Audiences experience ‘Avatar’ blues

(CNN) — James Cameron’s completely immersive spectacle “Avatar” may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.

On the fan forum site “Avatar Forums,” a topic thread entitled “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible,” has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope. The topic became so popular last month that forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create a second thread so people could continue to post their confused feelings about the movie.

“I wasn’t depressed myself. In fact the movie made me happy ,” Baghdassarian said. “But I can understand why it made people depressed. The movie was so beautiful and it showed something we don’t have here on Earth. I think people saw we could be living in a completely different world and that caused them to be depressed.”

A post by a user called Elequin expresses an almost obsessive relationship with the film.

“That’s all I have been doing as of late, searching the Internet for more info about ‘Avatar.’ I guess that helps. It’s so hard I can’t force myself to think that it’s just a movie, and to get over it, that living like the Na’vi will never happen. I think I need a rebound movie,” Elequin posted.

A user named Mike wrote on the fan Web site “Naviblue” that he contemplated suicide after seeing the movie.

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Video: Depressed after ‘Avatar’?//

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“Ever since I went to see ‘Avatar’ I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them. I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it,” Mike posted. “I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in ‘Avatar.’ ”

Other fans have expressed feelings of disgust with the human race and disengagement with reality.

Cameron’s movie, which has pulled in more than $1.4 billion in worldwide box office sales and could be on track to be the highest grossing film of all time, is set in the future when the Earth’s resources have been pillaged by the human race. A greedy corporation is trying to mine the rare mineral unobtainium from the planet Pandora, which is inhabited by a peace-loving race of 10-foot tall, blue-skinned natives called the Na’vi.

In their race to mine for Pandora’s resources, the humans clash with the Na’vi, leading to casualties on both sides. The world of Pandora is reminiscent of a prehistoric fantasyland, filled with dinosaur-like creatures mixed with the kinds of fauna you may find in the deep reaches of the ocean. Compared with life on Earth, Pandora is a beautiful, glowing utopia.

Ivar Hill posts to the “Avatar” forum page under the name Eltu. He wrote about his post-“Avatar” depression after he first saw the film earlier this month.

“When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning,” Hill wrote on the forum. “It just seems so … meaningless. I still don’t really see any reason to keep … doing things at all. I live in a dying world.”

Reached via e-mail in Sweden where he is studying game design, Hill, 17, explained that his feelings of despair made him desperately want to escape reality.

“One can say my depression was twofold: I was depressed because I really wanted to live in Pandora, which seemed like such a perfect place, but I was also depressed and disgusted with the sight of our world, what we have done to Earth. I so much wanted to escape reality,” Hill said.

Cameron’s special effects masterpiece is very lifelike, and the 3-D performance capture and CGI effects essentially allow the viewer to enter the alien world of Pandora for the movie’s 2½-hour running time, which only lends to the separation anxiety some individuals experience when they depart the movie theater.

“Virtual life is not real life and it never will be, but this is the pinnacle of what we can build in a virtual presentation so far,” said Dr. Stephan Quentzel, psychiatrist and Medical Director for the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. “It has taken the best of our technology to create this virtual world and real life will never be as utopian as it seems onscreen. It makes real life seem more imperfect.”

Fans of the movie may find actor Stephen Lang, who plays the villainous Col. Miles Quaritch in the film, an enemy of the Na’vi people and their sacred ground, an unlikely sympathizer. But Lang says he can understand the connection people are feeling with the movie.

“Pandora is a pristine world and there is the synergy between all of the creatures of the planet and I think that strikes a deep chord within people that has a wishfulness and a wistfulness to it,” Lang said. “James Cameron had the technical resources to go along with this incredibly fertile imagination of his and his dream is built out of the same things that other peoples’ dreams are made of.”

The bright side is that for Hill and others like him — who became dissatisfied with their own lives and with our imperfect world after enjoying the fictional creation of James Cameron — becoming a part of a community of like-minded people on an online forum has helped them emerge from the darkness.

