The Ultimate Truth of Evangelion

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Postby gchristnsn » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:56 pm

View Original PostJornophelanthas wrote:Insulting the intelligence of the people you're trying to convince tends not to convince them at all. Instead, it is turning your own position into dogma, not truth, which weakens your ability to convince.


I have no other ways to say, that there actually no reasons, because there are actually none, sorry.

Yes, the thread title is too provocative (don't know, if some one would take such a conversation seriously, so it probably should be so), earlier I have explained the criteria of credibility I use in detail (but it's actually hard to comprehend), in addition the explanations I use do not contain all the chains necessary to connect facts, so the conversations actually help me to understand what people are miss in my explanations (and what is missing in my picture) and to show a way how to use the criteria of credibility (people don't understand what I actually do, and think that I don't consider their facts or don't believe that their arguments actually affect nothing, although I unconsciously may also abandon some facts, I don't deny, this).

To clarify the methodology (you may consider this as blah-blah-blah and don't take it seriously, believe it or not, but this explains why I believe that NGE is not just a mess and why people generally don't believe why it may be not just a mess):

- My reconstruction covers the base layer of the plot (the complementation conspiracy), which connects other layers.
- This layer contains statements (some are connected with facts, some are not), scattered facts (for example, the fusion of DNA of the test subject and Adam), some facts could be obtained only through connections (for example, the origin of Ayanami), some facts could be obtained only through visual hints (for example pillars of salt and inscriptions in Ayanami's room). Connections between the most of the pivot facts are intentionally removed to entrap a viewer.
- To solve the plot means to find the missing casual connections (you already have them in the most of other shows). The interpretation of the other layers may be purely speculative, because you operate only with motivations, but here you could find more or less solid solution, because you operate with facts.
- Chains of connections may branch (for example because you has incorrectly interpreted a fact obtained through connections), and you may get different solutions if you have not enough facts in your picture. The amount of facts you have determines the clarity of your solution, because you may get contradictions in some root points if you have enough facts to get connections between them. You may consider your solution as credible if you have not enough facts, because you may not notice the contradictions.
- There is only one credible plot exists (it's not possible to state this absolutely strictly, because it's hard to comprehend all the facts, but there are several root points such as a statement about the third impact from angels, Kaworu's deceive, behavior of the military in EoE which will obligatory give contradictions, and there are no other easy ways to connect facts in such a way which does not raise contradictions there).
- You may do not notice contradictions at all or introduce purely speculative entities which will hide the contradictions, so a credible plot should contain a minimum of such entities (the simpler solution should be preferred to more complex) and it's necessary to pay extra attention to this entities.
- There are no ways to easily connect facts by not using some of them (for example, from the Judaist mythology) literally, which indicates that they was intentionally used in such a way.
- It's absolutely not possible to solve this layer without EoE, but the end of the series clears some facts at this layer, so both are valuable.
- My explanations of the show should not be considered as absolutely credible, because I may misinterpret some facts and I definitely still have missing connections, but facts and connections from there may be useful, although personally I consider the solution enough credible to consider it as a the simplest possible underlying plot.

I have no intentions to converse on this, so just believe or not.
A short guide to NGE

- Simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones. - Occam's razor
- Since we can never know anything for sure, it is simply not worth searching for certainty; but it is well worth searching for truth; and we do this chiefly by searching for mistakes, so that we have to correct them. - Karl Popper

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Postby Reichu » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:54 pm

gchristnsn: You admit the thread title is provocative... so why not change it?

You also haven't owned up to your prolific use of logical fallacies. This sort of thing can be difficult to do, but recognizing your mistakes in presentation and improving your debate ability is to your benefit much more than anyone else's.

The explanation of your "methodology" lends the impression that you believe you have a privileged "insight", and if others don't "get it" that's their problem. Honestly, most of this special insight is nothing special at all: it represents common techniques in reasoning and deduction. The Law of Conversation of Detail in storytelling relies upon the ability of the audience to "put two and two together", and it should have been a foregone conclusion (one easily confirmed by looking at the archives) that the users here are on average well-drilled in such methodology. So you are doing a lot right, but are incredibly wrong to present yourself as the only one doing it.

