fantasy stuff… role playing… virtual reality… art – back to the basics

I’ve been kicked out of Entropia Universe a few days now since Vista went kaput on my computer and I don’t have a restore cd that works. I hate HP for not putting the restore cd in the box when they ship it out and rely on a hard drive restore that may or may not work when you need it… and then they want you to pay them lots of cash to buy a restore cd that may or may not work since their blasted hardware is junk that relies on partitions on a hard drive that might get corrupted someday (which happened to me I think)…

I am trying to figure out a way to make Entropia Universe work under Linux, but it’s not promising. I got the installer to work fine under Wine, but now need to install Direct X on wine and a few other things, and even then, it still might not work.

In the mean time I’ve been reading some of my old art books, studying some old drawing books more, and also reading a lot of old role playing books and things. Future posts will probably have more scans of my drawings and paintings, but might also have some other more philisophical thoughts, thoughts on role playing, stage lighting, animation, and a number of other things. Being offline in the virtual reality I spend so much time in has started to get me ‘back to the basics’ on a variety of trains of thoughts that I had several years ago and wanted to follow through back then but didn’t because I got too distracted with this other “virtual world”… I enjoy fictional worlds as a means of escaping reality sometimes – but it’s very easy to take it overboard with a super hyper imagination and make that false reality in to your over-arching real reality sometimes… Its something we all do on some level – people think about their soap operas while they work… or maybe their comic books… maybe something else. We all have hobbies, and most of us don’t have the ultimate job that keeps our attention that we love so much that we never think of anything else — anyways, I’m getting back to the basics mentally and physically on a lot of various levels at the moment…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism

German social philosopher Ernst Bloch wrote that utopias and images of fulfillment, however regressive they might be, also included an impetus for a radical social change. According to Bloch, social justice could not be realized without seeing things fundamentally differently. Something that is mere “daydreaming” or “escapism” from the viewpoint of a technological-rational society might be a seed for a new and more humane social order, it can be seen as an “immature, but honest substitute for revolution”.

Interesting Reading – Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Historical Look at the Old and New Testament

You folks reading this might think I’m nuts doing this many Interesting Reading posts in this short of a timespan, but there’s a lot of various books that I’ve read and/or am in the middle of reading that have a lot of relevance to this blog and life in general really, and are just great books that I think everyone should at least take a glance at some point in time… I’ll probably add more interesting reading posts in the not-too-distant future…

Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Historical Look at the Old and New Testaments is a very interesting book. Asimov, possibly one the greatest science fiction writers of all time, explores the bible from a scientific and historical perspective in this book. He’s an athiest, (and a former Jew I think) but that does not matter. He covers a lot of the historical aspects of each chapter of the Bible in this book from a scientific perspective. There’s not a lot of mushy love and miracle belief talk in the book like you see in a lot of the bible study books that are written by Christians. Also there’s a lot of discussion about geography and history of the locations in the bible, and how each of the main characters in the bible is thought of from a historian’s perspective and how they sort of fit in to the Social Studies and History books. That is something you don’t typically get a lot of with a lot of other books about the Bible. I don’t know that I agree with him on everything (since he is an atheist after all), but I do think he presents a lot of ideas that anyone interested in Religion, History, or Geography, regardless of whether they are Christian or not a Christian might find interesting.

His explanations that seem to explain away miracles or give them a new twist by allowing you to think about them in a different way than the way you might have been taught in Bible School by adding a bit of science is somewhat refreshing, and for the most part does not make the Bible any less relevant or True.

Remember, there are multiple perspectives to our reality… What everyone that witnesses anything experiences is likely slightly different than others that witnessed the same darn thing. It is good to sometimes think about things from a different angle. There might be a slight challenge to your faith in some of the info in this book, but that actually might be a catalyst that will help you gain a stronger faith by reading the book. There is a lot of historical and geographic info in here that you probably won’t come across many other places unless you are theologian and have read a LOT of ancient texts and have a masters degree in religion. It’s good to learn a few new things. and think about things in a different way on occassion! πŸ™‚

Analysis/Review of the Avatar Movie

The other day my wife and I went to see the 3d version of movie Avatar. Actually, we did not know it was 3d when we bought the tickets until the guy that took the tickets handed us the 3d glasses.

The graphics in the 3d version of this movie are spectacular. However, the plot is flat & characters are sort of one dimensional and cliche.

