Terminal Dogma: Essays on Neon Genesis Evangelion

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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:13 pm

Personally, I think a Jungian framework is necessary and sufficient to explain the symbols used, and this aspect has been grossly neglected (well on the Internet at least) in the past.
I still haven't looked into Jung, although I would like to. Definitely true that it isn't mentioned very much with application to NGE. I am curious if it would bring any startling new revelations to someone such as myself (= devout uber-geek), or just add clarity (and loads of jargon) to things already known.

So you see complementation as a result, i.e. "Third Impact -> choice between complementation or individuality", rather than "Third Impact -> complementation -> choice to get out of this state and achieve state of individuality".
Just to nitpick,"Third Impact", by all indications, refers to the physical (and metaphysical) effects on the planet that must be achieved before HIP can occur. (Reducing all lifeforms to ooze so that human souls can be freed and gathered up for processing, and stuff like that.)

Shinji appears to be in a world without AT Fields (in particular Rei says that Shinji must wish once more for the existence of others, suggesting there previously existed others, and now they don't exist, and would only exist once more if Shinji wished it), suggesting he is part of the "TANTAI" - i.e. he has been complemented.
If that's really true, then there would be no Shinji to want others to come back. Or this is a plot hole the size of Jupiter.

I suppose, looking back at the EvaOtaku argument after many years, this view would also deal with Episode 26 of the TV series, when it says on the screen:

"It was 2016 A.D.
The thing that people lost, in other words, the complementation of the mind has begun. However, there is not enough time to describe the entire process. Therefore, we will examine the complementation of the mind of a single boy named Ikari Shinji."


i.e. Shinji has been complemented, but that does not mean he has to stay that way - he is shown to reject it at the end of the TV series.
The above is speaking of the "process"; they do not refer to a "completion". Far as I can tell, Instrumentality/Complementation (same thing) is a process -- the mode of artificial evolution -- and the Single Being is the product.

I would suggest that the obvious reason is that she is there for the same reason as Shinji - she chose the path of individuality; quite how is not explicitly shown, but we might be able to infer this from the analyses on Asuka in the series ending and EoE (which is linked to the rest of the series).
Since ATFs are restored at the end of EoE, what other path is there to take but that of individuality?

Restoring one's physical body seems to be implicitly associated with the concept of libido (as the antithesis of destrudo).

It appears that this thread has been officially hijacked.

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 00:50 GMT

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Postby AnonymousEvafan [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:13 pm

Reichu wrote:If that's really true, then there would be no Shinji to want others to come back. Or this is a plot hole the size of Jupiter.
I said it before and I'll say it again Lilith doesn't follow the metaphysical laws that apply to everyone else. She was part of the Sea of LCL and yet she was cradling the Black Moon. Her powers at that point are beyond our feeble comprehension. Remember it's Anno's world he can do what he wants. If you don't like what's happening well tough shi+.

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 02:38 GMT

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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:13 pm

... Non sequitur?

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 04:14 GMT

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Postby AnonymousEvafan [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

Since when is Lilith logical? She makes about as much sense as the damned spear. Somehow she is corralling all the souls into the Black Moon while simultaneously being one with them. At the point that's remotely possible her giving Shinji some semblance of individuality doesn't really seem that far fetched.

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 05:16 GMT

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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

You do realize that you introjected a bunch of stuff about Lilith without establishing in any way what it had to do with what was already being discussed, right? Not good protocal.

Are you essentially saying: "There's no logical explanation; ergo, Lilith did it, because Lilith is to narrativium as Tinkerbell is to levitation powder."? Reaching into the show's internal supplies of narrativium (for lack of anything better) to 'resolve' an issue should generally be considered a last resort.

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 05:45 GMT

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Postby AnonymousEvafan [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

Sorry about that didn't mean to skip ahead there my bad Image Image . I was trying to make sense of her words about a world without A.T. Fields. Somehow according to her everyone lost them and then got them back. How can we take this a face value it goes against the basic logic of how the process works.
Shinji:
Ayanami... where are we?

Rei:
This is the sea of LCL... The primordial soup of life.
A world without AT Fields... without your own shape.
An ambiguous world where it is impossible to tell where you end and other people start.
A fragile world where you exist everywhere, and thus exist nowhere.

Shinji:
Have I died?

