The Controversy Surrounding Avatar

The controversy surrounding the movie, Avatar, has ruffled my feathers. The Vatican is boycotting it because of the ‘nature worshipping natives’ on the planet Pandora. Yeah, we wouldn’t want people to see how a society can live in peace with each other and with nature now would we? So, what is so terrible about nature worshipping that has the Vatican’s collective underwear all in a bunch? In my opinion, they lose their control over people. To me, large, organized religions like Catholicism, Christianity, etc. have one thing in common—they control people in order to make themselves more powerful. If everyone decided they wanted to worship nature and more than one god, there would be no Vatican. I apologize if I offend anyone with my comments. I respect all beliefs, but what bothers me is intolerance. I would be just as upset if a pagan group boycotted a book or movie simply because it had Christian themes.

I enjoyed Avatar. Mainly because I saw it in the new IMAX 3D technology and it was awesome. I felt like I was actually in the movie and experiencing everything the characters’ experienced. Pandora was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen onscreen. I highly recommend seeing the movie this way. The plot was so-so. There were no surprises, but it was a nice story. Most people are complaining about the theme of the arrogant white man saving the indigent natives. It could be compared to the theme in Dances with Wolves (which I really liked btw). And yeah, there was some of that, but I got a completely different message from this movie. It does not matter what body you wear. What’s inside is what counts. If you see the movie, you will understand what I am talking about.

I think one of the problems with the world today, is we live against nature, destroying the earth and each other. I am even guilty of not doing all I can to protect the planet. And I have my moments of anger where I am ashamed to admit, I wouldn’t mind seeing certain countries hit by a bomb. That is a terrible way to think. I have never felt such rage before. But that is the kind of society we live in now, one of disharmony. And it is sad.

Once, long ago, there were grand ancient societies that lived in harmony with the earth. These were matriarchal civilizations that worshipped an Earth Mother (just like in Avatar). Everything changed when patriarchal invaders that worshipped a warlike Sky God decided they wanted to change all of that. Now all we have is war and destruction. Maybe there should be more movies like Avatar that remind us of a better way of life.

Kelley Heckart

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26 thoughts on “The Controversy Surrounding Avatar”

  1. Quote: “Once, long ago, there were grand ancient societies that lived in harmony with the earth. These were matriarchal civilizations that worshipped an Earth Mother (just like in Avatar).”

    Uh…name one. Fact is, ALL human societies has been exploitative and extractive of Earth, regardless of lip service they paid to Mother Earth, Nature, or whatever. It’s just there used to be such fewer numbers of humans that the impact was not as destructive as it is today’s’. The idea that ancient societies lived in harmony with the earth is as old, cliched and untrue as the Victorian notion of the “Noble Savage”, from, which is is most un-nobly descended.

    The sooner we deal with facts and reality, the sooner crap religions, junk science and exploitative, jingoistic politics will no longer be drivers of our society.

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    1. Okay, there was Catal Huyuk in Anatolia (6500-000 BC) and Minoan Crete (the palace had the first known flush toilet). Do we discount archaeological evidence or ancient Greek writers that speak of places like Eleusis or what about pre-Hellenic myths? Do we discount those myths?
      I don’t know that you can say ALL ancient societies were destructive. They probably only took what they needed and I do agree that there are too many people now that need more resources. That’s a whole new topic–over population.

      I think we choose to believe what we want to believe.

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    2. Destructive how, though? To the environment? Can someone give me examples as to how Ancient Cultures were destructive.
      (This convo is getting REALLY interesting lol.) Thanks Kelley!

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    3. Oh, sweet jupiter, man, look around…here’s an example: the Anasazi, no garbage management, no sewage management, they basically poisoned their cities, salted their fields with ignorant irrigation practices to the point nothing grows there even today, 800 years later, deforested the local mountains so they had to range farther and farther away for fire wood and their population centers became uninhabitable. I can take you to the site of a Cheyenne Sioux village in the Sherman Hills of Wyoming that has not been occupied since the early 1800s that still stinks, nothing grows there. Look at the ancient Polynesians who voyaged from one island to the next, taking everything from the environment until the island was basically uninhabitable then moving onto the next to repeat the process. What about the desertification of Nigeria, which was once deep forest and savanna? Yes, a lot of that had to do with post-glacial climate change, but the degree and severity of it was greatly exacerbated by over-grazing of livestock. You go to any primitive society, its the same, as far back as archeology will take you. Sure, they had conservation tied in with their religious beliefs, but that didn’t include protecting water sources, sewage and garbage manage, over-grazing, desertification, deforestation, poor irrigation leading up to salted-out fields. For hundreds of thousands of years people got away with living like this because there were so few of them, they could just move on to the nxt blank spot on the map.

