An analysis of Human Potential as implied in the novel, The Avatar Syndrome
It really depends whom you ask. Most of us limit our own effectiveness by assigning limitations on our own potential. We define our abilities or talents, physical dexterity, mental agility by external conditions over which we have no control. We subject ourselves to restrictions of environment, of inherited traits, of "higher powers" or even of the laws that seemingly control our destiny.
Such views may be imaginary, but they are very real to us, who self-impose such limitations. So, how should one define human potential?
David, the belligerent father of Solomon, said it succinctly. "Ye are gods," he had said. Are we? Was he just kidding?
History books are replete with great heroes, heroines, with magnificent leaders who conquered many nations, subjugated masses to their iron will. The financial times lists countless billionaires, people rich beyond wildest dreams of the, so-called, ordinary folks. Few of those common men and women know that some of those absurdly rich moguls had been school dropouts. And then there are others who overcame their personal challenges to become great artists, writers, or scientists, such as one divulging cosmological secrets. Disabled for decades by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly known in the United States as Lou Gehrig's Disease) Stephen Hawking delivers lectures from a wheelchair with monotonous wisdom emerging from an electronic voice synthesizer.
And then, there are the Avatars. As you read my novel, THE AVATAR SYNDROME, you will observe that all power, all riches, fame, adulation is transient. "Vanity of vanities… vanity of vanities; all is vanity," cried the Preacher with Shakespearean gusto. Was he wrong? What are we to say to people seeking success in quarterly returns? Are we to emulate them? Or should we emulate the Preacher? Are those things, riches, really transient? If so, if all is transient, then there is also good news – so are our perceived limitations.
It is not easy to judge others. I am, in the words of a reviewer, "a product of the expansive cultural landscape of our times." He also calls me, "a consummate student of ancient myths." They helped a lot. According to Bryn Symonds, I manage to "fuse the teachings of Lao Tzu, Jesus, St. Thomas Aquinas and Indian mysticism with contemporary issues of family, youth, feminism, fame and power to deliver a singular vision of what it could mean to be human." He doesn’t mention that English is my second language. No matter. I shed that limitation.
Back to The Avatar Syndrome. As in every good novel, there is a twist. The prodigy, the rarest of all talents, reaches her ultimate fame at a young age, seemingly with relatively little effort. The world is at her feet. Money, yes, even money, rolls in from millions of CD sold the world over. Has she reached her true potential? Has she reached the very limits of what it might mean to be human? Can we do more than rule the whole world without lifting more than our violin bow? Thousands would die to protect her. Thousand would queue for hours, days, just to hear her play a single note. Anne was lucky. Circumstances had forced her to examine her life early. We all have to do it sooner or later. After all, to quote Socrates, an unexamined life is not a life worth living.
"The Avatar Syndrome follows Anne from childhood, to womanhood; from a troubled, taciturn youth, to a world-renowned violinist; from misunderstood recluse, to messiah of a higher truth and beauty." Is Anne Howell, the diminutive heroine of the novel, an Avatar? She is certainly a messenger of truth and beauty. Are these not divine attributes? Has she reached the limits of human potential?
Or was her talent little more than a test of her true nature. You will have to decide for yourself after you read The Avatar Syndrome. I wouldn’t dream of depriving you of your pleasure.