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Thread: The "Eywa" Theory

  1. #1
    Woodsprite's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The "Eywa" Theory

    After viewing the film a second time, I've come to a feasible theory about how the "Eywa" entity is NOT A DEITY... at least, not a real god that exists. Sure, it may be as real a deity as any god is to anyone, whether it be Jehovah, Allah, Shiva, Zoroaster, etc. But just to clarify, we're talking about whether or not Eywa is an actual, spiritual goddess that really exists as a god. We already know the Na'vi worship Eywa, so by default "Eywa" is a deity.

    To many, "Eywa" is portrayed as a goddess... basically Mother Nature of Pandora, if you will. This is the primary reason for the low rating among many Christian communities across the web, as well as most of the Christian critics.

    However, I've developed a theory that might put to ease many Christians' abhorrence of the use of this "goddess worship." Although this is completely unrelated to James Cameron and what he might have or might have not intended for what "Eywa" meant as an entity, this has never really been discussed (to my knowledge) as far as the god-factor plays out.

    I contend that the "Eywa" entity, in the reality of that world, is not a "goddess" but rather an incredibly evolutionarily advanced plant system that possesses a physical mind and psyche like we do. We must take into account the world of "Avatar" to be the truth, which states that evolution is true, though there are those who'd disagree with it. This is a necessary compromise. Every film contains a "truth" to it, in that "in the world of this movie..." so-and-so is true by default. Like, "In the world of 'Lord of the Rings', the god of Middle Earth exists and is called 'Eru'." Or, "In the world of 'Star Wars', there exists a binding force that Jedis use as their source of power."

    Now that the "in the world of" principle has been established, we can clearly understand that certain properties of the "Avatar" world are automatically "fact" when you watch it for what it is. However, not every ideal is totally decreed by the filmmaker. This includes "Eywa." Certain elements and events in the film can be cited to disprove my theory. These include:

    1) Dr. Grace Augustine claims that she "sees her", referring to "Eywa", when at the brink of death.

    2) Jake Sully prays to "Eywa" by linking his queue to vines of the "Tree of Souls", which Neytiri later confirms his prayers were answered ("Eywa has heard you!").

    3) Voices can be heard when linking up with the vines of the trees of voices.

    4) Several woodsprites (seeds of the Tree of Souls) "choose" to land on Jake Sully, which Neytiri sees as an omen. Later, the foretelling of his significance is proven true.

    5) Jake Sully is actually able to have his consciousness permanently embedded into his avatar body by way of "Eywa".

    These are all I can think of at the moment. If there are any other examples, please show me so I can ponder more about this and possibly come up with answers (this is a relatively young theory in my head, so there might be some flaws).


    1) Grace was in a state of limited mobility and weakness, and possible hallucination from the nature of the wound and how long it had settled in her. To top it off, the vines of the Tree of Souls planted themselves on (possibly in) her spinal cord to make the transfer of her mind to her avatar body. I, as a mere viewer, have no idea what that must feel like, but I'm assuming she had a moment of incredible ecstasy as the vine attatched itself to her.

    The moment she says, "I see her" she was probably experiencing that wonderful feeling, because the camera shows us a view of what she's seeing, and it isn't anything but a bright, white light. That light, combined with her immense sensation from the embedded vines would probably create the illusion of some "goddess-like" entity taking her, though she never actually saw anything. The fact that she calls it a "her" is from hearing the Na'vi calling it by that pronoun, and because she's studied what they believe, she's under the impression of the deity label slapped on "Eywa" because of her current mental near-death state.

