Did you see Avatar? If not, there's no question why it's a blockbuster - one of the most entertaining films I have seen in years.
Of great interest to many is the story of the film - what it is telling us.
In India today - a company wants to blow the top off of a Holy Mountain to gain the 70 million tons of bauxite inside of it - and therefore destroy the sacred homeland of the Dongria people who have called this mountain their home for millenia. Something isn't working here.
This story is not isolated, it has played out over many generations, the most well known was the how the "conquistadors" - Columbus, etc. "discovered" America. Our culture's world view and related stories of history taught in our schools continue to allow for this destruction of life by framing the stories and celebrating the destroyers as leaders and heroes.
Survival International is following and highlighting a number of these real life "Avatars" of real people, with kids, pets, homes, worries, needs, feelings, just like you, and me, all over the world. Some of the beautiful people they profile are Penan in Borneo, Bushmen in Africa, Awa in the Amazon, Pygmies in Africa, etc.
I was talking with some friends yesterday, who happen to be a successful venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur, about the perspective and psychology of connectedness to all life that informs the culture, world views and lives of these people.
I pointed out that our modern culture, especially the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity had long lost the historical and mythological roots to the reality that we are connected to all life. One of my buddies asked me if there was a major religion which still holds this view near and dear, and I pointed out the main religion holding this is the one practiced by all of the indigenous cultures distributed around the world. That they have not lost connection with this essential reality, and reality it is. It is not a belief. We discussed that Buddhism holds these values high as well, and at their core, all major religions are based on a loving reality represented based on a benevolent divinity of one sort or another. We are intimately connected to all life. Period. If you have any doubt, next time you eat something, it is either alive or was just recently alive. We depend on living beings all around us for the most essential ingredients for living on this planet - food. In other words, without the thriving and success of offspring of species all over the planet, we would not survive.
That said, since our modern industrial civilization has stories, and selective history which justify our existence based on a false premise of disconnection from life, and each other, we can proceed based on a a world view that grants philisophical impunity to destroy life and other peoples' lives, cultures, existence. Since we believe we're separate from such people, and all the life around such people, there's no issue in our justification, and our world view. On the other hand - this choice of behavior to get our needs met is a desecration of one of the fundamental laws of life and nature - we are all connected. We must find a new way, a new operating system which takes into account important realities which we have long lost connection to.
Here's a beautifully presented short video which Survival International put together about the real life Avatar experience of the Dongria people in India - the most populous democracy in the world.