Author Topic: Demons - what are they?  (Read 8180 times)

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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2011, 02:58:00 pm »
There is a part of Eywa that we don't completely understand. A 'spiritual' part, as it were, that exists apart from the physical network. And since there cannot be good without evil, there may be a negative spiritual manifestation that has not been 'explored' by our limited exposure to Na`vi culture.

What might be more explainable, though, would be a destructive physical phenomenon. We know the Pandoran atmosphere contains significant quantities of hydrogen sulfide-- 2 percent according to the ASG. Hydrogen sulfide is not a stable substance, so something is actively producing it in their environment. Hydrogen sulfide is actually flammable, and may even be explosive under some conditions.

So imagine a higher concentration of H2S being produced by a volcano, etc. or some types of plants. The concentration of H2S reaches a point where it either explodes or burns, in a nasty fireball. With the air literally burning, it could set anything burnable it touches on fire. One of the products of such combustion is sulfur dioxide. Although the Na`vi can handle (through biological adaption) the H2S, they might not be able to handle the SO2 as well. Thus, not only do you have an unusually destructive fire event, but people get sick or die from it. We understand the chemistry of this stuff, but the Na`vi wouldn't. Thus, you would have vrrtep - 'bad fire' that burns the air and makes people sick. Since there seems to be fire around the sawtute from weapons and clearing operations, it makes some sense that they would also be called ayvrrtep.

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Offline Kamean

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2011, 03:41:10 pm »
Interesting idea. Maybe.
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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2011, 08:33:21 am »
Something unnatural. The Na'vi don't have human concepts like mythology, it's just a case of there not being an exact word that fits, a bit like skxawng.

I agree with this point, as it seems they never refer to any of their animals as a vrrtep, even the fearsome Palulukan. I think that a "demon" to them is anything that does not fit with the will of Ewya or the balance of all life, something that they would view as unnatural.

 This sounds the most plausible to me. I can't imagine the Na'vi have a spirit-based mythology/theology.


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Offline ZenMondo

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2011, 10:55:35 pm »
Another Necropost from the newbie.  I have been thinking about the nature of vrrtep and how the Na'vi might view the concept and why they call Avatar Drivers demons.  Vrrtep definitely seems to "feel" like a negative word, the other Vrr- word being vrrìn which in the dictionary to be the negative sense of being busy, but the word Demon is a translation probably from the anthropologists that first studied the Na'vi, so it probably has a common connotation between the English word.

One of the aspects that I have not seen yet discussed in this thread is that one aspect of Demons is their ability to possess people and make them do things against their will.  You can see how a Na'vi could see the driving force between an Avatar Body -- itself just a will-less shell without its Driver, and them not understanding the technology of a Psionic Link could assume the Humans were demons, possessing the shell of an Avatar body, which is probably seen as a parody of a real Na'vi body.

Now how could the idea of possession have a history in Na'vi culture to denote a word for Demon (if we assume for the sake of my argument that the definition of demon is "one who possesses"). I think the answer may lie in the nature of the Tsahaylu bond. From what we see, the link allows a Na'vi (or Avatar) to bond with an animal and direct it (shut up and fly straight!) while this is a cooperative relationship for the most part, what if on occasion an animal imposed its will on a Na'vi? What if this creature was not entirely tame? The implications of this could have given rise to the concept of vrrtep.

Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2011, 01:00:33 am »
I should note that the prefix was guessed to be vrr+, i.e. lenition-triggering.  That would deduce vrr+ 'ìn → vrrin and vrr+ txep → vrrtep.

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Offline ExLibrisMortis

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2011, 01:08:06 am »
Mind you, this language was devised by humans. Thus it has human ideals and interpretations fused within the meanings. Honestly, it could be translated as demon is because that's the closest thing that we associate it with. Or, its demon, because that's the idea that JC wanted to transmit when people dug deeper into the movie. That's about as simple as it gets.
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Offline ZenMondo

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2011, 01:10:07 am »
I should note that the prefix was guessed to be vrr+, i.e. lenition-triggering.  That would deduce vrr+ 'ìn → vrrin and vrr+ txep → vrrtep.



