"What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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"What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby ACGT-Samael » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:21 am

One of the more interesting yet under explored (in universe anyway) is the revelation that the Angels are human, or that humans are an Angel, or... Basically they're the same thing. Its a play on that classic twist of tearing down the notion of The Other and actually gives something of an answer to Shinji's previous question on the matter.

It does, however, raise a couple of philosophical questions. If Lilith is human, does that make all terrestrial life human? In that case, what does the term human even mean? If the terms human and Angel refer to the same beings then they're synonymous, so does that make one the correct term? If so, which one? Or is the idea of the Angels being human meant to be some kind of metaphor, in which case what does Misato actually mean?

Ultimately the story doesn't dwell much on this idea and it ends up being intriguing and yet confusing. Maybe I'm over thinking it, but its hard to tell what Anno intends for me to make of this idea.

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby Reichu » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:55 am

Assuming "human" still actually means something, my take is that it is a combination of spiritual and physical attributes.

Humanity first arose in the FAR. They created the Seeds of Life, giant human gods, as a means of resurrecting their souls into new forms of humanity. These new forms must, as part of an unspecified rule, be human-shaped in order to function as vessels for these specific souls. Notice how, via convergent and possibly directed evolution, Lilin ended up having the same general form as Lilith. Similarly, the Angels are created as humanoids -- it is in that form that they received their souls. They also do not seem to alter their genetic makeup when they take on "adult" form; i.e., their non-human bodies are entirely the product of ATF manipulation, allowing the Angels to remain intrinsically human.

The unspoken requirement that human souls need human bodies makes sense, since in NGE there is an intimate relationship between body and soul. Even if you could put a FAR soul into, say, a fly, the soul would be transformed by its new body into something completely unrecognizable. Since the FAR want to preserve their legacy, there would, accordingly, be no point to using bodies so dissimilar from the FAR's own.

Non-hominid life that arose from Lilith is not human because it does not have a human form and is thus incapable of maintaining or creating a human spiritual essence.

(N.B. On a related note, the more inclusive use of “Angel” probably refers to all humans but the first. The FAR are “God”, making the Seeds plus their descendents the envoys carrying the “message” of humanity into the future.)

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby ElKaizerX » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:31 pm

I made a post about this a couple of days ago giving my speculation on it and I'd say is a mixture of psychological metaphor and interpreting human biology from metafictional perspective.

If you look at what constitutes an angel or "messenger" in the religion Anno chose for aesthetics you can see that angels are maybe not really meant to represent anything supernatural but more that they are interpretations of the ancient human trying to understand the body, mind, brain, environment quaternity. There's an interesting idea in the original Genesis of Adam having dominion over Eve and could be the Hebrews saying that the Body should be respected over the Mind as it is the Mind that causes all the problems in our lives and the Body (Adam) is as close to being the perfect image of "God" (Brain/Human).

It's my suspicion that Anno and his potential love for Psychology decided to "update" that archaic notion of Body before Mind and bring Lilith into the matter and reform Eve/Eva (Evas) as the "child" of Adam and Lilith. Adam representing Body image and Lilith Mind image now as Adam's equal. Clearly there's still this internal conflict of Mind image and Body image we all share but together they represent the FAR (Brain as a being of both body and mind) or more metafictionally the FAR represent us, the audience, the total union of Body and Mind and the Evangelion represent the idea of Consciousness, the product of the union of Body image and Mind image (image of the brain reflecting itself immaterially) that allows us to be aware of those images and depict them materially. Shinji has the fortunate/unfortunate role of representing the ego (image of consciousnessness) in all of us that ironically was not given the choice to be responsible for well choice.

The children of Adam are very much "human" like the "Lilin" but given that both are angels neither is the completed human image until Rei goes all big and naked and as best as can be depicted supercedes the limits of time and space within the story as she becomes the Self or how the Brain "sees" itself over both mind and body, a god, the God, the FAR. Adam's Children either represent aspects and imagery of the biological reproductive cycle or more generally, like the angels/messengers in Hebrew lore, they depict various biological systems within our bodies. And like our physical bodies ability to live seemingly forever through the propagation of DNA it makes sense why Adam's Children are said to have eaten from the tree of life.

