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The world that Avatar: The Last Airbender ( A:TLA ) encompasses is vast and diverse, much like our world today. Within this, four main societies balance their universe: The Air Nomads, The Water Tribes, The Earth Kingdom and The Fire Nation. In their names alone we can see that each society is different and with these differences they bring not only balance, but harmony to their universe.
The specific topic for today is the Air Nomads who inhabit the vast Air Temples in the world of A:TLA. Unlike the other societies, they are spread throughout the world and do not occupy one place. Overall, they are governed by a theocracy based system and place utmost value upon life, viewing all things sacred. Thus, they are avid practicers of civil disobedience ( passive resistance ) and in general a society that advocates peace and acceptance. However, this also constitutes for their eventual genocide at the hands of Fire Lord Sozin.
From what we know, the Air Nomads ( as well as all other nations ) are quite controversial due to many questions posed by fans at the end of the season of A:TLA. Today, we the fans are going to put forth all these mysterious inquiries and together debate on their culture and derive possible concepts to satisfy our thirst of knowledge to the wonderful cartoon Nickelodeon has shared with us. This is not going to be a lesson of facts of the Air Nomads, as The Avatar Wiki already provides that for us, but rather a section of debate that we can finally discuss and share our opinions on what we think. I will put forth the many questions I have, and attempt to answer them. However, you the fans, as I am merely just a fan myself, may also pose questions and are welcome to add them as you wish. With that lets begin:
QUESTIONS AND OPINIONS
1) Why are the Air Temples spread throughout the world?
- I feel that the Air Temples are spread through out the world due to their great appreciation of life and high spiritual value they place upon their society. In order to completely understand a world, you must encompass it and thats what the Air Temples quite literally do: They have a location set in each major section of the world: North, South, East and West.
2) How does the society detail family?
- This concept has always baffled me about the Air Nomads. It would seem that they act as a family of whole, meaning that when a child is born they are not to distinguish a mother and father but rather view all his allies as his “brothers” and “sisters” and their parental figures as “Elders.” I always found it peculiar that Aang considered Monk Gyatso his fatherly figure, but there is no evidence to his birthright parents, or even that he was orphaned ( Based on his birth scene shown in “The Avatar and The Fire Lord” ). This concept has always caused me to wonder on how they associate with their society, if marriage is practiced and overall how romance is handled. The creators themselves joked about this at ComicCon 2010 when they did the short “Forbidden Love” and had Aang admit the Monks weren’t forthcoming on the reproduction process ( o.0; ).
3) Do you honestly believe that all Monks were indeed advocates of passive resistance, especially with the attitude and demeanor of Monk Tashi?
- I believe that Monk Tashi is a great example of the more trifling side of the Air Nomads society. Rather than take a more spiritual and humble approach to Aang being the Avatar, as Monk Gyatso did, Tashi was more than willing to put forth telling Aang his duty at an early age to prepare for an upcoming war. In this, it is obvious he sacrificed his cultural beliefs for a more needed purpose, but it also questioned if the Air Nomads, if given the opportunity, would have held their ground against Sozin had he not used an ambush tactic. As the High Monks were in agreement to send Aang to the Eastern Air Temple to complete his training, it may be the case that the Monks may have had a more aggressive nature like Tashi, and Gyatso was more kind in nature, which Aang cherished, and was the foundation of Aang’s passive resistance attitude. In other words, Aang’s evocation of the Air Nomads in reflection of Gyatso’s position as one, and may not be entirely what the Air Nomads society is truly about since Aang is only a child, and not an adult. Thus, we may not truly know what their culture is about, and only Aang’s opinion of what it is.
4)How do you perceive Avatar Yangchen’s comment to Aang, “Many great and wise Air Nomads have detached themselves and achieved Spiritual Enlightenment.”
- The conversation with Aang and Yangchen has always made me wonder even more about the Air Nomads. With that comment, she says spiritual enlightenment is obtained by detaching yourself from worldly things, much like how Guru Pathik says Aang much detach himself from the worldly objects that marry him to this world. Aang struggles in doing this because that would mean he has to sacrifice his love, Katara, in order to invoke the cosmic energy, thus becoming a fully realized Avatar. Correlating these two concepts, it would seem that the High Monks are not phased by the worldly attachments and may have no issue in eradicating them as their spiritual enlightenment teaches them of the greater, good things in life are beyond worldly concepts and that these things may be sacrificed in order to keep balance in the world. As Aang struggles doing this, and even goes as far as sealing his 7th chakra by choosing attachment, it would seem the Air Nomads philosophy is in conflict with his interpretation of the Air Nomads philosophy, meaning he may have not fully understood it and instead prioritized Gyatso’s perception, which in a sense is skewed.
