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Author Topic: Avatar Spirit: Posession or Reincarnation?  (Read 6560 times)
Loopy
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« Reply #75 on: Mar 11, 2012 07:17 pm »

It's worth noting that all flavors of Christianity refer to the Trinity as "the mystery." So, even they can't explain how it works.
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« Reply #76 on: Mar 11, 2012 07:44 pm »

My point being that simultaneous incarnation is not unique to ATLA.
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« Reply #77 on: Mar 11, 2012 07:58 pm »

I never said it was unique to ATLA. I said that it was more than just reincarnation happening in ATLA.
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« Reply #78 on: Mar 11, 2012 08:34 pm »

People get reincarnated all the time with different personalities. Krishna for example. I don't see why we must assume its any different when all evidence points to the reincarnation we see IRL.

Perhaps because we don't see any reincarnation in real life? Not counting holy books which I consider fairy tales.

I agree with aa623. The Avatar Spirit is tranferable, and it merges with the spirit of the original host. Else there's no way to explain why the ghosts of the previous Avatars are still around after the new one is born.
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« Reply #79 on: Mar 11, 2012 09:02 pm »

Not counting holy books which I consider fairy tales.
Quoted for truth. 

^Yeah, it has to be some sort of combination because it wouldn't make any sense otherwise when Avatars converse.
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« Reply #80 on: Mar 12, 2012 12:24 am »

Avatar is also a "fairy tale" so that doesn't disclude anything.


Jesus also conversed with his own incarnations; we have no need to come up with some special form of reincarnation that's not reincarnation when the series SAYS it's reincarnation and we have examples of how that works IRL.
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« Reply #81 on: Mar 12, 2012 03:28 am »

^ I repeat, I don't consider holy books any more true than fairy tales. We don't have examples of how reincarnation works IRL because the Bible doesn't count as IRL; we have no proof any of it ever happened, so it's just another story to me.

You're basically saying "Reincarnation in Avatar has to work like this because in <insert random work of fiction here> it also works like this!" Sorry, but that's not an argument. Sure, it's possible that it went like that, but it's also entirely possible that M&B came up with their own definition. Our explanation is as good as yours, really.
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« Reply #82 on: Mar 12, 2012 06:25 am »

But is their any example of someone coming up with a new way for something whole cloth. It's be like a show that focused on Alchehemy having people call Engineering Alchemy, Occam's Razor. We can't assume Avatar Reincarnation works differently from every other use of the term.
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« Reply #83 on: Mar 12, 2012 10:23 am »

^ But there are different uses of the term. That's the whole point.

You have complete reincarnation (not an official name) where the same soul/spirit/entity, memories and all, jumps to a new body every time. You have 'normal' reincarnation where the new body inherits the soul but not the memories. Then there's partial reincarnation where the past life only determines part of a personality, and the other part is made up by the owner of the new body. And then apparently there's what you call 'simultaneous reincarnation', which means that the same entity can inhabit several bodies at the same time (though personality, I wouldn't really call this reincarnation).

All of those are common in fiction. How do we know which one M&B decided to use? Obviously it's not the first, but the others are all possible. Personally, I still think it's number three, because that would explain the former Avatar souls in the spirit World.
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« Reply #84 on: Mar 12, 2012 11:03 am »

But all three of those are reincarnation all the same, and number 3 would be true off the examples due to the nature/nurture dialactic.

And would you mind choosing a less offensive terms for all the world's religions than "fairy tale?"
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« Reply #85 on: Mar 12, 2012 02:38 pm »

^No, I think he clearly described different things. 
Also there is no such thing as "simultaneous reincarnation." What you are describing is something just having different forms. Jesus is not the reincarnation of a god. He is a different incarnation, or different form (in this case human). He is 1 of 3 beings that make up 1 entity. They are not reincarnations of each other. You could even say that Jesus is an Avatar of whatever god he is associated with.

