Avatar – A mythic masterpiece for our troubled time

Arts — POSTED BY Dr. Ralph Metzner on January 13, 2010 at 9:24 am

In the Avatar film, James Cameron, the maker of Titanic, has taken the new computerized, digital, 3-D technologies to a new astounding level of brilliance and mastery. It’s a story of adventure, space exploration and the wonders of evolution on alien worlds, echoing the best of the Star Wars series; a searing critique of the military domination-exploitation agendas of our corporate empire and their devastating effects on indigenous, earth-centered cultures; and a Earth-human/indigenous-alien love story and cultural encounter that echoes the Pocahontas story and numerous similar “gone native” conversion experiences.

Avatar in Hindu mythology is a human form consciously assumed by a deity to function in our human Earth-world. In computerized gaming, your avatar is the humanoid form you assume to function in the virtual cyber environment of the game. In the film the avatars are the blue-skinned humanoid forms, mimicking the bodies of the native Na’avi of the alien moon, that the human military corporate raiders assume in a somatic exchange operation, while their normal human bodies are resting immobilized in a digital transfer chamber. Thus blending in with the natives, the hero, a paraplegic ex-Marine, is sent to scout out the alien world for information on how to take over it’s mineral-rich environment – but instead, becomes enamored of a native beauty and is so moved by the magic of their world and the peaceful animism of their culture – that he comes to their aid, with a few of his companions.

In the final Hollywood-obligatory battle, reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings saga, native warriors riding flying dragons battle with bows and arrows against monstrous armored space cruisers armed with missile launchers – but, with the unexpected aid of equally armored indigenous dinosaurs and the necessary doses of improbable luck, prevail. The final delicious twist in this tale, is that the rapacious alien invaders, i.e. the Earth-based humans, are sent packing, leaving the greatly damaged but still surviving world to its indigenous Na’avi and their formerly human, now true native avatar sympathizers.

The concept behind the Hindu mythology of avatar is that at higher levels of evolution (such as that of a deity), human bodies are consciously chosen for incarnation in the Earth time-space environment. Esoteric spiritual traditions of East and West teach that human incarnation is also by choice of a human soul, although ordinarily, the choice is heavily predetermined by karmic patterns left over from previous incarnations. I discuss this multi-dimensional view of the human being, which is inherent in shamanism, alchemy and yoga, in my book Alchemical Divination:

Humans are multi-dimensional spiritual beings, living in a multi-dimensional universe…As the Sufis say, w human beings live in a many-storied mansion, but have occupied the ground-floor for so log, we have forgotten even the existence of the higher realms.(p. 59-60)

The concept behind the game and film adopts the theme of conscious deliberate choice of a humanoid form appropriate to the planetary environment. The spiritual element is eliminated, and the conscious creation of an avatar vehicle for planetary existence is subordinated to the classic capitalist-colonialist exploitation agenda: use scientific technology to trick the natives out of their planetary resources, and if that doesn’t work or takes too long, kill them and take what you want.

I discuss this historic pattern in my book The Roots of War and Domination:

The mega-corporations of the military-industrial complex…with the help of their governmental clients, promote wars of aggressive invasion that destroy a designated “enemy” country, complete with sophisticated PR campaigns to induce psychological shock and economic paralysis. Finally, these same imperial corporations appropriate the natural resources (oil, forests, minerals, water) of the destroyed nation state into their corporate machines.(p.34)

There are many exquisitely beautiful image sequences in Cameron’s film. Two stand out for me. One – the way a native or hybridized humanoid on this world “tames” their horse for riding is by connecting the fibrils in their tails with analogous polarized fibrils in the horse’s mane – the result being that horse and rider become one being, functioning according to the thought intentions of the rider. The other image that I found truly magical are the phosphorescent jellyfish that float in the air and may land on your body. They are the emanations of the Mother Goddess Aiva, and when they touch your skin they infuse you with the essences of peace, healing, knowledge and delight.

See Dr.Metzner’s blog for more.

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