on Seeing Avatar and Seeing Reality
New UN report finds almost no industry profitable if environmental costs were included - ExposingTruth
Quote: "Necropolitics: a killer agenda >>>
This isn’t a conspiracy theory, and this hypothesis is not mine alone. Data indicates that in resource-rich countries, the concurrence of forced displacement with criminal, misogynistic and political violence cannot be a coincidence.
This killer combination reflects a policy of forced depopulation aimed at obtaining “conflict-free” exploitation of natural resources that are increasingly valuable in the modern global economy, such as minerals used by new technologies and renewable or clean energy sources."
"Surveillance and military corporations are symptoms.
Resource Corporations are the disease." - Heather Marsh
The Invasion of America: How Native Americans Lost 1.5 Billion Acres of Land in Less Than 250 Years - aeon
I wish I had done this movie the service of seeing it properly but I just didn’t find it in my priorities. Entertainment just isn’t a priority (unless it’s kiddie entertainment), hasn’t been for a while and movies tended not to be my priority even when entertainment figured higher, though I did make a point with some I thought mattered. Back then this would have mattered.
Avatar puts me in a perplexing paradox I find I just have to accept. And it surely suffered being maligned from the purists in the environmental sector for not doing or saying enough or not saying it quite right. It suffered more than it ought to critically, at least from what I saw of the criticism, and maybe it got robbed at the Oscars by something that more correctly towed the party line (for which one is well rewarded (we try our best) –and as the one awarded shows, in terms of erasing Canadian history, we can add another to the ongoing list). Past that aside, Avatar is simply a movie and it was designed for entertainment and succeeds well; it conveys an otherworldly other world that is a visual feast fully integrated in its action, its vibrancy a plausible environment. That alone is its achievement, the awe and effort in every backdrop.
I’m easily swept and have always enjoyed a good Cameron yarn, his ability at plausible battles that manage to ratchet to the nth and beyond degree, the grounding that makes the calculated suspense so much more strong and worthwhile. With where I’ve invested my life it’s hard not to feel that Cameron hasn’t put his talents in service of a message of worth, that it’s basic only makes it more populist. (Salvation must come in the formulaic form of…well that’s better left unsaid.)
Trust me I have profound identity with this visual Pandora parable. It reflects my life 20 years ago, in which was caught the paradox between a techy artworld immersion love affair (surround sound and a four theme light show on the main floor of our home, an underground myth called ‘the tripping house’), juxtaposed with our second home away from home, a Swiss Family Robinson set up built from scratch in a clear cut wasteland on the fringe of some of the last pristine coastal temperate rainforest, smack in the middle of where the largest trees in Canada live. The tripping house’s best theme was, you betcha, black light neon string art/paper/paint covering all surfaces of the main living area which utilized 3-D and even engaged the floor. My first ever inhalation (introduced by my parents) coincided with a bloom of bio-luminescent algae at the beach.
Pandora’s main otherworld element aside from its creatures (and the ‘Hallelujah Mountains’) is that it has a full ecosystem ‘theme’ of bio-luminescent organisms, starting with the telepathic tree network which centers on their feminine deity Elya, which they access in the ‘tree of souls’ (a bio-luminescent tree).
Given that I was raised to believe in a feminine Holy Spirit and that the ‘Tripping House’ was actually a church and prayer center the parallels are writ large with an unlimited budget (especially given the climax, which was a vision quest on psycho-actives, met the cutting block). How beautifully they did it, that glow in the dark/neon theme, right up to the war paint on the warriors, which is exactly how neon colours look lit up by black light. Surely they employed this technique, certainly they replicated it. And oh, yes, I’m forgetting the other side that makes this complete, our family ended up in ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ mode by becoming engaged in a nationally covered passive protest blockade to save some of the last remnants of pristine temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island. In other words we were engaged in the real battle to save the real big trees. Which is where I end up flipping towards Avatar; coming from the real world, a place where this resistance really happened, Avatar is a panacea myth, a fake salve modulating what we know or don’t by telling us that the Natives get to win. Reality is that the Natives always lose.
Perhaps you find that questionable?
Well let’s bandy it about a little. In the Walbran Valley, we certainly lost, even though in terms of watershed area, it can be quibbled that the divvy of the primeval spoils was one of those Solomon exercises (divide it in half). If that had been carried out, the baby certainly would have lost; therein lies my point. Perhaps one would query Vietnam, didn’t the natives win that one? Perhaps in war at a terrible cost, but not when it came to the wages of economic warfare dubbed globalization. The same can be said for South Africa. -Perestroika? Ever asked?
And spoils it is. Don’t ever assume that enviros and/or natives are not market-minded. Au Contraire. They do the math and know they are being ripped blind. All wealth is rooted in natural resource wealth. No trees? No paper/toilet paper/houses/furniture. No oil? -No just about everything. No lithium? No Blackberries, no hybrid car batteries. This gets me to my quibble side viewing Avatar. It’s the level of disassociation in the audience, and how it leads to more of the same. Since the audience is so passive and pacified, it is more likely the bulk of Avatar’s influence will be to act as a panacea reinforcement of that cognitive dissonance, rather than an awakening from it. They walk out with a sense of satisfaction that is false because they watched the natives win.
