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Old 06-09-2012, 10:26 PM
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Default Evolution of tsaheylu

I was watching that seminar on the biology of Avatar yesterday:
Lecture about the biology in Avatar

and one point the lecturer found suspicious and unbelievable about Avatar was the development of "the bond". He said, that there is no evolutionary basis for that and thus is purely fiction.

One participant in the audience had an interesting suggestion saying that the biological parts involved in the bonding could have developed as part of the reproductive system, basically as sex organs. There was a bit of a stirrup afterwards when people considered that this is a viable explanation but what it would mean then to bond with horses and trees

I had an other idea - maybe it was mentioned before and I missed that but I can imagine that the ability to bond like that with another being could develop as a mother/child bond. Basically like a detachable mental umbilical cord. The evolutionary path would be that at first that connection happens inside the womb, that way a newborn has already had communication with the mother, has learned and seen about the world - it would be a huge evolutionary advantage to be able to learn before birth about the world, about plants, enemies, predators etc. The next evolutionary step would then be that this bond becomes possible after birth. Much like the umbilical cord is replaced in mammals by feeding with breast milk (containing not only nutrients but also components of the immune system), a reactivation of this mental link could evolve. The advantage again would be to increase the learning period by sharing experiences directly.

The third step then is a bit more shady, namely how this evolved into interspecies connections and into a global network. Maybe that global network was a separate development, but maybe in a way it reflects also a mother/child bonding between the great mother and her children on Pandora - but that is departing now from evolutionary biology. Though if experiences can be shared and thus learning is happening through the bond, and the bond works in the same way for all the species derived from some ancestor, it is open of course to learning from other species.

So far what I was thinking about the possible evolutionary background of the bond - was this discussed before and were there good theories on it? Does anyone want to expand on this?
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:51 AM
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Personally, I agree fully with the opinion of P.Z. Meyers: "If I saw that situation for real, I’d be an intelligent design creationist."
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:19 AM
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I think all those theories are nice, but run into problems with the sacred trees I can't see how those fit in.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:41 AM
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The person in the video and the audience member are both wrong - wrong enough for me to not at all feel bad in dismissing them out of hand and pointing out their errors. Sex is via the normal method . As for no basis, what he meant to say was no comparable instance on Earth (if he was actually intelligent enough to understand the difference, I guess). I wish people would do basic research first. No basis implies it isn't actually possible. There's no known example of spaceborne life in Earth's solar system; yet it's possible with known physics/biology.

The idea of parent/child as an initial one is an interesting idea, but I don't think it fits in with it not being unique to them - it's a question of top-down vs bottom-up approaches; I'd say it's more likely to have originated from an early form of life that had this ability to some degree - existing as individual cells or individual multicellular organisms, yet able to share sensory data, perhaps neurochemical transfer as well, which would give it a clear advantage over other species. OF course, that's not to say that such data transfer doesn't happen; just that it wouldn't be so widespread; it would also seem relatively chance compared to having previously been present in a less refined form.

In addition, I would think that if it was a simple memory transfer that was something approaching routine, they'd be more likely to do it with each other rather than just with one they are mated with, considering the likely efficiency and removing the potential for misinterpretations.

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Personally, I agree fully with the opinion of P.Z. Meyers: "If I saw that situation for real, I’d be an intelligent design creationist."
Amazing how suddenly you can lose all respect for someone; I just did.

How is that at all different from the old 'irreducible complexity' BS that creationists like to spout off in all its demonstrably flawed reasoning and incorrect premise? If it was only present in Na'vi and not any other species; then it would be far less plausible, but that isn't the case (and again, as with the typical uninformed hipster, he completely ignores the clear evolutionary line as well as the basic and blindingly obvious fact that the film never went into archaeology and so such a line was never explored anyway). He also answers his own questions, in the same paragraph. It's also got more factual errors than I could count in a quick scan.
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:45 AM
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I still like my, it was a result of a highly advanced biotech the Na'vi had and then lost/gave up/evolved out of and into a better/more peaceful life style.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:22 PM
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I still like my, it was a result of a highly advanced biotech the Na'vi had and then lost/gave up/evolved out of and into a better/more peaceful life style.
Thats a good one indeed. I also think that it is a possibility, but it would then make Pandora a result of "intelligent design". Not exactly my favourite...