By definition in our world an Avatar is a physical incarnation of a god or other entity.
In ATLA this is true in that the human Avatar is the mortal physical form of the Avatar Spirit. However, the Avatar Cycle causes the Avatar to be continuously reborn as a human i.e. reincarnation.

Also there are far more offensive things that could be said than calling world religions "fairy tales." NeeNee is just stating his beliefs.  You don't have to agree, but calling them fairy tales isn't harming anyone.
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« Reply #86 on: Mar 12, 2012 03:35 pm »

Saying mean things is harmful; I could say rather mean things about a number of groups, that, while in line with my beliefs could be said with a lot more tact. "Fairy tale" has a connotation of childishness, naivete, ignorance, and condescension, it's quit harmful, and I'm pretty sure you agree that words hurt.



And yeah I suppose "Simultaneous Reincarnation" is a bit counter intuitive I probably should have dropped the "re-" but I was grouping things into the umbrella category of "incarnation" and was just saying that there'd be no reason to invent a mechanic whole cloth and name it after a previously known mechanic that has mechanics, there's no reason to assume it's some special type of "possession" since we haven't seen anything in canon, therefore Occam's Razor would tell us to assume reincarnation works like we would assume it to.

It's the same argument why I dislike "miracle Azula" cures. You can't say that just because canon doesn't show something that you can make up counter intuitive definitions for something. I could say that a race of invisible pink unicorns orbited the sun past the kupier belt and ate flying spaghetti, but I can't act as if that's true off the bat.
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« Reply #87 on: Mar 12, 2012 04:47 pm »

Ok  Roll Eyes

Possession is a bad name for it.  It's not possession. We're talking about the nature of how the Avatar Spirit comes into a new incarnation. I personally think there are multiple things going on.

I honestly do not understand what you are saying for the most part. No one is saying anything is true or canon. You must not be that familiar with the nature of fandoms.
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« Reply #88 on: Mar 12, 2012 05:17 pm »

"Familiar?" Yes. "Accepting?" Not that much. Wink
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« Reply #89 on: Mar 12, 2012 05:29 pm »

OH WOW WHERE HAS THIS THREAD BEEN ALL MY LIFE!

Seriously, I love stuff like this. Cheesy I eat these kinds of things for breakfast. Nom!

*cracks knuckles*

Let's begin, shall we?

Here's the facts we have so far:
-As far as we know, there's only one avatar at a time
-The Avatar Spirit leaves a body immediately when the avatar dies
-It enters a new body within 2 weeks of the last avatar's death (at birth? Or in utero?)
-The current avatar is able to communicate with past avatars in the Spirit World and on earth
-Past avatars are able to manifest themselves in place of current avatars (Spirit World Pt2, Avatar Day)
-The Avatar State is the combination of all the power and wisdom from all the past avatars
-The Avatar State can be triggered by extreme physical or mental stress (defense mechanism), or willingly triggered by the current avatar (power boost)
-If the current avatar is killed in the Avatar State, the avatar as an entity ceases to exist (meaning, there will never be a new avatar again, and old avatars can no longer be contacted)
-If the Avatar State is triggered by extreme stress, the avatar's eyes glow (or tattoos if the Avatar in question is also an Air Nomad) and they start bending uncontrollably (note, depending on the nature of the stress, the avatar will form a protective shield, become indiscriminately destructive, OR directly attack the source of danger)
-If the Avatar State is willingly entered, his/her eyes glow briefly, then they are in complete control with the addition of extreme god-like power
-When the avatar enters the Avatar State, his/her voice becomes the collective voice of all the avatars
-Other spirits can directly interact with the Avatar Spirit (Fang and Hei Bai, revealing to Aang certain visions, and La, triggering Koizilla)
-The Avatar tends to attract similar people in each lifetime (does this mean the Gaang are also reincarnations, though less sophisticated than the avatar? Or does this operate like the toy test: the avatar is attracted to vaguely familiar people?)
-Depending on the situation, Aang will sometimes refer to past avatars as 'I' ("Why did he - or, I - try to kill you?"; accepting full responsibility for Chin's death)

Hm, I think I'm still missing a few things, but that's basically what we have so far.

