The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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Postby amazoncomposite » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:48 pm

I keep finding asking myself about the nature of how souls work in the Eva universe.

Rei clones don't have souls because Dr. Akagi said that, "the Chamber of Guf was empty". But where do the souls or new-born people and animals come from then? Does a piece of your soul get ripped of and becomes the soul of your child? Otherwise, where are these new souls coming from?

What about when you die? where does your soul go? Does is just float around forever in the world until Instrumentality? Does it get sucked into a new life-form, essentially following some of the rules of reincarnation?

Thoughts?

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Re: The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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Postby Baz » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:27 am

Well, it's a distinct possibility that there are multiple Chambers of Guf. We have Lilith's chamber, for the souls of the lilim, which seems to have a nearly endless supply of souls. Then we have Adam's chamber that produced just a handful of angels. Perhaps there is also a Chamber of Guf from which the souls of Adam and Lilith themselves came, and that is the specific "Chamber" that was empty. But that opens up the question about why the Reis would be drawing their souls from that specific chamber. Perhaps because she and her clones are made from the same stuff as Lilith?

In the Eva universe it isn't clear whether souls are immortal. We know that a soul lingers in or around the body after death (since Rei was revived after she self-destructed) but we don't know whether souls are reincarnated after a time, or whether they eventually dissolve and become part of the cosmos. But we do know that they don't naturally go back to their Chamber of Guf. That only occurs during instrumentality.

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Re: The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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Postby Reichu » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:56 am

In the PSP version of NGE2, Kaworu is told by another Seed of Life -- using a lot of rather indirect language -- that there are seven Seeds total, and their Moons were "boarded" by the First Ancestral Race. We know that the Moons have some sort of link with the Chamber(s) of Guf, so, all things said, the implication being made in this cut scene is that the FAR's souls were liberated in some sort of "Zeroth Impact" and distributed between the seven Seeds for later use. So, there being seven different Chambers of Guf would make good practical sense. This is also corroborated by the fact that the unnamed Seed is still traveling to its planet; thus, if there is only one Chamber of Guf and it is empty, they would be kind of screwed, but they don't give any indication that this is something that worries them.

In-series evidence for multiple chambers comes from Fuyutsuki's comment in EoE that "the doors to the world's beginning and end" (the Doors of Guf) have finally opened once again. This implies that the Chamber of Guf being talked about was emptied out and sealed up quite some time ago. However, we learn in 21' that Adam's Doors of Guf opened at Second Impact. On top of that, the Angels appear a rather convenient fifteen years later -- implying that they only received their souls in the year 2000 and subsequently underwent a fifteen-year incubation period. In any event, all of this makes sense much more readily if Adam and Lilith keep separate supplies.

Ritsuko's "they have no souls because the Chamber of Guf was empty" dialogue is a bit perplexing. There is, of course, the usual question of what it has to do with anything, since nobody else -- aside from the Evas, and perhaps Kaworu -- seems to have had any trouble getting a soul. So why does it matter worth a darn if the Chamber of Guf is empty? There's clearly another way to get a soul, apparently through the boring old process of reproduction. (This is also implied by the unnamed Seed in NGE2, who references the idea of the FAR's descendants/reincarnations growing in number -- something that would be impossible if the number of FAR souls that the Seeds carry with them are all that will ever exist.)

In asexual reproduction, a being actually splits its body apart, so perhaps its soul is divided as well and each part eventually becomes whole again. Sexual reproduction is more complicated, of course, since there are many different ways for it to happen. In animals that engage in viviparity ("live birth"), like humans, the mother's physical investment is so great that it might follow that most or all of the child's soul comes from her, as well. This would fit in with the mother-child dynamic in NGE rather nicely, as it's clear that synchronization is not merely a physical process, but also a spiritual one.

In any case, where would this leave those who are not naturally born, like the Evas and every last Rei?

Ritsuko said that the clones don't have souls because the CoG was empty, but "Rei" (presumably referring to the very first one, and to spiritual continuations thereof) was born with one. Eva-01 seems to have been still connected to Lilith at the time Rei 1 was produced by the salvage experiment's failure. (If Gehirn couldn't be assed to separate Eva-01 from Lilith before the all-important contact experiment, you really think it was high on their list of priorities while they were trying to retrieve Yui?) Gehirn was trying to recreate Yui's body from the LCL and fix her soul in it, but when Yui refused they somehow got Lilith's soul instead, fixed within a brand new Yui-shaped container. Did Gehirn inadvertently reproduce the kind of phenomenon that drew Yui into Eva-01's core in the first place -- a sort of spiritual vacuum? While trying to recreate Yui's life as it had been, they instead created a new one. With no natural parents from whom to get a soul, would the Chamber of Guf be the only other option? But with it being empty, the soul of the chamber's very curator was summoned into duty.