The Children of Lilith on the other hand most resemble us, the audience, probably due to the fact that our current state of evolution has us identify more with our mental projections, or thoughts (Lilin), than our biological functions. And when we, the audience, materilize thoughts into art, like anime, they generally come out to be human like in form if we want the art to be most relatable to another human being. I mean I figure that's why even the most alien of alien of characters are still basically human under heavy prosthetics.

Some interesting stuff comes out if you decide to watch the show from the perspective of the children of mind image fearing/conflicting with the children of body image and vice versa, leaving poor Shinji, our Ego our consciousnessness image, in the center of it all trying to understand this ancient conflict between nerves and neurons. Luckily Consciousness has its own child in the form of the Collective consciousnessness, the Evas, allowing Shinji some protection. It's eventually the combination of Shinji and a combined Tree of Life and Knowledge Eva-01 that put the others in their place, a real devil of a beast.

Looking at NGE from the lens of depicting what happens during "introspection" helped me understand a lot of the esoteric terminology and dialogue. The fact that some characters, the ones who have read the mysterious secret dead sea scrolls and Kaworu when he sees Lilith, act and talk like they are self aware of their own existence as characters in a story, plus the beautiful interactions and vulnerability on display makes NGE on of the best if not the best works of metafiction I've come across.

Also it's interesting to note that the Evangelion shares a term with the title of the show, and being that it's an Evangelion that takes both seeds into the expanse of unknown space in the end maybe to seed/inspire more creations, to me represents the notion that our human creations (art, story, science, culture, etc), like the series is for Anno, are a new way for us, the audience, to be remembered beyond body, beyond mind, beyond the spirit of consciousnessness, and beyond even our individual brain. Sorry big naked Rei, but becoming a FAR is called devolution for a reason I suspect.

The above is mostly in terms of the series. Anno really turns on the metafiction with the NTE films by getting more specific than the show does with our relationship to stories/body/mind in general Mecha aesthetics to specifically the relationship between the audience and the Evangelion franchise. It's my suspicion that that is why some characters are different. They share some aspects of the NGE characters but the commentary is different. Seele is a great example I feel. In the series to me they represent those general people who feel they are in charge of storytelling and that they are the elite gatekeepers of salvation and meaning (think spiritual/state/corporate leaders throughout the ages). In the films Seele gets morphed into the type of fan (Eva or otherwise) who dives into the aesthetic minutiae of the franchise, wield their encyclopedic knowledge as "law", look down on or dismiss any personal interpretations, threaten other audience members or the team for confusing them, and hound the team to give them all the answers instead of creating their own (think the bad stereotype of Trekkies or toxic fans). It's definitely a seemingly harsh commentary on certain fans of Anno's creation but Anno doesn't strike me as someone afraid to point shit out. I mean the children don't age in 3.33 and they say it's because of the Curse of Eva. :tongue:

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby Reichu » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:27 pm

View Original PostElKaizerX wrote:The children of Adam are very much "human" like the "Lilin" but given that both are angels neither is the completed human image (...). Adam's Children either represent aspects and imagery of the biological reproductive cycle or more generally, like the angels/messengers in Hebrew lore, they depict various biological systems within our bodies. And like our physical bodies ability to live seemingly forever through the propagation of DNA it makes sense why Adam's Children are said to have eaten from the tree of life.

The Children of Lilith on the other hand most resemble us, the audience, probably due to the fact that our current state of evolution has us identify more with our mental projections, or thoughts (Lilin), than our biological functions. And when we, the audience, materilize thoughts into art, like anime, they generally come out to be human like in form if we want the art to be most relatable to another human being. I mean I figure that's why even the most alien of alien of characters are still basically human under heavy prosthetics.

I probably haven't followed your exact line of thought from the beginning, but this part especially has me scratching my head.

