Avatar has returned to theaters with a second part —titled the sense of water— and, with its premiere, what is known as the ‘post-avatar depression syndrome‘. While Canadian director James Cameron’s first film was in theaters, fans suffered intense longing for the planetary moon depicted in Pandora and its Na’vi humanoids.
The spectacle and the immersive reality of the work could be too shocking for some. For example, in the forum Avatar Forumsa topic titled Ways to deal with depression from the dream of Pandora being intangible came to receive more than 1,000 posts from people who had experienced depression.
Such was the success of this forum, reported CNN in 2010, that its creator, Philippe Baghdassarianhad to make a new thread available to fans so people could continue to post their mixed feelings about the movie.
“I wasn’t depressed. In fact, the movie made me happy,” Baghdassarian told the US network. “But I can understand why it made people depressed. The movie it was so beautiful and showed something we don’t have here on earth”. “I think people saw that we might be living in a completely different world and it got them down,” the forum creator concluded.
The obsession with the universe seized some followers of the tape. “That’s all I’ve been doing lately, searching the internet for more information on Avatar,” Elequin posted on the forum at the time.
“Ever since I went to see Avatar, I have been depressed. Seeing the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them,” another user named Mike wrote in 2010. “Even I contemplate suicide thinking that if I do, I will be reborn in a world similar to Pandora.”
[Jon Landau, productor de ‘Avatar’: “El 3D bien hecho provoca una respuesta más visceral a la acción”]
Not a recognized medical problem
According to The Guardian, Post-Avatar Depression Syndrome (SDPA or PADS) not a recognized medical problemalthough it is a observable phenomenon. That is, it represents feelings of depression and even suicidal thoughts, as has been observed in the comments on the various forums dedicated to the universe created by Cameron.
Apparently, Avatar provokes similar feelings among disparate people. The reality of the film provokes in some spectators some feelings like sadness from feeling disconnected from natureworries about the future of our own planet and feeling dissatisfied with modern life.
“Virtual life is not real life and it never will be, but this is the pinnacle of what we can build into a virtual presentation so far,” Dr. Stephan Quentzel, a psychiatrist in New York, told CNN in 2010. “The best of our technology has been taken to create this virtual world and real life will never be so utopian as it appears on the screen. Make that the real life seems more imperfect“.
what is the solution
The main remedy to cope with PADS is to get to know the real world, to connect with the nature of the Earth. Ancient Forest Alliancea Canadian NGO dedicated to the protection of mature forests, developed a three step cure for SDPAs, as reported by The Guardian: “Get out and experience nature, take action to defend nature and get others to do the same.”
[James Cameron vuelve a ‘Avatar’: “Hay que desequilibrar al público y hacer cosas que no esperan”]
Ivar Hill, a Swede who was 17 – now 30 – when he wrote his first comment on the forum, says he suffered from depression when he first saw Avatar. However, after speaking with other followers of the ‘blue’ life, he began to read philosophy and spend more time in nature.
“Avatar made me feel like I could sit in a forest and just be,” he told the New York Times last month.
In short, the solution is to get to know our planet better and channel those feelings to create a better world. As another SDPA supporter recounts in the documentary series How To with John Wilson: “As a last resort, arises from the desire to want something better”.
And he concludes: “But just because we have that desire, I think it drives us to make the world we live in a better place”.