“After discussing on the forums for a while now, my depression is beginning to fade away. Having taken a part in many discussions concerning all this has really, really helped me,” Hill said. “Before, I had lost the reason to keep on living — but now it feels like these feelings are gradually being replaced with others.”

Quentzel said creating relationships with others is one of the keys to human happiness, and that even if those connections are occurring online they are better than nothing.

“Obviously there is community building in these forums,” Quentzel said. “It may be technologically different from other community building, but it serves the same purpose.”

Within the fan community, suggestions for battling feelings of depression after seeing the movie include things like playing “Avatar” video games or downloading the movie soundtrack, in addition to encouraging members to relate to other people outside the virtual realm and to seek out positive and constructive activities.

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An Orwellian world for Big Brother

Ken Craggs
Online Journal

The Council of Europe document ‘Internet Governance and critical Internet resources‘ states (p.7) that ” . . . the Internet of Things refers to the seamless connection of devices, sensors, objects, rooms, machines, vehicles, etc, through fixed and wireless networks. Connected sensors, devices and tags can interact with the environment and send the information to other objects through machine-to-machine communication . . . The Semantic Web promotes this synergy: even agents that where not expressly designed to work together can transfer data among themselves when the data come with semantics.”

Pachube (pronounced Patch-bay) is a platform that helps individuals and organisations connect to and build the ‘internet of things’ and enable buildings, interactive environments, networked energy meters, virtual worlds and sensor devices to “talk” and “respond” to each other. Pachube, according to the founder, Usman Haque, is a vision inspired by Dutch architect Constant Nieuwenhuys and his 1956 proposal for a visionary society,  New Babylon.

Around the world, a near invisible network of RFID wireless tags is being put on almost every type of consumer item. Wireless tags and sensors are being produced in their billions and are capable of being connected to the Internet in an instant. Yet this network is being built with little public knowledge or consent.

IT company Hewlett Packard intends to create a Central Nervous System for the Earth (CeNSE), consisting of a trillion nanoscale sensors and actuators embedded in the environment and connected via an array of networks with computing systems, software and services to exchange their information among analysis engines, storage systems and end users. Ericsson, the Mobile telecommunications company, predicts that 50 billion devices will be wirelessly connected in 2020 and Cisco envisages the next generation of the Internet as having 1,000 times as many devices as the current Internet.

Sense Networks collects billions of data points about people’s locations from cell phones, taxi cabs, cameras, GPS devices, WiFi positioning, cell tower triangulation, RFID and other sensors to locate people and help predict human behaviour on a macro scale. This is the original text of the CitySense proposal submitted to the NSF Computing Research Infrastructure program in 2006.

Tracking and locating people and objects which are constantly moving is said to have become more important to the daily routine of individuals, commercial organisations, the emergency services [and governments].  GlobalTag is the first wireless tracking device that incorporates GPS, RFID, Sensors and Satellite Communications. And the Viewpoint i2g can track assets and/or personnel whether they are indoors or out. ViewPoint integrates the interior positioning system (IPS) data of the ViewPoint system with data from global positioning system (GPS) sources. This integrated IPS and GPS information can be accessed from popular mapping services, including GoogleEarth and Microsoft Virtual Earth.

Considering that the doors of a many cars can be locked and unlocked with a signal, how long will it be before similar technology is applied to the doors and windows of all buildings, including each and every home. Each building will probably have a receptor which receives a signal and activates the locking of doors and windows. The receptors on homes in a housing estate, for instance, could be switched on or off, via the Internet of Things, in a manner similar to the way that a telecommunications company can disconnect some landline telephones in a street while leaving the other landlines in that street connected. Sometime in the future, people with anti-social tendencies may end up being locked up in their own homes while their fridges, lights and other household appliances are controlled by Big Brother through the Internet of Things.