I don't see any evidence that Adam's Children represent internal human biological systems. Not as a group, anyway. What human biological system does an Anomalocaris/flatfish hybrid represent? A shark/ray/dolphin thing? A skull-faced slab of meat with stumpy legs and toilet paper arms? A glowing telepathic bird with an excess of wings? Sure, some of the Angels symbolically correlate to biology, like Shamshel is a vagina-uterus-oviduct monster with a head, Bardiel is semen in the form of a sapient fungus, Leliel is a womb defined by imaginary mathemathetics, Armisael is DNA/an umbilical cord/pregnancy, and so on. I'd have to see a very good case made for this being UNIVERSAL, however.

You say that Lilin identify more with their "mental projections" than with biology, and (since you didn't mention this in the paragraph on Angels) you are by implication excluding Adam's children from this attribute. However, the show suggests the exact opposite. The A.T. Fields of Adam's Children are, of course, powerful enough to manipulate reality. Part of the reality that they manipulate are their own bodies. We're told that, genetically, they are effectively human -- and we see this born out with Sandalphon, whose initial form is humanoid. We're eventually told that the Angels, though human, "abandon" their human forms. Metamorphosis, in essence. Where do their new forms come from? It is their A.T. Fields that reshape their realities, including their bodies, and the A.T. Field emanates from the soul. Mind over matter. Their minds dictate their forms. The bodies of Angels are mental projections made material, to such an extent that their entire biologies can be reimagined -- genes be damned.

Similarly to how Lilin rely upon the human form and its attributes for communicating ideas, Adam's Children are shown to use the human form in their communication attempts. Perhaps this is "different" because they simply borrow the image of whoever they're trying to talk to, but I think it is still significant that the Angels show the ability and willingness to do this.

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby ElKaizerX » Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:22 pm

Very very good points. Most of my line of thinking came from the the perspective of the series being a rather visceral depiction of a deeply depressed male otaku performing introspection when faced with rejection after rejection from there hearts desire and trying to Jungian individuate (combine what they see as separate psychological pieces of themselves into a single whole/self). Also it really hit me when I saw the movie First Man and thought, how cool would it be if there was an organization that took Psychology/human mind as seriously as NASA does space....then came the oh shit moment that Evangelion depicts just that. I made a breakdown of what I thought all the angels represented in terms of biology in a previous post but I give a quick recap. The only hang up I ran into was when I was making the list I noticed that perhaps the angels may more closely align themselves with sexual reproductivity than general biological systems. I'm in the process of working that one out.

Angel Order: Name "Meaning" Body/Mind correlation (Major Organ/Vessel)

Gods: FAR "First Ancestral Race" True Human (Total mind/body) On a meta level it's us the audience/creators who exist beyond the story and characters existence. We are both entities of body and mind and from us exists the duality of Adam (body image) and Lilith (mind image) which sometimes are very much in conflict with each other especially in awkward/uncomfortable social situations. But the reality is more beneficial well being is achived in the cooperation of body and mind image. The brain is in the unique position of being connected to every biological system in the body through Nerv as well as housing that immaterial dimension of the mind.

1st Angel: Adam "The First Man" Corporeal System (Body image) it's through Adam that the brain controls most unconscious bodily functions such as heart beat, digestion, Gamete production, healing, etc. Also I suspect the Seeds of Life and the eggs that house/protect them sort of position then as chromosomes within a gamete, probably more easily seen with how Lilith is portrayed throughout most of the show within the depths of the black moon in dogma. And the idea of how a child from either SoL fuses/impregnates another seed will create a God much like the chromosomes of a sperm and egg fusing creates a new being/lifeform.

2nd Angel: Lilith "The First Woman" Mental System (Mind image) the part of the brain who's existence is pretty much alien to the body and vice versa. The mind/body connection is still a heavily mysterious phenomena and whose exploration appears to be backed up by all the physical and psychological jargon and terminology that gets beautifully thrown around in the show. The thinking here was why use Lilith over Eve? And the through process comes from the metaphorical morality the Genesis story depicts by having Eve come from and told to be subordinates to Adam vs the folklore of Lilith being the first wife that was kicked out due to refusing to submit. I came across the idea of Adam and Eve represented body and mind in a random mythology class years ago and just applied the logic to Lilith and Anno "updating" the archaic notion of mind/woman being subordinate to body/man.

