Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed the first mailing list exclusive, “Accessing Your Avatar State.” If you haven’t joined the mailing list yet, make sure you do! Exclusives are going to start becoming a regular thing now, so you’ll get tons of free bonus content! =D
Korra is a complex character, with some serious flaws, but also some serious virtues to redeem her. She’s an odd mix of naive and cynical, with some good old-fashioned bullheaded tendencies thrown in. She’s inherently trusting and sees good in people, which, unfortunately, leads her to be misled and manipulated by friends and family, particularly in the first two books. Being the Avatar makes her a serious power player in the world at large, and she seems to both underestimate and overestimate that influence early on in her tenure as the bridge between worlds.
Korra’s got a stubborn streak a mile wide, and a sense of self-righteousness to go with it. More often than not, she believes herself to be in the right, and once she has set her course she will not be dissuaded from it until she sees the consequences of her actions come to fruition. This is both a blessing, and a curse. Her abilities as a fighter grant her confidence, which is good, but sometimes this confidence takes her a bit too far.
To take our lesson from Korra in this regard, self-confidence is good, and makes you strong, but it requires temperance as well. Be confident in your own abilities and judgement, and trust your gut instincts, but also remember to listen to the wisdom of people who have earned your trust and proven their own judgement. Everyone needs their own Tenzen (even if they can be a bit stuffy at times).
Korra’s occasional cynicism comes from having been burned by people in the past, repeatedly, starting with her own family making the decision to isolate her from the world until she came of age. With that said, she retains a startling amount of optimism and faith in people, which can occasionally lead her astray, but more often comes through as a solid virtue.
Believing in people can be scary sometimes because it leaves one open to being hurt. Sometimes they do hurt us. More often than not, though, being optimistic and having faith in people can open up avenues that may not exist otherwise. People like people who like people, if you know what I mean. Yes, sometimes you can get burned, and you need to carefully examine interactions with others, particularly someone who may have hurt you in the past. Don’t let your cynicism get in the way of your happiness, however, or your ability to connect with others. There are way more good people in the world than bad, always remember that.
Above all else, Korra is a rebel. She’s got a healthy disrespect for authority, and she doesn’t appreciate anyone telling her what to do. She and I actually have a lot in common in that respect! This rebelliousness both helps and hurts her. With her aforementioned confidence and stubbornness, sometimes she rebels against the wrong people, which puts her in dangerous situations that people then have a very difficult time dissuading her from. At the same time, refusing to be told what to do means it’s often a lot harder for people to turn the Avatar into their own political puppet (however some people then resort to more insidious forms of manipulation.)
What can we take from this? Well, I’ll be the first person to tell you that most forms of authority are wrong, in some way. People have inherently flawed judgement, due to personal biases and whatnot, and because authority stems from people, then the authority is often inherently flawed as well. Accepting this is important, because it allows you to honestly inspect who is dictating conditions that you must act under, and lets you judge them accordingly.
Sometimes it make sense to follow authority. Parents are inherently flawed, but they still know what’s right for their kids due to their own greater experience and knowledge of the world. On the other hand, your manager at work may not actually know what’s best, but they may hold your job in their hands, so not doing what they tell you to do can sometimes be a risky decision to make. In the end, I like to examine what’s at stake when I make my decisions. If it’s only my own discomfort at risk, and the greater good is served by my temporary sacrifice of discomfort (paying my mortgage! =P), then I will often follow a flawed authority. However, if there’s something serious at stake, like personal wellbeing, other people’s lives, or something of the sort, you can bet your ass I’m going to rise up.
In the end, Korra’s a well-rounded, unique character. She may not always be the best role model, but often she is, because a sense of rebelliousness is not always a bad thing to have!
That’s it for our time with Korra. I hope you enjoyed it! We’ll have a video this Saturday, and then a new character on Monday! Who will it be? Go vote in the new character poll on the forums!
Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace