What the hell is the book of life?

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition"). The final instalment made its debut in Japan on March 8, 2021.

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby Konja7 » Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:43 pm

View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:If I recall off the top of my head, the language Kaji uses is "予備として保管されていたロストナンバー", which was translated as "The Lost Number which had been kept as a spare." The key phrase here is 予備として, which can indeed mean "as a spare," but it could also mean "in reserve" or "in preparation." Given how things played out, I'm starting to suspect "in preparation" is actually what they intended to convey here. Like, you can set something aside for later but still have the full intention of using it, right?

That prompts a very interesting question, though: What were SEELE going to use the Key for? And how were their options limited when it was stolen?

If we're in agreement that the Key of Nebuchadnezzar is essentially the "become the First Angel" powerup trump card, who would SEELE have used it on? It's hard to imagine it would have been any of themselves; they seem flatly disinterested in becoming gods. Did they intend to return it to Kaworu at some point? He's their boy, after all. Who exactly SEELE considers to be capital-G God is still kind of up in the air, but if it *is* Kaworu/the First Angel, then it makes sense that the final act of their version of Instrumentality would be to restore him to his rightful place.


If we assume the Nebuchadnezzar Key could create another First Angel, it's quite possible that SEELE have this as a backup plan to replace Kaworu in case something bad happens to him (or he betrays them). The absence of this key would limit SEELE quite a bit, since it makes them too dependent on Kaworu (and SEELE couldn't sacrifice Kaworu whenever they want).

In itself, SEELE don't seem to like Kaworu at all, they just need him. In 3.0, SEELE knows Kaworu would die and try to stop the Fourth Impact. Mari even mentioned Shinji is SEELE's backup to mantain the Doors of Guf open.

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby Anchorhead » Fri Sep 24, 2021 1:20 am

If I can dabble in a further bit of de-translation, this is a good opportunity to examine Kaji's other line about the Key:

神と魂を紡ぐ道標ですね
"[the key is] The guidepost to unify souls unto God." (original translation)

The word they translate as "unify" here is 紡ぐ tsumugu, which in normal contexts means "to spin," as in the way one spins fibers together to make yarn. It's a weirdly poetic choice of words, and it offers little in the way of a concrete description of what the Key does.

But in 3.0+1.0, this word reappears in a few interesting places. In Gendo's villain monologue atop the Wunder, he says:

私が神を殺し 神と人類を紡ぎ 使徒の贄をもって 人類の神化と補完を完遂させる
"I'll kill the gods, bind them with humanity, and through the sacrifice of the Angels, enable the deification and the instrumentality of humankind."

Here again the idea of "spinning" god(s) together with something reappears, this time translated as "binding them with" humankind.

Finally, Kaji uses the word one last time as he's reminiscing about Kaworu Nagisa's fitting name:

渚とは 海と陸のはざま
第1の使徒であり 第13の使徒となる人類の はざまを紡ぐ あなたらしい名前だ
"Nagisa means 'shore,' the space between land and sea."
"It's a fitting name for you, as the one that interlinks humanity, the 1st Angel and that which becomes the 13th Angel."

This time, the thing being "spun" is the "interval between humankind" (人類のはざま jinrui no hazama), i.e. the space between people. The official subs translate this as "interlinking humanity," though to me the flowery language Kaji uses brings to mind a gap being woven shut. The "interval" in question, はざま hazama, is the same word Kaji uses to refer to the space between land and sea, i.e. Nagisa.

Each of these uses of 紡ぐ is translated differently in English, but in Japanese the repeated usage of what is a strikingly poetic term really stands out to me, and it may be a device intended to draw the listener to make connections.

I think that on this basis, it's safe to say that when Gendo talks about "binding the gods with humanity," that "binding" is the same thing as the "unification" that the Key of Nebuchadnezzar enables. And the First Angel's apparent role as the one who "interlinks" humanity further reinforces the connection between Kaworu and the Key.

When I think about weaving shut the gaps between humans, that sounds very much like Classic™-style instrumentality -- disrupting the AT fields and blending everyone's souls together into a big orgasmic soup. But that's different from what Gendo wants to do, which is weave together humanity('s souls) with God (or "gods"; the plural ambiguity in Japanese strikes again) -- the nature of which apparently involves shoving everybody's souls into an Eva so we can rip it up as demigods forevermore.

Either way, you need the First Angel's power. If we generalize these examples, I think we can say that the First Angel's power is something like "guiding souls into a new form." Anybody can separate a soul from its body -- that's just called "murder" -- but safely transferring a soul into a new place, be that the Eva Infinities or the corified Earth, is 100% God Stuff. As in, that's straight up Genesis stuff: God creates the first man by imbuing some dirt with a soul.