3rd Angel: Sachiel "Covering of God" Female Clothing System (Provocative Clothing) I had left this open until the end and was the main one that lead me to think that maybe the Angels were more a interesting depiction of the reproductive process than straight up biological systems. Still debating with myself on this. Shinji's interaction and sexual awkwardness with women is a major sticking point with the show all the way to the end of EoE and the "I'm sick" beach scene. Shinji's general awkwardness around Misato's liberal sexuality helped solidify this metaphor over the highly regenerative Integumentary system (Skin).

4th Angel: Shamshel "Lonely Conquerer of God" Combined Sexual System (Penis/uterus) the name of the angel and it's depiction felt like a funny euphemism of our sex bits. After rewatching EoE and digesting what the hell all that live action slice of life business was and the puking comment then going back and watching the series helped keep the metaphors going. The eventual discussion of Adam's Children being the same but different from Lilin after studying this angel also helped the body/mind motif between Adam and Lilith. I'd say the shared qualities of having AT Fields is explained by the idea that the AT Field is that sort of strength of will I believe the show asserts. Given that the human body, eating from the tree of life (genetic reproduction), would make Adam's Children having much a stronger "image" in the brain makes sense given the mind is still sort of young comparatively, which can also be seen in the idea that Lilith crashed after Adam and fooked shit up.

5th Angel: Ramiel "Thunder of God" Female Reproductive System (Egg) the way an egg reacts and protects itself from sperm helped this one out. I can't remember if the female screams we're just in the NTE or in the series as well, but either way secretion of heavy amounts of blood in it's death reminded me of menstruation. The core being at the center reminded me of the nucleus of an egg, which lead me to think that "soul" in Evangelion could very well be a metaphor for chromosomes.

6th Angel: Gahiel "Roaring Beast of God" Male Reproductive System (Sperm) another sort of euphemism in terms of the Angel's name. Like Shamsel's depiction this angel gave very heavy specific imagery vibes. Specifically imagery of a spermatozoa. Watching the episode over also reminded me of the whole "Give me Ayanami back" otaku-rage Shinji went on at the end of Eva 2.22. His little grunty journey through the tunnel of love after getting real rapey with the Zeruel's core reminded me of the journey sperm go through to reach the egg. Also the the shedding of his now white "skin" that occurs when he penetrates the membrane to find white Rei lying there. The white I believe is a call back to the other SoLs and metaphors for chromosomes. Also it can't be a coincidence that when the two embrace, chromosome to chromosome, shit goes all God mode the same way both egg and sperm "die" and fuse their chromosomes at conception to herald a coming god baby. And poor Lilith just chilling there, yeah she old NGE news.

7th angel: Israfel "The Burning One" Combined Conception System (zygote/sex) the euphemisms keep coming with this series. The imagery of Shinji and Asuka having to "synchronize" their bodies for a limited amount of time when their Evas are detached from their "mommy" cords to tango with some hot steamy angels felt rather on point.

8th angel: Sandalphon "Angel of Embryos" Embryonic Development System (Embryo/Fetus) the one that's mainly mentioned being the most obvious depiction of an Angel looking very "human" before shedding that image for something more... Alien/strange. My guess is that the angels now start to logically follow a pattern of a child being formed but depicted as different sequential angels.

9th angel: Matarael "Premonition of God" Digestive System (Stomach) I had a bit of fun with this one in another post that lead me to editorialize the post with a sort of bleak/realistic tale of boy meets girl and the two unexpectedly having a child in which boy in all his immaturity is extremely unprepared for. The live action EoE bit helped (can't remember if it was the EoE cut or the more extended live action cut). But the acidic secretion and the meaning of this one's name pushed the "morning sickness" idea.

10th angel: Sahaquiel "Ingenuity of God" Integumentary system (Skin) one of the harder ones to ponder but my mind kept leaning on the idea of a giant blanket of skin crashing down. Or like in my other post the idea that "girl" tells "boy" about "baby". Like a giant overwhelming asteroid of grabby skin indeed. The difference in imagery in NTE seems very telling. Especially how it sort of compresses other angels in NGE not seen in NTE.

11th angel: Ireul "Terror of God" Respiratory System (Lungs) the idea mostly came from the initial success and failure of oxidizing the angel. I did notice some red blood imagery, which made me think cardiovascular but the meaning of the Angel's name helped me lean more towards our body's oxygen supplier and how it's susceptible to fear and fight/flight. But again I still go either way with this angel and the 12th.

12th angel: Leliel "Jaws of God" Cardiovascular System (Heart) the womb like nature and the flood of blood associated with its death. The LCL like tinge inside the angel gave me the idea for the cardio system. LCL tended to feel like a metaphor for the amniotic fluid that develops a fetus and may help connect mother with child.

13th angel: Bardiel "Humiliated Son of God" Endocrine system (Hormones) the use of the dummy plug during the engagement of this angel and the animalistic like nature of the battle gave me thoughts of hormone induced violence run amok. I may be stretching, but that can be said about a lot of what I'm saying, but the infection during a cloudy storm had me thinking of the idea of "judgement being clouded" during moments of anger and fear.

14th angel: Zeruel "Arm of God" Muscular System (Muscles) most of my line of thinking comes from the angel's name and the sheer intensity of it's strength/power. Zeruel's appendages reminded my of the elastic like nature of muscle fibers.

15th angel: Arael "Light of God" Immune System (antibody) the artistic depictions of antibodies nearly solidified the idea for me. But the way Arael probes/attacks Asuka really got my mind juiced in the way the immune system learns the pathogen so as to better destroy it.

16th angel: Armisael "Mountain of Judgment of God" Nervous System (Nerve/spine) at first I was thinking heavy DNA or chromosome connections but the more I thought about how the nervous system penetrates the entirety of the body and operates on electrical signals pushed me more in that direction. It's energy based depiction and the anomalies it produced all over Rei reminded me of nerve cells and diagrams of the nervous system. I can't say I know what it feels like for a fetal body to start developing a nervous system that rips thorough all my other organs but I feel Eva did a pretty visceral job. Also the column of angels made sense to me given that nerves penetrate through every other bodily system thus it is able to "image" every other angel for the brain.

17th angel: Kaworu/Tabris "Angel of Free Will" Unconscious System (Anima/Animus or brain/body functions) so this is where things start to go out of Adam territory and into Lilith territory. Tabris being Adam's "soul" within a Lilin body pushed me to Jungian imagery with the idea of the collective unconscious, which is speculated to house the male/female identity. Also the unconscious is the side of the mind that handles operating bodily functions outside of the consciousness, which is basically everything the other angels represent except for thoughts. Breathing, digesting, beating etc. It also helps explain why Kaworu is just so damn loving. I mean the dude basically represents the part of you that keeps you alive without even thinking about. Dude just does it. However when Kaworu sees Lilith he comes to understand that the unconscious mind had its turn in human evolution and rightfully it's the Lilin's turn to take point.

18th angel: Lilin "the characters of the mind" Consciousness System (thoughts) Evolution has already developed the body well enough to the point consciousness occurred making the organism not just self aware but self reflecting. I mean consciousness is a powerful adaptation cabable of maybe not willfully controlling angels hence the punny AT fields of Lilin but the population of consciousness, thoughts, are more than capable of creating "things" that amplify their power over biology. I lean on the idea that "thoughts" are very much depicted in ever single story in the form of characters as thoughts and characters ultimately represent that mysterious thing consciousness allows, choice. And it's Will that gives shape to thoughts which more often than not take the form of a modern human, while unconscious biological functions tend to still be extremely alien to the consciousness mind hence the monstrous forms of Adam's Children. Above all thoughts and characters tends to sit the "anointed/chosen" one that psychology has dubbed the Ego, which Shinji has the lack of choice in being designated. He is the Ego of the artificial being that is the Evangelion franchise if I may get super meta.

