Terminal Dogma: Essays on Neon Genesis Evangelion

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

Real life is calling; I will stop messageboard activity indefinitely.


As I alluded to in my last post, ultimately, I am only really interested in how Evangelion can inspire people to stop running away from themselves (experimentia est optima rerum magistra!).

It just so happens Jung was obsessed with the theme of how to stop people running away from themselves, and so it was that I saw great similarities.

Now, I am not aiming this at anyone here since I am not familiar with this place: From my experience on the Internet, it seems to me that very few people (critics of NGE, fans of NGE, academics, non-academics) actually get what a powerful, unifying theme this is, and even fewer care about what a serious issue it is (despite what Anno wrote - "simply not dead"; "broken man", and what was shown to happen to Shinji). So as Dr. Nick said, maybe the majority simply care more about Misato's fan service or EVAs crushing things. And when has the majority ever had a predisposition to look seriously outside the "consensus omnium"?

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 02:49 GMT

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

I have another proposition, which probably is logically best in analyzing Eva and expecting to get results considered "true", as in necessary (being one way and never another) and universal, inside the Eva canon.

Only Eva explains Eva

All external stuff, anything outside Eva's canon, doesn't give necessary facts inside Eva. Eva is different from reality, the rules that apply in real might not apply in Eva. There's no way to check them. You can't check that gravity in Eva is in all cases the same as in reality, that can't be measured intra-canon.

That's why I think all answers to Eva's misteries, whose source is outside Eva's canon, don't give necessary facts inside Eva. Just things that might be the same as they might not be. Suppositions, in the end.

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 03:37 GMT

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

AchtungAffen wrote:I have another proposition, which probably is logically best in analyzing Eva and expecting to get results considered "true", as in necessary (being one way and never another) and universal, inside the Eva canon.

Only Eva explains Eva
This is a proposition.

AchtungAffen wrote:All external stuff, anything outside Eva's canon, doesn't give necessary facts inside Eva.
Why? This is a proposition. [What is a necessary fact? You mean the stuff in the RCB? The whole point of me showing why external frameworks are valid, my Proposition 2, was to show that you can use these frameworks - did you read it?]

AchtungAffen wrote:Eva is different from reality, the rules that apply in real might not apply in Eva.
Why? Just because you said so? Equally, the rules that apply in real might apply to Eva, when Eva is interpreted in the right way, based on the literal meaning [Eva and reality are obviously not identical, but they have many parallels which render the translation of meaning between the two realms possible, but have I not made this clear enough in my many posts?] This is a proposition.

AchtungAffen wrote:There's no way to check them. You can't check that gravity in Eva is in all cases the same as in reality, that can't be measured intra-canon.
[Eva has many aspects which can be translated to real life - i.e. "checked"? Is that not clear enough from my many posts?]

AchtungAffen wrote:That's why I think all answers to Eva's misteries, whose source is outside Eva's canon, don't give necessary facts inside Eva. Just things that might be the same as they might not be. Suppositions, in the end.
You cannot base conclusions of any credibility on a bunch of propositions/statements with no real arguments whatsoever.

Furthermore, you have in no way considered my arguments, or offered counter-arguments. Therefore, my position has not been refuted in any way.




EDIT: In short, you set up the definition of something being "true" as something literally transpiring in the anime, with no real justification [i.e. "true" in your sense is synonymous with "everything that can be derived within the concepts as conceived in the anime literally" - which conveniently agrees with what you are going to propose. But nowhere have you given a justification as to why we should just stick to this definition of "true." If we are going to "analyse" NGE, then we would like to derive meaning from it, and if an external framework can do that and complement a literal analysis, as I have tried to show, then a definition of "true" along the lines of "everything which can be derived from the literal anime material in a non-arbitrary way" is much better, equally logical if not more so and does not arbitrarily cut off external frameworks], and then proceed to push forward "Only Eva explains Eva" as if only the literal analysis can explain everything about Eva, again with no proper arguments. I have shown in my posts why an external framework can give a greater meaning/understanding to (i.e. explain) certain parts of the anime, and that is why there is value in introducing such a framework, as opposed to sticking to the "Eva canon" (just the anime context, which in any case is linked to the real world context by virtue of Anno trying to put his real emotions and thoughts into it).

So the idea of everything deriving from the literal analysis as "canon" and everything else being purely subjective (a matter of mere perspective) and random just will not hold on closer scrutiny. The literal analysis is important, but not the only method of value. You can call results from the literal analysis exclusively as "canon," "gospel," "objective," "true," "logical," "rational," "universal," "essential," "necessary," "the crux," or whatever, but when you look at the issue closely, since external frameworks can give meaning to NGE based strongly on the literal material and which is totally in line with the fundamental theme, the exclusive use of these appellations, although appealing and convincing for the converted, at best misleads and at worst stunts critical thinking.