Incidentally... do you remember the weird bit about how Eva-13 doesn't have an AT field? Angel Gendo also seems to be missing one (or at least he's supposed to, according to him). When Gendo gets shot by Dr. Akagi, he says:

神に障壁はない
"Gods need no barriers."

It's hard to think that the "barrier" Gendo is referring to could be anything other than an AT field. Also, note that in Japanese, he could just as well be saying "Gods have no barriers" -- more of a dispassionate statement of fact than a boast.

I once thought that Eva-13's missing AT field was a defect of some kind, but the parallel here kind of seems to suggest that not having an AT field is also 100% God Stuff. Perhaps it's necessary for the First Angel to do what it does -- something with an AT field can never touch another soul, because it's the AT field that separates them in the first place.

Uh, this got very long. To recap my thoughts:
  • The Key of Nebuchadnezzar is a relic of the First Angel, which allows you to assume the role of the First Angel as well as its powers.
  • The First Angel's unique power is its ability to (re)embody souls into new forms, facilitated by its lack of an AT field.
...And now I can finally reply to this!!!

Konja7 wrote:If we assume the Nebuchadnezzar Key could create another First Angel, it's quite possible that SEELE have this as a backup plan to replace Kaworu in case something bad happens to him (or he betrays them). The absence of this key would limit SEELE quite a bit, since it makes them too dependent on Kaworu (and SEELE couldn't sacrifice Kaworu whenever they want).

I wonder if the Key wasn't what enabled SEELE to create Kaworu in the first place? The Key seemingly predates Kaworu by a few thousand years minimum. If the Key is what lets you bind souls unto a new form, and Kaworu is the reembodied soul of the First Angel, then ipso facto... as long as SEELE have the key, then if anything ever happens to their boy, they can grab another Kaworu out of the fridge and pick up where they left off.

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby DantesInferno » Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:03 am

View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:
View Original PostDantesInferno#931462 wrote:I wonder what the "was being kept as a spare" part means.


If I recall off the top of my head, the language Kaji uses is "予備として保管されていたロストナンバー", which was translated as "The Lost Number which had been kept as a spare." The key phrase here is 予備として, which can indeed mean "as a spare," but it could also mean "in reserve" or "in preparation." Given how things played out, I'm starting to suspect "in preparation" is actually what they intended to convey here. Like, you can set something aside for later but still have the full intention of using it, right?


You are correct, I didn't think of that meaning. It is very common in e.g. 予備軍 the "reserve team" in sports like baseball (i.e., the players in the bench). For reference, Shinji is refered as 予備 when he initially refuses to pilot the Eva.

View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:That prompts a very interesting question, though: What were SEELE going to use the Key for? And how were their options limited when it was stolen?

If we're in agreement that the Key of Nebuchadnezzar is essentially the "become the First Angel" powerup trump card, who would SEELE have used it on? It's hard to imagine it would have been any of themselves; they seem flatly disinterested in becoming gods. Did they intend to return it to Kaworu at some point? He's their boy, after all. Who exactly SEELE considers to be capital-G God is still kind of up in the air, but if it *is* Kaworu/the First Angel, then it makes sense that the final act of their version of Instrumentality would be to restore him to his rightful place.


Indeed, I think they just kept it around because they simply didn't know what to use it for (unlike Gendo). It does not explain why they wouldn't care when it went missing though... but perhaps they were led to think it was destroyed along Bethany base.

I still haven't worked out what their relationship with "their boy" is anyway... They even modified Mark.06 so that it could accomplish its mission without him. It seems to be suggested that their 'God' is Lilith, but who knows... They let themselves be shut down confident that what they wished had "already been accomplished", so apparently no shenaningans that Gendo could pull at that point would make any difference to them (short of not initiating 4th impact and let their disembodied souls wander forever in limbo?)...


View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:Incidentally... do you remember the weird bit about how Eva-13 doesn't have an AT field? Angel Gendo also seems to be missing one (or at least he's supposed to, according to him). When Gendo gets shot by Dr. Akagi, he says:

神に障壁はない
"Gods need no barriers."

It's hard to think that the "barrier" Gendo is referring to could be anything other than an AT field. Also, note that in Japanese, he could just as well be saying "Gods have no barriers" -- more of a dispassionate statement of fact than a boast.


I always took the 神に障壁はない line as "nothing can't stop me, I'm God" (especially given that he says it right after being just shot and unharmed), but your analisys makes a lot of sense. He later mentions he's not supposed to have an AT-Field when Shinji approaches him during instrumentality and "pushes" the SDAT throught the filed, if I remember correctly.

The "God does not have/need an AT-Field" concept makes perfect sense and links Gendo with his unit, of "God's Eva", Eva-13. We are never shown a scene that would decide whether Kaworu has an AT-Field or not, but given that he is no longer God after the Key is somehwehre else since at least 2.0, and the fact that he undergoes "image collapse" inside the Eva-13 entry plug (debated), would sugges that as a 'regular' angel, he now does...