Rei:
No, everything has just been joined into one.
This is the world you have been hoping for... your world.
That's as incomprehensible as the imaginary monoliths if you take it at face value. It's hard to believe she didn't know what she was talking about. Lilith's bizarre nature is about the only thing that can account for it unless you want to dismiss it as a plot hole which it may very well be. The more I think about this the more my head hurts [img]http://www.evageeks.org/ANF-Archive/images/$%&#!.gif[/img] .

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 07:09 GMT

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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

Everything that Rei tells Shinji seems intrinsically paradoxical as long as Rei/Lilith and Shinji are there, existing as distinguishable (however merged) beings. However, the conversation was not considering these issues in terms of plot-based technicality; Lilith's bottomless bag of magic tricks becomes a moot point here, and is approaching things from the wrong angle.

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 15:54 GMT

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Postby Dr. Nick [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

JFaulkner wrote:I think symbolism is more important in the EoE, given the TV ending had less action. Personally, I think a Jungian framework is necessary and sufficient to explain the symbols used, and this aspect has been grossly neglected (well on the Internet at least) in the past.
I don't think that approach is necessary in any way; the show is capable of explaining its main points by itself. Any interpretations based on frameworks imported from outside of the immediate scope of the story are always "secondary material", no matter how well-construed and logical they might be. That's my layman's view.

Reichu wrote:If that's really true, then there would be no Shinji to want others to come back. Or this is a plot hole the size of Jupiter.
Don't you know? They used Jupiter to build the plot hole bomb.

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 16:49 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

Ornette wrote:for what it's worth, there was a heated debate not long ago about concurrency on EMF here, starting on page 2 or so
I had a cursory glance at this, and the arguments do not seem to differ wildly from that of MDWigs and EvaOtaku.

Reichu wrote:I still haven't looked into Jung, although I would like to. Definitely true that it isn't mentioned very much with application to NGE. I am curious if it would bring any startling new revelations to someone such as myself (= devout uber-geek), or just add clarity (and loads of jargon) to things already known.
It depends on what kind of revelation you want. For me, Shinji was a person who was at a sheer lost to who he really was, due to a realization of how inadequately he knew himself. He had constructed convenient frameworks for viewing himself and others, which when pulled down, created a mental void which totally incapacitated him (a state like dementia praecox). The real task was to pull himself out of this void, i.e. create that new world perspective. A Jungian framework helps to understand this process in the context of the events in the anime (also see below reply to Dr. Nick). Ultimately, it is to highlight that this process is something which, if we dare to confront ourselves, can become a reality. Jung, like any other framework, has its jargon. I do not see a problem in this as long as the jargon is clearly explained. This is of course, critical for understanding him. When I first read a few of Jung's collected works (CW), I thought it was just crap. It was only much later when I read some of his earlier works that I understood what his jargon meant, and that they were based on everyday phenomena. Jung (e.g CW 3) has taken pains to explain his methodology, and the value of his work, which should help to ease misunderstanding, especially for people stuck in a scientific frame of mind.

Reichu wrote:Just to nitpick,"Third Impact", by all indications, refers to the physical (and metaphysical) effects on the planet that must be achieved before HIP can occur. (Reducing all lifeforms to ooze so that human souls can be freed and gathered up for processing, and stuff like that.)
So you are saying Third Impact is different from Instrumentality/Complementation? I agree in the sense that Third Impact is an event which creates the conditions for Complementation. But should it not still be valid to say e.g. "Third Impact -> choice between Complementation or Individuality"?

Reichu wrote:If that's really true, then there would be no Shinji to want others to come back. Or this is a plot hole the size of Jupiter.
Reichu wrote:Since ATFs are restored at the end of EoE, what other path is there to take but that of individuality?
AnonymousEvafan wrote:Sorry about that didn't mean to skip ahead there my bad . I was trying to make sense of her words about a world without A.T. Fields. Somehow according to her everyone lost them and then got them back. How can we take this a face value it goes against the basic logic of how the process works.
What is the "basic logic of how the process works"? I guess the problem is that we conceptualize this "single form" as something which has a homogeneous way of thinking with no possibility of it developing individuality in some parts of it. In other words, once this single being is formed, all traces of Shinji vanishes and he can never think for himself again. Perhaps we need to change our conceptualization then? Instead of taking this "single form" literally, we can view it as a state which one is in when one loses their individuality, when they no longer feel the will to live an individual existence - the individual frame of mind is lost and becomes engulfed with psychic factors common to everyone. However, the individual mind can still be restored provided the will to do so is reignited (with help from Rei in Shinji's case; i.e. it is possible for just some AT Fields to return [those corresponding to a strong individual will], they do not all have to return if one returns) - and hence "Tantai" is not an irreversible state. Or if we insist on sticking to taking "single form" literally, perhaps we can just say there is another process which reverts part of this single form into the constituent individuals due to some trace of each individual remaining (i.e. what Rei was talking to, because she is divine and can detect this trace) which can be used to restore each individual, given the right circumstances (what is stopping us doing this?).