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 03:53 GMT

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Postby AchtungAffen [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

Chesterton explained better what fairy tales and reality have in common. In reality, the apple fell on Newton's nose. In fairy tale, the apple might choose to fly away to the nose of someone it hates more. But in fairy tale and in reality, only logic stays the same. In fairy tale and in reality, two 4 legged horses sum 8 legs. Not 4, not 6.

The thing about Eva != reality is that Eva is the fictional product of fallible humans. They might not be able to apply all the rules of reality or myth inside the fictional work exactly the same as in the external reference. As you cannot positively measure everyone of the rules that apply in reality to Eva, you cannot be logically sure those rules stay the same.

In the myths, Adam was the first human who had intercourse with Lilith, then Lilith made the demons and stuff. Obviously, it's been stated inside Eva that this is different. Myth does not apply exactly the same inside Eva. Mythical external references are not necessary inside Evas canon. The same with physical laws.

That's why only Eva's canon gives necessary facts for Eva and nothing else has the same level of certainty as that. Not psychology, not physics, not even religion. Nothing external is necessarily the same inside Eva.

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 16:28 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

AchtungAffen wrote:Chesterton explained better what fairy tales and reality have in common. In reality, the apple fell on Newton's nose. In fairy tale, the apple might choose to fly away to the nose of someone it hates more. But in fairy tale and in reality, only logic stays the same. In fairy tale and in reality, two 4 legged horses sum 8 legs. Not 4, not 6.

The thing about Eva != reality is that Eva is the fictional product of fallible humans. They might not be able to apply all the rules of reality or myth inside the fictional work exactly the same as in the external reference. As you cannot positively measure everyone of the rules that apply in reality to Eva, you cannot be logically sure those rules stay the same.

In the myths, Adam was the first human who had intercourse with Lilith, then Lilith made the demons and stuff. Obviously, it's been stated inside Eva that this is different. Myth does not apply exactly the same inside Eva. Mythical external references are not necessary inside Evas canon. The same with physical laws.

That's why only Eva's canon gives necessary facts for Eva and nothing else has the same level of certainty as that. Not psychology, not physics, not even religion.
Eva is a fictional product of Anno (and others), which reflects the real thoughts and feelings of Anno. Therefore, some aspects of real emotions and thoughts are in the anime. Anno has stated that the images and story are not totally divorced from real thoughts and emotions (read the quote). Therefore, using psychology is valid because it deals with the "rules" of real emotions and thoughts. The main theme of the show is "running away." This is clearly linked to real life, and the way humans think. The point of analysis is to try and show a tangible link between the literal material and some other claim. If you can do that, then there is nothing to deny its validity (see my Propositions 2 and 3), apart from some arbitrary definition of "necessary" which renders anything not within the literal context of the anime pointless and bereft of meaning. As I have clearly pointed out, this type of analysis is prevalent in the hard sciences, and furthermore, has yielded real results which no-one in their right mind would deny just because they were derived from a different framework than "reality" as we encounter it in our lives (i.e a different framework to our framework of just using sense perception to experience, a different framework which includes scientific tools, concepts and premises built on past evidence). The same idea applies to Evangelion.

You say we cannot "positively" measure "logically" whether the rules in Eva have any relation to that of another framework. Well, yes you can. You use reasoning and deduction based on the premises of the framework, and see if the conclusions are aligned with the fundamental meaning and the literal meaning. This is standard practice in so many real disciplines. Also, you contradict yourself:

"in fairy tale and in reality, only logic stays the same."

"As you cannot positively measure every one of the rules that apply in reality to Eva, you cannot be logically sure those rules stay the same."

So you can use logic to deduce similarities between a fairy tale and reality, but not for Eva, which is a "fairy tale" - in which case it should have the same logic as for reality!

Adam and Lillith have a different meaning in Eva than the real life Hebrew myth. OK. But do you know that in psychoanalysis, Adam and Lillith also have a different meaning from the Hebrew myth, which is in alignment with the meaning they have in Eva (this can be shown by carefully considering how they are similar), and which might render a meaning which is commensurate with the theme of "running away." So mythical references are not useless if they are interpreted in a "non-religious" context. Not all physical laws are different (e.g. Shinji, when he walks on the pavement, moves according to physical laws pertaining in real life). Those events (e.g. Rei appearing for a split second in the first episode) which do not conform to physical laws can be rendered a symbolic meaning, using another framework, which gives greater meaning to the anime.

You say all "external stuff" do not attain the same level of "certainty." But "certainty" of what? It is certain that Anno wanted to show the theme of running away. It is certain that external frameworks can give greater meaning to this theme based on the anime. So "external stuff" is certain of showing, to a degree, the meaning behind Evangelion. Which is what a literal analyis does too. So what's the problem?