    2) The fact that "Eywa" heard him might mean exactly that, but not necessarily because Eywa is an actual deity. If Eywa is rather just an extremely biologically advanced plant that can think like humans (possibly read minds when hooked to), then the "hearing of prayers" could just be an reaction of what information it has received. Since everything on Pandora is connected by way of an internal linkage system, including its inhabiting animal life, then this system can be notified and possibly commanded to preserve itself from death. In an article by Erkki Haukioja entitled "Plant defenses and population flucuations of forest defoliators: mechanism-based scenarios" talking about birch tree defense,
    "Plant defenses against herbivorous insects can be traced to three broad classes of plant compounds, and to the mechanisms which produce variations in their concentrations (Haukioja 2005)... The most recent explanation, still unfamiliar to many field ecologists, is that plants share few broad-scale but versatile defense cascades which orchestrate defenses, including the toxicity of secondary compounds, against numerous biotic and abiotic challenges."

    --Page 314
    Sounds a bit technical, but in so many words, birch trees possess a defense system where once one of the trees is attacked (preyed upon) by an insect, a chemical compound is released from the birch that the other birches pick up. This "warning scent" causes the other trees to "toughen up" their defenses with a toxin that'll ward off other insects. Two words: self-preservation. This is exactly what the Tree of Souls might've done. The difference is that this tree had connections to all other forms of life on Pandora, so a "warning" might've been sent to all about how the humans were about to destroy them. That's how the ikrans and angtsėk knew when and what to attack. Again two words: self-preservation.

    3) The voices and communication between the Na'vi and their ancestors can only occur when a link-up between the Na'vi queues and the Tree of Souls (and other trees like it) is made. These vines were said to contain "memories" of the ancestors, not the ancestors themselves. The fact that they could "communicate" with them could be that the naturally occurring response given by the loved one could be what they hear when speaking with them, like the technology depicted in "Superman" and the sequels, where Jor-El has pre-programmed responses to any question, dialogue, or reaction given by his son.

    The voices heard from the vines could be like sound bite recordings on any personal computer, only these voices could just be downloaded data from the brains of those who've passed on.

    4) Like the Tree of Souls, these seeds could also possess a smaller, yet still advanced mindset. They could've landed on Jake because they knew he was a human in an avatar body, probably by the difference in DNA, physical features, and mind. Of course this begs the question: why didn't they land on the other avatars?

    Well, my theory is they couldn't because they weren't in wide enough space for them to accumulate like they did with Jake, who was on high ground with wide open space all around him. Neytiri isn't an avatar, which is why she might've not had them land on her, because she is native-born. If they were in wide enough space, they might've not been seen by other Na'vi natives; Jake might've been the first avatar that had this happen to him with another native present. In other words, the "significance" of the woodsprites landing on Jake might've been not-so-important in the reality of the Pandora world, and they only landed on him because he was in just the right place at the right time for it to happen.

    5) If the Tree of Souls is indeed a biologically advanced form of plant life with a physical mind like us, this feat could easily be explained by just that fact. The tree was "told" by the Na'vi shaman (through a queue link-up) to transfer Jake's consciousness. The tree performed the duty and all was well.


    If "Eywa" is not a deity in the actuality of the "Avatar" world, and rather just a creation, then any other god could fit perfectly into this scenario. The fact that neither the Bible, Koran, Vedas, nor any other acclaimed holy book/religious writing denies that there might be some other form of life in the universe further reinforces that the god of any religion could've created Pandora and its Tree of Souls. The only reason why the Na'vi worship this "Eywa" is because this is all they've known their whole lives, and we don't know the origin of Pandora anyway, so the worship of this entity might just be a distortion of what was originally called "the work of the Lord."

    I know this is really reaching, and there's no proof that this theory is what James Cameron intended, but as far as we know there's no proof that this isn't true to a certain extent, and it could ease the minds of those who're in conflict with the worldview as they might've seen it.


    I also understand this could've been summed in far fewer words, but I just wanted to cover every point the movie made about the subject. Any thoughts about this "Eywa" and whether or not it's really a deity (by deity, meaning an actual, spiritual god-entity that exists)?

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    Last edited by Woodsprite; 04-03-2010 at 12:20 PM.