19th Angel: Evangelions "Gospel, a glorious announcement containing a soul/message" Artificial Reality System (Story/Persona) this one is mainly for fun because of what I think these big ass sexy cyborgs are metaphors for. They are the stories we lose ourselves in for protection against and interaction with others. They are the symbols, images, ideologies seemingly unique to the human species. They sit above simple tools. They are nearly artificial consciousness vessels of their own containing a piece of their creators' soul(s). But they can also be dangerous weapons of isolation and violence. Acting as artificial wombs for the otaku to shut out the real world or the motivators of unleashing the devil within towards others.

20th angel: Mass Production Evangelions "Product, a material object lacking any depth" Oppressive Reality System (commercial/Dogma) I thought these were funny commentaries on what Anno felt lacking in the current state of anime at the time. Souless commercial ventures that were just "printed" out for a quick buck. Each one fully equipped with a euphemistically termed dummy plug. All instruction. No life. And the fact they are equipped with an S2 engine made me think Anno felt these anti-spiritual use of story telling was far more abundant and easy than a true work of the Creator's soul.

So yeah that was a lot. Sorry. I wish I could compress it down, but I understand that my interpretation of what the shits is going on in this franchise is a tad eccentric. I generally always saw Evangelion as a very meta commentary on storytelling and it's intimate relationship with the modern human. I may be biased on this due to a paper I'm working on that proposes a new designation of modern and near modern humanity from Homo Sapien Sapien to Homo Historia as I feel Story more than any other adaptation defines us most as individuals and our interactions as we currently exist. And I have a feeling Anno may have felt the same way.

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby Reichu » Tue Dec 25, 2018 1:01 am

@ElKaiserX: Your take on things is very distinct from my own (in terms of what elements are given first priority, and so on), and I don't really have anything else useful to add. Nothing wrong with that, it's always interesting to see such a fresh perspective. I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you. ;)

@thread: I didn't respond to this part "properly" the first time, so let me try again.

View Original PostACGT-Samael wrote:If the terms human and Angel refer to the same beings then they're synonymous, so does that make one the correct term? If so, which one?

I think "Angel" and "human" are subtly distinct ideas. Though, as is typical, NGE itself doesn't really provide the necessary information to establish what precisely this distinction is.

To start with, take the term "Angel". This comes from Greek angelos, which ultimately means "messenger", and refers to the otherworldly beings that act as intermediaries between God and humanity. To complicate things slightly, in NGE "Angels" are also called shito (使徒) in Japanese, which translates not to "angel" but to "apostle" -- as in, the disciples of Jesus Christ. Greek apostolos means "emissary" or "envoy" but is often translated as "messenger" also. This dual naming scheme may superficially feel a bit needless... Why in the world are beings that are named for angels and have the attributes of angels also called "Apostles"?

[Side note: Oddly enough, at one point in NGE's development, the alternate name wasn't going to be "Angel" at all; it was going to be "Apostolo" instead. (So the characters would have spoken "shito", but computer screens and such would have written "Apostolo".) And, yes, the "Apostolos" were still being named and designed after Abrahamic angels despite this.]

This might make a bit more sense in light of the revelation that what we had been calling "Angels" were humans all along, and what we had been calling "human" were in fact a kind of Angel (the Lilin). Compare:

Abrahamic angels: otherworldly beings; not human; creations of God; carry out the will of God.
Christ's Apostles: mortal men; creations of God; carry out the will of the Son of God (who is also God)

So both angels and apostles are messengers of God. Just, traditionally, they are different types of beings. In NGE, this is not so. Both the otherworldly "Angels" (Children of Adam) and the mortal "humans" (Lilin) are fully human, and they are fully Angel. The use of both names (Angel/Apostle) for the same thing had this idea implicit within it all along.