And finally, the idea of taking everything (rules, character actions etc) in Eva as completely different from reality (our real lives) is faintly ridiculous: there are people in Eva; there are people in our real lives, in real life there are people who show the same psychological state as Shinji (Anno for example, by his own admission), there is a ship in Evangelion which operates in a way that is the same as in real life, Shinji lives in a town with houses, trains etc. which function in the same way as real life, Misato has sex with Kaji, there are weddings, people use computers, people go to school, people watch TV and use the phone etc etc.. This is no pure fairy tale (if such a thing exists) where everything has a different rule and meaning from our reality.

And one more note, you say Evangelion is "fictional" - what do you mean by that? Evangelion has a fictional context, but with a meaning which pertains to real life, as I have said many times, due to Anno trying to show his real emotions and feelings within it.

Evangelion is not divorced from reality, and this is evident just from a literal analysis. Your basic argument, if I read you correctly, that only "Eva's canon" gives "certainty" does not hold.

EDIT:

AchtungAffen wrote:Nothing external is necessarily the same inside Eva.
Equally, Nothing external is necessarily different inside Eva. That is the whole point of analysis. If the analysis shows that they are the "same" in some strong respect, then you might be able to use the external concept to draw out greater meaning from Eva, which is just as "certain" since it has been shown to have a tangible link to the literal material. An external framework can still get meaning which a literal analysis tries to do, and this is the defining criteria which makes applying an external framework legitimate - the defining criteria is not whether the framework is an internal or an external framework (there is no strong reason to adopt this criteria over the first one - the ultimate point of analysis is to find meaning in some sense, not just to choose frameworks on the basis that they do not introduce anything at all that is outside of what is presented to us literally, no matter how closely linked and useful that "anything" is).

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 17:12 GMT

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Postby AchtungAffen [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

Psychology deals with real humans. The characters inside Eva are not humans per se but some sort of reflection of what the creators thought. That's a big difference.

Also, psychology is speculative knowledge. It's not hard science, it's results lack a lot of necessity.

And thirdly, Anno & Staff knowledge about real psychology was probably minimal. Anno stated he "took a course" of psychology in the Uni. Remember, Anno was expelled from Uni, so go figure how much did he get from that course. He also "read a book" about psychological dissorders. That's very very far away from being a PHd or experienced in psychology or psychiatry. Their knowledge of psychology as put in Eva might not be the exact same as the real one. Besides, there's very little observation possible about psychology inside Eva. It's not like you can put Shinji in the sofa and ask him to talk you about his father.

Opening the door for externalities to explain Eva and expect necessary correct results (results which are the same for everyone) is a methodological error. Eva is fiction, not reality. In Eva's fiction you can't do all the observations and tests you can do on reality, that's why you can never be sure the external rules apply in fiction too. The only source for valid and necessary facts inside Eva just lies inside Eva, because everything Eva says will be appliable inside Eva. But not everything (and you can never be sure as to when it does) external applies inside Eva (for example, myth or physics in all cases - positron ray in the atmosphere: impossible in reality).

Using external stuff as fundaments for Eva might give logical correct results, but only outside Eva, never inside; you always have the doubt about if rules in Eva are the same in reality. The logical impossibility to define that, makes all answers based on external references, as things that can be as well as they can't: suppositions, not facts. Inside Eva, of course.

And I'm not talking about what Anno wanted to say, I'm talking about what was said. Probably they had nothing or just couldn't say what they wanted, more considering Eva's messy production and changes from beginning of it till the end. What the creators say they wanted to say falls behind what was actually said. You can make interpretations of everything in any way possible, Eco explained that quite well in Foucault's Pendulum. But the object, the empiria, if logical, only has one path. Probably not always clear, but the clear parts will be the only ones really necessary.

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 18:27 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

AchtungAffen wrote:Psychology deals with real humans. The characters inside Eva are not humans per se but some sort of reflection of what the creators thought. That's a big difference.
Psychology deals with processes pertaining to humans, which are shown in Evangelion. Why is there such a big difference? Do you not recognize that how the people behave in Evangelion shows similarities with people in real life? e.g. Misato cries because Kaji was killed - not a quantum leap to relate this to someone crying in real life. A more detailed analysis makes this even clearer.

AchtungAffen wrote:Also, psychology is speculative knowledge. It's not hard science, it's results lack a lot of necessity.
It is not a hard science, you are right (would not exactly call it "speculative knowledge" though - but I will not pursue this here). When I referred to "hard sciences," I was pointing back to my Proposition 2, where I stated how applying an external framework to "primary material" is a prevalent methodology in the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.), a field which I am in at the moment.