A recent study for the European Commission entitled ‘Towards a future Internet’, stresses the view that much of the governance issues for the future Internet are related to political will and leadership . . . A balance must be struck between overregulation and under-regulation, a safe society and a surveillance society. The future Internet should not be designed for technocrats, governments and businesses, but for ordinary citizens, while protecting their security and privacy and limiting government surveillance and Orwellian-like control. The report goes on to conclude that the current Internet administration has limited transparency and that the Internet has become increasingly ubiquitous and grown to become a critical infrastructure, on both a technical and socio-economic level and that in the future, there will be multiple Internets, rather than the single Internet we have today.

This article states that “A new Internet ( GENI) could ultimately mean replacing networking equipment and rewriting software on computers, at a cost of billions of dollars. But any new network is likely to run parallel with the existing one for some time, with individuals and businesses gradually migrating over as they need more advanced applications.”

In 2002, W3C founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee raised what is known as ‘Issue 25′ regarding ‘What to say in defense of principle that deep linking is not a legal act?.’ By the end of 2009, Issue 25 had still not been resolved. W3C members include the UK and US governments, so Issue 25 says a great deal about the true spirit of ‘Open Government’ when W3C are willing to go ahead with the semantic web and linking open data without firstly finding out if their activities are legal or illegal.

Page 13 of the EIFFEL Report states, “We are beginning to cluster the world around us, but we are only at early stages. Newspapers were a mechanism for filtering, organizing and limiting information that otherwise would overwhelm us. With the demise of newspapers, what elements of the almost infinite flow of bits will bring order that is reflective of the human mind and human social structure? . . . In the current economic and political situation, no country can make decisions that will have only a local effect. There is no more isolation. Given that, one must consider the relationship between the Internet and governance. And perhaps even more importantly, the Internet may change forever governance of, by or for a people. Blogging and cell phone cameras that can transmit photos are having profound effects on the capability of individuals to constrain their governments at times when the governments may not want that.”

The Council of Europe document ‘Internet Governance and critical Internet resources‘ states (p.7) that ” . . . the Internet of Things refers to the seamless connection of devices, sensors, objects, rooms, machines, vehicles, etc, through fixed and wireless networks. Connected sensors, devices and tags can interact with the environment and send the information to other objects through machine-to-machine communication . . . The Semantic Web promotes this synergy: even agents that where not expressly designed to work together can transfer data among themselves when the data come with semantics.”

Pachube (pronounced Patch-bay) is a platform that helps individuals and organisations connect to and build the ‘internet of things’ and enable buildings, interactive environments, networked energy meters, virtual worlds and sensor devices to “talk” and “respond” to each other. Pachube, according to the founder, Usman Haque, is a vision inspired by Dutch architect Constant Nieuwenhuys and his 1956 proposal for a visionary society,  New Babylon.

Around the world, a near invisible network of RFID wireless tags is being put on almost every type of consumer item. Wireless tags and sensors are being produced in their billions and are capable of being connected to the Internet in an instant. Yet this network is being built with little public knowledge or consent.

IT company Hewlett Packard intends to create a Central Nervous System for the Earth (CeNSE), consisting of a trillion nanoscale sensors and actuators embedded in the environment and connected via an array of networks with computing systems, software and services to exchange their information among analysis engines, storage systems and end users. Ericsson, the Mobile telecommunications company, predicts that 50 billion devices will be wirelessly connected in 2020 and Cisco envisages the next generation of the Internet as having 1,000 times as many devices as the current Internet.

Sense Networks collects billions of data points about people’s locations from cell phones, taxi cabs, cameras, GPS devices, WiFi positioning, cell tower triangulation, RFID and other sensors to locate people and help predict human behaviour on a macro scale. This is the original text of the CitySense proposal submitted to the NSF Computing Research Infrastructure program in 2006.

