In: Science

Submitted By neurotic1
Words 446
Pages 2
Amy Lecroy
May 20, 2012
Block 4B
Avatar Essay Throughout history people have often encountered others with very different cultures, belief systems, and lifestyles. In order to work and live together peacefully, a common understanding and engagement of other cultures needs to occur. However, other choices to respond to differences exist; the option to ignore differences, or to reject the others culture and beliefs are just two counter-productive responses to difference. This scenario is no different in terms of the relations between the Na’vi and the humans in the film Avatar. The two cultures are indeed very different, and their interaction mirrors the real-life cultures in our planet’s history. By far the most important difference between Na'vi and humans is zahelu, their ability to overcome the isolation of embodied existence through direct neural interface with other living creatures. The central nexus of human sadness, from the fall of Adam onward, has always been our paradoxical estrangement from the nature of which we are still inescapably a part. The rift between nature and culture cannot be resolved either by returning to nature or by eradicating it completely—it must remain forever an unresolved tension. And, from agriculture and domestication of animals to repression of our own instincts, we have only been able to bridge the gap through brute domination. The Na'vi, with zahelu, are able to achieve what we cannot: a relationship between culture and nature that is mediated by symbiosis rather than domination, made possible by a nature in which the world-within-the-world of culture is freely given and need not be taken by force. Hence, they possess the ability of “connecting” to their environment. The humans, conversely, have no connection with the planet of Pandora except to strip the land of its natural resources, in this case, unobtainium.


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