[Milton-L] "Avatar" reviewed by Milton : What can we do?

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Jan 28 22:04:29 EST 2010


Carter:

I'd only want to burn Hegelians at the stake because of the way that
they write.  Seriously criminal.

But thank you for your response.  We are starting out from two
different places here, even with Rousseau, as his idealization of
Native Americans is an idealization of -currently living, physically
observable, real people- -- as is the origin of the myth guiding the
film Avatar.

I wouldn't compare either of these to Milton's Eden, which could be
viewed (from within Milton's mythology, though I'm not sure Milton
would agree in this specific case) as a fallen presentation of an
unfallen environment.

I tend not to accept qualifications such as, "it does exist, as a
literary construct."  Yes, certainly, Milton's Eden does exist as a
literary construct, but that mode of existence is not comparable to
the mode of existence of Native Americans who lived during Rousseau's
day.  Native American culture exists (and existed) simultaneously as a
real, material culture and a literary construct, so there is some
basis of comparison between the two.  Milton's Eden exists only as a
literary construct with no physical referent within recorded history.

Milton's Eden exists as the embodiment of cultural ideal purified of
compromise.  Rousseau's Native Americans exist as the projection of
cultural ideals onto living people who have no cultural continuity
with them.    These are apples and oranges.

Jim R


More information about the Milton-L mailing list