This would also explain why Mari is initially puzzled that Eva-13 does not have an AT-Field, but soon after she must have connected the dots, so much so that when it goes radiant giant, she says something like: "It has finally awaken, the Adams survivor!".

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby Konja7 » Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:50 am

View Original PostDantesInferno wrote:I still haven't worked out what their relationship with "their boy" is anyway... They even modified Mark.06 so that it could accomplish its mission without him. It seems to be suggested that their 'God' is Lilith, but who knows... They let themselves be shut down confident that what they wished had "already been accomplished", so apparently no shenaningans that Gendo could pull at that point would make any difference to them (short of not initiating 4th impact and let their disembodied souls wander forever in limbo?)...

When SEELE let themselves be shut down, the Fourth Impact has already started and Gendo doesn't have time to do anything. He doesn't even have another Spear.

SEELE even seems to know Kaworu will stab Eva-13 with the two Spears (and die) to stop the Fourth Impact, but they have Shinji as a backup.

Also, even though SEELE had already been shut down, they seem to have left a program to take control of Mark-09 (and maybe all other Neo-NERV's Evas). So, Gendo can't get Shinji out of Eva-13.




View Original PostAnchorhead#931513 wrote: The "God does not have/need an AT-Field" concept makes perfect sense and links Gendo with his unit, of "God's Eva", Eva-13. We are never shown a scene that would decide whether Kaworu has an AT-Field or not, but given that he is no longer God after the Key is somehwehre else since at least 2.0, and the fact that he undergoes "image collapse" inside the Eva-13 entry plug (debated), would sugges that as a 'regular' angel, he now does...

I would say Kaworu has/needs an AT-Field after he gets a human body in 1.0.

All living things (except Gods) need an AT-Field to mantain their bodies. So, it would make sense that Kaworu needs an AT-Field to mantain his human body too.

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby Anchorhead » Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:27 am

View Original PostDantesInferno wrote:I still haven't worked out what their relationship with "their boy" is anyway... They even modified Mark.06 so that it could accomplish its mission without him.


Although Kaworu generally seems to behave as an independent actor, not really on anybody's "side" except Shinji's, I feel like that doesn't preclude the possibility that his goal and SEELE's were still aligned. No matter how you slice it, even reduced to the form of a human, Kaworu seems to hold all the cards in his relationship with SEELE. His memories of all of the prior loops he's experienced alone would seem to make it nigh impossible to pull one over on the guy. He wakes up in his coffin already knowing the plan! The one time Kaworu gets bamboozled, it's by Gendo, not SEELE, and the details of said bamboozlement are so elaborate that we're still trying to figure it out 9 years later. It feels like it's not the kind of thing that happens very often.

All Kaworu is interested in is how to make Shinji happy. But as both he and Kaji admit in the end, what Kaworu really wants is to make himself happy. His idea of happiness for Shinji was his own all along. So if Kaworu's happiness happens to align with SEELE's -- i.e., Instrumentality -- then there would be no need to keep him under their thumb at all.

Sometime in the missing 14 years, Kaworu and Kaji apparently got very close, and Kaji is about as far from an agent of SEELE as you can get. So it seems like his priorities must have changed during this time. Maybe Mark.06 going autonomous was a last-ditch gambit to get the job done, and not at all an original part of SEELE's plan. It shouldn't have been necessary when the thing's pilot was right there kicking it in NERV HQ.

When Gendo is giving his speech to the monoliths as they're turned off, he expresses that he intends to carry out the "God-slaying to which you were resigned." Without going on another translation tangent, the "resignation" he's speaking of has the sense of "to come to the conclusion you have to do [something] after carefully considering the state of affairs." So SEELE's scenario doesn't seem to have originally included killing God; that's a new development, and not one they took on lightly.

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby Konja7 » Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:48 am

View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:All Kaworu is interested in is how to make Shinji happy. But as both he and Kaji admit in the end, what Kaworu really wants is to make himself happy. His idea of happiness for Shinji was his own all along. So if Kaworu's happiness happens to align with SEELE's -- i.e., Instrumentality -- then there would be no need to keep him under their thumb at all.

I've understood Kaji's words differenly. Kaworu wants to make Shinji happy, because he sees himself reflected on Shinji. So, Kaworu making Shinji happy would make himself happy.

The idea of happiness for Kaworu is to make Shinji happy. That's why I think Kaworu was never on SEELE's side, since SEELE's instrumentality wouldn't make Shinji happy (losing the Fruit of Knowledge will likely dissapear Shinji's personality).

That said, Kaworu is mistaken about Shinji's happiness, because Shinji really needs to grow up and find his happiness by himself.