Reichu wrote:The above is speaking of the "process"; they do not refer to a "completion". Far as I can tell, Instrumentality/Complementation (same thing) is a process -- the mode of artificial evolution -- and the Single Being is the product.
This is what I originally thought, but MDWigs thought Complementation was more a conclusion. Taking account of your comments, I propose:
"Third Impact -> complementation -> tantai -> choice to get out of this tantai state and achieve state of individuality"

Reichu wrote:Restoring one's physical body seems to be implicitly associated with the concept of libido (as the antithesis of destrudo).
I agree, if we use a Freudian framework. Jung has a different meaning for libido, and to my knowledge, does not use the term destrudo.

Dr. Nick wrote:I don't think that approach is necessary in any way; the show is capable of explaining its main points by itself. Any interpretations based on frameworks imported from outside of the immediate scope of the story are always "secondary material", no matter how well-construed and logical they might be. That's my layman's view.
I should have explained why I thought it was necessary:

Anno Hideaki wanted to portray his personal psychic processes in Evangelion, in other words, he tried to represent them in the form of the events transpiring in the anime (with help from his team). He has jumped from his own personal framework to the framework of Evangelion. I agree we can just use the concepts within Evangelion (e.g LCL is a sticky liquid, smelling like blood and is referred to as the "soup of life") to make sense of the plot in Evangelion. However, I am of the opinion that this is not enough. I advocate that we should try and link the meaning within the context of Evangelion back to the psychic processes which we experience in our realities. This is because what Anno tried to portray are personal psychic processes transpiring in real life, not in the world of Evangelion. Therefore, if we just decipher the plotline with no reference to our real lives, then I would say a large chunk of meaning is lost for us. In order to get at the meaning which Evangelion has for us, we need a separate framework (separate from the concepts used in the anime) to get at that meaning, which lies "behind" (as it were) the revealed plot.

For example, in the EoE, Third Impact occurs, everything turns to L.C.L, eventually Rei is seen sitting on top of Shinji with both of them naked, and Shinji remerges from this L.C.L. How are we to relate this to our lives if we just take e.g. L.C.L. as a sticky liquid smelling of blood, Rei as the First Children with the body of Yui and the soul of Lillith etc.? When we wake up in the morning, do we think about how Third Impact, as depicted in the anime, would have a significant effect on ourselves? I doubt it. I think we need some sort of mediating framework. Therefore, I would argue that what you cite as "secondary material" is actually essential. By interpreting events in Evangelion using this "secondary framework," we do not need to deny its meaning in the context of the anime. For example, we can still take L.C.L. as a sticky liquid smelling of blood. But we can then say it symbolizes something in our real lives (something in our psyches as they pertain in reality). This type of interpretation is prevalent in "religion" - for example, the story of Jesus has Jesus being crucified and then he was resurrected, and resided with God: what on earth does that have to do with the ordinary person on the street? If we interpret this literally using just the context of the story, then we are stuck. However, if we interpret it symbolically (much like some Gnostic sects), such that Jesus (a helper) is seen as symbolizing that part of us which strives towards a greater morality (the potential inherent in all humans), then the story has greater living value - it tells us how this "moralizing force" always exists, despite being battered on all sides by opposing factors. Of course, that was a crude example, but I just brought that up to make a point.

This brings me onto why a Jungian framework, in particular, might be useful. Given that the main issue is the human psyche, a scientific framework, I would argue, is not particularly insightful. This is because emergent properties of the psyche often cannot be subsumed under a Popperian falsifiable hypothesis framework (although I acknowledge branches of science have a different framework now). For example, an AT Field might be related to all manner of fields in physics. But so what? What does that tell us about the human psyche? Psychoanalysis deals with the fragility of the human mind. Furthermore, a Jungian framework deals with (obscure?) symbols from many religions and sources (e.g. Tree of Life), and explains religion in such a way that it has living value for people (one of the major outcomes of Jung's works in my opinion) - to release the living meaning behind fossilized dogma. It forges a link between symbols and the human psyche. A Freudian framework, to my knowledge, would not be able to deal with symbols such as a divine male/female pair (Rei/Kaworu) as well as a Jungian one. Also, I would argue a Jungian conception of soul is more appropriate.