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  3. #2
    bioluminescence's Avatar
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    I thought it was pretty obvious that Eywa is a real sentient metaorganism, and not a mere religious concept made up by the Na'vi.

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    Last edited by bioluminescence; 01-04-2010 at 04:35 AM.

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    Toruk Makto's Avatar
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    tl;dnr.

    but i got the gist towards the beginning. i think this is what cameron intended...

    ... and directly stated: "this isn't some type of pagan voodoo worship were talking about here... its measurable in the biology of the plants"

    but props for taking the time to type it out.

    unforunately we'll always have close-minded religious fanatics who are too closeminded to appreciate something like this. oh and i have no problem saying that the "religion" of the na'vi is far more appealing and just all around better than any religion offered here on earth because it is actually based on something tangible.

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    Elequin's Avatar
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    Some believe Eywa is more just Pandora itself. A living earth, that works kind of like a computer of sorts, or perhaps more a living organism. As the humans were the virus, Jake the vaccine and what not.

    Anyways was a good read... quite a lengthy one at that :D

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    Good theory.

    I feel like what they were trying to convey was that Eywa actually is Pandora, not the planet, but all living life on it. The roots have "electrical transference" and Grace says that it's like a giant brain because of how similar the connections are to the synapses in our brains. Living within that giant brain is a microcosm of life that works all in unity. If one hurts, the planet will know.

    Eywa seems like our Mother Earth. If we were able to connect to our planet like the Na'Vi I'm sure that our view of our planet would be very different. If to them Eywa is all the living things on Pandora together, it's the same as our varied religions God, which is supposed to be pure and within everything. Only difference is we pray on our knees to the sky, they plug in and speak to the planet.

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    neytirifanboy's Avatar
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    I think it is sad that people don't go to a movie because it doesn't match there own believes, That sounds like a lack of faith to me.

    In the end, either interpretation is fine. For me the Ewya spiritual Goddess interpretation is perfect. But if others enjoy the movie better by assuming that it is a microbiological organism, then that is exactly what they should do. There is enough ambiguity in it for it to be acceptable for everyone.

    But there is a religious message in the movie. Cameron said that Pandora was The Garden of Eden with Teeth.

    Perhaps true. But what he didn't tell everyone is that he took the Garden of Eden from the old testament and completely turned it completely on its head. Pandora is the inverse of The Old Testament Garden of Eden.

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    DreamWalks's Avatar
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    Well, there is quite a bit open to interpretation on 'Ewya' and the actual thoughts Cameron possessed in the conceptual design, but with that being said, here is my take on it:

    First of all, I do believe that 'Ewya' was meant to be a deity in your specific definition of the word (a real spiritual, entity).

    Although, Grace stated, "this isn't some type of pagan voodoo worship were talking about here... its measurable in the biology of the plants". She represents the scientific take on the Na'vis spirituality, so thus, such an entity is scientifically denied.

    What is also interesting, is that Grace's doubtful viewpoint changes, at the point in which she 'sees Ewya' prior to her death, in which she acknowledges that 'Ewya' is in fact a real entity, not just a neural network of fauna and flora. Thus rewriting her original take upon the issue, which I believe was a source of conflict between her scientific ways and the spiritual ways of the Na'vi.

    I also feel that the description of calling their spirituality similar to that of the Native Americans and 'Mother Earth' to be a bit stray of the reality. For they do not appear to be worshiping the created, but looking further into the issue, rather they are actually worshiping the creator.

    The is much 'gray' area for the scenario does not fall into a 'cut and dry' situation as to be easily label as 'pagan', for the 'neural network' calls for a new angle on the issue.

    How I see it, the nature(the created) is the Na'vis physical connection to Ewya(the creator). This is similar in theory to that of the methods in which people pray to the creator, it is the medium in which they are able to reach their creator. So in my opinion, their nature 'connection' equivocates to the prayer connection with our creator.

