I See You

I See You
I was prepared to be dazzled by the technological mastery of the 3D wide-screen spectacle. In seeing Avatar I had no expectations of disappointment with the raw perceptions’ impact on my eyes and ears. I had low hopes for the script, acting or story line but was surprised to find more there than I had expected. What I had not expected was to be utterly awestruck for two hours, unable to blink, slack jawed, and often on the verge of tears of joy and wonder under the influence of Avatar’s natural world.
Three-dimensional vision offered my brain a way to “real-ize” this experience (to see it as if it were really at hand) in the same way my neuro-works encounter everyday reality. This visual technology softens the divide between fantasy and reality, lowering the threshold of believability so that I could BE in that world in much the same way as if I were exploring a novel real-earth habitat. I was utterly enthralled with light and color, shape and form—like I am sure I would be my first time in a redwood forest or floating among the corals in the Great Barrier Reef or atop Everest or aboard the Space Shuttle.
I was in Pandora’s forest as an adrenalin-charged biologist-explorer. I was there as a naturalist seeing for the first time just beyond my literal grasp creatures like but unlike the familiar—append “-oid” to: ungulate and mammal, reptile and insect, sea creature, bird, flower and tree. Aerial-luminescent dandelion-down sea feathers drifted within reach but then were gone before they could be fully comprehended, studied, photographed, known. Like Dr. Augustine, I wanted samples! I flinched reflexively when blue lemurs suddenly lunged my way, my brain reacting protectively because I was in the dark-luminescent Pandoran forest in that moment.
As a naturalist, I have spent a lifetime nurturing an attitude of wonder, awe, curiosity and reverence in the living world.  Avatar succeed for me in amplifying that innate euphoria that comes from communion with the natural order of things—all living things and their known and unknown interconnections. We all share one life in our amazing diversity. Perhaps with our eyes opened by this larger-and-stranger-than-life view of that life, we can look afresh at each other and the world in our care and say…
I see you.

I was prepared to be dazzled by the technological wizardry of the 3D wide-screen spectacle. In seeing Avatar I had no expectations of disappointment with the raw perceptions’ impact on my eyes and ears. I had low hopes for the script, acting or story line but was surprised to find more there than I had expected. What I had not expected was to be utterly awestruck for two hours, unable to blink, slack jawed, and often on the verge of tears of joy and wonder under the influence of Avatar’s natural world.

The stereoscopic three-dimensional view offered my brain a way to “real-ize” this experience (to see it as if it were really at hand) in the same way my neuro-works encounter everyday reality, softening the divide between fantasy and reality, lowering the threshold of believability so that I could sense I was IN that world in much the same way as if I were exploring a novel real-earth habitat. I was utterly enthralled with first impressions of light and color, shape and form—in much the same way I am sure I would be upon my first encounter of a redwood forest or floating among the corals in the Great Barrier Reef or atop Everest or aboard the Space Shuttle.

I was in Pandora’s forest as an adrenalin-charged biologist-explorer. I was there as a naturalist seeing just beyond my literal grasp creatures like but unlike the familiar—append “-oid” to: ungulate and mammal, reptile and insect, sea creature, bird, flower and tree. Aerial-luminescent dandelion-down sea feathers drifted within reach but then were gone before they could be fully comprehended, studied, photographed, known. Like Sigourney Weaver’s character, Dr. Augustine, I wanted samples! I flinched reflexively when blue lemurs suddenly lunged my way, my brain reacting protectively because I existed in the dark-luminescent Pandoran forest in that moment.

As a naturalist, I have spent a lifetime nurturing an attitude of wonder, awe, curiosity and reverence in the living world.  Avatar succeed for me in amplifying that innate euphoria that comes from communion with the natural order of things—of all living things and their known and unknown interconnections. We all share one life in our dazzling diversity on this amazing planet of ours.

Perhaps with our eyes opened by this larger-and-stranger-than-life view of that shared life, we can look afresh at each other and the world in our care before it’s too late and say…

I see you.

Published by

fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

10 thoughts on “I See You”

  1. I was enthralled with Avatar, too. What a world of wonder the creators of that film conceived and executed. I am so amazed with the heights creativity can achieve. I’m so tickled that you loved it, that it’s being man made didn’t turn you off.

  2. Okay, Fred, if YOU enjoyed the film, then I will see it. Everyone is gushing so that it made me skeptical. Must schedule it for this weekend then. Thanks for the review.

  3. Between you and my oldest daughter I am going to have to break down and visit a theater for this one. Not something I do often as the small box theaters give me claustrophobia because I grew up in one of the biggest houses in Houston in the ’60’s and 70’s. I only moved on to the neighborhood houses when they tore the old dame down.

  4. I fully agree with you, Fred
    it was marvelous
    I have a friend who says even without the story line
    more like a national geographic special
    it would have been wondrous
    I especially loved the flora

  5. Okay, Fred, I saw it yesterday with my teen daughter. We loved it–the flowers, the plants, the flying lizards which I so want to bond with, oh my! I want to walk and fly through that forest. I didn’t think I’d like the 3D, but now realize it’s the only way to see it. Thanks for your post.

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