Where did the word Avatar Come From?
         
 

 

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Where did the word Avatar Come From?

 


There are actually quite a few definitions, but in essence, it is something that is controlled by another, whilst taking on the characteristics of another (a vague description, but you will see why).


Where the word Avatar actually comes from


The first use of the word came from the Hindu religion. Avatar was (and still is) used as a word to describe a manifestation of a deity. However, the thing that humans see is not the deity itself, but more like something that is controlled by a deity whilst also having part of the deity within it. The thing being controlled may be an animal, human or even the manifestation of Vishnu.


The Avatar having part of a deity within it is a concept that was best explained by Thomas Aquinas, when he described eating the body of Christ during communion. He explained how the bread/cracker that is eaten during communion is not physically the body of Christ, but how it has a little bit of Christ inside it. He likened it to putting a metal poker into a flame. The metal poker becomes red and hot like fire, but is not actually on fire.


Avatar has its place in occult texts


In occult text and Avatar may be a continuing entity, which is often marked as something that changes one object/person/life form into something else. This “something” else may be anything from a change in a person’s way of thinking, to the actual manifestation of an entity.


Robotic avatars are popular in movies


The use of a biological or robotic android/automaton has been used in recent movies. The movie “Surrogate” with Bruce Willis showed how a human person might control a robotic/synthetic person, which was known as an Avatar. In the movie “Avatar”, humans controlled a biological life form. Again, both instances qualify as avatars because they show one thing being controlled by another, whilst also taking on the characteristics of another.


Modern Avatar use is found in computing


An Avatar in online computing may be something as simple as an image that is used to represent a person or a group. However, the image must be of something other than the person using it. For example, one man may have an image of a cartoon fox for an Avatar, and then use that image whenever commenting on forums or entering chat room. It often involves a change of name too.


Other avatars are used, but they are moving/dynamic images that are often able to express reactions beyond mere text. They are sometimes used online, but are more often used in software. This is because rendering a good movable Avatar is difficult on a browser, whereas an Avatar may be quite sophisticated when it is install on a computer. It is also easy to control via an online connection too.

 
 
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