Originally posted on: 02-Nov-2006, 23:42 GMT

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Postby Dr. Nick [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

JFaulkner wrote:I agree we can just use the concepts within Evangelion (e.g LCL is a sticky liquid, smelling like blood and is referred to as the "soup of life") to make sense of the plot in Evangelion. However, I am of the opinion that this is not enough.
This goes to show that there are different types of fans; like I've said many times before, I'm one of those boring, practical-minded people who are only interested in the story itself - I couldn't care less about any metatextual dimensions or whatever. And I kinda think this attitude is shared by a large, silent minority.

For example, in the EoE, Third Impact occurs, everything turns to L.C.L, eventually Rei is seen sitting on top of Shinji with both of them naked, and Shinji remerges from this L.C.L. How are we to relate this to our lives if we just take e.g. L.C.L. as a sticky liquid smelling of blood, Rei as the First Children with the body of Yui and the soul of Lillith etc.?
Why should we relate it to our lives? Most people, I argue again, don't feel such urge. I don't watch anime to find life-altering messages, I enjoy anime for its own sake. The interpretative approach you describe makes the show meaninful for you, but you shouldn't assume it works the same way for everybody. Your approach is purely subjective.

I've seen people who claim Evangelion needs to be interpreted from a Freudian framework, or from a buddhist framework, or from a framework of "service-sector, gender and information revolutions sweeping across Japan and the core economies of East Asia". No, I'm not kidding. But in all those cases the wording is wrong: one does not need to interpret the show that way. One can interpret the show that way. And that's why I have a slight problem with you "advocating" your Jungian model. It makes about azzobillion times more sense than Dennis Redmond's psilocybin-induced descriptions of alien sex, but it's still subjective.

This type of interpretation is prevalent in "religion" - for example, the story of Jesus has Jesus being crucified and then he was resurrected, and resided with God: what on earth does that have to do with the ordinary person on the street? If we interpret this literally using just the context of the story, then we are stuck.
And since when has this forum been "stuck" with its mostly-literal, down-to-earth reading of NGE? After innumerable debates, most of which of course remained deliciously pointless, I claim we today have a rather clear idea of how the main plot plays out. Details remain, some will obsess over them, some will not. Neither have we needed any external frameworks to be able to extract the Big Meaning, "Choose life!", from the story (in before irony etc.). Methinks you don't give enough credit to us boring literalists.

(Also, comparing the (potential) symbolic depth of Evangelion and Christian religion seems a bit overkill to me.)

To demonstrate in a very simple way how all outside-framework interpretations are always secondary, think about this: would you be here putting forward these ideas of yours if you didn't have some sort of basic grasp of what's going on in the story in a literal sense (and your grasp seems way better than just "basic")? After all, there are lots of people who think EoE is just a collection of random special effects. Your theorizations are an offshoot of what I'd at least like to call the "objective" bedrock of analyzing and understanding this crazy, fuxored-up cartoon.

I emphasize again that I have nothing against your theories per se; I'm uninterested in them, but you shouldn't take that as an offence, that's just the sort of person I am. I'm merely hoping you would better acknowledge that there are different ways of reading into the story.

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 01:53 GMT

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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

There is only one proper way to analyze NGE, and that is over long hours of insomnia coming out of a sinus infection and going head-first into a manic episode, with the show gnawing away at the edges of one's consciousness like endlessly falling Tetris blocks. NGE never made such perfect sense before that -- and such little sense afterwards. Image

...nevermind.

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 05:23 GMT

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Postby AnonymousEvafan [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

I hate to say this but I liked your theories much better when you were manic. Not only were they entertaining most of them made alot of sense until the CI came along anyways.

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 12:36 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

Dr. Nick wrote:This goes to show that there are different types of fans; like I've said many times before, I'm one of those boring, practical-minded people who are only interested in the story itself - I couldn't care less about any metatextual dimensions or whatever. And I kinda think this attitude is shared by a large, silent minority.
I think this is a fair assessment of the current situation (except I take your self-description of "boring" with a pinch of salt!).

Dr. Nick wrote:Why should we relate it to our lives? Most people, I argue again, don't feel such urge. I don't watch anime to find life-altering messages, I enjoy anime for its own sake.
I tried to explain why we should in the last post: "... because what Anno tried to portray are personal psychic processes transpiring in real life, not in the world of Evangelion. Therefore, if we just decipher the plotline with no reference to our real lives, then I would say a large chunk of meaning is lost for us."

