Princess Mononoke Defeats Avatar
A thought provoking, if somewhat Manichean review.Avatar: Intransigence and Despair
Avatar teaches a poor lesson. ...
[It] is tainted from beginning to end with a doomed vision of the future of our species. ...
[A species] incapable of learning from [it's] mistakes until it is too late and nothing can be done to avert disaster.
[H]uman character [is] irrevocable or fixed ...
[H]uman beings are seen as incapable of evolving in harmony with their environment, inflexible in their beliefs, and insensitive to realities different from their own.
[T]he only possible [solution] is for them to be defeated ...
One of science fiction's longest traditions is the portrayal of nuclear or ecological apocalypse as a warning (and a call to arms) in a dramatic context.
In the Avatar Universe, Earth's biosphere has already been sacrificed to the Juggernaut of industrialization.
Pandora is a second chance.
An opportunity for humans to repeat the mistakes of the past or to redeem themselves.
It's about having a choice, and making that choice.
Jake's example is not one of species treachery, but of conscientious objection.Mononoke: Compromise and Hope
[In Princess Monononke] human beings evolve toward a state of greater awareness and wisdom, which comes only after having experienced and realized the mistakes of the past.
The outcome here may not so much a "synthesis" as a temporary armed truce born out of a bloody stalemate.
The American Indians (Australian Aboriginals, or any number of other indigenous cultures) may well have hoped that the many treaties they made with the encroaching Europeans would herald a new era of peaceful and prosperous coexistence.
That they turned out to be brief respites in the inexorable annihilation of their cultures and the eradication of the biological diversity that underpinned them, is a less uplifting historical parallel.A Call to Arms
From 1981 to 2005 the global economy more than doubled, but 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems were either degraded or over-used.
(United Nations Environment Program, October 2008)
To dismiss the Na'vi's desperate defense of the spiritual and biological integrity of their civilization (the planetary neural network) as a failed model of conflict resolution seems decidedly odd.
To illustrate the disastrous consequences of failed diplomacy is not the same as advocating confrontation over negotiation.
To take another historical example, the tenacious and ultimately successful defense of the Franklin river could hardly be characterized as an example of a discredited policy making.
The failure of environmental values to achieve a popular mandate is not due only to an unwillingness to compromise; or to the pursuit of politically suicidal solutions such as deindustrialization.
It is apathy, not extremism that remains its greatest obstacle.
In the battle for hearts and minds, it is in the struggle for hearts that environmentalism is critically failing to gain ground.
To the extent that Avatar succeeds, if it succeeds, is in it's evocation (in ultra-realistic 3D animation) of an idealized, anime inspired vision of the wonder and interconnectedness of nature.
We are all descended from hunter gatherers.
The values of the fictional Na'vi are obviously not alien values.
They are human values that, though dormant in the West, still survive in the remnants of indigenous cultures all over the world and in many Eastern philosophical traditions.
It is a fundamentally different view of nature to the instrumental 'human dominion' model that currently prevails in the West.
The human race, it has been said, is like a toddler with a hand gun (or a hydrogen bomb).
What we lack is not knowledge, but wisdom.
We have neglected an ancient wisdom.
A wisdom that valuable not because it is old, but because it is wise.
The battle to preserve biological viability cannot be won by the wholesale abandonment of technology (in fact, quite the reverse).
But what is essential, is a fundamental shift in emphasis and trajectory.
A reintegration of ancient wisdom with modern knowledge.
A restoration of balance.
The momentum of the industrial Juggernaut appears unstoppable, but ultimately it consists of individuals, individuals with the capacity to make different choices.
Life long and prosper.
This work by peaceandlonglife (firstname.lastname@example.org
) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Australia License