AchtungAffen wrote:And thirdly, Anno & Staff knowledge about real psychology was probably minimal. Anno stated he "took a course" of psychology in the Uni. Remember, Anno was expelled from Uni, so go figure how much did he get from that course. He also "read a book" about psychological dissorders. That's very very far away from being a PHd or experienced in psychology or psychiatry. Their knowledge of psychology as put in Eva might not be the exact same as the real one. Besides, there's very little observation possible about psychology inside Eva. It's not like you can put Shinji in the sofa and ask him to talk you about his father.
Anno and staff do not have to be experts in psychology to portray emotions and feelings in an art format - many people are able to portray their feelings in paintings and poems, and have been shown to do so throughout history in the form of artistis, poets, philosophers etc. "There is very little observation possible about psychology inside Eva" - again, you have no argument to back this up. I can write pages on "psychology inside Eva" just from the top of my head. You cannot put Shinji on the sofa - but you can infer his mental processes, which are a reflection of Anno's, from the anime events, using existing frameworks.

AchtungAffen wrote:Opening the door for externalities to explain Eva and expect necessary correct results (results which are the same for everyone) is a methodological error. Eva is fiction, not reality. In Eva's fiction you can't do all the observations and tests you can do on reality, that's why you can never be sure the external rules apply in fiction too. The only source for valid and necessary facts inside Eva just lies inside Eva, because everything Eva says will be appliable inside Eva. But not everything (and you can never be sure as to when it does) external applies inside Eva (for example, myth or physics in all cases - positron ray in the atmosphere: impossible in reality).
Yes, the only source is Eva, and then we apply frameworks to this source, to get some meaning. I have already pointed out the reasons why applying an external framework is legitimate - these reasons show why it is not a methodological error as it gives results which relate to the fundamental theme of the show. External frameworks are used regularly in the hard sciences to make sense of primary data. So you would call all this a "methodological error" too?

Eva has a fictional context which has meaning pertaining to reality by virtue of Anno trying to portray his thoughts and feelings in reality - we can interpret it to get at that part which has meaning in reality. Eva is not pure fiction where everything, including its meaning, is fictional. You really have to clarify what you mean by "fiction" - do you mean just its context or its meaning as well? If the latter, then I totally disagree, and I think I have given enough examples and reasons why already, which you do not seem to have argued against.

AchtungAffen wrote:Using external stuff as fundaments for Eva might give logical correct results, but only outside Eva, never inside; you always have the doubt about if rules in Eva are the same in reality. The logical impossibility to define that, makes all answers based on external references, as things that can be as well as they can't: suppositions, not facts. Inside Eva, of course.
No. You totally fail to see that when you provide a link between the primary material and the concepts in an external framework, then there is a connection such that the meaning behind the concepts feeds into the primary material. If there is a tangible "logical" link between the two, then the logical results apply to both - that is a basic quality of a logical result. If you want to show that this link is spurious, then you have to show why it is using logic.

AchtungAffen wrote:And I'm not talking about what Anno wanted to say, I'm talking about what was said. Probably they had nothing or just couldn't say what they wanted, more considering Eva's messy production and changes from beginning of it till the end. What the creators say they wanted to say falls behind what was actually said.
Why not go a bit further, and say that the whole story is incoherent, and that the definition of e.g. "Angel" fluctuates between episode to episode because the staff changed their minds? In order to see if Anno's words and the anime are related, you see if the themes in the anime tie in with Anno's words, and when you see Shinji muttering "I must not run away" etc., you cannot deny there is a tangible link. You are trying to play down this theme, even though it is shown in the anime and Anno said it himself. You state

"Probably they had nothing or just couldn't say what they wanted, more considering Eva's messy production and changes from beginning of it till the end"

which is just a weak argument because it is not known how Eva's "messy production" impacted on the intentions of Anno, so you cannot cite that as proof of anything. The words by Anno are the most reliable we have, and given that they do hold true in light of some of the events shown in the anime, we do not have a strong reason to doubt them.


AchtungAffen wrote:You can make interpretations of everything in any way possible, Eco explained that quite well in Foucault's Pendulum. But the object, the empiria, if logical, only has one path. Probably not always clear, but the clear parts will be the only ones really necessary.
You state that as if that is some sort of accepted law. I contest that you cannot make interpretations of everything in any way possible, with all the interpretations on a level footing with the same meaning with respect to some criteria. If that is the case, depending on which criteria we choose, we can say some interpretations are "better" than others. Name-dropping on its own to support an argument rarely gets anywhere [and before anyone points this out, I have been guilty of this too], because it does not show in any way that the name-dropper understsands the underlying argument behind the idea proposed by the person whose name was dropped. For example, I can easily say that my idea of interpretations is shown by Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers and Martin Buber - for example Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil" shows that some interpretations are clearly better than others; we should look at all interpretations and try and get a synthesis of all of them - look at their bad and good points and try to derive an interpretation which is more holistic and therefore "better." However this shows nothing, because I have not detailed the underlying premises of Nietzsche's argument, so in all honesty, I have not shown I understood his argument correctly and should not use it to support another argument.