Another huge mistake, and probably your biggest, is working from a dogmatic position of "textual inerrancy". Of course NGE is constructed as a "puzzle" in many ways, but it's utterly misguided to bite down on the metaphor hook, line, and sinker.

And I alluded to intimate personal experience in this arena. I have been in precisely the same position, of believing that I knew exactly how to "solve" NGE and seeing the "big picture" as clear as day. However, it wasn't more than a self-delusion and a mirage that lasted only as long as the bout of hypomania that caused it. I can't claim that you are prompted by something similar, but I will say that my experience with literal self-delusion gave me a very powerful perspective on some things.

Perhaps the most important was the realization of just easily the castles we build in the sky can crumble to the earth -- and how easily we build them without realizing it in the first place. Pursuing things like "ultimate truth", about anything, is dangerous. It makes you look like a fool and a poser to others, and you set yourself up for outrageous levels of disappointment later. You're chasing an unattainable goal.

Instead of trying to construct a "Theory of Everything" about NGE's plot -- talk about building a house of cards in a wind tunnel -- you need to step back and, well, look at the big picture, because you're missing it.

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Postby gchristnsn » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:25 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Instead of trying to construct a "Theory of Everything" about NGE's plot -- talk about building a house of cards in a wind tunnel -- you need to step back and, well, look at the big picture, because you're missing it.


You may not believe anything what I'm saying in this thread, I don't insist.
Yes, probably my style of the conversation isn't perfect, or I can't express sarcasm in a way in which it could be understood. But a half of posts in this thread (including your) is a way to show how all this is insignificant, just to show that there are more significant things exist, although I don't disclaim and even acknowledge this. I not insist even on significance, but this is indication of that I has touched some sore spot (saying just in case if you hasn't understood yet), which indeed means the opposite.

The discussion was productive personally for me, so here is my thanks.
I need to find a way to not touch sore spots now.
A short guide to NGE

- Simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones. - Occam's razor
- Since we can never know anything for sure, it is simply not worth searching for certainty; but it is well worth searching for truth; and we do this chiefly by searching for mistakes, so that we have to correct them. - Karl Popper

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Postby Jornophelanthas » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:52 pm

View Original Postgchristnsn wrote:some facts could be obtained only through visual hints (for example pillars of salt and inscriptions in Ayanami's room)

Ah, but here's the rub. "Facts obtained only through visual hints" are not facts at all. They are hypotheses based on (your) interpretation of visual material. And hypotheses can be legitimately challenged.

Now, certain (non-verbal) visual hints are strong enough to present sufficient proof to conclude that a certain hypothesis is true (or "fact", as you put it).
For example, the visual material of EoE provides sufficient proof to conclude that Ritsuko attempted to destroy NERV HQ by pressing the button on a device, but that the command was refused by the MAGI computer. However, the visual material does NOT provide sufficient proof that the reason the command did not execute was because the MAGI computer decided to prefer Gendo's interests over Ritsuko's program.
Now, it is perfectly valid to believe and argue that the MAGI computer refused Ritsuko's ocmmand because it preffered Gendo's interests, but it is speculation, meaning that other people can legitimately disagree with it, and may even argue the contrary (which would also be speculation).

Now, consider the "pillars of salt and inscriptions in Ayanami's room". This is even sketchier than my example of Ritsuko's rejected program, because it is never explained on-screen, never mentioned on-screen, and (If I am not mistaken) never even repeated or referred to by visual clues ever again.
It is perfectly valid to attribute a meaning to these images, perhaps based on secondary knowledge of quantum physics or what have you. But that does not make any such meaning "fact". It will forever remain interpretation.

And don't get me started on your assumption that the Evangelion plot consists of exactly three layers, let alone your definitions of them. That is also not fact, unless perhaps Anno himself said so. (And even he could be wrong, if he does not account sufficiently for any of his own subconscious processes while writing Evangelion.)

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Postby SenorSquiid » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:16 pm

The ultimate truth of Evangelion is that people suck, you suck, you're a person, and you have to should getting hung up on yourself. We're all in this together, and if we all have the same handicap then we also all have the same baseline, everybody hurts, and that pain either isn't an excuse to end the world, or an excuse to stop ending the world. Still never been clear on that last bit.
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Postby Warren Peace » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:46 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Your reasons for liking EoE strike me as bizarre, since it's exactly the opposite of what you describe it to be. EoTV was about the characters and their struggles. EoE was wall to wall plot, leavened heavily with bits of character derailment for spice. It's still a hell of a movie, mind, but more as a spectacle than as a character piece.


