Greed and competition don't inherently have much in common, other than the fact if you gain something useful from competing, then you'd want to do it more if the chances are that you are going to win often enough.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-04-2011, 07:37 PM
Rainbowhawk1993's Avatar
Taronyu
Rainbowhawk1993 flies on the wings of freedom, hope and liberty
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 405
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor View Post
This is an interesting topic. As far as we know, does the Na'vi even have a social hierarchy? Also, are positions within the clan given based on achievement or family history? How much to they weight competition vs cooperation?

JC is supposed to address this in the novel, which I haven't heard any updates about.



Nope. Evolution dictates that the ones who possess higher fitness (i.e. more likely to pass on their genes) survive. That doesn't automatically mean that individuals have to be callous and greedy. It does fuel competition, but saying that evolution made everyone and everything inherently greedy is a gross oversimplification. I like being competitive, but there's a line (albeit a thin one at times) between being competitive and being greedy.
I do find that the Na'vi society to be the complete opposite of what humans depict nature and life through the eyes of Darwin is. Everyone is saying that the human race is the dominate speices and that our work of driving other animals to extinction is justified from Darwin (The American Guilded age, Deus Ex Human revolution).

But it did say in the activist guide that Pandora's ecosystem had little darwnism to casue evolution to be the dominant influence. Thats why they have addapted into a society that hardly ever changes and stayed with bows and arrows. How it differs from humanity is that it it's the opposite of westurn culture. Western culture emerged from the furtile cresant and the reason why it spread out to the four corners of the world is because they needed to addapt in the scorching desert. And that addaptation led to them spreading and progressing technowogy. The Na'vi are simular to humanity from the ancent cultures of native north and south america. (Indians, Miya, aztechs, the surviving tribes in the amozon today) In the forests and the plains, everything was basicly provided for them so they didn't have to push so much for change.

I guess this is how the two political parties of america and other contries emerged. Republicans and consurvatists represent more western and darwinist culture and Demacrates and liberals are more like the indains and such who want people to co-exist with one another.

I would call the Na'vi society a libral collective. They have a leader but he doesn't have that much power because they are all in one relative class together.
__________________
Rainbowhawk1993 flies on the wings of Freedom, Hope and Liberty
"Truth is never given to you. You have to go out and find it."

Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:50 PM
Pamtseo Vitra
Fkeu'itan hasn't been here in years.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Aberystwyth, Wales.
Posts: 2,562
Send a message via Skype™ to Fkeu'itan
Default

Perhaps greed is inherent to biology, and as much as we are a part of biology, we are also high enough functioning creatures to override certain 'robotic' traits. I believe that it has been proven for millenia that our humanity and sentience can conquer those primal survival instincts for the sake of a collective security.

The Na'vi, as humanoids - I believe - have the same ideals due to their high level of sentience. Although, it would be unfair to label them or analyse them as we would do with humans as a) they are *not* human, thus, they could have fundamentally different programming, biologically and primally b) they have access to things we do not, like a 'higher being' then themselves in the shape of Eywa, and c) as Rainbowhawk mentioned, the way they fundamentally interract with their surroundings, indeed, the surroundings themselves are different basically... Perhaps their environment is more 'accommodating' than ours is (Although, this point is arguable. Many will say that our environment is not something to be fought, but embraced, and thus, life is much easier when you keep it allied, not as an enemy.) so their need for basic survival is not as harsh, so does not encourage such a competitive nature in their society.

As to the question of whether they have a social construct, I believe they do indeed, but rather than basing it on traits according to what a leader has or can have materially, their choose their leaders in terms of non-material traits like leadership skills, councelling skills and other accommodating skills that benefit the society as a whole. Think of it as a keystone in a bridge. The keystone on it's own does not form a bridge, equally, the other stones need a central stone to lean upon. The relationship is more muturalistic then competitional.
__________________
"When the time comes, just walk away and don't make any fuss."

Last edited by Fkeu'itan; 12-04-2011 at 09:56 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-06-2011, 12:41 AM
Human No More's Avatar
Toruk Makto, Admin
Human No More has no status.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: In a datacentre
Posts: 11,751
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor View Post
Nope. Evolution dictates that the ones who possess higher fitness (i.e. more likely to pass on their genes) survive. That doesn't automatically mean that individuals have to be callous and greedy. It does fuel competition, but saying that evolution made everyone and everything inherently greedy is a gross oversimplification. I like being competitive, but there's a line (albeit a thin one at times) between being competitive and being greedy.
Technically correct, but incomplete. Altruism is a survival mechanism founding many species which does not benefit the originator directly (and may even be negative) yet promotes survival of others, although it is generally reciprocal. when it comes down to it, they still tend to care for themselves over others, but not every species is purely focused on personal survival, typically more social species have at least some level of altruism, even behaviours such as herds/flocks, whether migratory, temporary or permanent.

