Avatar is a funny movie. It’s the most successful movie ever, yet nobody really talks about it. That is mostly because it’s the world building and not the story that people remember.
Not that I see that as a problem. The fact that people shelled out so much to see a world that ‘might exist’ largely because of how detailed it was is a testimony to the creator. It also demonstrates that people want to know, want to speculate on what other worlds might be like. I am amazed that nobody has followed on but then I suspect no other movie maker has James Camerons environmental credentials.
Avatar extends on the Transhumanism concept in two important ways. First it postulates that there is the possibility that a greater biological connection exists, one that can emulate the kind of computer environments that we saw in the matrix. Second it postulates that body hopping is a thing, that we could potentially augment, prolong or change our lives simply by swapping our consciousness to another body.
The second part has had some working through, Cassandra the last human in Doctor Who seasons 1 & 2 for example. Still mostly it’s been used for storytelling effect, this is the first time to really explore the idea as a thing in of itself.
The reality is if we are to get off of earth and into the universe all options will need to be on the table. While we can create better machines to take us there, chances are we will also need to change ourselves for we too are built to exist within a narrow band of environmental conditions. We don’t do well in high carbon dioxide environments for example.
The primary question in Transhumanism is how far are we willing to go. We will like the daleks choose not to be human any more in order that we can do more. Avatar doesn’t answer that question but at least it asks that question.
Lets see if they explore that further in the next round of Avatar movies.