This still doesn't really explain the Evas. Eva-01 was growing right out of Lilith, but at no point was Lilith's soul dislocated to fill 01's spiritual vacuum. Is this on account of the Evas being fundamentally unnatural? They're, of course, copied from the Seeds, who are in turn artificial lifeforms made by the FAR. The Seeds themselves seem to have been also born soulless, and each required the soul of a FAR to be completed. Perhaps this limitation -- the need to be imbued with a "pre-used" human soul -- was imposed by the FAR entirely on purpose, since the Seeds were meant to serve a very specific, very human purpose, and it would be much simpler to train an adult member of society for the role of immortal, life-giving god, and let that person become the god's consciousness, than attempt to somehow take someone who is born an almighty god and inculcate them with your values and sense of purpose. (The resemblances that might come to mind between what I'm describing and Seele and Gendo's respective relationships with Kaworu and Rei -- not coincidental.)

If this "designed to be soulless until deliberately made souled" idea holds any water, it might take care of the Kaworu problem, as well. Kaworu seems to have been born right from Adam, in what was arguably a weird form of sexual reproduction (meaning genetic recombination, not The Ol' In-Out, you perverts) involving a contribution from an unidentified Lilin donor. And yet in spite of this, and in spite of Adam releasing souls for the Angels at this time, Kaworu seems to have been created an empty vessel for Seele to find and stick Adam's soul into. If Kaworu is indeed half Adam genetically (...the fact that he doesn't really look the part can be fanwanked), this might explain a natural proclivity toward being born soulless. Then again... Never mind, if I think about this any more right now my head will explode.

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Re: The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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Postby StrokeMeGoat » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:21 pm

I think looking toward LCL and how it relates to life is a good start. What's the difference between Evas and the Rei clones compared to all other life that evolved naturally on earth? They were formed synthetically using LCL collected from Lilith that was genetically modified to take the shape humans wanted. I propose the LCL gathered and used this time around had something fundamentally different about it...perhaps that Unit-01 was already grown out of Lilith and her soul was able to be transferred out of it because technically Unit-01 and Lilith's body were one and the same and once Unit-01 was separated her soul was no longer residing in the body that was producing LCL, making it have an inherently "soulless" property to it. Anything made using LCL after this point would in fact be an empty vessel and Rei was only able to have a soul because they were able to transfer Lilith's soul into it. Otherwise, anything else created, Evas included, would be empty vessels as well. I'm not entirely sure how Adam's DNA comes into things with producing the other Evas or how LCL is used in cloning bodies, but I'm sure with a little thinking we can figure that part out.

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Re: The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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Postby Reichu » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:02 pm

Eva-01 and the Rei clones seem to have been made less from "Lilith's LCL" and more from Lilith's actual flesh.

Rei 1 was probably formed from the LCL remains of Yui's body. Ritsuko distinguishes the first Rei from both the Evas and the Rei clones by saying she was "born" with a soul, ergo it was there from the start and not transferred.

"Technically their bodies were the same" -- they were physically connected, but they weren't the same. An embryo is connected to its mother, yet it has its own soul.
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Re: The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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Postby StrokeMeGoat » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:24 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:"Technically their bodies were the same" -- they were physically connected, but they weren't the same. An embryo is connected to its mother, yet it has its own soul.

I don't have time to cover your other points, but I have to say there's a pretty big difference between gestation and having a body grow out the other side of Lilith the way Unit-01 was. There's the matter of them referring to it as Lilith's true offspring, but how much of that is a manner of speaking or translation? It's also said to be a clone of Lilith. How can we really determine which is the case? All I know is, I have a hard time looking at a picture of this:
SPOILER: Show
Image

and referring to it wholeheartedly as unit-01 being birthed by Lilith though. To do so without even conceding it may not actually be the case seems somewhat arbitrary, or at the very least disingenuous. That's not to say it shouldn't be viewed as Unit-01 being Lilith's offspring, but I don't think it should be taken off the table just yet.

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Re: The mechanics of souls in Evangelion?

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Postby Reichu » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:56 pm

If you don't like that example, then consider the sheer variety of reproductive methods throughout the world of "naturally ensouled" organisms. What really makes Eva-01 different? (I already attempted to provide an answer up-thread, though it's gone without comment.)

I should also note that the one image provides no indication as to how Lilith and Eva-01 actually reached the state depicted. You say you have trouble imagining any similarity to [human] birth here, but I've speculated that a human-like birth sequence gone terribly wrong is exactly what we're seeing. (First mention of the idea -- a bit old, but gives you the general idea.) That doesn't mean I'm right, but it does mean there's plenty of room to imagine such a thing. Ultimately beside the point though, given the previous paragraph.

The word that Seele uses to refer to Eva-01, bunshin, doesn't actually mean "clone" or "offspring" in a biological sense. It's more along the lines of "alter ego" or "double". (For example, a mirror universe version of you would be your bunshin.) This is referring to Eva-01's ability to fill in for Lilith during HIP, of course. It can be perhaps extrapolated to mean "clone" based on the fact that Kaworu calls Eva-02 "Adam's bunshin", but this isn't how it should be translated within the context of the scene it appears in.
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