Science, Human Will, and Playing God in NGE

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Science, Human Will, and Playing God in NGE

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Postby bluekaterpillar » Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:37 pm

Throughout NGE (especially the Action Arc), the power of science is constantly portrayed in a negative light. It often fails the characters where human willpower succeeds (EP 7, 11-13, and the attempts to leave Eva piloting to the Dummy System rather than a human). Furthermore, many of the conversations between Gendo and Fuyutsuki seem to hint that humans using science are Playing God, and it is that arrogance that caused the Second Impact (in addition to the previously mentioned problems).

However, there seems to be an exception to this. Near the end of EoE, Yui and Fuyutsuki have a conversation:

Kouzou Fuyutsuki: When Man created Evangelion, were we trying to create a clone of God?
Yui Ikari: Of course. Humans can only exist on this Earth. But the Evangelion will be able to exist forever, along with the human soul that dwells within it. When the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are all gone, EVA will exist, so long as one person remains. It'll be lonely, but as long as one person still lives...
Kouzou Fuyutsuki: ...it will be eternal proof that Mankind ever existed.

This quote appears to be a more positive outlook on Science and Playing God. I feel like there is something I am missing here, so could someone help me sort this out?

What exactly is NEG's stance on Science, Human Willpower, and Paying God, and how does they tie into the other themes of the show?[/u]
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:58 pm

My opinion is that the show says science is a powerful tool that can unlock far greater power, and that human willpower is something that can power, well, anything. Both, however, must be treated with caution.

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Postby NemZ » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:07 pm

Er... no, not so much.

7 - Misato actually did nothing at all. The whole thing was a sabotage operation Ritsuko was running to discredit a competitor and she cut it short of the intended outcome to save her friend from her own heroic idiocy.

11 - Again, this was sabotage, this time by Kaji working for Seele gathering info that would eventually be used in the assault in EoE. The angel had nothing to do with anything, and the day was saved because Nerv has redundancies designed into the system so that they could make do in such a worst case scenario.

12 - The magi were working with the data they had... at no time prior had Shinji used an ATF to go faster, and had he not done so the angel would have landed and exploded unimpeded. Also note that the successful option was the only one the Magi cave any chance of success to, so it was still right.

13 - Technology, specifically Ritsuko's (and her mother's) mastery of computer architecture, software, and a flash of evolutionary inspiration, is what wins the battle.

18 - The dummy plug saved the day when Shinji's stubborn willpower, applied in favor of the wrong cause because he wasn't looking at the larger picture, would have probably doomed the entire planet or at least caused them to rely on the 'blow up the whole base and kill us all' failsafe.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:18 pm

I was mostly thinking of EoE, but you do provide some nice counterpoints.

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Postby NemZ » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:06 pm

I was responding to the OP's examples, Nuke.
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"I'd consider myself a realist, alright? but in philosophical terms I'm what's called a pessimist. It means I'm bad at parties." - Rust Cohle
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of 'em are stupider than that." - George Carlin
"The internet: It's like a training camp for never amounting to anything." - Oglaf
"I think internet message boards and the like are dangerous." - Anno

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:07 pm

Well, herp de derp. :shrug:

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Postby bluekaterpillar » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:58 pm

7 - This is probably an example of how the arrogance of man screws everything up

11 - Neo-Tokyo is reliant on science. What happens when the science fails (power outage)? The Evas are launched manually, in other words, without technology and using nothing but humans.

12 - The Magi couldn't pinpoint exactly where Sahaquiel would land: it was Misato's "guess".

13 - In this episode, the Magi(technology) become the enemy, and it is Ritsuko's quick thinking, as well as the final Magi that is run with a Human personality, that saved the day.

Perhaps "Willpower" isn't the best word. Perhaps it's just the human element as a whole.

But like I said, this attitude seems to change, or is deconstructed, in a way that turns it from negative to positive. I just haven't pinned down how and in what way it is relevant to the other themes of the show.
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Postby NemZ » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:27 pm

I think you're really stretching.

7 - The only arrogant person risking screwing it all up is Misato, the least scientific person in attendance. For all we know the demonstration would have gone off perfectly had it not been meddled with.

11 - Except they still use technology, just older forms. Ladders, access ducts, diesel engines, pully systems, candles... just because it doesn't involve electricity doesn't mean it's not technology.

12 - Misato didn't guess anything. She spread them out for maximum zone coverage and had the magi guide them to the target as it's landing spot was narrowed down with live data.

13 - No, the angel is the enemy, and the magi is the tool that, once properly adjusted, easily overwhelms it.
Rest In Peace ~ 1978 - 2017
"I'd consider myself a realist, alright? but in philosophical terms I'm what's called a pessimist. It means I'm bad at parties." - Rust Cohle
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of 'em are stupider than that." - George Carlin
"The internet: It's like a training camp for never amounting to anything." - Oglaf
"I think internet message boards and the like are dangerous." - Anno

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Postby bluekaterpillar » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:34 am

What exactly do you make of the conversations between Gendo and Fuyusuki? Gendo believes that science makes man strong and defends them from threats and Fuyusuki believes that science and human arrogance is a detriment to humanity? That appears to be the theme in these episodes.