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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Sex is via the normal method .
It does not have to be about sexual intercourse. There is more to sex than that. A lot of biological properties are because of that. Or do you think that a stag will penetrate his mate with the antlers or a peacock spreads his genes with his colorful feathers?

Quote:
The idea of parent/child as an initial one is an interesting idea, but I don't think it fits in with it not being unique to them - it's a question of top-down vs bottom-up approaches; I'd say it's more likely to have originated from an early form of life that had this ability to some degree - existing as individual cells or individual multicellular organisms, yet able to share sensory data, perhaps neurochemical transfer as well, which would give it a clear advantage over other species. OF course, that's not to say that such data transfer doesn't happen; just that it wouldn't be so widespread;
Ok, I was not really referring specifically to mother and child of a NA'Vi. But rather to mother and offspring of their distant ancestors, the one they have in common with most other large lifeforms on the planet. I dont know if there are some animals (insects? jellyfish?) that do not have that ability. Clearly the "purpose" of this connection is to share information, emotions, feelings, experiences,... with the NA'Vi or with other animals. And I would say that the first being that a newborn being would connect to is the mother. Especially in mammals, who care for their offspring for a long time.

I just think that it makes evolutionary sense that this way of connecting originates from a more close connection that a mother and her offspring have. After all, the offspring is a part of her body, that grows and eventually is separated - it makes sense, I think, that re-establishing a connection between these two beings that once were more or less one (of course there are limits to that - DNA is different, but a lot is shared - nutrients, blood,...) makes a lot of sense as a evolutionary strategy. As I said - the analogy in terms of nutrients are the development of mothers milk - in that sense, connecting to a direhorse would be the equivalent to drinking cows milk.

Quote:
In addition, I would think that if it was a simple memory transfer that was something approaching routine, they'd be more likely to do it with each other rather than just with one they are mated with, considering the likely efficiency and removing the potential for misinterpretations.
No, I would not say that it is a memory transfer like telepathy or something. It is more intimate - it is something on the emotional level, it is "seeing the world through the others eyes", feeling the others body and so on. It may be something that is reserved for lovers and parents. But those are of course not the only instances - after all, the same thing that is done with lovers is also done with ikran or pali or other animals and of course also trees...

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Originally Posted by Moco Loco View Post
I think all those theories are nice, but run into problems with the sacred trees I can't see how those fit in.
Indeed the whole concept of connected trees and then the sacred trees is a different thing. Maybe it has similar roots, maybe it is a convergence. In any case, I can imagine that an entity like Eywa would desire to connect with animal life, especially with intelligent animal life. It would probably - in order to maintain the balance - want to connect to these beings that are possibly able to do a lot of harm (like skypeople on their home planet )
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:15 PM
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^ @ Sacred Trees. Obviously those were the access points that the Na'vi Precursors used to link into the bio-mechanoid Artificial Intelligence. It's name? Eywa.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
Maybe it has similar roots, maybe it is a convergence.
I highly doubt that could occur through convergence if they really are trees, "will" of Eywa or not.
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
It does not have to be about sexual intercourse. There is more to sex than that. A lot of biological properties are because of that. Or do you think that a stag will penetrate his mate with the antlers or a peacock spreads his genes with his colorful feathers?
So you're talking about displaying? I don't see how tsaheylu comes into that, at all. They don't do it with any other Na'vi than their mate, unless you just mean queue length/quality etc as an attractive physical attribute.

While attraction is obviously a factor in sex, it isn't actually a part of the physical process past the concept of getting participants into a willing and ready state.