Well the association with txep could be an analogy for the wild nature of a Na'vi that was "possessed" by the beast he or she was trying to tame as a fire burning out of control. I don't know if the Na'vi believe in any elemental system but a "fire person" could be someone that harms those around them without meaning to.

Offline Teylar Ta Palulukankelku

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2011, 04:58:00 pm »
I'm quite surprised that this thread was ``revived´´ but i guess there's nothing wrong with new input  :).

Quote from: ZenMondo
Well the association with txep could be an analogy for the wild nature of a Na'vi that was "possessed" by the beast he or she was trying to tame as a fire burning out of control. I don't know if the Na'vi believe in any elemental system but a "fire person" could be someone that harms those around them without meaning to.

Hmm... Your theory about vrrtep being a state of mind is IMO quite similar to a theory i have:

Quote from: Teylar Ta Palulukankelku
IMO, ``vrrtep´´ is a metaphor, like we humans say that we're ``haunted by our demons´´. A vrrtep is a negative emotion that causes destruction, pain and sorrow. In that case greed, anger, hatred and corruption are ayvrrtep.

What do you think, ma ZenMondo (By the way, i'd like to welcome you to the forum, since you're new here  :).)  ????
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Offline ZenMondo

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2011, 08:54:04 pm »
I'm quite surprised that this thread was ``revived´´ but i guess there's nothing wrong with new input  :).

Quote from: ZenMondo
Well the association with txep could be an analogy for the wild nature of a Na'vi that was "possessed" by the beast he or she was trying to tame as a fire burning out of control. I don't know if the Na'vi believe in any elemental system but a "fire person" could be someone that harms those around them without meaning to.

Hmm... Your theory about vrrtep being a state of mind is IMO quite similar to a theory i have:

Quote from: Teylar Ta Palulukankelku
IMO, ``vrrtep´´ is a metaphor, like we humans say that we're ``haunted by our demons´´. A vrrtep is a negative emotion that causes destruction, pain and sorrow. In that case greed, anger, hatred and corruption are ayvrrtep.

What do you think, ma ZenMondo (By the way, i'd like to welcome you to the forum, since you're new here  :).)  ????

About vrrtep as metaphor. This got me to thinking about another possibility that may have arisen for the Na'vi belief in Demons that may parallel human history. What if, there are mental illness among the Na'vi. Perhaps their behavior would be seen as Demon Possession.  Or really if a Na'vi is just having a real bad time and expresses these negative emotions and feels a bit of regret could just say a Demon made him do it.

I am not sure if the Na'vi have a sense of fiction in their mythology. Eywa to them is a real thing that they can directly observe and interact with. I would like to think that other parts of their mythology if that is what Demons come from are also observation-based.  They may attribute something they don't understand as magical, but for that see Clarke's third  law.  ;D

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2011, 11:54:45 pm »
Fiction doesn't seem likely, when everything they know is observable, and understandable through interaction. It's a common practice to give words 'definitions' that aren't strictly correct but the closest single word, where a proper interpretation would be an explanatory sentence (e.g. to See).
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Offline Teylar Ta Palulukankelku

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2011, 05:30:41 pm »
Quote from: ZenMondo
About vrrtep as metaphor. This got me to thinking about another possibility that may have arisen for the Na'vi belief in Demons that may parallel human history. What if, there are mental illness among the Na'vi. Perhaps their behavior would be seen as Demon Possession.  Or really if a Na'vi is just having a real bad time and expresses these negative emotions and feels a bit of regret could just say a Demon made him do it.

I am not sure if the Na'vi have a sense of fiction in their mythology. Eywa to them is a real thing that they can directly observe and interact with. I would like to think that other parts of their mythology if that is what Demons come from are also observation-based.  They may attribute something they don't understand as magical, but for that see Clarke's third  law.  ;D

You have a very good point there, ma ZenMondo  :). The Na'vi don't seem to have superstition in their culture. Everything they know is based upon observation.

BTW: What's Clarke's third law  ????
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Offline ZenMondo

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2011, 09:20:30 pm »
You have a very good point there, ma ZenMondo  :). The Na'vi don't seem to have superstition in their culture. Everything they know is based upon observation.

BTW: What's Clarke's third law  ????

