UNDERSTANDING THE SHIFT
By Dennis Gaumond
While the movie, 'Avatar'
was in theaters, I was in Costa Rica, so I just recently got around to seeing
what all the fuss was about. I must say it is a remarkable movie - visually
beautiful, very compelling - I give it five stars. I'm sure it will set a new
standard in movie-making, much like 'Star Wars' did back in the Seventies.
I feel moved to comment on a
couple of things about the movie that I didn't like so much. The first is something that I call the
'Tarzan Syndrome'. Hollywood loves to put out themes where the world is in
jeopardy and one man rises to the top to save the day. That messiah figure is
always a white, Anglo-Saxon male, even if the story takes place in a foreign
land. In the case of Tarzan, a child of white aristocratic descent is raised in
Africa and soon becomes 'king of the jungle', despite the fact that black
people have been living there for millennia. In the movie, 'Samurai', Tom
Cruise quickly rises to become top gun in the Samurai world, despite the fact
that all the other Samurai warriors have been living and training in this
tradition for their entire lives. 'Avatar' continues in this Hollywood
tradition - the hero/saviour is a white guy living in a cloned blue-body.
'Avatar' is similar to many
Hollywood themes, including 'Star Wars' - there is a conflict between good and
evil. In 'Avatar' we have corporate greed threatening the lives of a beautiful
indigenous race living in harmony with nature - a metaphor for what has
happened and continues to happen here on Earth. The movie succeeds in pointing
out the problem, but like most Hollywood movies, falls far short in presenting
the solution to the problem. Again the solution we are offered is war. The good
guys find a way to defeat the bad guys in spectacular battle scenes - the hero
and the villain meet in the final scenes to duke it out, etc.
Wouldn't it be refreshing if
the movie offered a different solution? Wouldn't it be great if the movie gave
us the spectacle of war, which the box office feels is necessary, but then the
war effort fails and the good guys have to resort to something else. What if
the good guys ultimately win by using the power of their collective
consciousness to send light to the darkness - to change the minds of the bad
guys by sending them love? Wouldn't that be a breath of fresh air? But
Hollywood prefers to give us clichéd stories with predictable outcomes, and we
continue to eat them up.
They say that the true
nature of misinformation, which we are fed constantly by all forms of
mass-media, is that it consists of 90% truth and 10% distorted truth. The 90%
truth gets our attention, and then the distortion subtly misinforms us, leading
us off of the path and keeping us ignorant. It is certainly easy to see that
the news media employs these tactics. I feel that 'Avatar' is yet another
example of this.
Even the use of the word 'avatar'
is a distortion. An Avatar is an incarnation of divinity, an enlightened,
ascended being who descends into physical form in order to help, usually by
offering teachings. An Avatar is a being of pure love, incapable of violence. I believe that we are being misinformed when we are given the idea that our problems will be solved by some messiah figure who will lead us through the battle. We can't sit around waiting for 'the chosen one'. We must solve our problems together, collectively.
I truly believe that war is
not, and never will be, the answer to the human dilemma. Even when one side is
clearly and obviously 'good', which is rarely the case, we will never ward off
evil on the battlefield. We cannot fight darkness with more darkness. Love is
the only solution.