      Look what happens when populations begin to increase and density increases…natural human rapaciousness takes over.

      Look at even fairly recent civilizations–read any contemporary description of a medieval European city–they were massively polluted by sewage and garbage, as were their water sources—why do you think cholera and typhus were such scourges? Environmental destruction, deforestation and bad irrigation lead to crop failures, drinking water pollution, loss of local hunting wood sources. Why do you think the Vikings were so rapacious? There was not enough room in the homeland for second and third and fourth sons to live the environment-intensive lifestyles of their fore-fathers–they needed new land. War, wholesale population destruction and genocide, has been man’s solution to anthropogenic environmental degradation for tens of thousands of years.

      Dude–these are not new ideas or recent discoveries–anybody with a working knowledge of history and archeology (or historical epidemiology, for that matter) will tell you the same thing.

      That’s what so brilliant about the internet–all this lovely information is out there for you, for free, so you don’t have to believe in myths and fairy tales any more-

      Like the myth of the Noble Savage.

      Kelley, above, is absolutely correct; people choose to believe what they want to believe. However, this is not a matter of faith or belief, it is a matter of facts. Belief doesn’t enter into it unless you are delusional and choose to ignore them.

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    4. Dude–these are not new ideas or recent discoveries–anybody with a working knowledge of history and archeology (or historical epidemiology, for that matter) will tell you the same thing.

      That’s what so brilliant about the internet–all this lovely information is out there for you, for free, so you don’t have to believe in myths and fairy tales any more-

      ****************************************************

      With respect lovingthebigisland,

      Yeah, that’s true—people will believe what they want to believe but everyone draws their own conclusions on the information out there—nothing wrong with that. Just because someone doesn’t draw the same conclusion as you, however, isn’t any big thing.

      Yeah, I agree that certain civilizations in history screwed some stuff up—but that’s trial and error. There is no perfect species–what we do today may seem like a great idea and then in the future we may realize oops, we shouldn’t have gone there—but that’s living and that’s life. I don’t think any ancient culture purposely went out there to screw up their chances at growing food or anything else. I think some cultures tried to live as closely to nature and or as worthy as they could.

      Out of all the screwing up, though, a lot of great things came from it. Some civilizations created sewage systems, hot and cold running water, and more. Heck, Egyptians even figured out how to make a battery. I think, personally, the Ancient world took off as far as inventions and figuring stuff out…but then at some point, we kind of went stupid in the head—people stopped being so educated, became ignorant unless they were of a higher class. But that’s kind of how the big guys (whoever they were ruling) took control.

      Anyway, I’m not arguing with you or even saying you are entirely wrong. I am just saying there is truth in everything and something positive in everything. If someone chooses to believe in so called myths or Fairy tales and ends up living a better life because of it—so what.

      Live and let live.

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    5. Wow, I’m not really sure how to reply to lovingthebigisland’s post, but I will give it a shot.
      The civilizations you are referring to are what I would consider more ‘modern’ ones. The ancient societies I listed were in existence around 6500 BC to about 3000 BC so there is a huge time difference. There is no proof that the ones I listed murdered and raped the land.
      It makes complete sense to me, plus there is archaeological evidence that points to people who worshipped an Earth Mother–they would have respected what She had to offer them. It’s just common sense.
      And you are correct, there is a wealth of information on the Internet, but some of it is crap.
      Belief is one thing, common sense is another.

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  2. The funny thing is, in Avatar the Na’vi aren’t simply “nature-worshippers” — though that’s what the Corporation representative blithely assumes, and can’t be dissuaded — they’re referring to an actual, physically existing, functioning planetary neural network (compatible with the same systems that let them link to their hooved or winged carriers) which also contains the life-memories of their dead.

    This is a big part of what makes Pandora different from Earth in the first place: life actually *is* interconnected at the neural level, as the Na’vi with their “ponytails” keep demonstrating.

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