Quote:
Ok, I was not really referring specifically to mother and child of a NA'Vi. But rather to mother and offspring of their distant ancestors, the one they have in common with most other large lifeforms on the planet. I dont know if there are some animals (insects? jellyfish?) that do not have that ability. Clearly the "purpose" of this connection is to share information, emotions, feelings, experiences,... with the NA'Vi or with other animals. And I would say that the first being that a newborn being would connect to is the mother. Especially in mammals, who care for their offspring for a long time.
That's a little more plausible, but I still wouldn't think so in that it would still imply a single complex (multicellular, motile, potentially semisentient) ancestor for all species rather than branching at many points back as far as eukaryote and prokaryote.

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I just think that it makes evolutionary sense that this way of connecting originates from a more close connection that a mother and her offspring have. After all, the offspring is a part of her body, that grows and eventually is separated - it makes sense, I think, that re-establishing a connection between these two beings that once were more or less one (of course there are limits to that - DNA is different, but a lot is shared - nutrients, blood,...) makes a lot of sense as a evolutionary strategy. As I said - the analogy in terms of nutrients are the development of mothers milk - in that sense, connecting to a direhorse would be the equivalent to drinking cows milk.
This may very well be the case, I've always thought it likely to some degree, but in utero would seem the likely context, where there is already a significant physical and biochemical link. When it comes to making evolutionary sense, that isn't required for an attribute to be maintained so much as things being maintained if they are non-detrimental, even benignly so.

I think that the queue does provide a different evolutionary advantage in terms of within the Na'vi though in that it allows mated pairs to have a strong emotional connection that is likely part physical too, on a neurochemical level, which would make it far less likely for them to even allow the other to come to harm, and to remain in a mated pair, perhaps care for offspring, although even that is ancillary to the fact that one without the ability would be heavily constrained in being unable to perform so many normal activities, potentially have problems mating with another.

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No, I would not say that it is a memory transfer like telepathy or something. It is more intimate - it is something on the emotional level, it is "seeing the world through the others eyes", feeling the others body and so on. It may be something that is reserved for lovers and parents. But those are of course not the only instances - after all, the same thing that is done with lovers is also done with ikran or pali or other animals and of course also trees...
No, not telepathy at all, I definitely never said that. It's not magic

It's likely transfer on a neurochemical level - more of the exact information as stored physically than a reinterpretation/being copied in, even if the recipient is then able to do so from their own experience of the information.

As I said, it's not routine simple memory transfer that might be used in a parent/child context; that was my entire point there. In any case, if it is intimate, then that's something against 'within family', not that I follow that line of reasoning any more than the fact hat such a sharing with any sentient being would have a degree of what could easily be considered intimacy, while not so with a nonsentient one due to differences in thought processes, formations, and the role of instinct.

Quote:
Indeed the whole concept of connected trees and then the sacred trees is a different thing. Maybe it has similar roots, maybe it is a convergence. In any case, I can imagine that an entity like Eywa would desire to connect with animal life, especially with intelligent animal life. It would probably - in order to maintain the balance - want to connect to these beings that are possibly able to do a lot of harm (like skypeople on their home planet )
A convergence to such a degree of sophistication seems unlikely, it would probably take longer than the lifetime of any star without (and indeed, possibly even still with) an extreme mutagenic environment (and appropriate resistance to damage far greater than any known life) and rapid reproduction cycles, perhaps rapid even for bacteria, which for such trees, would be even longer than most trees' slow ones.

It's a question of how far sentience goes - I would say that such fine manipulation is completely infeasible, it would be much the same as a human adjusting their DNA (and having to do so via means such as retrovirus) to make a permanent change (and without any of the thousands of theoretical or extreme early-stage technologies that would be required). There's just no real mechanism for such fine control without a truly prodigious mutation rate, a far faster environmental reaction to selective pressures (and some means of controlling that and ensuring it creates the desired response rather than, for example, extinction, or changes in the wrong species) and unprecedented error checking and generation shortness.

That's why it seems implausible compared to such an ability reaching far further into a shared genetic history, where it would have proved a massive competitive and thus selective benefit against other non-sensitive life in single-cell, multicellular microscopic or protozoan forms.

