Avatar screener

Just downloaded new Avatar DVD screener.

First impression – where are the colors??? I know the final DVD/Blueray versions will look a lot better, but without those vivid blues and greens the movie feels really pale.

Just goes to show how much the movie loses when viewed on inferior media – no 3D, low resolution, pale colors – the “wow” factor has gone completely. I hope the story is still as engaging, but the visual feast is just not there anymore.

Earlier I generally dismissed Pandora’s civilization and its people, arguing that we, earthlings, have passed this stage thousands of years ago. It clearly is unsuitable model for us, we are not going to live on the trees anymore.

On the second thought, however, I wonder what the purpose of having civilization and a certain way of life really is. We, the earthlings, have clearly lost all sense of it. For us it’s just a natural battle for being better, stronger, having more things and so on – our “western” civilization follows Darwin’s theory of evolution, and it has no particular goal and no destination.

I can’t speak for Pandorians with any confidence – they are an imaginary race, after all, but our asian civilizations are markedly different from the western model. Hindus goal of life is some kind of liberation, moksha, Buddhist goal of life is nirvana. Consequently the society is organized in such a way that makes moving towards those goals easier. Anything is ultimately judged by how it affects people’s progress towards moksha (or nirvana). Monks are given higher status and respect because they guide the rest of the society, kings’ main duty is to preserve dharma/dhamma, all communities are centered around temples and so on. Thais invented “middle way” and “sufficiency” to accommodate earthly desires and still stay on the spiritual path.

When faced with aggressive west these asian values and societies generally crumble, though we are from giving out a final verdict on which model is more sustainable in the long run, what with rising China and bankrupted US.

The point is – Pandorian life of balance and restraint works for them, and, at least on this occasion, they managed to preserve it.

As for us, we should probably rethink our value system. It is rooted in Christian values but those have very little relevance to a modern life. Atheist/scientific approach might have offered us logic based substitutes but those haven’t got much ground yet. People still judge what is right and what is wrong based on what they feel in their hearts, not on complex benefits vs. loss calculations. In real life those calculation never really give you an absolute answer anyway.

Destroying Na’ve clearly feels wrong, for example, and I can’t see an easy way to calculate any immediate damages to us if we go out and suck that planet dry.

So here is our first task – how to reconcile what we feel is wrong with what we calculate as right. Do we need to legitimize these feelings and give them protection? They were legitimate and protected when religion was dominant but that era is gone forever. Do we need some moral substitute for religion? Lots of people would not even hear about it, but, on the other hand, show me someone who didn’t feel it for Pandorians?

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