No one thinks about what really happened in the woods, hardly anyone knows or even cares. And no one wonders about the relevance or where the Natives happen to be in the real world today. It was mind-blowing to watch this in the same week that the Pentagon announced there’s over a trillion’s worth of minerals in Afghanistan. No one asks themselves what it’s like to be Afghan today, inadvertently sitting on a trillion’s worth of minerals. Hardly anyone in America would notice any parallel with the US occupation, even though the plot line in Avatar has to do with dispossessing the Natives of a trillion’s worth of minerals through the use of violence and tearing up the place in the process. To me that’s gaping disassociation, the most realized form of cognitive dissonance, that Hollywood exists to service.
It was a little odd to hear through the twitter vine of depression groups being formed to try and deal with the fact that people felt like committing suicide just in the hope that they might end up reincarnating to a place similar to Pandora. Odd because it was the most passive form of disassociation from the real world you could have, the most escapist way you could deal with the sense of loss the movie produces. There is a sense of loss of that connect to the natural world, to a world which has not undergone wholesale destruction at human hands. People who were depressed over it reacting this way were so disassociated they probably didn’t even know about the real loss of the real world. It is like an amputee grieving for limbs that aren’t there, not willing to recognize that the Natives always lose, and that they’ve never once attempted to be one of them, or stop what happened to them, or been cognitive of the horror and utter pain they felt watching the earth die. They don’t know about Ecuador, or Nigeria, or even what happened to Canada, or recognize what happened to the Natives and the natural world of the US. They don’t know when the last significant tracts of giant redwoods were being fought over in California (1992), and were (by and large) lost. They don’t know that the Natives always lose and that this goes way back.
And when that loss gets pronounced, the myth becomes more emphatic and causes more identity, because the myths are the inverse salve to ameliorate the loss, myths are where we get to win. -Robin Hood for example. Robin Hood became most popular and most subversive during the wrench of the loss of the commons, (attacks on which seem to have a nigh universal bent. –Ah, the twitter “menace”.) In other words at precisely the time when the woods were lost, Robin Hood was at his epoch, winning for the poor in the woods. In the real world people with names like Winstanley were being publicly flogged for attempting to protest the loss of the commons. (Old habits die hard, as one of them is still at it today. He didn’t end up being flogged however. Just arrested, shot at…) If you read Tolstoy, he’ll mention peasants in Russia were being flogged for the exact same reason, eviction over clear cutting, and that soldiers were brought by train to publicly flog the peasant leaders.
When I say natives, it can be taken broadly. Native New Yorkers were subject to the collapse of the twin towers, were part of the clean up for the twin towers, many of whom were subject to the fall-out and subsequent life-long health issues that were continually denied and completely and deliberately obfuscated. You can ask someone like Jenna Orkin, who summed up the authoritative denial response as ‘let me count the ways I can screw you’. These eyewitness accounts, if you can find them, are always too long to be told. Even at the top of the wealth pyramid, the Natives are there to lose. We are undergoing an unspoken cancer epidemic (-see the inference we ignore? (-What triggers it?)), which is nothing more that the complete avoidance of preventive regulation and source identification in the interest of illness for profit. We don’t want to identify or discover chemical sources because they make money.
The sensation of satisfaction one might feel at seeing the natives protect their homeland in Avatar is nothing more than a virtual panacea that denies the reality that the natives always lose. If I tell you the real story of what it’s like to try and save the largest trees in a country, it is a story of how the natives lose. It is about the travesty of justice and wholesale theft from the present, and even worse robbery of the future. Not just in one valley, but throughout the province, and what was being fought over was nothing but the scraps and traces of green that were left. And if there was a significant tract, a decade plus long fight will get you….20%. That’s it. -Just 20% of what’s left; or it will get you nada, nothing, except more effing toilet paper. A 3% increase in parkland will be fought tooth and nail and the largest PR Firm in the world will be doing battle on the other side. And they will win.
That said, I’d much rather talk about the real world. I’m glad this movie is out there even if it is in my view 20 years too late; it is timeless. It is certainly an enjoyable imaginary visit. It’s just that in the endless pattern, it changes nothing. It doesn’t change that we are killing our Mother in the present.
In the real world habitat destruction can be posited to either overpopulation or the siphoning of wealth. And in that argument it is the siphoning of wealth that wins the blame game. At present we are staring down the barrel of the largest oil spill in US (world) history, but it amounts to no more than what the US would consume in 90 minutes. And with just 5% of the world’s population, the US consumes 25% of the world’s oil (give or take). This gets me back (yet again) to my quibble with Avatar, that the Natives always lose. And trust me, your government is looking out for you because this incredibly lopsided, far superior standard of living is achieved by dominant force; it’s not due to some sort of Divine beneficence, nor is it technological or mental superiority. It’s the covert imposed siphoning of wealth from the rest of the world. Your government is making sure you’ll get the lithium for yer electric cars, yer blackberries and your laptops. Not to mention the oil. Your inherently terminal nature is beginning to show, however. (Yet we follow in lockstep.)