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I highly doubt that could occur through convergence if they really are trees, "will" of Eywa or not.
Agreed. It just doesn't fit in - convergence doesn't produce compatibility on such a scale, only vague similarities in form, particularly in regards to extreme environmental conditions. Same body layout between humans and Na'vi is plausible, parallel development of wings in various species even more so, but biological compatibility between relatively unrelated species? (in terms of a divergence point being distant) Not so much.
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:50 AM
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This may be of intrest to people who wonder if Tsahaylu has any real world posable counterpart some the very real Kogi people of Columbia have a very unique ability I will
let people form there own opinion and also place a link to a film they made almost 20 years ago called the elder brothers warning that speakes about there cultural history but not there unique ability " La Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) | From the Heart of the World - The Elder Brother's Warning - YouTube , Tsahaylu is James Camerons way of symbolicly representing our inner connective "bond" like a sublime umbilical cord connecting all living things together, native peoples represent this in many ways but most of us simply have no inner understanding to grasp this , we would simply fail to grasp wisdom behind this and see it as spiritual nonsence, the ability that some Kogi have is spoken on here , Amazon Tribe Talks Via Heart Sounds please form your own opinion and know the Kogi would like to teach us this, they have asked the orignal filmmaker to create a second film that they asked
to produce themself: Aluna the Movie | About the Movie but since I have not seen the film I have no
idera if there ability is spoken on.
please share you opinions if intrested.
"

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Old 07-10-2012, 11:18 AM
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Alrook, interesting links, I will read and watch them later. I think there is a lot of communication going on on Earth that humans are not aware of or that they are deliberately forgetting. Of course nonhuman species communicate a lot - and try to communicate with us. Just because it is not heard as a voice in our ears or seen as abstract symbols in our eyes does not mean it is not happening. But this is deliberately ignored by science, sadly, who in some way keep doing what the first vivisectionists did - cut the vocal chords of the animals they tortured to not hear their voices.

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While attraction is obviously a factor in sex, it isn't actually a part of the physical process past the concept of getting participants into a willing and ready state.
Man, your biologistical perspecive of sexuality is sort of disturbing. If you want to play in that field - attraction plays quite an important role in the health of a species, because it ensures that partners find to each other that do fit well and thus live long and have healthy babies.

Quote:
That's a little more plausible, but I still wouldn't think so in that it would still imply a single complex (multicellular, motile, potentially semisentient) ancestor for all species
Quite possibly, yes. It would be fascinating to explore which lifeforms on Pandora have that trait and which ones do not have it. The animal life we see in the movie (excluding the NA'Vi which are a bit paradox) seems to share a lot of physiological properties (bare skin, six limbs, two queues, breathing through openings not in the head,...). That goes from sturmbeest down to tiny helicopter lizards and includes the flying creatures. So a common ancestor for all of them is likely anyways. We dont know, if the jellyfish or the bugs or the scorpions have anthing like tsaheylu.

Quote:
This may very well be the case, I've always thought it likely to some degree, but in utero would seem the likely context, where there is already a significant physical and biochemical link. When it comes to making evolutionary sense, that isn't required for an attribute to be maintained so much as things being maintained if they are non-detrimental, even benignly so.
Yes of course, the theory that I learned also says that an attribute is maintained if it does not do harm, but frankly I think this is a very rare occurence because most attributes have some upsides & some downsides. And if it is only the energy and resources needed to grow something. But in the short run, some properties with only minor downsides and no upsides may stay, like the human appendix.

So to stay with the theory - a connection between mother and child is something that seems to be happening on Pandora. The beings there seem to be somewhat mammal-like in that they seem to give birth to live offspring and that they care for a few children until they get older. Rather than spreading thousands of eggs and then leaving. (K- and R- strategists). So I think the context of development of the particular way of tsaheylu between animals could well be developing in that context, just like feeding the little ones beyond their time of birth. As I said, basically mothers milk is an extension of the nourishing of the baby inside the mothers body, the mother carrying a child around and protecting it is a continuation from the protection the child has while inside the mother. So a neural connection between offspring and mother would quite well fit into this context and if so, it could also be extended to a time after birth.

