Friday, February 12, 2010

The Anti-Avatar: "I Believe in Philosophy"

In an atmosphere of cultural decay and corruption, it is things like these that make you go on living. I have just seen Agora, a film that exceeded my wildest expectations. On the most fundamental level, it is the Anti-Avatar.
The movie is set in Alexandria, the heart of ancient science and philosophy. The ancient world's greatest library and research center (originally centered at the Museum - the House of the Muses - and then at the Serapeum - the Temple of Serapis), founded by a student of Aristotle and modeled after his Lyceum, and the Pharos, the world's tallest lighthouse, both feature prominently there.
Hypatia, the main protagonist, embodies the spirit of Hellenic culture. When asked how she dared not to believe in God, she said: "I believe in philosophy."
But barbarians were already at the gate. In contrast to the eulogized savages in Avatar, Agora shows the forces of unreason for what they really are. As opposed to Avatar's call for destroying civilization, Agora is an ode to the glorious achievements of the human mind.
Eventually, the Christian hordes pounced on their prey. The heart of the civilized world beat no more. It was torn out by Christianity. 
But Hypatia's efforts were not in vain. It would beat again…

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