Tracking and locating people and objects which are constantly moving is said to have become more important to the daily routine of individuals, commercial organisations, the emergency services [and governments].  GlobalTag is the first wireless tracking device that incorporates GPS, RFID, Sensors and Satellite Communications. And the Viewpoint i2g can track assets and/or personnel whether they are indoors or out. ViewPoint integrates the interior positioning system (IPS) data of the ViewPoint system with data from global positioning system (GPS) sources. This integrated IPS and GPS information can be accessed from popular mapping services, including GoogleEarth and Microsoft Virtual Earth.

Considering that the doors of a many cars can be locked and unlocked with a signal, how long will it be before similar technology is applied to the doors and windows of all buildings, including each and every home. Each building will probably have a receptor which receives a signal and activates the locking of doors and windows. The receptors on homes in a housing estate, for instance, could be switched on or off, via the Internet of Things, in a manner similar to the way that a telecommunications company can disconnect some landline telephones in a street while leaving the other landlines in that street connected. Sometime in the future, people with anti-social tendencies may end up being locked up in their own homes while their fridges, lights and other household appliances are controlled by Big Brother through the Internet of Things.

A recent study for the European Commission entitled ‘Towards a future Internet’, stresses the view that much of the governance issues for the future Internet are related to political will and leadership . . . A balance must be struck between overregulation and under-regulation, a safe society and a surveillance society. The future Internet should not be designed for technocrats, governments and businesses, but for ordinary citizens, while protecting their security and privacy and limiting government surveillance and Orwellian-like control. The report goes on to conclude that the current Internet administration has limited transparency and that the Internet has become increasingly ubiquitous and grown to become a critical infrastructure, on both a technical and socio-economic level and that in the future, there will be multiple Internets, rather than the single Internet we have today.

This article states that “A new Internet ( GENI) could ultimately mean replacing networking equipment and rewriting software on computers, at a cost of billions of dollars. But any new network is likely to run parallel with the existing one for some time, with individuals and businesses gradually migrating over as they need more advanced applications.”

In 2002, W3C founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee raised what is known as ‘Issue 25′ regarding ‘What to say in defense of principle that deep linking is not a legal act?.’ By the end of 2009, Issue 25 had still not been resolved. W3C members include the UK and US governments, so Issue 25 says a great deal about the true spirit of ‘Open Government’ when W3C are willing to go ahead with the semantic web and linking open data without firstly finding out if their activities are legal or illegal.

Page 13 of the EIFFEL Report states, “We are beginning to cluster the world around us, but we are only at early stages. Newspapers were a mechanism for filtering, organizing and limiting information that otherwise would overwhelm us. With the demise of newspapers, what elements of the almost infinite flow of bits will bring order that is reflective of the human mind and human social structure? . . . In the current economic and political situation, no country can make decisions that will have only a local effect. There is no more isolation. Given that, one must consider the relationship between the Internet and governance. And perhaps even more importantly, the Internet may change forever governance of, by or for a people. Blogging and cell phone cameras that can transmit photos are having profound effects on the capability of individuals to constrain their governments at times when the governments may not want that.”

What’s Wrong With Global Government

Sometimes, I get so caught up in being opposed to something I fail to remind myself as to WHY I’m opposed to it. Yesterday I found myself – in the wake of so much news in the past few months regarding swine flu and the WHO; climate change and Copenhagen; and the manufactured economic crisis and the G20 – wondering if I could articulate to one who is not so politically aware or analytical just why I think Global Governance is such a terrible idea. Here are some of the reasons I knew that I knew, but just hadn’t taken the time to spell out to myself.

1. The loss of the people’s voice. Today in Washington, Americans on all sides of the political spectrum increasingly feel that we have no say in the decisions made by our leaders. Even though we vote, our choices of leaders are unsatisfying, frequently leading us to choose the “lesser of two evils.” John McCain isn’t a true Conservative, and thus left true Conservatives without a candidate. Barack Obama claimed to be a centrist but it turns out that he’s as much in the bag for the bankers as any good Globalist should be. Neither one of these two men – or any of the other candidates in the 2008 election, save one – were good for this country, and many people knew it but felt it their civic duty to vote for SOMEONE. For those of us who are not caught up in the false left-right paradigm, we looked at the candidates and thought, what is going on here, with this cult of personality battling it out against reluctant followers of a false war hero who in no way represents the traditional Republican ideals? We look at our members of Congress and think, what makes you think you can get away with continuing to put lobbyists and special interests ahead of your constituents? Yet they do get away with it because there’s just too much power behind Washington in the form of special interests, a lack of government transparency, and sheer arrogance.