Quote:
I think that the queue does provide a different evolutionary advantage in terms of within the Na'vi though in that it allows mated pairs to have a strong emotional connection that is likely part physical too, on a neurochemical level, which would make it far less likely for them to even allow the other to come to harm, and to remain in a mated pair
Within context of the NA'Vi certainly this may be a speciality, as they are obviously deeply monogamous. We dont know that about others - I would guess this is not so and that other species are not that much bonding to a partner. If it is an evolutionary advantage - maybe it is. A strong bond between partners can in some circumstances be an advantage - in others it is not. In social beings like humans or the NA'Vi I'd rather think it is an advantage. Maybe it is in fact for all K-stragegists. On Pandora which seems to be a fully matured ecosystems in most parts, K-strategists would certainly be much more common.

Quote:
It's likely transfer on a neurochemical level - more of the exact information as stored physically than a reinterpretation/being copied in, even if the recipient is then able to do so from their own experience of the information.
I did not get what you are saying here. As I would understand Tsaheylu, it is a form of communication that involves not only abstract concepts like vocal communication does, but also emotions, feelings, sensations and memories. I dont think it is anything like actually transferring an actual image or sound, but rather the memory of that image which is not precise, but tainted by the interpretation of the one that has the memory.

So a mother could give her child the feeling of "fear" in connection to the impression of a predator, or the feeling of being happy and warm in connection to a certain edible fruit. And later on, that sort of connection is not needed anymore between adults, but it is retained because one will care for offspring later on - and because it may serve that mating-connection purpose, or in the case of the NA'Vi the connection to semi-domesticated animals.

Of course, if this developed in the context of the most intimate connection there is in the world - that of a mother to her child - tsaheylu would in all other cases also be something intimate and create a bond in more than one way because of that. Just like I really love the dogs that are with me, I would assume that the NA'Vi build up deeper connections to the animals they bond with. For the Ikran we know that their connection resembles such a strong bond as it is normally seen only for mother/child or two beings in a strong and loving partnership.

I think this is also what you meant, right?

Quote:
A convergence to such a degree of sophistication seems unlikely, it would probably take longer than the lifetime of any star[...]
It's a question of how far sentience goes - I would say that such fine manipulation is completely infeasible, it would be much the same as a human adjusting their DNA [...] to make a permanent change [...]. There's just no real mechanism for such fine control without a truly prodigious mutation rate, a far faster environmental reaction to selective pressures[...]
This is of course debatable. It seems more likely that there is some shared ancestor that had some form of "proto-tsaheylu" and which diverged into the two form we see - that between two animals (mother/child, lovers, hunter/Ikran) and that between plants (who form more permanent connections). Convergence is generally rather rare, but possible - after all tsaheylu is not mating, it does not require genetic compatibility, but it is communication. And communication can converge - there are humans that can understand and even "speak" some bird languages for example. Of course this is still a stretch, but convergence is an adaptation to a certain set of conditions - like animals being in water developing something that looks like fins and a tail because this is a better way to move underwater than with arms and legs. If the conditions are a planet that somehow is connected - if there are already networks of connections within major groups of species , then this creates an environment where participating in these networks is an advantage. The pressure to "understand the others communication" would be quite high. Imagine some larger species on Pandora that can have a large impact potentially and that is not participating in the communication - it would pose a threat to the others and they'd have a way to unite against it. Which is what happened in the movie. The pressure would thus be very great - and in this case the humans that want to stay better learn some way of participating in the communication - either by their development of Avatars or by following the ways of the NA'Vi.