Why would it be considered covert? Because the bulk of the US population doesn’t believe that it’s happening via warfare, not even when they’re at war, and they’ve accepted the pretexts that were provided for these wars, even when it beggared belief. It’s hard to face the prospect that you might be at present the main force in the world that is bulldozing the natives and will be mainly responsible for destroying the planet, though in all honesty it really could be boiled down to corporatism and the advantages and inordinate rights we gave it as opposed to real people; corporatism will use any vehicle at its disposal whatever that may happen to be and only a confluence of history has made the US the primary vehicle of the moment.
I find this to be the main irony of the Christian world today. For in terms of inordinate Western consumption of earth’s resources, we are dealing with the Christian world. Everything about that simple oil statistic flies in the face of everything Christianity is supposed to espouse about equity and giving to your neighbor or a stranger in need, what love and charity mean, and how Christians are supposed to emulate this. Instead they’re responsible for what’s happening in Nigeria and Ecuador, and so much else it’s truly incalculable. It’s not remotely on their agenda as something that should be stopped…There is a supreme irony in the fact that at present it is Christian nations that are the primary devices in the destruction of the planet, and that Christians have paved the path to their own destruction without any resistance, and in fact bore a prime responsibility in killing so many Natives.
There is no positive end in the continuous repeating outcome that the natives always lose. The natives always losing is leading to the destruction of our planet; our very life support is on the verge of pretty total systemic collapse, and with it our quality of perception of any quality of life. Soon only virtual realities, like the Pandora construct, will offer any qualitative pristine experience…
The only prospective message to be garnered from the destruction of the earth and how that destroys us may well be that ‘the wages of sin is death’. What a sad conclusion we reach. And logically, how can we not best define ‘sin’ except as the systemic mechanisms, the sum of parts we will see in perspicuous hindsight, as leading to the death of all life? A life collapse the likes of which we have never before witnessed? How will we come to identify the inequity we were all complicit in? How are we all so blind to it now?
Original sin has nothing to do with who ate an apple or Who told who not to. It has to do with participating every living and breathing moment in a state of dire inequity on the backs of the suffering of many. All that collateral we are never conscious of, like what happens to the minerals from the Congo that may or may not have gone into your ipod, how they were obtained, and what conditions your clothes were sewn in, -and grown. There is no conscious connect in this complicity. There has never been another time when we exist in so much complicity with so much existing evil all the time in every breathing moment in everything we wear and eat and every chemical bleach process that produces dioxins for the sake of paper products and every clear cut we happily unconsciously wipe our a**es with every day and every disposable piece of trash and every tampon we could do without and every disposable diaper and upon examination it is all so endless and there on every shelf in every grocery store as if it’s a ‘normal’ way to be and even walking into Wal-mart is an ethical issue because wages are slavery in China and China has so many at its disposal and so on, never mind what it does to us. The endless quagmire of this immediate and total gratification of having fulfilled every need and having to fill it with so much more, more, more that comes from so far away. The consumer society, how come we don’t identify that phrase as some sort of insult, a gross misnomer?
It would all be quite innocent if it wasn’t all in the pursuit of grossly inequitable profits for a very small few (that champagne glass model realized) and if the amorality with which we structured the economic system on a non-existent pretext of infinite growth hadn’t led to its cannibalizing itself (us) on fiction and fraud the way it is now.
Back in the Walbran Valley we knew we were being robbed blind, not just of a pristine world we felt was sacred, it also translated in concrete dollars and cents, and sheer stupidity. A map is worth a thousand words. There are only two significant patches of green (original pristine rainforest) on the south Island below Barkley Sound. One is the Pacific Rim National Park. The other is the Carmanah/Walbran Valleys, the preservation of which we fought tooth and nail for in 1991. It’s a simple, concrete argument. In terms of sustainable use of a very valuable resource that was not treated as valuable, it has simple solutions.
That is what it was, and that is what it is. That the clear cut wasteland that is BC is viewable from space has nothing to do with BC being overpopulated; it has everything to do with the siphoning of wealth. Don’t expect if the mining corporations come to Afghanistan, they won’t be being robbed blind there as well. It’s all about daylight robbery; that’s original sin.
My riposte to the Christians who are or are not responsible for this state of affairs is very simple:
“But if you think that Jesus Christ is coming
Honey you’ve got another thing coming
If he ever finds out who’s hi-jacked his name
He’ll cut out his heart and turn in his grave” - The The, ‘Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)’
Funny that was 1989; it resonates far more today. What if Jesus came already and you just didn’t know it? Now your only salvation is to save the earth. You should be d***ed scared, you’re d***ed late. And it looks like you hijacked His name to ravish the earth and the natives who cried ‘slow down’. Just stop!
Today Robin Hood is subverted as a mercenary crusader responsible for killing Muslim women and children. That should tell you something. It is in no way historic.
There’s no point in ‘suiciding’ in an attempt to reach Pandora when you’ve already lost it. You never graduated to begin with. What makes you think Jesus would appear to save you from the demise you created for yourself? I realize that’s the whole message. But why would you stake life on earth on it?
Jesus would die along with the natives.