    Finally, the characters note that the destruction of the 'Tree of Souls' would 'destroy' the Na'vi. So thinking about this claim, why?, it's only a tree right? I don't think so. It is their connection to their creator, whom they worship, not the tree itself.

    TLDR: Still kind of long,
    1.) I do believe that 'Ewya' is in fact analogous to a deity in the sense of a real entity
    2.) I do not believe that 'Ewya' is simply a neural network of Pandora, rather as Dr. Augustine states, she 'saw Ewya', thus referencing a real entity, beyond which science can explain.
    3.) I believe that the Na'vi are not pagan, and worshiping mother earth(the created), rather they utilize their 'nature connection' to reach their creator(Ewya), analogous to the way humans pray to reach their creator. And they protect their enviroment for it is their connection to their creator. Thus leading into the 'Tree of Souls', which the destruction of would lead to the Na'vis destruction, for the tree(the created) is their single most powerful link to Ewya(their creator), thus destroying their way of life. They are not caught up in the sentimental value of the tree, but rather what it represents.

    With all this being said, this is my personal opinion, and I am not trying to preach to anyone, but rather share. And if you would like to read similar, I did some research upon the subject of some different Christian avatar reviews, and found this article from the 'Christian Broadcasting Network(CBN)', which appears to adopt a viewpoint similar to my own, however many others seem to eagerly dismiss their ways as strictly pagan.

    So take my opinion as you will, and hopefully I have not left out anything of critical importance, for I have been thinking about this for the last week and there appears to be much that can be applied to this subject.

    Best of wishes,
    DreamWalks

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    Woodsprite's Avatar
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    Well wow! I looked everywhere and couldn't find a single positive Christian review, and here you find one... semi-positive review from CBN. I see your take, but I read the review and it still puts the movie in a slightly negative light, whether it be a fictional religion or not.

    The point is that it technically takes place surrounding humans from our real earth, not just some imaginary planet like Naboo or Middle Earth. That's where it becomes personal, because if the story surrounds humans from earth just taking a journey to another planet where the "Eywa" religion happens to be the correct belief, this implies that all other religions on earth are false, or else distorted. That's why the Christian reviewers hate Avatar.

    I'm a protestant Christian, young-earth creationist, right-wing conservative, and I freakin' loved this movie to the core, though most would expect someone like me to hate it. Go figure. I could care less whether or not "Eywa" was a spiritual entity or just a biologically advanced system. I don't mind if you think of Eywa was really a goddess; I don't. But since there exists a reasonable doubt that Eywa could be something physical, that makes all the difference to people of other religions who opposed the goddess view. If there's a possibility that Eywa isn't spiritual, then all will be well among the other religious communities.

    ...I basically developed this theory to appease others who have a problem with the Eywa goddess issue... particularly my mother and sister. My sister has no problem with this movie either (and she shares all the same beliefs as me) and is starting to believe my theory. My mother, on the other hand, is strictly opposed to the film's message, though she isn't against me or my sister liking it. Over time, I believe she'll come to think better of it. Until then, I'm resting on conjecture theories like the one above. :o

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    Tawtaronyu's Avatar
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    What I'd really like to know is what did Jake hear when he queue'd to the tree of voices? If it was his ancestors like Neytiri said, then how?

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    theTANTALIZER's Avatar
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    I noticed a few things, and I wanted to jot down a few ideas:

    - How does Pandora represent a prelapsarian (before the Fall) world in which Nature and Grace have not yet been divorced from each other? How does the god Eywa represent the unbroken bond between Nature and Grace? (and the Holy Spirit?)

    - Are the Two Sacred Trees, the Tree of Voices (or Souls) and the Hometree, an allusion to the two trees of the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life?

    -Is Sigourney Weaver's character name, Dr. Grace Augustine, an allusion to Saint Augustine's Doctrine of Grace?

    - What does the Second Birth of the Na'vi race say about Baptism?

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