Last night I saw Avatar.  Go see it! It is a wonderful and very Pagan
movie. As I understand it the movie’s basic messages are that completeness is
achieved in connection with others, that harmony is the basic value and its
loss the basic failing of the modern mentality, that individuality exists in
the context of connection, and that Spirit exists as immanent in the world. It
is a beautiful picture of breathtaking dimensions.

In my opinion how people react to
it enables the movie to serve often as a Rorschach of their soul.

Avatar is also a testimony to the
creativity and beauty that can come into existence through the wonders of
technology.  A number of its
critics argue this is one of its (many) internal contradictions.  In saying so they evidence far more the
poverty of their own understanding that the contradictions in the movie. 

The message of the movie is not
anti-technology, it is anti-worship of power and wealth.  Technology is involved only because the
modern power obsessed mind and withered heart worships technology because it
promises ever more power.  And
because power is ultimately empty, those who worship it are never satisfied
until they have more. 

It’s reminds me of my first
experience with the Goddess in its basic message: with love and beauty like
this, who needs power as a substitute? 
Before my experience I was fascinated by Power – which of course I would
use only for good.  Afterwards
Power ceased to interest me as something worth acquiring, and that was about 25
years ago.

Nor is Avatar’s message
anti-human.  At the most
superficial level, a number of good humans are absolutely crucial to the
story.  That they are a minority is
not a comment on human beings, it is a comment on what happens to human beings
in a depraved context dominated by corporate power.  Anyone who denies that most people tend to act badly in that
context is ignorant or a liar.  In
the case of the movie’s conservative critics, liar is probably a more accurate

To pick our own country to make a
point, America has a long history of treating its original inhabitants
similarly to the way the corporation treats the Na’vi.  I live in California, a state that once
had the densest population of Native Americans in all western North America and
which today has very few and some very small reservations.  The reason is that those who did not
succumb to disease were hunted and slaughtered almost to a man, woman, and
child.  Because they, like the
Na’vi, stood in the way of progress. (I pick on Americans because I am one and
as a culture we are currently drunk on power and self-righteousness.  But given the right context no people,
including Native Americans, is exempt from this weakness.)

But let me get still more
specific.  John Podhoretz over at
the Weekly Standard,  writes “one
would be giving James Cameron too much credit to take
Avatar-with its mindless worship of a nature-loving tribe
and the tribe’s adorable pagan rituals, its hatred of the military and American
institutions, and the notion that to be human is just way uncool-at all
seriously as a political document.”

is a revealing comment because there are
no American institutions at all in this movie, unless it be the worst aspect of a
corporation.  There is no American
military here, though there is something like Blackwater.  There are a few characters who have
traditional military virtues – I am thinking of one heroic female gunship pilot
in particular – but
because of
those virtues their loyalties ultimately turn against their corporate
employer.  That Podhoretz is so
personally affronted suggests how far he and his ilk are in fact removed from
any understanding or appreciation of what is decent about this country. But then, no
one who ever studied the moral cesspool of contemporary NeoConservatism, and
its cult of nepotistic narcissistic armchair warriors eager to see others fight
in endless wars, would call it a reflection of anything worthwhile in this

That some people are upset by
Hollywood’s supposed pantheism again says more about them than the movie.  Is it pantheistic?  Yes.  Wonderfully so.  Is there anything evil or objectionable in what happens due
to the Goddess?  Not at all.  I think the anger against it comes from
their own feeling of separation from the sacred, for their God does remarkably
little that is evidence of either care or goodness.  

The basic value behind most of what
I call monopolistic transcendental monotheism today is Power.  It is their god’s defining
character.  What makes him ‘god’ is
that he can beat anybody else up: the Ultimate Alpha Male in the worst sense.  The people who claim to be his servants
claim a similar right towards anyone who disagrees.  They do not have to reason, they do not have to give fair
evidence, all they need to do, like a three year old, is state that they want
something and it is rightfully theirs. 
Small wonder that a movie describing and depicting a far better deity is
objectionable to them.  It reminds
them that of fact that in reality they worship something that more resembles the
deity of a baboon troop than a deity for human beings.

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