I cannot say that all anime should be mined for the meaning of life, but specifically for NGE, there is a lot it can tell us, and this is the case whether the majority of people care for this meaning or not.

Dr. Nick wrote:The interpretative approach you describe makes the show meaninful for you, but you shouldn't assume it works the same way for everybody. Your approach is purely subjective.
The approach I described gives meaning concerning how humans think and act. This, I would argue, has meaning for not just myself, and hence is not purely subjective.

Dr. Nick wrote:I've seen people who claim Evangelion needs to be interpreted from a Freudian framework, or from a buddhist framework, or from a framework of "service-sector, gender and information revolutions sweeping across Japan and the core economies of East Asia". No, I'm not kidding. But in all those cases the wording is wrong: one does not need to interpret the show that way. One can interpret the show that way. And that's why I have a slight problem with you "advocating" your Jungian model. It makes about azzobillion times more sense than Dennis Redmond's psilocybin-induced descriptions of alien sex, but it's still subjective.
I have also read essays on far-out frameworks such as "the state of post-war Japan in the context of Evangelion" (but your link was a new one).
What is evident is that many frameworks have been used for Evangelion. But why I "advocate" a Jungian model is not just to add to this morass of perspectives: I also claim it is the best (external) framework, insofar as it manages to give greater meaning to a substantial part of the anime which cannot be derived solely from the context of the anime, without doing damage to the central focus of the story. Not all the frameworks are on a level footing with respect to being relevant to the themes in Evangelion, and if there are strong reasons for a framework being the most relevant, then choosing such a framework is not a matter of whim, but has a kind of objective measure - the amount of relevance.

Dr. Nick wrote:And since when has this forum been "stuck" with its mostly-literal, down-to-earth reading of NGE? After innumerable debates, most of which of course remained deliciously pointless, I claim we today have a rather clear idea of how the main plot plays out. Details remain, some will obsess over them, some will not. Neither have we needed any external frameworks to be able to extract the Big Meaning, "Choose life!", from the story (in before irony etc.). Methinks you don't give enough credit to us boring literalists.
I am not suggesting that this forum is benighted just because it predominantly discusses the "mostly-literal" meaning (taking your word for it as I do not know first-hand). Debating the plotlines in itself is not pointless. Having a grasp of the literal story is vital for any interpretation, and of course credit to all the literalists in that respect. I also agree that we can get the broad message "Choose life!" from just the story in the context of the anime.

I also agree that the plot of Evangelion in the anime context has been well delineated - so again credit to those who have done so.

Hence, I am not denying the value of the literal approach. I just think adding a relevant framework on top of this adds greater meaning to the results of the literal analysis (which already has meaning, but has extra meaning locked away, which can be accessed using a suitable external framework). The literal and the external framework approaches give results which complement each other. For example, I propose a Jungian framework because it can clarify and give extra insights into the process of how Shinji "chose life," by means of rendering a meaning to symbols such as "Angels" in a new light which is commensurate with their literal role in the anime. By this, I do not mean just a simple, brainless, arbitrary Angels = X relation, but carefully drumming out the relevant aspects and roles of Angels, as depicted in the anime, which would make it reasonable to construe them under a new light in a different framework - this means there is a tangible link between the literal aspect and the external framework concept. Without this link, which involves a consideration of the main themes of the anime and taking into account the literal aspects, then the external framework would be just a matter of taste. But if these links exist, and the concepts they connect gives greater meaning to Evangelion, then why should someone ignore what the framework can tell us? Especially when this greater meaning pertains to our lives? After all, none of the literal meaning has been pushed aside and the meaning has been augmented, through a non-arbitrary process. All the literal insights gained are not being pushed under the carpet, but built upon. Another possible outcome of the external framework approach is that it can form stronger links between literal aspects when they are viewed in a different light (e.g. Asuka and Shinji both without a mother but with their mothers' souls in their EVAs [literal aspect 1] and why the pilots need to be immersed in L.C.L. [literal aspect 2]).