I loved all the past arguments, by the way. They were very interesting and insightful. Cheesy

Anyway... All of the above facts seem to point to the theory that the Avatar Spirit and Aang's individual spirit (soul?) are intertwined, but can be distinct. Or, er, they operate on different facets of an entire being (meaning, Aang's side is in charge of the personality and memories, and the avatar's side is in charage of some of the talents and skills. Um, something like that, but not as cut-and-dry). Personally, I think it rolls like this:

The Avatar Spirit is not a thing within itself, but a collection of thousands of different people. That's why the AS not just random power, it's specifically described as a collection of all the avatars' wisdom and power.

It's like a central hub kind of thing... Based in the Spirit World, but acting through different hosts at one time. Roku and Aang are not quite one-in-the-same, but they have a strong connection to each other that transcends time and physicality.

The Avatar Spirit and the baby it decides to inhabit are originally distinct. If Roku hadn't died when he did, Aang would have still been born and been who he was, just without being the Avatar. However, as the host person grows older, they and the spirit grows together and indistinguishable. So, as Aang grows older, his status as the Avatar shapes who he becomes. When he learned waterbending, Aang became more responsible. When he learned earthbending, Aang became more determined and steadfast. When he learned firebending, Aang became more proactive in regards to his own destiny.

But, that could be chalked up to life in general shaping someone's personality. I don't know. It's all pretty fuzzy. xD

Still, I like the theory that the Avatar Spirit doesn't die when the host dies because the host's body cushions and protects the Avatar Spirit, but when the avatar dies in the AS, the Avatar Spirit dies as well because that's the one moment in time that it's laid bare and at it's most vulnerable. I guess in order really use its full power, the Avatar Spirit has to present itself in the physical world (through the glowing of the avatar's world).

But, I guess in order to answer the question of whether or not that Avatar Spirit possesses or reincarnates, we must first answer another: Where did the Avatar Spirit come from in the beginning? The answer to this, I think, will clear up how the Avatar Spirit operates.

---------------------------

Anyway, why are we getting into a religious debate? Huh Seriously, that has no place here. For this debate to work, we'll need to abandon IRL notions about life and being and etc and only think about the evidence we have in the Avatarverse. What occurs -- or doesn't occur -- here in real life is irrelevant. If I want to argue that there really is a race of invisible pink unicorns orbiting the sun past the kupier belt and eating flying spaghetti in the Avatar world, and there's no stopping me unless there's canon evidence contradicting that theory. That's why it's so fun discussing and debating ambiguous topics such as these: there's no one right answer and contradicting theories can be equally true.

That's why I love these types of threads. <3 I love looking at both sides and seeing that they both have a good point or too.
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« Reply #90 on: Mar 12, 2012 05:38 pm »

And yeah I suppose "Simultaneous Reincarnation" is a bit counter intuitive I probably should have dropped the "re-" but I was grouping things into the umbrella category of "incarnation" and was just saying that there'd be no reason to invent a mechanic whole cloth and name it after a previously known mechanic that has mechanics, there's no reason to assume it's some special type of "possession" since we haven't seen anything in canon, therefore Occam's Razor would tell us to assume reincarnation works like we would assume it to.

When Jesus was killed, he wasn't reborn as a mortal girl.

Occam's Razor officially says that Christianity and all its mechanics have no place in this discussion, whatever one may think of the religion.
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« Reply #91 on: Mar 12, 2012 06:58 pm »

That point is irrelevant. Occam's Razor suggests LikeRealityUnlessNoted and therefore getting "fancy" is just silly.
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« Reply #92 on: Mar 12, 2012 07:21 pm »

That point is irrelevant. Occam's Razor suggests LikeRealityUnlessNoted and therefore getting "fancy" is just silly.