Wow. Never thought I'd ever see someone accuse EoE of being plot-driven!

I'm afraid your assertion also strikes me as bizarre. Quite bizarre. You're telling me that Shinji sitting in the Eva services plot more than anything? I almost don't know what to say to this. I mean, the entire second half is Existential Crisis: The Movie. Shinji decides that life is worthless. Working through this in his own mind, he comes to the opposite conclusion. The film's last half is about nothing else. Nothing else. When Shinji isn't talking about his feelings, it's because other people are talking about his feelings. Or we're seeing something that explains those feelings. The apocalyptic imagery (what can vaguely be called "plot") exists only to punctuate his internal struggle. Rarely have I seen a film so laser-focused on character.

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:03 am

View Original PostWarren Peace wrote:Wow. Never thought I'd ever see someone accuse EoE of being plot-driven!


That's all that's there! All the character stuff is in EoTV.

I'm afraid your assertion also strikes me as bizarre. Quite bizarre. You're telling me that Shinji sitting in the Eva services plot more than anything?


I'm telling you EoE is all about the events of 3I, not about the character exploration and development that characterized EoTV. Apart from the elevator scene with Misato, Asuka's fight with the MPEs (sorta), and the sandbox/helltrain/kitchen sequence everything else is either stuff happening or infodumps (and I find it peculiar that you're perfectly okay with infodumps from Rei, Kaworu, and Yui in EoE but so scornful of same in 24'). Oh yeah, we get OMF too (and lolmasturbation at the beginning), but even now we have no idea what it means so we can't rightly call it character development in any meaningful sense.

And the key word there is development. Floundering around and going nowhere doesn't count. EoTV gave us solid development all around. EoE, not so much.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Reichu » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:31 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:we get OMF too

Dude... I just wrote you a whole paragraph about why the final scene is not entitled "One More Final". Don't call it that!

Anyway, my feelings side with Warren here overall: his assessment of EoE's second half captures spot-on what I haven't been able to articulate into words for this thread. However, I suspect this argument is intrinsically at cross purposes and that there is some seriously muddling together of "character-driven vs. plot-driven" and "what qualifies as 'character development'?".

As best I can figure, you're suggesting that the ambiguity of EoE's last scene negates the notion of any character development having occurred, i.e., Shinji's journey from "I'm worthless so I might as well die" to "This sucks; I want to be with people again" may as well have not happened, and it requires a "spin" on our part to negate that negation. :uhh:

This sort of "two steps forward, three steps back" approach isn't traditional character development, but it's par for the course in NGE. Regressions, backslides, things getting worse before they get better -- these are part of the journey. EoTV feels uncharacteristically "pat" (even dishonest) in ending on such a saccharine note. EoE's final character beat gives us the other side of the story.

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:49 am

View Original PostReichu wrote:As best I can figure, you're suggesting that the ambiguity of EoE's last scene negates the notion of any character development having occurred, i.e., Shinji's journey from "I'm worthless so I might as well die" to "This sucks; I want to be with people again" may as well have not happened, and it requires a "spin" on our part to negate that negation. :uhh:


No, not at all. I don't deny that that bit of development occurred. I'm just noting that it's a small part of the overall spectacle of EoE, which focuses overwhelmingly on 3I and the events leading up to it. Yes, Shinji ultimately rejects Instrumentality, but we see very little of the thought process that leads him to that point, and even when it does happen it's less a matter of him getting a clue and more "this bad thing sucks more than that other bad thing, so I'll run away from it just like I do everything else." And, again, that's just the last ten minutes of the show; the rest has nothing to do with that.