Just a note on what I mean by "greater meaning" - one part of this "greater meaning" is that we can find evidence to suggest that the creators wanted to show something (a meaning which is deduced by virtue of said framework), and thus created linked concepts and characters in Evangelion to show this meaning (the literal story). In this way, the external framework analysis can also help to make us more aware of the reasons why the literal story is as it is, i.e. what the creators (a source which is even more "primary" than the literal story) wanted to show. An example to make this clearer: by using a Jungian framework, I claim that Kaworu together with Rei are "crucial" in retaining individuality, which would make the introduction of Kaworu by the creators reasonable (as opposed to a gimmick to confuse viewers late on in the anime). This goes back to the point of trying to get at the "personal psychic processes transpiring in real life" which Anno tried to portray.

Dr. Nick wrote:(Also, comparing the (potential) symbolic depth of Evangelion and Christian religion seems a bit overkill to me.)
I brought up the Jesus story analogy not to make a comparison between the symbolic depth of NGE and Christianity, but just to make the point that a story, which can be interpreted in the literal sense, can have greater meaning if interpreted in a different sense, and that this new interpretation is not totally divorced from the literal aspects.

Dr. Nick wrote:To demonstrate in a very simple way how all outside-framework interpretations are always secondary, think about this: would you be here putting forward these ideas of yours if you didn't have some sort of basic grasp of what's going on in the story in a literal sense (and your grasp seems way better than just "basic")? After all, there are lots of people who think EoE is just a collection of random special effects. Your theorizations are an offshoot of what I'd at least like to call the "objective" bedrock of analyzing and understanding this crazy, fuxored-up cartoon.
If I read you correctly, you are taking the anime in itself (definitions in the RCB, story as depicted without any external frameworks) as the primary material, from which any analysis is objective. However, here you are defining "objectivity" as having no bias towards an external framework (the aim of any such "objective" analysis is to do so from the primary material), and choosing to use this definition of objectivity is a subjective decision (why use that definition of "objectivity"? - i.e. why just stick to a primary analysis if an external framework can render greater meaning on top of it, and even complement it? ). I can take "objectivity" to be to try and render as much meaning from NGE as possible, but in a non-arbitrary way, in which case I can use an appropriate external framework, and achieve a greater objectivity (you would call this framework "secondary" to distinguish it from the primary material: this is fine, but the "secondary" does not have to denote some sort of unecessary tool if the objective is changed).

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 16:12 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

Final part of reply to Dr. Nick (ran out of word space in the last post):

Dr. Nick wrote:I emphasize again that I have nothing against your theories per se; I'm uninterested in them, but you shouldn't take that as an offence, that's just the sort of person I am. I'm merely hoping you would better acknowledge that there are different ways of reading into the story.
No offence taken at all; I welcome these types of discussion (when I have time to respond!), not least because it forces the issues out into the open and obliges me to look at my own viewpoint and that of others in a more critical sense.

I do acknowledge the importance of reading Evangelion literally, but I also argue for the importance of a Jungian framework, over other frameworks. If it can give greater insight into the series in the ways I have mentioned above, then I think that is of interest (and for those uninterested, I cannot force you to be interested, but can try and explain why I think it is of interest, like in my posts). Conversely, if it can be shown that Jung is useless at giving this promised insight, then I would happily pack my bags and get on with the rest of my life. But from what I know of Jung, there are just too many ways in which it can help to illuminate NGE - not just a few sentences here and there taken out of context, but entire chapters spread across many books (and not just on symbols, but also the themes - e.g. the theme of "I am still a child" [Episode 21] is shown explicitly in the analysis of one of Jung's patients [words to that effect were used by said patient, in a similar context]).

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 16:16 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

JFaulkner wrote:I tried to explain why we should in the last post: "... because what Anno tried to portray are personal psychic processes transpiring in real life, not in the world of Evangelion. Therefore, if we just decipher the plotline with no reference to our real lives, then I would say a large chunk of meaning is lost for us."
This is assuming that you care about what Anno wanted to portray - if you do not, then the "should" would not apply - you are correct. But if you do not care about what Anno wanted to portray, then a large chunk of meaning is still lost, whether one cares for that meaning or not.

Now this is assuming that this "meaning which is lost" has value not just on a pure subjective level - the reason I gave for this is because the meaning involves how humans think and act. Of course, one can then say, what about people who do not care about how humans think and act. I would then probably try and argue that we should care about how humans think and act - however this is now moving into the minefield of morality, ethics and philosophies, and I do not have time to go into what I think about that here.

But then, I suppose whether we should care about how humans think and act is separate from the idea that Jung can help us to a greater understanding of the themes in NGE (i.e it does not matter whether people should care about this type of greater understanding or not).