If you think you lack a voice now, wait until we have Global Government. It would necessarily have to be tyrannical. It could not be a Democratic Republic (not that we really have that now) for the simple reason that it would be too difficult for the World leaders to control. We can relatively easily get on a plane or train, or hop in our cars and get ourselves to Washington DC and see our leaders face-to-face now. Our presence – if we wake up and start holding these officials accountable in whatever ways we have left – may once again remind them that they work for us, we don’t work for them or their lobbyist fundraisers. We can still have a march in DC including tens of thousands – like that of the Ron Paul Revolution or the tea party marches – to let them know that we’re watching. In a World Government model, it would be vastly more difficult to organize. We’d have to do it on a global scale and rely on the people of India or Afghanistan or Spain or Zimbabwe to have this march, people who generally are much worse off than we and are worried about how they’re going to feed their families tomorrow than going to a political march. The World leaders will be very comfortable in their ivory towers because they will know that they will be untouchable. So, your voice will be lost simply because of logistics. Regardless of who’s in power, your opposition to decisions made by a world body will be meaningless. If you’re liberal who truly cares about the plight of the hungry (and there aren’t as many of you as you may think), you will have no recourse to destructive policies made under the guise of “environmentalism,” and if you’re a conservative, you will scream at the top of your lungs about spending and no one will care. No one will even hear you. They’ll be too far away and too insulated for your voice to break through the walls.

2. Control. In a World Government model, there would necessarily have to be a technological control grid. The government simply can’t control 6 billion people (if that many are left when they’re done) without some sort of biotech or tracking devices. It will start with convenience, but the real reason will be control. We see this now even in America and Britain with the abundance of “traffic cameras” that automatically send you tickets for violating any one of our thousands of traffic laws. They can’t even control the population of a large metropolis – how will they do it on a global scale? A global government can’t control your “carbon emissions” (since that seems to be what they’ve resorted to), it can’t control your salary, it can’t control your internet activity, it can’t control your money, it can’t control your health unless we are all electronically tracked. Since the trend of global governance is heavily reliant on controlling people in order to achieve some sort of “greater good,” we must be tracked to make things “fair” for all people in the world. Yes – this is a joke. It is socialism at its worst. There are already RFID chips in our passports and our drivers’ licenses, but imagine what else the governors of this World body can use to track us. GPS on our cars, tracking where we go and storing that information just in case they need it later? Chips in our forearms? How else would a global health care system know what we’re putting into our bodies and if it adheres to our government-prescribed diet? How else will the government know if we’re going to our required one hour gym visit? Do I sound paranoid? I shouldn’t – the trend is towards less human-to-human interaction and more human-machine interaction. Think of ATMs, online ordering, and touch-tone menus when you call almost any company. Last time I went to the doctor, she had me put all my information not on a piece of paper, but a wireless entry system that sent my personal, intimate details to God-knows-where.