**************SPOILER ALERT**************

The basic plot is that a crippled guy goes in to weird alien forest world with his dead twin brother’s avatar with the goal of getting the aliens to leave so that his superiors can drill up the area where the aliens reside. While there, he meets an alien girl and falls in love with her, learns the ways of her people, decides that its best to help the aliens instead of his superiors, and ultimately ends up dead, but he lives on in the form of his avatar because the aliens use a weird “tree of life” to move his soul from his human body in to his alien body. There’s a few plot twists, but that’s the main storyline. It’s a fairly typical sort of Romeo and Juliet in a sci-fi setting almost. The only real difference is that Juliet doesn’t really die – her big tree house just gets crushed, and Romeo doesn’t die – he just becomes an alien.

One of the main themes in the movie is the idea that the entire planet and the Avatar Race are tied to one another with electrical pulses. I think in one scene they even say that there’s “more connections” between the environment and the people than there are neural pathways in the human brain. There is a blatent new age “Gaia” type of “green” theme to all of it… although they don’t call it Gaia – They call their earth goddess diety on this strange world Eawa, or something similar sounding to that…

There might be a possibility that Ehwa is really something similar to Yahweh spelled backwards, and that’s done to represent the “Great Goddess” idea vs the old Human Christian and Western ideas of conquest and spreading our ways to others all over the world that has lead us on Earth to where we are today with a world filled with Green House Gas, etc…?!?… especially with the “tree of life” being connected to the entire world idea – which is sort of similar to a few New Age and old Kabbalah sort of ideas… Of course that might be going way too deep in to the metaphors and looking at symbols and stuff, lol.. Maybe they just like the Ewoks from Star Wars and wanted to make a diety that sounded like that sort of sound. πŸ˜‰

In one of the longest sililoquies in the movie, the main character says something like “They (Humans from Earth) have killed their planet” implying that humans destroyed earth and now they are trying to destroy this planet with their techological ways, drilling up the earth, etc.

There’s an ongoing techonolgy vs native primitive way of life struggle throughout the entire movie as well as a lot of other ideas and themes. The basic underlying idea I got about it is that the movie is not really about aliens at all – it’s about us in the “Civilized Western World” and how we keep kicking natives out of their natural settings – and keep destroying our entire world in the process… in Africa, in Central America, in Australia… even here in the US since we kicked the original indidan population out of the places there had come to call home.

Riding a Dragon type of creature as a sign of “coming of age” is one of the subplots in the story, as are few various ideas about what is real, and a few other things, but I don’t want to give away the whole story and completely ruin the movie for you (even though I may already have with the two paragraphs above)… I could probably go on and on about a lot of symbols, metaphors, and the technological issues regarding how the movie was made, but I’ll save some that for another day when I have more time to post…

However… there is one topic I will discuss along these lines…

There’s that whole side issue about cloning going on in the movie that could lead to discussions about if/why a clone would not have an identity and soul of it’s own instead of just being a humanoid robot ready to take commands from whoever it was cloned from – but that’s not really the main part of the story… Actually that little idea sort of goes against the whole basis of the plot and themes in the movie since the Avatars are really clones created with technology and therefore represent everything un-natural, and also represents a sort of invasion on the soul of the being that is the Avatar… However that whole idea is a non-issue because it’s just “assumed” that the Avatar has no self identity in the world presented in the movie… (which is part of the reason why I think Ewa is to evoke a sort of new age, magical, mystical, occult, kabbala type of idea and theme in the movie – as the “Avatars” are really somewhat similar to the old idea of a Golem – a souless body that’s used by spellcasters, etc… except instead of using magic, they use the “technology” of cloning and the little coffin like boxes that the humans that are using the avatars have to go in to make the Gollum-like Avatars become alive… ok… all you Baptists and other religious nuts out there, are you ready to ban this movie like you banned Harry Potter and Mickey Mouse, lol… You know, doing that just brings more media attention to movies like this and causes more people to watch them since everyone wants to see for themselves what all the controversy is about! Actually, you could turn all the symbols around and make the resuruction of the Avatar in to a resuruction of the Body after death idea since it’s sort of a “going back to an Eden-like Heaven” to live with the other alien angel like creatures on that strange primitive world… πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ )

Overall, I give the movie about a 7 out of 10 rating because the plot is pretty predictable and almost all of the characters other than the main two are very flat and one dimensional psychologically, and even they are fairly predictable most of the time. It was nice to see a “save our earth by going green and supporting primitive cultures in the rainforests” type of message in a movie like this, but the repitition of that idea over and over and over goes a little overboard in my opinion…