So in fact, you have not made an argument to support your claim that "You can make interpretations of everything in any way possible."

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 19:22 GMT

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Postby Ornette [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

JFaulkner wrote:Now, I am not aiming this at anyone here since I am not familiar with this place: From my experience on the Internet, it seems to me that very few people (critics of NGE, fans of NGE, academics, non-academics) actually get what a powerful, unifying theme this is, and even fewer care about what a serious issue it is (despite what Anno wrote - "simply not dead"; "broken man", and what was shown to happen to Shinji). So as Dr. Nick said, maybe the majority simply care more about Misato's fan service or EVAs crushing things. And when has the majority ever had a predisposition to look seriously outside the "consensus omnium"?
I think that many of the "literalists" do understand the underlying meaning, although I will agree with you that a large number of people who have watched the show probably don't get it. When I first watched all of Eva and the movie, I was left with a powerful impression. It didn't take any analysis for me to get what Anno was trying to say, even before I read his letter from the start of the series production in the Viz manga. But after all these years, I'm more interested in what the Spear of Longinus is, why it ended up impaled in Adam, what some of the Angels were really doing, why Nerv suddenly lost power, among tons of other mysteries. I understand how an external framework can give you insight (Geometric Topology and Leliel, for example) and that you're not using it to explain away these mysteries. But, there's been people in the past that would use external frameworks in an attempt to prove or disprove things in Eva (in biology vertabrae procreate THIS way, therefore Adam could not be female, or other such nonsense). Getting a deeper meaning is fine, like quantum mechanics/String Theory paralleling the S^2 theory of sprals, but I can't use it for an argument for why Eva-01 started at the sea of dirac and ended up in the "body" of Leliel, Anno probably didn't study String Theory and his intention for what happened to Eva-01 may or may not have anything to do with quantum mechanics.

Either way, whenever you finish writing your analysis of Evangelion using a Jungian framework, I'd be interested in reading it.

Originally posted on: 10-Nov-2006, 21:09 GMT

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Postby AchtungAffen [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

Ornette wrote:in biology vertabrae procreate THIS way, therefore Adam could not be female, or other such nonsense
Arrrgh. That sounds more or less like what I'm saying against the female theory. I agree with your understanding of the external references and the explanation of Eva using only Eva.

But my critique to that female idea is not based on biology. The central point on the female theory seems to be, as I understand it, Kaworu calling Adam a mother. The theory says then that mother = female. And then there are the consequences: if Adam is female, Evas as clones from Adam are females too. So when Kaworu says kanojyou he has to be referring about the body and not just the soul of Eva-02 who in fact is a woman in all our senses.

I contest that mother = female in the Kaworu quote. It's possible that Kaworu might have not been meaning mother literally, right? Same as the Aimar? called Earth "Pacha Mama" (mother Earth). They didn't mean the planet was a woman, but the planet gave birth to life, like a mother. An analogy.

In language, female/male is just a classification for beings of the same species, the most basical classification inside a species. The first and essential division you can find. As this classification requires both terms to prove real, classifying something as one of the terms without the existance of the other isn't correct. I'm not saying that if all male dissappear then females stop being so. But I'm saying that if there weren't in the first instance the two terms to classify, then the classification is rendered useless.

And then there's the other Eva side to this issue. We have SoL and we have life forms that from the SoL's are born. We know that the SoL's and their respective creations aren't essentially the same. Hell, the same rules don't even apply to them (example, soul-ATF-body form which doesn't seem to apply for SoL's). And then, the product of SoL's aren't SoL's themselves.

We don't have a clue how life spawns from SoL's. We don't know if they need to be impregnated or not to spawn. What we do know is that they are different from their spawns and that the rules that apply for one might not apply for the other.

I don't think it's correct to take Kaworu's "mother" as equal to "female" literally when we don't even know if there were in the first instance "male" SoL's, nor how the SoL's spawn life forms. Imposing the gender for something that probably hasn't it because of a word which might just be an analogy.

Did Kaworu mean mother in the female sense or in the spawning life one without regards of gender? What is the fundament to say a classification of a SoL as a female, means female same as in human beings? You might classify SoL's as female, but what does female mean in this sense? Does it have a meaning in human terms even though SoL's are essentially different from the things they produce? They don't even reproduce then! They spawn something which isn't in essence the original, it's not to produce again.