And what about Misato's belief that "miracles are a thing that man creates"?
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Postby NemZ » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:13 am

The conversation is just pretty standard sci-fi stuff, the usual dangers of technology versus benefits of technology. Anything misused can cause harm no matter how well intentioned, including the human intellect itself.

Misato's line is just the typical hotblooded "we make our own luck" sort of thing that means action trumps mere hope.
Rest In Peace ~ 1978 - 2017
"I'd consider myself a realist, alright? but in philosophical terms I'm what's called a pessimist. It means I'm bad at parties." - Rust Cohle
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of 'em are stupider than that." - George Carlin
"The internet: It's like a training camp for never amounting to anything." - Oglaf
"I think internet message boards and the like are dangerous." - Anno

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Postby obliterates » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:29 am

View Original PostNemZ wrote:Er... no, not so much.

7 - Misato actually did nothing at all. The whole thing was a sabotage operation Ritsuko was running to discredit a competitor and she cut it short of the intended outcome to save her friend from her own heroic idiocy.


Where is the evidence for this?
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Postby Bagheera » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:32 am

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

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Postby NemZ » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:55 am

View Original Postobliterates wrote:Where is the evidence for this?


The episode says so almost directly. Here's the script for the last few scenes, bold added for emphasis.

EVERYONE:
We're saved!

CONTROL STAFF:
We did it! We did it! We did it!

RITSUKO:
That idiot.

*****

Shinji (OFF):
Miss Misato, are you all right?!
Miss Misato?!

Misato:
Yeah, but I feel like crap.

Shinji:
I'm so glad you're alive! Thank goodness!
Really, thank goodness!
But that was really amazing! I'm so impressed! It really was a miracle!

Misato
Yeah...

Misato (MONO):
But the miracle was set up by someone.

*****

RITSUKO:
Recovery of Unit 01 is complete. No danger of radioactive contamination.
Except for Captain Katsuragi's actions, everything went according to plan.

IKARI:
Good work.


The plan in question was probably either to have Jet Alone fully meltdown or (more likely) to have an eva destroy it before that could happen, but Misato's crazy idea to go inside the thing herself threw a wrench into things.

If that doesn't cement it enough for you, look at exactly what questions Ritsuko raises at the press conference:

RITSUKO:
According to our earlier briefing, this unit is equipped with an
internal nuclear reactor, correct?

TOKITA:
Yes, this is one of our product's most distinguished features.
150 days of consecutive operating power is assured.

TEXT:
Nerv Party

RITSUKO:
But from a safety perspective, isn't incorporating a nuclear reactor
into a weapon designed for hand-to-hand combat risky?


TOKITA:
It's better than a weapon that won't work for over five minutes.

RITSUKO:
But in an emergency there could be problems with remote control.
Rest In Peace ~ 1978 - 2017
"I'd consider myself a realist, alright? but in philosophical terms I'm what's called a pessimist. It means I'm bad at parties." - Rust Cohle
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of 'em are stupider than that." - George Carlin
"The internet: It's like a training camp for never amounting to anything." - Oglaf
"I think internet message boards and the like are dangerous." - Anno

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:37 am

Plus, even if JA hadn't been interfered with, it looks like it would have melted down long before it got anywhere where there would be consequences. Minimal loss of life, coming from Nerv? SHOCK! :lol:

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Re: Science, Human Will, and Playing God in NGE

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Postby Seven Fifty » Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:54 pm

View Original Postbluekaterpillar wrote:Kouzou Fuyutsuki: When Man created Evangelion, were we trying to create a clone of God?
Yui Ikari: Of course. Humans can only exist on this Earth. But the Evangelion will be able to exist forever, along with the human soul that dwells within it. When the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are all gone, EVA will exist, so long as one person remains. It'll be lonely, but as long as one person still lives...
Kouzou Fuyutsuki: ...it will be eternal proof that Mankind ever existed.

This quote appears to be a more positive outlook on Science and Playing God. I feel like there is something I am missing here, so could someone help me sort this out?[/u]


It doesn't seem particularly positive to me. The idea that it's acceptable to doom a sentient being to eternal loneliness just to prove that humanity existed seems a pretty morally bankrupt one to me.

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:55 pm

^That line of conversation should be redirected here.

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Postby bluekaterpillar » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:18 pm

EVERYONE:
We're saved!

CONTROL STAFF:
We did it! We did it! We did it!

RITSUKO:
That idiot.


I honestly thought the "idiot" she was referring to was the person presenting Jet Alone...
But that's beside the point.

So now I think I get that Science in NGE isn't really portrayed a as bad thing, but I feel like there's a more important question: how does this fit into the other themes of the show?
-bluekaterpillar

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Postby MarukaChan » Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:26 pm

Human's greed will always be stronger than the will to help others. It was so 40k years ago and it will be so tomorrow :um:



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Last edited by MarukaChan on Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Ray » Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:48 pm

What is it with humanity? Why can't we can't see past a quick buck and look at the big picture?
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Postby Bagheera » Thu Oct 16, 2014 3:05 pm

View Original PostMarukaChan wrote:Human's greed will always be stronger than the will to help others. It was so 40k years ago and it will be so tomorrow :um:


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


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