Greed is a central part of the development of almost any trait, genetic or memetic, but it's not the sole driver nor the sole method of success.
I'd dispute the usefulness of Eywa in anything since it's merely a sentience rather than a being with any will or nominal capacity for intervention, or any particular goal past survival (which does incorporate an element of balance due to her nature). I guess it depends on what you call 'higher' (in intelligence, certainly, much as humans are considered higher than primates and dolphins, which are in turn as near-human intelligence considered higher than, say, an ant), perhaps, but not some kind of mythical magic thing.
Certainly, their environment is far more accommodating, in terms of prey, shelter, climate, resources - but biological factors of adaptation have to be considered as a part in addition to those.
__________________
...
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-06-2011, 02:38 PM
auroraglacialis's Avatar
Tsulfätu
auroraglacialis can now be called "doctor"
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Central Europe
Posts: 1,622
Default

Interesting topic indeed.
I think in terms of what we can infer about NA'Vi society in anthropological terms is that they are quite egalitarian. In the tribe, no one seems to own special wealth or property visibly. This could show as special jewelry or clothing or a hierarchical order when taking meals. There is little evidence of that in the NA'Vi, which look very much like they have rather similar clothing and attire (also on the Direhorses they seem to be equal) and meals are eaten in circles. No one seems to be better nourished than the other. There are women warriors even, hinting at gender equality. Possible hierarchical or non-egalitarian do exist in the sense that there is obviously a chief and a shaman that do have a different standing, also visible in attire. This considers still a flat hierarchy and we dont know what the power of these two people really is in terms of making people do things they do not want to do. The positions are given by family connections it seems, so this is sort of an aristocratic system. There is the debatable statement about "choosing a woman" which was interpreted by some as a hint on gender inequality. There is also a warrior class, which has the potential to be hierarchical or is prone to social stratification (warriors, craftsmen, aristocracy, peasants?) but it seems that this is linked to hunting as well (warrior-hunters) and is open to everyone, even an outsider (though that may not be true, considering that an outsider may actually have a special standing). Overall I'd say they seem to be a communalist mostly egalitarian society with flat but aristocratic hierarchies but some division of labour. But we definitely need "more data"
The existence of warriors points to the possibility of intraspecies conflict. While overall they seem to be peaceful enough, there are a few warriors around. The way they act and the fact that not all people in the tribe are part-time warriors reminds of chivalry and I'd suggest that there is some sort of ritualized warfare happening to resolve disputes. This is common among native people to have struggles with other tribes at times but only dedicated warriors participate and there are rules to these fights.

Generally I dont think the Dawkinsian neodarwinistic view of the way evolution or altrusim works ("The selfish gene" that looks only to its own benefit and protects similar genes in the shape of altruism) is getting the full picture. This concept tries to break down the bits of life to its smallest pieces - genes - that compete with each other and keep only alive what is similar to them. That concept totally breaks apart when one looks at how ecosystems work. Generally they develop a state that reminds of a complex interdependent system of living beings, individuals and species who participate in a "cycle of life" in which one beings waste is another beings food or one beings shell becomes the home of another being later. The only way this would be so in a selfish world would be if there is a delicate balance, but in fact nature is quite resilient. If one player breaks out and tries to take over, usually he will not succeed. Dawkins argued that Nature is not a system of mutual beneficial cooperation because if it was so, it would take only one cheater to bring everything down. Well that is what is happening now - there is one species that "cheats" and everything is coming down around it. Of course there is competition, but the "goal" of the competition seems to me rather to find a place that fits, a niche that is not yet occupied, a good part in the overall picture. This is what "survival of the fittest" actually means - the survival of thos species that fit to a given place in the complex overall system of the natural world. (It is not "fit as in fitness training", but rather "fit as in fitting into a pair of jeans"). The overall "goal" is to keep the whole world alive, to maintain a natural living world full of dufferent beings - if you will a balance. And this is on Pandora in a way what Eywa does - not giving special attention to the NA'Vi, but keeping the balance - looking out for cheaters. I guess if the NA'Vi would start wiping out other species, they would feel the opposition of Eywa just as the skypeople did.

When it comes to harsh environments as a potential incentive to develop civilizations, agriculture, technology, I think that this is not a definite connection. Life in the Jungle like on Pandora can be harder than life in a semi-desert environment. In some jungles, the people living there face a lot of dangers, predators, poisonous insects & plants and sometimes few things are edible. But with the right knowledge and culture, a society living in these places can survive well - be it the jungle (where plant knowledge, care of predators etc are important) or in a semi-desert (where knowledge of how to find water may be more important). The NA'Vi would have all kinds of incentives to create a civilization if they wanted to - safety from any potential predator attacks on hometree (or the non tree-based camps of other tribes), avoidance of rain, better weapons for the hunt and so on - but my theory is that they do know of the consequences of this or at least Eywa does and thus things do not go that way (e.g. better weapons might wipe out game species, walls against predators seperate the people from the forest etc.)
__________________
Know your idols: Who said "Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.". (Solution: "Mahatma" Ghandi)

Stop terraforming Earth (wordpress)

"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



Visit our partner sites:

      pandoraworld.ru



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 10:57 PM.

Based on the Planet Earth theme by Themes by Design


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
All images and clips of Avatar are the exclusive property of 20th Century Fox.