And that's just Shinji! Asuka, Rei, and Misato really got hosed in EoE, denied even the bare scraps thrown their way in 25. Asuka wound up on the beach at the end, but how did she get there? Why? We don't know. It was never addressed. She had a good setup for some awesome development there, but it was thrown away to focus on the spectacle of 3I and Shinji's role in it. And Rei? Well, again, she showed some promise initially; she told Gendo to fuck off and decided to do her own thing. Sounds great, until you realize she rejected being Gendo's tool so she could become a plot device. And Misato . . . well, apart from her foray into inappropriate guardian territory she was just a mouthpiece for exposition. And this is what you and Warren call focused character development? Please.

This sort of "two steps forward, three steps back" approach isn't traditional character development, but it's par for the course in NGE. Regressions, backslides, things getting worse before they get better -- these are part of the journey. EoTV feels uncharacteristically "pat" (even dishonest) in ending on such a saccharine note. EoE's final character beat gives us the other side of the story.


I disagree. EoE's final moments are random and forced, with no explanation as to the whys or hows provided. Shinji comes back even though people suck, and goes mad because there are none around (and this after he jerks off, lazes about, screams a lot and then chokes Asuka out)? Asuka goes from cold brutality to aching tenderness with no steps in-between? This is not character development. It isn't even regression. It's just a series of non-sequiturs strung together in puzzling fashion, leaving us to wonder what the hell Anno was thinking even 15 years after the fact. There's some brief kinda-sorta-maybe development there at the end when Shinji's talking to Rei and his mother, but even that's iffy because it's so damn ambiguous. Does he actually get anything out of that? Does anything change for him? We don't know. We have no way of telling, because the movie flushed it all away immediately thereafter.

So no, I can't agree. EoE's a fine movie, an awesome spectacle rife with symbolism, but a character piece it's not. As you say, there was no need to retread ground admirably navigated by EoTV. But that's rather the point: EoTV did that, and EoE did not. EoTV's the character study, while EoE's the spectacle that precipitates it.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Reichu » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:50 pm

Bagheera: Your argument isn't without merit; I don't disagree with all of it. I feel like you're framing things a bit on the B&W side, though, and by force of rhetoric exaggeration and simplification blowing off a wealth of valuable character-based content that we, frankly, take for granted in our discussions here. Perhaps you can in good conscience emphasize the amount of "spectacle" over the other stuff, but, even as an obsessive geek who easily gets caught up in Impact mechanics and other minutiae, I'm not having a problem here seeing past the seemingly superfluous visuals (both I and WP have commented on the visual storytelling aspect) to what's really important.

I'm not sure what difference this hair-splitting makes in the end, though, so I'm done if you are.

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:27 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Bagheera: Your argument isn't without merit; I don't disagree with all of it. I feel like you're framing things a bit on the B&W side, though, and by force of rhetoric exaggeration and simplification blowing off a wealth of valuable character-based content that we, frankly, take for granted in our discussions here. Perhaps you can in good conscience emphasize the amount of "spectacle" over the other stuff, but, even as an obsessive geek who easily gets caught up in Impact mechanics and other minutiae, I'm not having a problem here seeing past the seemingly superfluous visuals (both I and WP have commented on the visual storytelling aspect) to what's really important.


But how much of that is given to us by EoE vs. being material we subconsciously import from EoTV? IMO it's rather like the situation with the NTE, wherein we assume we know what the Evas are, why Asuka is the way she is, what sort of being Rei is, and so on when the truth is that we don't know any of that at all. In the case of EoE it's at least somewhat legitimate, but I still think that importation colors events so that they seem more meaningful than they might be otherwise.

But I admit that's getting pretty heavily into subjective territory, so probably best not to belabor the point.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Ornette » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:39 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:But how much of that is given to us by EoE vs. being material we subconsciously import from EoTV? IMO it's rather like the situation with the NTE, wherein we assume we know what the Evas are, why Asuka is the way she is, what sort of being Rei is, and so on when the truth is that we don't know any of that at all. In the case of EoE it's at least somewhat legitimate, but I still think that importation colors events so that they seem more meaningful than they might be otherwise.

I was never able to make it through EoTV without falling asleep so my first experience with instrumentality was EoE and I got all the character development from there, before a year later finally able to make it through those last 2 episodes.

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Postby Lord ikari shinji » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:15 pm

Holy sh!t, wht a wall text.

Thank you OP 4 a nice disection of the evangelion series
Damn i get to say this my favorate anime of all time

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