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Offline Teylar Ta Palulukankelku

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2011, 03:46:28 am »
You have a very good point there, ma ZenMondo  :). The Na'vi don't seem to have superstition in their culture. Everything they know is based upon observation.

BTW: What's Clarke's third law  ????

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

I've heard that one before, i just didn't know it was called ``Clarke's third law´´  :P.

I'm not really sure the Na'vi think like that but there's nothing wrong with having theories  :).
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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2011, 01:00:48 pm »
Well why wouldn't the Na'vi do that? They seem to parallel human behavior a lot, so why wouldn't they explain things with what simplicity they understand? If you can't tell what something is, you still strive to explain it to the extent that your knowledge has. And if you can't completely explain it, simple explanations that really aren't explanations are the way to go. Aka, magic.
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Offline Human No More

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2011, 04:46:54 am »
The Na'vi don't have the same need for 'fake explanations' as humans do, because they're willing to accept something on evidence rather than establish an idea and then defend it against evidence.
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Offline ZenMondo

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2011, 05:00:56 am »
The Na'vi appear to be a neolithic culture. There are technical things they do not understand the mechanisms of. They would not know that its a superconductive compound in the rocks that cause them to levitate in Pandora's magnetic field. Now they probably would have a mystical explanation to explain the maglev effect of the Hallelujah Mountains as just one example.  Now they may not think modern human technology is mystical but they would not understand the science that moves it. 

So even if the Na'vi have an evidence based belief system they also would not have the ability to understand things in a scientific way as we know it, and I think it would be natural for them to ascribe magical explanations for everyday phenomena.

The Na'vi for instance would know intimately the process of tsaheylu, but they would not know the biology of the bond, the neural transmission of the tactile sensation of an animal or mate and the mechanisms of neurochemistry that makes it possible. I think a Na'vi would explain in terms of "spirit" traveling or mingling through the link giving what we would see as a magical explanation.  To steer this part of my hypothesis of vrrtep having the power to possess they may not understand the mechanism of such a possession but explain it  as the work of a Demon. 

Offline ExLibrisMortis

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2011, 12:34:43 pm »
The Na'vi don't have the same need for 'fake explanations' as humans do, because they're willing to accept something on evidence rather than establish an idea and then defend it against evidence.

Is this idea you hold purely because you want it to be that way, or is there some sort of evidence that makes you thinks this way? Because, as Zenmodo says, the Na'vi would indeed have these "fake" explanations. Any civilization would really, following known patterns of course. It's just the process of understanding. If you truly don't understand how something works, or why something is, you will most likely come up with some sort of explanation. And just because later on your civilization better understands the inner working of that thing, doesn't make the original explanation any less true. Because science is just really the understanding of what happens around us. It's just taking a look and defining the process that's happening. Why it's exactly happening, no one may truly know. Much like how the Na'vi claim that most everything happens because it's the will of Eywa, so to could everything that happens be the will of God, and that science is just man's understanding of it. Interesting thing to think about really. 2 cents.
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Offline Human No More

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2011, 05:40:07 pm »
Many humans used to, but that doesn't mean others won't necessarily go "We don't know yet" - especially not when living on a world which essentially forms a sentient being.

The Na'vi have an understanding of the nature of the neural network, and they have advantages humans never had such as the ability to share memories globally, and easy flight (allowing a far wider range). There is absolutely nothing to say that they don't know what unobtainium is - even if they don't understand the principle of superconductivity specifically, that doesn't automatically make it be assumed to be magic.
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Offline Yawne Zize’ite

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2011, 02:59:02 am »
While the evidence seems to favor a derivation of vrrtep from vrr+ "*evil" + txep "fire," could a vrrtep originally be a Na'vi that has rejected Eywa and acts completely selfishly? The state of mind in a Na'vi might be seen as possession, and it would generalize immediately to sawtute.

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Re: Demons - what are they?
« Reply #39 on: November 23, 2011, 08:15:26 pm »
The Na'vi have an understanding of the nature of the neural network, and they have advantages humans never had such as the ability to share memories globally, and easy flight (allowing a far wider range).
Oddly, these are also the core ingredients of science.

Also, what ExLibrisMortis said. The Na'vi don't seem rigorous and rational enough to be immune to "Just So" stories.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 08:17:50 pm by Thomas R »

 

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