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The Philosophy of Avatar: the Last Airbender

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Claire Penney

on 8 May 2013

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Transcript of The Philosophy of Avatar: the Last Airbender

THE PHILOSOPHY OF: Water (is) Benevolent Earth (is) Strong Fire (is) Fierce Air (is) Peaceful The Avatar There is only one person in the world capable of bending all four major elements - the Avatar. The Avatar is the divine spiritual entity of the world continuously reborn and reincarnated in human form.
In this series, Aang happens to be the avatar - although he struggles accepting this responsibility... This also relates to Nietzche's philosophy of an all-powerful being; although the avatar is not necessarily the übermensch, he or she is a being who has the ability to bend all 4 elements, while other people have the ability to bend only 1 element or no elements. However, the power = happiness idea does not exactly apply, as the avatar must use her or his power to bring balance and peace to the world; this relates to Bentham's philosophy about making the best choices not just for yourself, but for those around you. Conflict and How it Relates to Philosophy The main conflict in the series is the 100 year war with the Fire Nation. Lead by Fire Lord Ozai, the Fire Nation seeks to encompass the world to "share" the Fire Nation's prosperity and "goodness" to the other nations. This instigates the 100 year war. Ozai and his predecessors' (Sozin and Azulon) philosophy relates to Nietzsche's übermensch philosophy and the "happiness is having power" ideology. Ozai certainly feels the "weak will parish," and believes in "master-morality" as Nietzche does. Ozai also truly believes he is the "übermensch" as he crowns himself "Phoenix King" in the last episode.
*SPOILER* The Fire Nation is defeated. This philosophy did not work well for them... The Show's Philosophy A great deal of emphasis is placed on the need for grace and forgiveness, the effects of violence and the costly nature of seeking to understand and love one’s enemies are never shied away from, and the series displays a surprisingly nuanced view of humanity’s capacity for both good and evil.
The four nations are actually one, that all the nations have a lot in common, that only superficial differences keep them apart and that it is the Avatar’s job to bring them back together, to unite the world, in harmony.
Top of map loosely translates to "Mighty Heroes/ Powers divided into Four" (A pun on the first two characters.)
Bottom of map is a Confucius quote: "Unite the World."
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