---------------

JFaulkner wrote:Do you not recognize that how the people behave in Evangelion shows similarities with people in real life?
Similar as in necessary the same?

JFaulkner wrote:Anno and staff do not have to be experts in psychology to portray emotions and feelings in an art format - many people are able to portray their feelings in paintings and poems, and have been shown to do so throughout history in the form of artistis, poets, philosophers etc. "There is very little observation possible about psychology inside Eva" - again, you have no argument to back this up. I can write pages on "psychology inside Eva" just from the top of my head. You cannot put Shinji on the sofa - but you can infer his mental processes, which are a reflection of Anno's, from the anime events, using existing frameworks.
Even though considering Anno wasn't the only one writing the scripts? The feelings are more probably a mix of what everyone in the production wanted to put, with their understanding of how a human works. That's not the same as an individual human mind, of course.

I'm not saying they are total opposites or that they don't have points in common. What I'm telling is that there's nothing certain in this. Humans in Eva are not real humans, they are what some people thought humans are when they tried to put them there. People is fallible, those Eva-humans might be different from real humans in their workings. And there's no way to check Eva-humans behave 100% the same as real humans. It's a logical issue that probably cannot be shown in the empiria, but that cannot be ignored for a methodology that expects necessarily correct results inside Eva's canon. Might get correct results in reality, but the problem is that reality is not exactly the same as Eva.

JFaulkner wrote:Yes, the only source is Eva, and then we apply frameworks to this source, to get some meaning. I have already pointed out the reasons why applying an external framework is legitimate - these reasons show why it is not a methodological error as it gives results which relate to the fundamental theme of the show. External frameworks are used regularly in the hard sciences to make sense of primary data. So you would call all this a "methodological error" too?
Ok, external frameworks. I'll tell you a story about something that didn't seem to happen in the english Eva discussion world, but did happen in the spanish one. Chamber of Gauf. What is it? External framework: the myth -> the place where all souls from humanity come from. Following this framework, what Ritsuko says in #23 has to mean that everyone born, at least after Rei got her soul (for some other, God punished humans with 2nd Impact by emptying this room), didn't have a soul -> soulless kids.

The only external framework that gives necessary facts inside Evas canon is logic. Without logic we cannot comprehend things. If Eva wasn't logical, then there's no point in looking for a necessary truth: the necessary dissappears without logic.

All methods are correct paths towards their proper end. That's why there are infinite possible correct interpretations. But not all methods are correct paths towards only one particular end. If the end here is to get necessary facts (things that are one way and never another) inside Evas canon, and considering Eva != reality (is not 100% the same), the extra-canon might not apply inside the canon.

Originally posted on: 11-Nov-2006, 06:30 GMT

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Postby Ornette [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

@AA: Yikes, I didn't mean to bring anything up about your particular argument against Adam being female. I just remember a lot of external references, specifically in biology, being thrown around in that area (Seele08 comes to mind for some reason), and I didn't feel like digging around old threads to point out examples, as I didn't think it was all that important. Personally, it doesn't matter to me one way or another, the most immediate concern is when using pronouns, I'd rather use a "he" or "she" rather than "it". I guess I should just use gender neutral ve/vis/ver, but whenever I end up using that in conversation people either think I'm retarded or being pedantic about something.

AchtungAffen wrote:I'll tell you a story about something that didn't seem to happen in the english Eva discussion world, but did happen in the spanish one. Chamber of Gauf. What is it? External framework: the myth -> the place where all souls from humanity come from. Following this framework, what Ritsuko says in #23 has to mean that everyone born, at least after Rei got her soul (for some other, God punished humans with 2nd Impact by emptying this room), didn't have a soul -> soulless kids.
There was a little bit of this here a while ago, some stuff about the link that the Sensei saying birthrates are down and the Gauf being empty, but I don't think anything as specific as that.

Originally posted on: 11-Nov-2006, 07:10 GMT

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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

Ornette wrote:I guess I should just use gender neutral ve/vis/ver, but whenever I end up using that in conversation people either think I'm retarded or being pedantic about something.
For my part, I could never use "ve" here -- I'm way too committed. Image

SEELE08 -- blurgh. I remember some of the relevant antics featuring on THAT BOARD, prompting kinglear's "Kaworu kills catgirls" response.

Originally posted on: 11-Nov-2006, 07:38 GMT

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Postby JFaulkner [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

AchtungAffen wrote:All methods are correct paths towards their proper end. That's why there are infinite possible correct interpretations. But not all methods are correct paths towards only one particular end. If the end here is to get necessary facts (things that are one way and never another) inside Evas canon, and considering Eva != reality (is not 100% the same), the extra-canon might not apply inside the canon.
I would like to give a more detailed argument on why I think some interpretations are more "correct" than others, but I have no time (however, the basic reasons have already been alluded to in my previous posts).