On the genetic perspective - There are interestingly some mechanisms by which gene expression can be changed by the environment over generations (epigenetics) and there are some hints that this could be part of the mechanism of evolution because the parts of the genome that have been activated or deactivated are more or less sensitive to mutations. But I admit, that this theory is not so far advanced to say that external influences (and by that also self-created influences) can create some form of directed evolution. On Pandora on the other hand - it is as hard to imagine that by natural selection something like the Tree Of Souls evolved - but if something like that is possible as a result of directed evolution, then a convergence of the development of tsaheylu between plants and animals is not that implausible.

On Earth, interestingly there is also something converging when it comes to neural developments. Plants do have something like a neural pattern. Not as complex as a human brain of course, but they have nerves. And mushrooms sense touch as well and stretch out or retreat. Of course to neurally connect these three would not be possible - but its not possible for humans to technologcially connect two humans either
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:08 PM
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There are some that suspect that our brain whch from which all thoughts arise may have a "quantum" connection to the web of all life science sees and interpret's our body like a machine "yet" they only see parts of this machine and try and interpret there process going on but only can undrstand this machine for the parts they can "identify" and processes that science can explain there are some parts that just dont add up it is those parts that give rise consciousness and they dont have a clue how they work the this branch of science is trying to grasp this yet may never truly understand what native peoples often refer to as "The Great mystery" taking a look at how the Kogi "See" us the younger brother has been a learning experence , and how there there elders are brought up from just days old to be "tied or bound to what they understand as a connection To Aluna, If we take a look at or try and define how the Kogi define "Aluna the mind inside nature" they "see" (Aluna = Eywa)

"Pure thought ,"Memory" Spirit , Mind ,Soul ,Imagination The entity from which all things are born in which everything is contained. In Aluna there is "memory" (this is very important) of the past and the potential for the future. Aluna forms a "Bridge" betwean the universe and the human spirit.

There ability to act as a so called "Bridge" betwean worlds could likely be "explained" if we understood our connection to the quantum world better, for now we simply "see" this as spiritual understanding and myth, If science can"t see it its not "real" This is the world view our people take. Avatar did an astounding job of presenting the world view of native peoples in a way we can grasp and for some " realy feel inside from our heart" it let some of us "Build that Bridge" to this inner understanding that we all have inside yet "repress as adults" perhaps someday our people will come to respect that fact.

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
Man, your biologistical perspecive of sexuality is sort of disturbing. If you want to play in that field - attraction plays quite an important role in the health of a species, because it ensures that partners find to each other that do fit well and thus live long and have healthy babies.
Isn't that what I just said? Restating it and claiming it was your idea? I'm flattered

I didn't say it was unimportant; I was pointing out that tsaheylu != sex. As it is, your point would imply it being more common between Na'vi while I think there's likely more of a difference in the nature of such an exchange with another sentient being vs a nonsentient.

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Quite possibly, yes. It would be fascinating to explore which lifeforms on Pandora have that trait and which ones do not have it. The animal life we see in the movie (excluding the NA'Vi which are a bit paradox) seems to share a lot of physiological properties (bare skin, six limbs, two queues, breathing through openings not in the head,...). That goes from sturmbeest down to tiny helicopter lizards and includes the flying creatures. So a common ancestor for all of them is likely anyways. We dont know, if the jellyfish or the bugs or the scorpions have anthing like tsaheylu.
Six or four limbs. The majority of Earth animals breathe through a mouth and nasal cavity, but aren't recent divergences in most cases.

Not saying that it's impossible, but selectionary pressures would be to be many orders of magnitude higher than most environments and a significant cause of mutation be present along with requisite higher resilience to genetic damage than many species.

Interesting idea though... Not saying it's impossible, it just seems to be an older trait than that.

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Yes of course, the theory that I learned also says that an attribute is maintained if it does not do harm, but frankly I think this is a very rare occurence because most attributes have some upsides & some downsides. And if it is only the energy and resources needed to grow something. But in the short run, some properties with only minor downsides and no upsides may stay, like the human appendix.
I'd say the queue is very far from vestigial - it has significant advantages not just in survival (ikran, pa'li, etc), but in mating with the possibility of a deep emotional and possibly biochemical bond between partners. There's nothing that stops a specific structure only being effective at a certain point in a lifecycle; indeed, this is the case for the vast majority of life more complicated than small multicellular microorganisms.