5)Airbending is a major part of the Air Nomads society. However, do you feel that Airbending is something the Air Nomads taught to their people through spiritual training or is something the individual is born with that defines them as an Air Nomad?
- The fact that bending acquisition is a debatable topic in itself, we must realize that bending in each nation is considered almost like a race, thus beliefs and practices differ in each case. With that in mind, the Air Nomads were very unique in the matter that each member possessed the skill based on the knowledge and scenes we are given in the cartoon. With that, they seem to correlate spiritual strength into their bending capabilities. Thus, it seems to be that though the Airbending is found in all the Air Nomads themselves they place a barrier of spiritual acquisition in order to use it effectively. As each major element is in-tuned with certain aspects of human emotion, it seems "Faith" may be the crutch the Air Nomads lean upon. That in itself may support that the reasons why there is an abundance of Airbenders within the Air Nomads, because of the spiritual intuition of the parents may be generating their child to be bestowed with the gift through the pregnancy and birth process. In other words, their spirituality is strong enough to influence the genetic processing, much like spirituality of Chief Arnook bestowing Princess Yue with the genetic make-up to revert her illness through the recognition of Tui.
6)Given that the Air Nomads were ambushed with the element of surprise, had they not been do you think that Fire Lord Sozin would have been able to successfully carry out the Air Nomads genocide?
- Aang tells us during "The Headband" that Fire Lord Sozin won by ambush. However, he merely states that the Air Nomads had no formal army, meaning that they may have had some defense procedures in place. With this, and the acknowledgement that the Air Nomads were aware of the upcoming war makes me wonder how the battle would have turned out. The one fact that I always pondered was the Air Nomads were aware of Aang's disappearance so they, as it obviously states, must have prepared for the onslaught. Also, as there were many casualties, shown in "The Southern Air Temple," meaning they were able to put up a decent battle. There are many factors that support each side. The Fire Nation was enhanced by Sozin's Comet, but did not have the mechanical technology they had in the era of the series. The Air Nomads had a debatable ethic of war but an obvious obligation to participate, but did have their trump card: The Avatar. I, personally, feel that Sozin would have been victorious because of the Fire Nation's enhanced ability being their trump card and its availability to them. However, the Airbending techniques being executed with an abundance of benders may also have been equally as devastating as Airbending is defined as being the most evasive and dynamic, something heavily in contrast to Firebending. So tell me, who do you think would have won?
7)What do you, fellow users and debaters, want to put forth about the Air Nomads? What do you want to share and know?
- Please users, I want to hear your questions and responses. I have put forth my interests, and now I want to hear yours! YES MS. KWAN! MY MIND IS READY TO BE MOLDED! But... By you, the user!
HOW TO DEBATE AND DISCUSS
- Please remember, this is my opinion and I want to hear your opinions! Don't be shy, but please don't focus on correcting every little mistake. Instead, use your examples to prove your points rather than degrading another user. This way, the conversational element of this topic remains true and others won't shy away voicing their opinion.
- I deliberately did not include many elements so other users can have a chance to voice their opinions. Remember, this blog isn't just so I can get what is on my mind heard, but rather so you can be heard to and we all can get feedback! :)
- I will provide 4 comments that will be titled as each question I have put forth that can be used as mediums to discuss and debate what I have put forth.
- My 4 questions should not be the only thing discussed. If you feel you have something you want to contribute and put forth, PLEASE DO! Start a new comment with your question, then reply to it with your detailed explanation ( I suggest doing the question and explanation on a separate text document and then copy and paste it so you don't run into too many people responding before you get a chance to explain your stand point ).
- Please be respectful to yourself and users by not destroying the integrity of the blog. After all, it is the tradition of Air Nomads. Or is it?
HOPE TO HEAR FROM ALL YOU!!!
Prince Azula 20:53, October 4, 2010 (UTC)