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Marlise Karlin Headshot

Avatar Breaks Cultural Boundaries

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I SEE YOU ... When I heard those words, my heart melted, truly melted. How interesting that this experience was evoked by characters who aren't real, they're animated, (well, partially). Three simple words, I SEE YOU, is showing humanity what we seem to have forgotten, the most important element of being human -- connecting heart to heart.

It's unfortunate and yet true, people today rarely speak to each other from that place of heartfelt recognition. What AVATAR points out is how different it is when people are connected through the silence, the Stillness in their hearts and minds. You know, that place where no words are needed.
If a human being had spoken those words, it would have appeared cliche, this depth of connection doesn't happen often in the fast-paced, 'Hi, how are you? Fine' world we live in.

I SEE YOU is a reminder, of what we've moved away from, and of what's possible.

If we are to learn by what we 'see' consider our daily dose of people who 'win' by defaming another, (congress, politics, world news) or people who make money off of damaging our natural resources, (from oil companies to each of us who litters plastics and more). People today are apt to speak badly about someone more frequently than look for what value a person has to offer (gossip columns, tv reality shows). I believe a lot of people find this truly depressing.

An article in CNN reported that over a thousand people became depressed after seeing Avatar, that the world seemed gray in comparison, some felt sad that they could never become a Na'vi. One blogger on the MTV Movies Blog site suggested that these people must have been depressed to begin with, commenting that after all, "It's only a movie."

Yes, it's a movie and it's not 'real,' but its message is one that is touching a nerve around the globe. In Pandora, we are shown a pristine world, where nature is indescribably beautiful; the Na'vi honor it and one another. They even work together to heal people they believe might have brought harm to their community.

Whatever barriers have been caused by differences -- in culture, religious beliefs or language -- the Na'vi have learned to honor those who now inhabit their world with them. And it appears they have always known to honor their surroundings.

In my travels, I have seen what invites this understanding into our lives. Stillness reminds us what we have in common, it's where our differences fade, where we find our shared humanity. As one spiritual leader in Mali, Africa said to me, 'Two hands wash each other to become clean," (i.e. you help me, I help you). Stillness is that common thread, universally understood, where we connect, to each other, to ourselves and to nature. Without this connection, people will always feel somewhat sad, empty, and downhearted.

Maybe there are more people globally than we realize, who are tired of the constant battling and meaningless chatter we see on the news and reflected in our lives. What we all want more than anything else (as sentimental as it sounds) is to know love and be loved.

I SEE YOU . . . says it all. You feel it to your core. Maybe it isn't just a movie... maybe it's really about what's possible... when we connect heart to heart... all over the world...I SEE YOU.

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