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 17:05 GMT

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Postby OMF [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

Reichu wrote:There is only one proper way to analyze NGE, and that is over long hours of insomnia coming out of a sinus infection and going head-first into a manic episode, with the show gnawing away at the edges of one's consciousness like endlessly falling Tetris blocks. NGE never made such perfect sense before that -- and such little sense afterwards. Image

...nevermind.
I wrote a script once that randomly played segments from episodes until told to stop. The effect was much the same.

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 18:22 GMT

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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

AnonymousEvafan wrote:I hate to say this but I liked your theories much better when you were manic.
I think I did, too. Image I still haven't managed to truly erase conviction in, or, at least, sentimental attachment to many of those theories. The "presentation" simply changed as I reverted to a more mundane (and sustainable) mind-state.

Not only were they entertaining most of them made alot of sense until the CI came along anyways.
A lot were based on bits and pieces of the CI. The full CI, however, rendered many -- such as the great fanwank, "The Duel of the Seeds" -- defunct.

OMF wrote:I wrote a script once that randomly played segments from episodes until told to stop. The effect was much the same.
Ooo, do tell.

(Apologies for the pointless tangent. I couldn't resist.)

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 18:56 GMT

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Postby AnonymousEvafan [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

OMF wrote:I wrote a script once that randomly played segments from episodes until told to stop.
Um didn't GAINAX already beat you to that idea and call it Death?

Originally posted on: 07-Nov-2006, 23:22 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

This post condenses some of the arguments I have given in my previous posts, to highlight the main reasons why using a Jungian framework is legitimate, and is also of value.


Proposition 1: Anno tried to portray personal psychic processes transpiring in real life in Evangelion; furthermore, the overarching theme which Anno tried to portray is how one stops "running away" into a hopeless state.

Argument to support Proposition 1: In Anno's words (published in first collected manga volume of Evangelion; Translation: Mari Morimoto and Fred Burke for Viz Comics):

"I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion -- myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years.

A man who ran away for four years, one who was simply not dead.

Then one thought:

"You can't run away,"

came to me, and I restarted this production.

It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film.

....

That is because within me, the story is not yet finished."


Anno tried to include "everything" of himself (a man who ran away) in NGE; he wanted to "burn" his feelings into film. The story is played out "within him" and is not finished, suggesting that critical aspects of the anime are intrinsically linked to him. This is very strong, if not decisive, evidence for Proposition 1.


Proposition 2: A Jungian framework can be applied to Evangelion. (nothing is said about the value in doing so.

Argument to support Proposition 2: Proposition 1 shows that a critical (but not the only) source of the anime is Anno's thoughts and emotions, which is reflected in the anime. The anime is a piece of work which contains aspects which reflect Anno's thoughts, emotions and overaching theme.

Consider an analogy: a group of people living in a village create a new "religion" based on their collective thoughts and emotions. Laymen and academics alike know nothing else of this group of people. They only have access to a text telling a story, used as their equivalent of the Bible. To get at their collective thoughts and emotions, one can take this story in its literal context (a "literal analysis"). True, this gives some insights. However, several frameworks have already been created throughout history (e.g. psychoanalysis, modern psychology) specifically to deal with human thoughts and emotions. Therefore, these frameworks can be used to analyse the story as well, to see if they give any greater insight. This methodology is widespread in theology, psychology and the social sciences, and is based on the literal material.

Another analogy is from the "hard" sciences, which shows that the use of external frameworks is actually "objective" in the scientific sense. Suppose there is a natural phenomenon whose proximate and ultimate causation is unknown - say a population of feral cats started attacking a population of foxes. Then suppose one would like to get at the two types of causes (the "meaning" - if one is not interested in this holistic "meaning", then why bother with any type of analysis?). One cannot progress too far if one sticks to just the literal facts - i.e. a population of feral cats started attacking a population of foxes. That is the "primary material." It does not tell us much. Inevitably, biologists would like to cast this problem within an existing framework (created from the existing literature - e.g. what is already known about feral cats and foxes), advance hypotheses and carry out experiments and the associated statistics to test the hypotheses. Different biologists use different frameworks - for example, animal physiologists would want to recast the problem on a smaller scale than a population ecologist. These different frameworks all give a part of the overall meaning, and is based on the literal facts (***).

These examples are nothing revolutionary; on the contrary, they are age-old examples showing the process of human analysis.

Applying the same idea to Evangelion:
It is entirely legitimate to use different (external) frameworks to analyse the primary material in Evangelion (whether this is worthwhile is another matter). There is no strong reason to reject the application of external frameworks per se, because these frameworks are used not to destroy the literal facts, but to recast them in a different light.