The main point I have tried to make is that using an external framework can give results which are just as valid as those obtained from a "literal analysis." I think my posts have given enough reasons to justify this. However, I leave people to look through all the posts and arguments from everyone, and decide for themselves.


Ornette wrote:When I first watched all of Eva and the movie, I was left with a powerful impression. It didn't take any analysis for me to get what Anno was trying to say, even before I read his letter from the start of the series production in the Viz manga.
I did not know anything about Evangelion when someone gave it to me to watch. Then, I had a rudimentary knowledge of anything outside the hard sciences. As for you, it still left a powerful impression. [and no, Evangelion was not the major reason I started looking more into "philosophy", sociology etc.]

Ornette wrote:Either way, whenever you finish writing your analysis of Evangelion using a Jungian framework, I'd be interested in reading it.
There is a good chance it will take me years to finish it, so do not hold your breath.

My original plan, when I was unsure that Jung really had any relation to Evangelion beyond a superficial one (e.g. "Hey, Jung had a private journal called the Red Book!!") was: to forget Evangelion, study all of Jung's Collected Works and some of the more significant associated material (biographies, autobiography, seminar material, papers) and then watch Evangelion again to see if there really are links [I am interested in Jung's works on their own anyway].

But then I found out about "Terminal Dogma: Essays on NGE" through AnimeNation and this thread (which is the reason why I bothered posting here in the first place). I was only about halfway through the CWs, and read some other books and papers. However, after watching some episodes of Evangelion again, I noticed many links connecting Evangelion to Jung. So I thought I could write an essay detailing the main similarities and what this all means, and started writing. But then I had misgivings about submitting it.

Looking back on what I have written, the essay needs to be much more detailed if it is to really detail the meaning of the jargon used for people who are not familiar with Jung, and spell out the reasoning used. 5000 words are not enough. It will pass as some sort of basic outline, but I now want something more detailed.

I am going back to my original plan - forget about Evangelion, read the material mentioned, watch Evangelion again, and then start writing again.

Now I really do not have time to do messageboards anymore.

Originally posted on: 11-Nov-2006, 14:54 GMT

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Postby AnonymousEvafan [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

Reichu wrote:For my part, I could never use "ve" here -- I'm way too committed. Image

SEELE08 -- blurgh. I remember some of the relevant antics featuring on THAT BOARD, prompting kinglear's "Kaworu kills catgirls" response.
Image You always manage to find the fun ones!

Originally posted on: 12-Nov-2006, 00:40 GMT

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Postby Leader Desslock [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:16 pm

JFaulkner wrote:From my experience on the Internet, it seems to me that very few people ... actually get what a powerful, unifying theme this is, and even fewer care about what a serious issue it is... So as Dr. Nick said, maybe the majority simply care more about Misato's fan service or EVAs crushing things.
As one of the normally silent majority to whom Dr. Nick was likely referring, I find it especially annoying when someone says that I don't "get" Evangelion. This appears to be a conclusion that some people reach when they're told that I've seen Evangelion, but that I don't think it was the penultimate work of our era.

With all due respect, I "got" Evangelion just fine, just as I've "gotten" many other arcane works of literature and film that I've studied over the years. No offense, but Evangelion doesn't even rank up in the top ten most difficult to understand works I've ever studied.

Despite "getting" Evangelion just fine and dandy from my perspective, I've never felt any genuine connection to the work, and I've never considered it that profound a show. Anno went through a lot; he spilled his guts in animated form. A lot of writers and artists have gone through a hell iof a lot more than Anno ever did, and they've done a hell of a lot better job of portraying the process by which they got through it. That's not to say Evangelion's bad. It's an above average work that's certainly worth critical attention; but it doesn't contain the one universal key to common humanity. It's, you know, kind of interesting in its way, and it might resound a bit more with some people than others. That's about it. Academically, I think Evangelion's best purpose is as a study in film technique.

If you'd kindly refrain from the "they just don't GET it" school of Eva fandom, I think your ideas might get a bit more mileage outside the fanboy cult ranks. That's an FYI from a member of the silent majority who really doesn't take well to condescending tones. I really don't care what you want to personally believe, but if you want people like me to listen to any of it, you might want to remember that disagreeing viewpoints and interpretations of Evangelion are perfectly acceptable.

Edit: I'm familiar with Jung, too. Never been a big fan. His observations are fine, but he tends to pull his conclusions right out of his backside.

Originally posted on: 14-Nov-2006, 10:38 GMT

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Postby Dr. Nick [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:17 pm

Okay, what's going on in this th- oh Jesus what have I started?!?

