Monday, 25 June 2012

The Avatar III

Still rereading The Avatar, I have looked ahead to trace the development of the avatars.

In Chapter I, a birch is Tree.
VI: a moth is Insect.
XIII: a salmon is Fish.
XXI: a crow is Bird.
XXIX: a chimpanzee is Mammal.
XXXVI: a man is Man.

The salmon is the first to mention "...the Summoner..." who:

"...came and took me into Oneness." (1)

The man, when Summoned:

"...was every god that had ever been, and understood everything that was." (2)

In Chapter XLV, a woman avatar explains the process to future humanity and thus also to the reader.

An avatar:

is brought forth by the Others;
is a normal organism;
has come into being instead of a similar "bion" (?) that would otherwise have done so;
contains deep and fine molecular/atomic structures that do not affect its functioning and are not heritable but that make Oneness possible;
in the case of a Terrestrial vertebrate, is usually generated by parthenogenetic fertilization of an ovum with the addition of the micro-organ for the cell to replicate;
in the case of a human being, is conceived by a woman who remembers an encounter with a supernatural being ("...rainbows and suns, purple and gold, wind and wild seas and everything a glory." (3));
lives out its time as a member of its species;
may never be Summoned;
if Summoned, is a means by which the Others partake in all life;
is then returned whence it came to go on as it was;
if sentient, may partially remember Oneness.

The experiences of the avatars are just one thread through a 404-page novel although they could have formed a shorter work in their own right.

(1) Anderson, Poul , The Avatar, London, 1981, p. 124.
(2) ibid., p. 317.
(3) ibid., p. 85.

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