I actually saw Avatar about two weeks ago but it has taken this time for me to digest and analyse my strong reaction to the movie before I could even attempt to write this post. Here are my thoughts…
“Sobbing” I thought to myself, “is that someone sobbing” in the picture theatre? “Wow I am not the only one having an intense reaction to this movie”.
Rising to leave the picture theatre, my body quietly shook as I tried not to publicly relay my emotions.
Once inside our car, Brett turned to me “Are you ok?” “No I don’t think I am”.
Upon reflection, my intense physical and emotional reaction to the movie Avatar, could be explained as feelings of overwhelming sadness.
Sadness for what we and past generations have done to our beautiful environment and all creatures who share it with us. Also sadness for the knowledge I can not control others to view the world the same way as myself.
The fictional tribal Na’vi race of Avatar, visibly brought these truths home to me personally. The Na’vi are a ‘people-like’ race who live with their surrounding environment in peace and harmony . However the human characters of Avatar are a perfect example of what ‘humans’ do in reality; act superior, take want isn’t theirs, destroy and inflict pain. We humans can be incredibly arrogant and ignorant, which when combined are very dangerous traits to exercise.
As a photographer, I have known for many years that I can teach anyone how to take a photograph i.e. teach the mathematics or science behind how to take a photograph. However I can not teach someone how to ‘see’ a photograph. This is also true about trying to teach someone to have a personal shift in their consciousness or to change their thoughts about ecology and society. You can not teach someone to see.
Not only can people not be taught to see but so much of ancient civilization’s wisdom and knowledge has been lost to us because we are arrogant to think we have nothing to learn from them. Generally we have dismissed past knowledge instead of picking out parts we could use. Knowledge which may help us now better interact with our environment and each other.
James Cameron, thank you for the time you gave to making such a wonderful film as Avatar. I just hope that others will see the underling message and not just the amazing graphics. Though we can not teach someone to see, we can inspire them to find their own sight.