But your assumptions hinge on the assumption that the Avatar world is a fictional world created within our world.

It's a correct assumption, but that kills all good discussion. That's no fun at all.

We're assuming that the Avatar world is an actual world that plays by rules not at all like ours. And by taking away the context of our world, we end up looking only at evidence from the show itself (and related officially released materials). That ends up opening things up rather nicely.
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« Reply #93 on: Mar 12, 2012 08:43 pm »

But opening things is a bad thing. Openings only lead to chaos, only by closing can we achieve the Truth.
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« Reply #94 on: Mar 12, 2012 09:22 pm »

^ Er... what? Huh

Dude, we're having speculative discussions about the possible mechanics of a fictional world to amuse ourselves. The Truth? What the hell are you talking about?
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« Reply #95 on: Mar 12, 2012 10:35 pm »

I'm just not big on that whole "free expression" stuff when it deals with pre-existing canon; it's why I go out of the way to make all my fanfiction compatible with canon (or have a reason for being incongruous, I.e. It's a dream or a work of fiction in-universe.)


I'd rather we use logic to go with what's most likely true rather than just doing our own thing.


(If you'd noticed, this is also why I hate shippers.)
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« Reply #96 on: Mar 12, 2012 10:49 pm »

Then maybe you shouldn't involve yourself with fandoms.  Most of it it trying to better understand what is canon.

I'd rather we use logic to go with what's most likely true rather than just doing our own thing.
I had to lol at this. We've been using logic to better understand this show. Not big on "free expression"? lol
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« Reply #97 on: Mar 12, 2012 11:00 pm »

Trying to understand canon differs greatly from trying to bend it. The show says it's Reincarnation, so it's reincarnation; I take it at face value and assume they said what they meant, rather than coming up with some sui generis paranormal theory on it.
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« Reply #98 on: Mar 12, 2012 11:15 pm »

Trying to understand canon differs greatly from trying to bend it. The show says it's Reincarnation, so it's reincarnation; I take it at face value and assume they said what they meant, rather than coming up with some sui generis paranormal theory on it.

What? We don't even know what reincarnation specifically means to the Avatarverse, how souls and spirits work, or any of that. NeeNee's correct: there's different theories about how reincarnation works, and the Avatar Spirit could fall under one of those, or a new spin to the concept -- anything.

No one's bending anything from canon. We're just extrapolating from what we've got.

I'm sorry you're uncomfortable with speculation, but must you invite yourself into speculation-heavy threads and stomp all over its very idea? Sheesh.
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« Reply #99 on: Mar 12, 2012 11:44 pm »

I'm just not big on that whole "free expression" stuff when it deals with pre-existing canon; it's why I go out of the way to make all my fanfiction compatible with canon (or have a reason for being incongruous, I.e. It's a dream or a work of fiction in-universe.)

I'd rather we use logic to go with what's most likely true rather than just doing our own thing.
What pre-existing canon? How are any of the three possibilities I mentioned not compatible with what we've seen in the show?

You say you use logic, but so far the only counterargument I've heard from you is "but that's not how it goes in the Bible!". So what? It's got nothing to do with this. If you think my theory is not 'most likely true', then give me real reasons why (because yes, I am also looking for the most plausible option. I just don't see why your explanation is any more plausible than mine).


Trying to understand canon differs greatly from trying to bend it. The show says it's Reincarnation, so it's reincarnation; I take it at face value and assume they said what they meant, rather than coming up with some sui generis paranormal theory on it.
And what is reincarnation, exactly?

Because (as mentioned multiple times before) the term doesn't have just one definition. There's a long list of religions that believe in the concept, and they all have a slightly different take on the issue. The three variants I proposed are all in there as well, so they all exist 'in real life'.

So yeah, your 'my reincarnation is the only true one' argument has been debunked. Any other reasons why the 'partial reincarnation' theory can't work? Because I honestly fail to see how it contradicts or bends canon in any way.
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