Avatar: What is Worth Living For?

Having received raved reviews, the movie Avatar has proven to be an award winning movie which has left many people spell-bound, returning to the movie not just because of the special effects but because of the moral story found in the movie. While the movie provides a mesmerizing entertainment experience, Avatar also raises several themes related to spirituality and the way we life.

In this posting and the next two, I will reflect on some of spiritually related themes in the movie and raise questions on how the movie can help us to live in a way marked by spiritual depth.

Living on the Earth-like moon, Pandora, the Na’vi people lived in communion with the world. Believing that the energy which animates life is borrowed and must be returned when an individual’s life is ended, the Na’vi understand that the same energy which animates them also animates the plants and animals in their world. This understanding of the deep connection with life in all its forms is much like the worldviews of the indigenous people across our planet.

The primary value in life is living for the people, not for individual prophet or advantage. While there is pride and honor in the skills and abilities of individual Na’vi, those skills and abilities are used in the service of the people.

This world view is juxtaposed to the individualistic, profit-oriented value system in which might makes right. The tension of these two world views are historic for human beings not only in conflicts between indigenous people and colonizers but also between values for life based on the common good and the values of market driven capitalism. The tension in the movies is between a life and culture in which all things are interconnected verses an understanding of individualism and autonomy established on hierarchies.

Spirituality causes us to ask the question, “What is worth living for?” For the Na’vi, life has meaning, purpose, and value because one lives for others and for the common good. The colonizers depict other things people commonly live for: financial gain and profit; the power to control others; or knowledge for its own sake.

As you reflect on Avatar, I invite you to consider the question: what is worth living for? I look forward to your comments about this question and the other ways in which the movie inspired you.

© 2010, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.

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8 Responses to Avatar: What is Worth Living For?

  1. Somone says:

    The contrast between fighting and individualism versus working together for the common good and living as one energy separated into different bodies is the main theme I get from Avatar. The feeling of love and friendship you have in a harmonic community is so much better for your health and the health of everyone around you. LIFE is worth living for, to enjoy and go with it rather than fighting and challenging it at every turn.

    For a holy man you speak (write) very well in terms of the ordinary man/woman.

    I’m reading the Ringing Cedars series at the moment and the connection with the Earth, plants especially, rings so true, especially after watching Avatar in 3D twice in 10 days. Hopefully, it opens the minds and hearts of many people who don’t usually tune in to the Universe and the Higher Powers that be.

  2. Lou says:

    I appreciate that you took time to comment.

    I’m not familiar with the Ringing Cedars series. Your comment reminds me of things I have read from Wicca as well as New Science.

    Most importantly, I try to write in an accessible way. In coming months, I plan to do some blogging on based on the writing of some of the mystics in hopes of presenting some overly intellectualized material in a way that makes sense to people today. There’s lots of insight about understanding the spiritual life in the writings of mystics of the first millennium.

  3. UGG Boots says:

    I found this article useful in a paper I am writing at university. Hopefully, I get an A+ now!

    Thanks

    Bernice Franklin

  4. Lou says:

    Bernice:

    I like the sound of an A. If you want, you can email the paper — or just let me know how it went.

    Lou

  5. Judy Krings says:

    This movie touched me to my soul. Loving-kindness personified. Refreshing reminder of what life COULD or MIGHT be like without greed and avarice. The 3-D took me down deep within myself. Totally awe-inspiring.

  6. Lou says:

    Judy:

    I agree that the movie gives us a vision of what could be. We have the ability to create a world in which greed doesn’t have a place.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Lou

  7. UGG Boots says:

    I found this article useful in a paper I am writing at university. Hopefully, I get an A+ now!

    Thanks

    Bernice Franklin

  8. Lou says:

    Glad to hear that!

    Thanks.

    Lou

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