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Movie Critic Article (2/5): On The Last Airbender

Shades of Philosophy in The Last Airbender 2010
Original Article by Mohsen Khaled*
Part Two

By defining the term avatar, we will know the essential difference between such gods as Atum and Shu, whom I have called airbenders only to facilitate understanding, and the avatar? These approaches and reflections would also be of benefit to my earlier proposition on cultural foci for human civilization in which I have postulated that the unifying role of the sciences necessitated the assigning of a cultural habitat from which all cultures were generated and this would be the native land of Sudan. This is attainable by examining what lies in this intellectual heritage of myths, puzzles, tales and allegories whether they be analogous or dissimilar.
In any case, the term "avatar" is taken from the Sanskrit, the old Indo-Aryan language and denotes the gods that descend from heaven to earth and become manifest or unveiled in the Qur'anic manner as when Moses asked to see the face of God and God manifested Himself to the mountain causing it to crumble and collapse. But God in the Qur'an does not incarnate in His creations as in the Indian belief. In fact embodiment in such a way is not acceptable in the Muslim faith. Although a few of the Sufis had their own interpretations they were short of full incarnation and its meanings in Hindu belief. Such Sufis believed in "Immanentism", although their concepts were based differently on that the driving energy was from God rather than from His creations. Or as explained by the Divine Hadith (Hadith Qudsi) that when God loves his worshipper, He would be (his ears to hear and his eyes to see). Again, this also does not meet the meanings of incarnation in India which has a mythical sense to it and is more like materializing the residence of God in His creature's body.
Nevertheless, The god of the air is fully divine and omnipotent, while the airbender is just an Avatar, i.e. an earthly being in whom a godly spirit has resided. With respect to this movie the airbender is a human being with the capacities of a god which transform him into an avatar. He can use his mental energy to exploit and harness any and all of the four elements: water, air, dust, and fire. While others, from the remaining three kingdoms, can only control the element that they are created from. The real avatar in Indian culture is often associated with the incarnation of the god Vishnu in living beings. Vishnu is able to incarnate in many creatures. The creature that concerns us now as we see it in the movie is the fish which appears as containing the spirit of the moon and the oceans.
This is what the commander learns from the documents he looted from the great library after launching the raid, when he admits:
l conducted a raid
on the Great Library!
N. Shyamlan. The filmmaker.
The moon was a very important subject in ancient civilizations, and may have had hundreds of names and gods linked to it, but its association with females is both 
poetic and fraught with wondrous questions. There is, for example, in the Celtic civilization this divine name (Cerridwen) which is found presently in the Welsh languages, as a girl's name. In my opinion,  this name has descended from the ancient worlds that associated gods with the females. 
Beliefs around the moon, whether ancient or modern, are very abundant and have not seized at all. Several years ago, Dr. Morris Charles revealed that the astronauts of the Apollo 11 spacecraft had kept for more than forty years the secret of the statue they had picked up from the surface of the moon in 1969. Dr. Morris said that the statue had been sculpted from iron in the figure of a feminine angel.

It was concluded that there existed before us a highly urbanized and culturally advanced civilization with a great taste for beauty. One can easily compare the statements of Dr. Charles with a lot of sculptures and inscriptions of ancient civilizations, in both Pharaonic Egyptian and Pharaonic Cushite. In Mediterranean and Latin versions of civilization. It can also be matched with Qura'n verses such as {Or that We created the angels female, and they are witnesses,thereto?} Surat As-Saaffat, verse no.150
  Or this one {What! has then your Lord preferred to give you sons, and (for Himself) taken daughters from among the angels? Most surely you utter a grievous saying } Surat Al-Isra, verse no. 40
It is clear that these utterances which the Qura'n attributes to the people of Mecca as they correlated the angels with a feminine nature might have descended from older civilizations and can be found on sculptures and archaeological archives. As to the linking of these findings with the previously mentioned revelation of Dr. Morris Charles, I would prefer not to delve into this here lest I get carried away but will be elaborating on it within my theory of Kosherthia
But a tiny piece of information is worth mentioning that the Mayan civilization believed in a female goddess of the moon, Ix Chel (pronounced eeshel) or the Lady of the Rainbow
Statue of Ix Chel
Now, let's go back to our concern with the fish that is presented to us in the film as signifying humility and tenderness for it is most relevant to the myths of the Indian civilization from which the term avatar has directly descended. This civilization also provides us with the legend of the fish Matsya, the first avatar for the god Vishnu. In the movie, we see the Commander killing the fish to extinguish the spirit of the moon, residing in the fish, from which the Water Tribe derives its power and abilities
As a consequence of this the soldiers of the Water Tribe
 would easily be defeated by the soldiers of the Fire Tribe, as the movie supposes. The daughter of the chief of the Water Tribe offers her life in sacrifice for the fish bearing the spirit of the moon in an attempt to help her own tribe. She utters beautiful words
about the importance of sacrifice in love in the presence of her lover and then drowns herself to save the fish (moon spirit) as if in an exchange because, in the origins of the story, this daughter was born with a sickness that rendered her still and quite until the moon gave her part of his own life force
Mohsen Khaled is a novelist, short-story writer and an avid scholar of arts and philosophy
   He resides in London, UK


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