Provided the frameworks give conclusions pertinent to the nature of the problem and have a tangible link to the literal facts (so that we do not apply frameworks haphazardly, leading to essays on Evangelion's relation to the old man down the street), then any conclusions drawn from these frameworks are not based on wanton playfulness, but ultimately from the literal facts in a reasonable way, which makes them as "objective" (in the sense of being based on the literal/primary material) as a literal analysis, which also draws conclusions based on the literal facts (these facts are found in the literal context). The use of such external frameworks in science shows their "objective" value.


Proposition 3: A Jungian framework can give greater meaning to (a greater understanding of) the overarching theme of Evangelion.

Argument to support Proposition 3: From Proposition 1, the overarching theme is one of "running away" from oneself. I claim that:

A Jungian framework can help to explain certain of the events in Evangelion in such a way as to give a greater insight as to what this "running away" theme actually entails. By doing so, it can forge stronger links between literal aspects and between the literal aspects and the overarching theme, and clarifies Anno's personal psychic processes when he was making Evangelion.
.

This claim is based on what I have written up as my "essay" so far, which is in turn based on my analysis of Evangelion using a Jungian framework. Now if this claim is true, then it shows that a Jungian framework is of value, precisely because it can illuminate the aspects mentioned, which include its fundamental, overarching theme (hence, the value of the framework is significant by virtue of the fact that using it in a certain way can aim directly at elaborating the core issue of the anime).


***********

In short, I think the above gives clear, solid reasons for the validity of using a Jungian framework and the value in doing so. Also, it avoids any use of the word "should" which gives rise to a morality minefield. It simply relies on the reasoning that a Jungian framework is of value because it can give a greater understanding of some important aspects of Evangelion (important insofar as it pertains to one of the major reasons why Evangelion is as it is - viz. Anno's thoughts and emotions when he was involved in its production).


(***) It might be objected that this analogy is not totally correct because you cannot carry out experiments on Evangelion. However, the main point is that an external framework is being applied - the argument still makes sense if no experiments are carried out (it does not depend on there being any experiments): e.g. suppose scientists have in their hands a set of data collected from some expedition, experiment or whatever. This is the primary data (analogous to the anime Evangelion). They want to make sense of this data, which, for the sake of argument, is a video of a population of feral cats attacking a population of foxes. Scientists often want to test for a significant relationship between two sets of factors. To do this they have to apply a statistical framework (analogous to introducing an external framework to Evangelion) to two sets of numbers (which represent the two sets of factors: here, it could be the number of feral cats and foxes taken through time, taken from the video), which can be totally unrelated to the framework from which the primary data occurs in (e.g. popn of feral cats attacks popn of foxes, which occurs in an ecological setting - note that this "ecological setting" itself is a framework imposed on the immediate experience given to us by sensory perception, or a video camera) and is used to recast the problem in a different light. However, by applying the usual array of t-tests, etc., they can then show that the relationship between the two sets of numbers is significant, which indicates a significant relation between one factor and another - i.e. they have gained a greater understanding of the primary data (obtaining in one framework) through use of another framework. This result is then suitable to be published, or disseminated to the media. This is just one example from the top of my head.

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 01:46 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:15 pm

And an appendix (my underlines):

"I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion -- myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years[/u].

A man who ran away for four years[/u], one who was simply not dead[/u].

Then one thought:

"You can't run away[/u],"

came to me, and I restarted this production.

It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film.

....

That is because within me, the story is not yet finished."



This states in clear-cut fashion what the fundamental theme of the show is. If anyone claims they are not interested in this "running away from oneself" theme, then can that person truly be said to be interested in Evangelion itself [note: this is not directed at anyone in particular here! p.s. I also acknowledge the value in a literal analysis!]?

Given that this theme is of such importance, it is not hard to see what value it can have for us. If, as I argue, this "running away" is a running away from our true selves, a turning away from all our unconscious thoughts which we hide for fear of losing a comfortable yet superficial frame of mind (bereft of true feeling), then it is shown so clearly in the anime that this "running away" will lead to a state of being "simply not dead" forevermore.

Can we ignore this message in our real lives with any real conviction? Are we running away from ourselves?

[note: this is not directed at anyone in particular here! I am asking people to consider the answer to these questions themselves! Because they strike me as important questions, implicit in the main theme of Evangelion!].

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 02:08 GMT


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