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...So I think the context of development of the particular way of tsaheylu between animals could well be developing in that context, just like feeding the little ones beyond their time of birth. As I said, basically mothers milk is an extension of the nourishing of the baby inside the mothers body, the mother carrying a child around and protecting it is a continuation from the protection the child has while inside the mother. So a neural connection between offspring and mother would quite well fit into this context and if so, it could also be extended to a time after birth.
It's possible, but I struggle to see the actual advantage of it. Normal memetic information still seems to be learned rather than instinctual, but I think the main question would be whether their brain and memory are even developed enough to handle complex information at that point - while babies can recognise individuals they come into frequent contact with, most of their behaviour at a higher level is still instinctual - feed, summon attention, and sleep. I would also wonder whether there was any element of risk in a neurological linking at such a low level, particularly in the case of such an imbalance. We don't really know how common it is between animals on the same level either, or even whether other species mate for life, for the moment, or variably by species - arguments could be made for either case in most circumstances.

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Within context of the NA'Vi certainly this may be a speciality, as they are obviously deeply monogamous. We dont know that about others - I would guess this is not so and that other species are not that much bonding to a partner. If it is an evolutionary advantage - maybe it is. A strong bond between partners can in some circumstances be an advantage - in others it is not. In social beings like humans or the NA'Vi I'd rather think it is an advantage. Maybe it is in fact for all K-stragegists. On Pandora which seems to be a fully matured ecosystems in most parts, K-strategists would certainly be much more common.
I think so - the advantage of a strong bond between parents allows them to specialise to some degree in terms of looking after offspring, locating food, and even remaining in social groups of any size, small or large, with associated benefits. Monogamous animals (both serial and mating for life) are certainly not uncommon on Earth either, particularly within mammals - just not the majority case.

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I did not get what you are saying here. As I would understand Tsaheylu, it is a form of communication that involves not only abstract concepts like vocal communication does, but also emotions, feelings, sensations and memories. I dont think it is anything like actually transferring an actual image or sound, but rather the memory of that image which is not precise, but tainted by the interpretation of the one that has the memory.
I mean that I see it as possibly being less communicative and more of a direct link of nervous systems, allowing thought to be merged in terms of a single organism rather than a communication in terms of talking or showing. In terms of a biological OSI model analogue, I see it as likely being lower down, with less in the way of abstract concepts built on it, and functioning more analogously to the nervous system itself than to something higher level built on top of a carrier such as speech or body language.

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So a mother could give her child the feeling of "fear" in connection to the impression of a predator, or the feeling of being happy and warm in connection to a certain edible fruit. And later on, that sort of connection is not needed anymore between adults, but it is retained because one will care for offspring later on - and because it may serve that mating-connection purpose, or in the case of the NA'Vi the connection to semi-domesticated animals.
That explains your idea of it much more clearly, I think - I thought you meant higher level concepts such as language.

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Of course, if this developed in the context of the most intimate connection there is in the world - that of a mother to her child - tsaheylu would in all other cases also be something intimate and create a bond in more than one way because of that. Just like I really love the dogs that are with me, I would assume that the NA'Vi build up deeper connections to the animals they bond with. For the Ikran we know that their connection resembles such a strong bond as it is normally seen only for mother/child or two beings in a strong and loving partnership.

I think this is also what you meant, right?
Not really what I meant, but I do agree there. I was speaking more on a lower level as I mentioned earlier, of direct linking of nervous systems rather than transfer of abstract concepts analogous to a higher level. Species seem to react differently - Pa'li clearly don't build up such a level of a bond on an emotional/physical level compared to ikran, even if it is still perfectly functional at the lower level in terms of physiological senses.