Now, for the missing part: exactly who or what is the "God" for whom the Angels are "messenger"? Well, that's easy. It's the First Ancestral Race. The Classified Information says that the FAR are God/gods from the perspective of "Angels and humans" (= Adam's Children and Lilin). This also solves the dilemma of how exactly "human" is a distinct concept from "Angel". The FAR were the first humans, but, being "God", they were not their own "messengers". Thus, "Angel" refers to all humans but the first. What exactly is the "message" these Angels are conveying for "God"? This is probably going to sound lame, but I think the message is nothing less than humanity itself.

Incidentally, episode 14 contains what could be considered an oblique reference to the FAR:

Episode 14 wrote:Rei:
What is a human? A creation of God?
Is man a human creation?

The answer is "yes."

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby ACGT-Samael » Tue Dec 25, 2018 12:33 pm

Yeah, I was always intrigued by the change in interpretation of Shito between the pseudo-Greek "Apostolo", which is very literal, into the English "Angel", which makes the connection a bit more obscure if you're less versed in Abrahamic religion. Especially if you don't know how trippy some of the actual biblical angels are (pillars of fire and all that). I wonder if Anno felt the previous term would make the twist too obvious, or whether the twist itself was part of the heavy revision the show underwent and the change in terms was to accompany it. (The only mention of the actual word Tenshi I can think of is in the opening theme.)

Part of the issue I had in keeping track is the amount Eva equivocates, with the term Angel sometimes seeming to refer exclusively to the progeny of Adam, and at others the more collective group including Adam and Lilith. Eva2 certainly didn't help by adding terms like Seed of Life that further subdivide the term, and there doesn't always seem to be fandom consensus as to what Angel encompasses either.

@ElKaiser: I've never seen the Evas referred to as the 19th Angel, but I suppose given the precedent for referring to Homo sapiens collectively as the 18th Angel it does make sense. Though I do remember reading an interpretation that Misato's 18th Angel comment was meant to be figurative and simply meant humanity's (ie the Lilin's) final enemy would be themselves, which was true.

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby ElKaizerX » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:29 pm

@Reichu: I didn't feel like you were ignoring me at all. :tongue: I enjoy the many breakdowns and insights you've put out in this crazy good franchise. And I too enjoy different perspectives. I'm always debating with myself on what I'm getting out of this show and enjoy that it allows for such varied interpretations. I know mine lean heavy, maybe at times, a bit too heavy on metaphor and metafiction. Trust. I get perplexed looks when I explain the other properties I enjoy in similar terms that may share some odd similarities with NGE like FF7, Matrix, Westworld, Xenogears, Lost, blah blah blah. After reading your juicy response on angel vs apostle I don't think our interpretations are all too alien from each other. This forum does get my mind crunching Eva's deeply vulnerable and mythic storytelling and its symbols. :devil:

@ACGT-Samael: My bad with the 19th Angel thing and the Evangelions. That was me having a bit of fun with the shows designations. I do believe that the Evangelions are meant to be the new lifeform being developed throughout the entirety of the show, but, yeah, there's no mention of them being designated an Angel.

@thread: I think there's a little wink and nod from Annon there in the interchangeable use of Angel (Hebrew: mal'ak) and apostle both leading to this idea of "messenger". It's my suspicion that they relate to the idea of "alien/monsterous" depictions being more and more anthropologicaly depicted as scientific/knowledge progresses. Both Angels and apostles being messengers for their respective "leaders", which leads to the comparison of YHWH and Christ. Christ being a more anthropologicaly relatable image/symbol than YHWH and YHWH being a more relatable symbol/image than the animal/environmental spirits that humans "communicated" with previously through altered states of consciousness. I think the connection between Angel and Apostle simply being that human has reached a level of narratological understanding that these "messengers" from God aren't separate beings from humans but are very much qualities of humans that just seemed separate to the ancient human mind.