3. Management. We have the UN now, which is basically a useless organization, luckily for us. Even though member states donate their money to the UN, the leadership of a global government would have to be a financial body capable of compelling member states to pay to a coffer from which they will draw, supposedly to orchestrate the needs of the globe. Re-read that: “orchestrate the needs of the globe.” This is an impossibility. A small government body can’t orchestrate the needs of its small population, let alone the needs of 6 billion people. (This is ignoring the idea that we even need government to orchestrate our needs, which is debatable since most of what government gets involved in gets all screwed up, anyways.) Regardless of where on the political spectrum you lie, think about it on an accessible scale: public schools. Look at the school systems of any large metropolis…say, Chicago. In Chicago, we have hundreds of government workers, including teachers, principals, staff, security, secretaries, financial operators, etc. All of these people are working in tandem, supposedly to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of students in the system. Yet we still have failing schools, incredible government waste, teachers failing to get their paychecks, staff at human resources who let their phones ring and ring while they paint their nails, schools without textbooks but cappuccino machines and flat screen televisions in the downtown offices. Why? Because the vision of any large governmental organization that BY LAW must exist will falter because it’s too big. The workers “downtown” (or wherever this world body is based) is completely out of touch with the needs of the people to whom it’s dictating. Some banker in Copenhagen has no idea how I should best educate my child. And if you think that the global body will rely on the member states to communicate to it what those individuals need, again think of CPS. It’s global governance-in-training. It doesn’t work. The money isn’t used appropriately, people slip through the cracks, and we have no control over our own fates.

Lest some of you jump in here and say that it’s hypocritical to think that we will have a government that can’t manage its own money but can track our movements and actions, think of this: We have a government now that can’t run a DMV efficiently, but can track, record, catalog, and use your phone calls and emails against you at any moment, when it decides that you represent a threat to someone. We have a government now that can manipulate voter data in two minutes via hacking, and we have government agencies that can genetically modify our food, thus changing our DNA. The waste and fraud are not about incompetence – they’re about the simple fact that the people committing these acts of fraud and waste because THEY CAN. can storm into the DMV or the Chicago Public Schools’ Human Resources department and scream and I’ll be heard…somewhat. I can’t walk over to Copenhagen and scream. Again, it goes back to the loss of my voice as an individual.

4. The loss of our individual rights at the expense of others’. Think about this: In 2004, France passed a law prohibiting in schools “symbols or clothes through which students conspicuously display their religious affiliation.” In Switzerland, the building of new minarets is illegal. In America, we have new hate crime legislation that allows the federal government to re-try you if it’s unsatisfied with a not-guilty verdict in a hate crimes case, thus destroying our protections against double-jeopardy. There are now certain groups of people against whom crimes are more heinous than others. In all of these cases, the rights of the individual are completely wiped away because of group identity.

Diversity is an important aspect to living in a country such as America and a world such as ours. However, at what point to your individual rights to believe what you want, say what you want, and behave in a manner in which you want become less important than hurting someone else’s feelings? Imagine this on a global scale. Our bill of rights – which our founders wrote so as to keep the individual’s rights protected from government infringement – will be destroyed at the expense of “diversity.” It ceases to become diversity when only certain opinions are allowed. Imagine if suddenly – around the world – Muslim women who chose to wear the hijab were not allowed to do so. Imagine if suddenly – around the world – the construction of new Presbyterian churches was illegal. What would happen to diversity at the expense of diversity?

What does this have to do with World government? Conformity. The destruction of the individual and his or her desires, needs, dreams, personalities will be complete. Again, necessarily World government will have to streamline and level the world population, curbing our speech, beliefs, and actions. We’re easier to control then.

These are just some of the problems with World government. There are more – many more. Consider this a call to action – perhaps to add your own ideas, but more simply to become aware that this is our fate unless you wake up to the realities of what’s going on around you. The trend is towards global governance; it is almost upon us. According to the new EU president Herman van Rompuy, 2009 was the first year of World governance. Despite what I want, I agree with him. It happened seemingly without warning, but in truth people have been screaming about this for decades. They’re crazy, though; the “conspiracy theorists’ who are derided on television by the accepted talking heads tell us so, and many people believe them.

World government will be inevitable unless people start taking action in whatever way they need to in order to avoid it. We must take back the power that we’ve been letting go of gradually since this country’s founding. We must wake up. For those of you who voted for him, Barack Obama is NOT the savior of this country – you must see that by now. He’s committed to using the farce of climate change and destroying the United States financially in order to bring about Global governance, regardless if it’s what’s best for you, the individual