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This is of course debatable. It seems more likely that there is some shared ancestor that had some form of "proto-tsaheylu" and which diverged into the two form we see - that between two animals (mother/child, lovers, hunter/Ikran) and that between plants (who form more permanent connections).
Perfectly possible, sorry if I was being ambiguous. I meant more than convergence from NON-linked species would be mathematically implausible without a completely unprecedented mutation rate and degree of resistance to genetic damage. From species that already had some extant form, it's far more understandable.

[quote]On the genetic perspective - There are interestingly some mechanisms by which gene expression can be changed by the environment over generations (epigenetics) and there are some hints that this could be part of the mechanism of evolution because the parts of the genome that have been activated or deactivated are more or less sensitive to mutations. But I admit, that this theory is not so far advanced to say that external influences (and by that also self-created influences) can create some form of directed evolution. On Pandora on the other hand -

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it is as hard to imagine that by natural selection something like the Tree Of Souls evolved - but if something like that is possible as a result of directed evolution, then a convergence of the development of tsaheylu between plants and animals is not that implausible.
I don't see why not. It's a member of a species - seemingly significantly older than other individuals, but no fundamental difference, no reason it is biologically unique (although yes, it's unique in neural network terms, which ties into and reinforces the idea of it simply being far older than other comparable examples).
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:10 AM
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Plants do have something like a neural pattern...mushrooms sense touch as well and stretch out or retreat. Of course to neurally connect these three would not be possible
In terms of connection between disparate species, it's possible, it just requires them to interface in a compatible manner, similar to how computer systems of completely different architectures, scales, function, endianness, instruction set and anything else can be interoperable via common standards. Even biologically, species with no actual communication can often show intent on a gross level via sound and body language.

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...its not possible for humans to technologcially connect two humans either
...yet
I can't wait until it is.

I have to say, this is the most interesting discussion I've had with you, more of an actual one and less of two people attempting to find fault with the other's points. I know I've done that enough, but there's nothing really here to need to do so with - we're looking at the same thing, from the same perspective in different ways.
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Amazing how suddenly you can lose all respect for someone; I just did.

How is that at all different from the old 'irreducible complexity' BS that creationists like to spout off in all its demonstrably flawed reasoning and incorrect premise? If it was only present in Na'vi and not any other species; then it would be far less plausible, but that isn't the case (and again, as with the typical uninformed hipster, he completely ignores the clear evolutionary line as well as the basic and blindingly obvious fact that the film never went into archaeology and so such a line was never explored anyway). He also answers his own questions, in the same paragraph. It's also got more factual errors than I could count in a quick scan.
It adds another layer on to the "irreducible" argument; not only are all these different species sharing the same organ, which - unlike the flagella, eye, and basically every other "example" of IC - is not obviously an optimal way to do things*, but they share the same organ precisely. (Otherwise Na'vi wouldn't be able to talk to ikrans.) This isn't merely, "Oh look, the eye is too complex to have evolved!" It's more like, "Every single species that has eyes at all has precisely the same type, backwards retina and all!" When evolution converges on a solution that doesn't appear to be preferable for any reason*, you've got to either 1) find a reason why it converged on that, and it better be a good one, 2) say, "Something's messed with this!" (But without making the mistake of saying that God is that something. It's far more likely to be aliens. )

*Tsaheylu includes a network protocol, and the possible protocols are so varied that it doesn't make sense for them to converge by evolution alone. After all, if you find an OSI specification on the ground, you expect an engineer, don't you? (This is ignoring the fact that having a queue at all doesn't seem to have any evolutionary benefit for anyone except the Na'vi.)

However, there's a very very sketchy possibility as to why pali can bond with the Na'vi without problems: they're domesticated. They've adapted to the Na'vi tsaheylu's "language" well enough to understand it, possibly by learning it from their domesticated parents, as aurora mentioned. However, this doesn't make sense for the Tree of Souls or ikrans, since respectively, why would anyone try?, and ikrans being caught wild.

Also, you're calling PZ Meyers an ignorant hipster? Does the concept of "expertise" mean nothing?
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