But to bring it back to the show I think the duality of angel/apostle that Anno plays with in the use of 'shito' is a commentary on the 'other' not really being an 'other' at all but very much "us" just from a limited perspective and depending on one's levels of empathy and curiosity that "other" can transform to just "another". I think the show in it's various interactions of love and conflict show how difficult see the "other" as "another" really is. I mean Kaworu really throws a wrench in Shinji's view as the Angels being wholly alien and unrelatable to him so we can destroy them without remorse. And I think the coolest revelation is the sort of designation of Lilin being just as much Angel as Adam's Children to show they aren't any more a true human than Adam's Children and just a more "deceptive" angel due to them looking very much like humans. Big naked Rei/Kaworu seem to be the only characters depicted in the show that come the closest to being full human just like the author/audience are but that again goes into meta storytelling territory which does lead to head scratching and potential immersion breaking. Given how bonkers EoE gets with the live action imagery I do think there's a deliberate level of immersion breaking within the show.

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby Reichu » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:46 pm

View Original PostACGT-Samael wrote:Part of the issue I had in keeping track is the amount Eva equivocates, with the term Angel sometimes seeming to refer exclusively to the progeny of Adam, and at others the more collective group including Adam and Lilith. Eva2 certainly didn't help by adding terms like Seed of Life that further subdivide the term, and there doesn't always seem to be fandom consensus as to what Angel encompasses either.

Before Eva2, we'd just been using "Source of Life" (生命体の源) to refer to Adam and Lilith, since that's what Misato called them in EoE. So all Eva2 really did was provide a substitute that sounded less like a generic description. It's not as if it took the game to make us realize that Adam and Lilith were their own kind of being. That was always apparent.

Most of the equivocation in NGE is on account of the Angel/human mystery being something that gradually unfurls. At first, we're just told that there are these things called "Angels". There's no meaningful distinction made between the first one from fifteen years ago and the ones attacking now. It's not until the final episodes of the show that concepts like "Lilin" and "Lilith" are revealed, the specific Angels fought and defeated during the show are revealed to be Adam's offspring, and Lilin are revealed as an Angel born from Lilith. (The exact order of the revelations depends on how you're watching the show; revisions to episode 24' end up preempting a couple of revelation bombs from 24 and 25', in what may have been an unwise move.)

It's not until 25' that the context is provided to make a little more sense of the show's persistent weird uses of the word "human". Being told that "Angels" aren't limited to Adam and those born from her is also an important revelation. Remember, someone who is just watching the show has only, up to this point, been told that Adam, her progeny, and Lilin are "Angels". We take it so for granted that Lilith is the Second Angel that fans feel at liberty to argue whether Lilith is "really an Angel" at all. But an ordinary viewer who has been paying attention will still be wondering about that empty Second Angel slot and who the heck fits into it. The EoE infodump grants permission to place Lilith there, by virtue of analogy with Adam and her children. In fact, BECAUSE Lilith's Angel status is treated as a puzzle to be solved in NGE, we can probably rule out any doubt about whether Adam and Lilith qualify as "Angels".

Though I do remember reading an interpretation that Misato's 18th Angel comment was meant to be figurative and simply meant humanity's (ie the Lilin's) final enemy would be themselves, which was true.

I feel as though this interpretation completely forgets that, earlier in the film, Misato had been hacking Nerv's databases and stumbled upon the "truth" she'd been looking for. It wasn't disclosed to the audience at that time -- it was saved for the moment with Shinji in the car. There's nothing "figurative" about what she's telling him. It's an end-game revelation dump. Dismissing parts of it as "metaphor" results in the completely arbitrary loss of vital information, and to what gain? Absolutely nothing that can't be easily gleaned from the film anyway!

Anyway. Most of this isn't targeted at you per se. You've just given me a platform to rant about stuff. :D

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Re: "What measure is a non-human? ...Or a human? ...Or, uh..."

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Postby ACGT-Samael » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:40 pm

I must admit my view on things is kind of atypical because I came in with "forbidden knowledge" (knowing about Lilith, Rei, Yui etc) so a lot of the plot bomb moments didn't have the same impact for me as would be intended.

Regarding the 18th Angel deal: it is obviously true in universe, but it does kind of work on both levels. After the 3rd through 17th Angel's failed to undo our civilization, we did precisely that on our own.


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