Well, as a closing comment I have to say that AA and Faulkner's debate seems like one of those "apples and oranges" sort of cases. I apologize if I happen to misrepresent said persons' views here, but it seems to me you guys are talking about two different things: AA says that "only Eva explains Eva", intra-canon. In other words, he's talking about the story's literal dimension, and his assertion is correct: unrelated outside sources can't tell us "what's actually going on" in it.

JFaulkner, on the other hand, is talking about the metatextual level, which is a different thing altogether: he's saying that we can also interpret the show through external frameworks, some frameworks are better suited for this purpose than others, and that by applying a carefully-selected framework greater meaning can be extracted from the story. At least that's what it looks to me. I completely agree with the first two arguments, but I'm still convinced that the third one is wholly subjective.

Maybe I don't use the words "objective" and "subjective" as flexibly as they could be used, but since I'm neither a native speaker of English nor a student of semantics, I will not pursue this point any further. I had some questions I'd wanted to ask Mr. Faulkner, concerning among other things the framework selection process and the way these meta-level interpretations take original artistic intent into account, but oh well, I guess we can return to our scheduled on-topic programming. Sorry about the OT.

Originally posted on: 17-Nov-2006, 22:39 GMT

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Postby Jabberwok [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:17 pm

Dr. Nick wrote:stuff~
I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said here.

Interestingly, and this may be over simplifying both viewpoints, but one side seems to me to be saying "This is a story about reality, but is not[/u] reality, and one has to keep that in mind," whereas the other is saying "This is not reality, but it is a story about[/u] reality, and one has to keep that in mind." Both sound equally correct to me. :shrug:

Objective/subjective, indeed. Image

In the end, I'm curious to see what comes out of this project. I like me a little longwinded-geek-speech from time to time.

Originally posted on: 21-Nov-2006, 04:52 GMT

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Postby Leader Desslock [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:17 pm

^ My viewpoint would be more correctly summed up "It's a semi-allegorical story designed to represent facets of one man's subjective experience, all within the context of a compelling narrative." I don't think Evangelion has much relevance outside that scope.

Originally posted on: 21-Nov-2006, 05:08 GMT

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Postby Jabberwok [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:17 pm

@Leader:

I was referring specifically to the "Internet Fight" of pages past (no offense to those parties involved, but it was amusing).

I agree with your assessment of the show as well, though. Unless you're Jesus-tap-dancing-Christ or other semi-divine being, any work of fiction you whip up, no matter hard you try to capture the "Human Condition", is going to be far from a 100% accurate representation of reality. Unique snowflakes and all that.

I have somewhat tired of those trying to discover some form of quintessential quality within Eva; it's far from perfect. In the same breath, though, I'll say that as far as external scopes are concerned, if one has any interest at all in human/social psychology, Eva can serve to pique their interest slightly, if only to search for other and more detailed sources.

It's a story, not a bible.

Originally posted on: 21-Nov-2006, 07:46 GMT

Reichu [ANF]
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Postby Reichu [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:17 pm

Jabberwok wrote:It's a story, not a bible.
That's not getting into the actual nature of the thing commonly called the Bible -- which, looked at with a purely objective eye, is an anthology of scriptures from Mideastern cultures that's been edited together after the fact, and is every bit a human work riddled with flaws. The centuries upon centuries of attempts to interpret the work into something of absolute perfection and inerrancy could be thought of as a mystified, hyper-charged version of what came to be later done with "less popular" works of fiction, with the shameless antecedent of fanwankery (from solo to massively circle) utterly rampant.

The precursors of fanfiction were amongst apocryphal and mystic texts.

Cosplay? Hmm...

Originally posted on: 22-Nov-2006, 05:05 GMT

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Postby Jabberwok [ANF] » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:17 pm

@Reichu:
Interesting. Very interesting.

I did specifically use the lowercase form of the word, but only to address the psychological nitpickings I've observed (not just this thread; this's not an isolated example).
dictionary.com, (my bible) wrote:4. (lowercase) any book, reference work, periodical, etc., accepted as authoritative, informative, or reliable: He regarded that particular bird book as the birdwatchers' bible.
Yeah, this definition seemed to fit what I was trying to say, though this next one seems to apply to a few too many fans:
3. (often lowercase) the sacred writings of any religion.
Two more things, specifically what I found so bloody interesting about your post. Remind anyone of any message board in particular:
Reichu wrote:...that's been edited together after the fact, and is every bit a human work riddled with flaws.
Image

And Bible cosplay? December's right around the corner, though regular folk call them 'pageants', not 'cons'. Splitting hairs if you ask me. Image

Originally posted on: 22-Nov-2006, 06:28 GMT


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