View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:Sometime in the missing 14 years, Kaworu and Kaji apparently got very close, and Kaji is about as far from an agent of SEELE as you can get. So it seems like his priorities must have changed during this time. Maybe Mark.06 going autonomous was a last-ditch gambit to get the job done, and not at all an original part of SEELE's plan. It shouldn't have been necessary when the thing's pilot was right there kicking it in NERV HQ.

Yeah. The friendship between Kaworu and Kaji is a big hint that Kaworu wasn't on SEELE's side during the Third Impact. It's pretty likely automated Mark-06 is related to that.

The Third Impact happened some months (at most) after the Near Third Impact. After all, Kaji Jr has almost 14 years, but he wasn't born when the Third Impact happened.

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby nerv bae » Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:42 am

View Original PostAsukaShikinami10 wrote:I think there's something important in 3.0 that some people are still not catching. When Seele is about to be killed, we see Gendoh saying farewell to all of them as he is literally floating in front of the monoliths!!! So my guess is that he already used the Nebuchadnezzar Key by that point! I agree with you in everything you said about Gendoh replacing Kaworu as the First Angel thanks to the Key; so the only other option left for the DSS Choker was to identify Kaworu as another angel, since Gendoh is now the First.

View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:That prompts a very interesting question, though: What were SEELE going to use the Key for? And how were their options limited when it was stolen?

If we're in agreement that the Key of Nebuchadnezzar is essentially the "become the First Angel" powerup trump card, who would SEELE have used it on? It's hard to imagine it would have been any of themselves; they seem flatly disinterested in becoming gods. Did they intend to return it to Kaworu at some point? He's their boy, after all. Who exactly SEELE considers to be capital-G God is still kind of up in the air, but if it *is* Kaworu/the First Angel, then it makes sense that the final act of their version of Instrumentality would be to restore him to his rightful place.

(Parenthetically I will joke here that, uh -- Gendo is literally "up in the air" directly in front of the SEELE monoliths.)

View Original PostDantesInferno wrote:Indeed, I think they just kept it around because they simply didn't know what to use it for (unlike Gendo). It does not explain why they wouldn't care when it went missing though... but perhaps they were led to think it was destroyed along Bethany base.

So, if we assume for the sake of argument that it is not a coincidence that Gendo begins floating (!) and Kaworu feels ill and becomes demoted all at the same time, and that this is when Gendo uses the Key, then either:

1) The SEELE monoliths are truly sound-only and can not sense that Gendo is floating, or
2) The SEELE monoliths can see that Gendo is floating and know that he used the Key and think that's fine -- it's part of their plan.

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby Kendrix » Sat Sep 25, 2021 7:22 pm

some rly good analysis on the key in here.

as for the original question id say its some part of the dead sea scrolls or indeed what the far call them.
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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby DantesInferno » Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:19 pm

View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:Sometime in the missing 14 years, Kaworu and Kaji apparently got very close, and Kaji is about as far from an agent of SEELE as you can get. So it seems like his priorities must have changed during this time. Maybe Mark.06 going autonomous was a last-ditch gambit to get the job done, and not at all an original part of SEELE's plan. It shouldn't have been necessary when the thing's pilot was right there kicking it in NERV HQ.


Yeah, makes a lot of sense.

View Original PostAnchorhead wrote:When Gendo is giving his speech to the monoliths as they're turned off, he expresses that he intends to carry out the "God-slaying to which you were resigned." Without going on another translation tangent, the "resignation" he's speaking of has the sense of "to come to the conclusion you have to do [something] after carefully considering the state of affairs." So SEELE's scenario doesn't seem to have originally included killing God; that's a new development, and not one they took on lightly.


Interesting, I've never investigated the meaning of the expression 諦観諦観された by myself, but until now was under the assumption that it meant that Seele had given up on the God slaying that they wanted to achieve, and Gendo would correct that (i.e., the opposite of what you suggest here). The macOS dictionary gives the two definitions:

ていかん【諦観】
(名)
 ① 全体を見通して、事の本質を見きわめること。
 ② 悟り諦めること。超然とした態度をとること。

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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby Kendrix » Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:22 am

So after things veered so far of the rails away from SEELE's neat plan they had to agree to Gendo's improv solution
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Re: What the hell is the book of life?

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Postby DantesInferno » Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:15 am

View Original PostKendrix wrote:some rly good analysis on the key in here.

as for the original question id say its some part of the dead sea scrolls or indeed what the far call them.


Seele mentions the scrolls "moving to the Book of law" at the end of 1.0, so that's what I too thought at first.

I'd say the the Dead See Scrolls are the ancient, lilim translation into cuneiform of the Golgotha Object's contents (originally written in Hex glyphs, i.e. the language of the FAR/First Angel/Gods etc.), two chapters of which are the Book of Law and the Book of Life (which others are there?).

If the contents of the latter somewhow dictate the fates of Shinji and Kaowru to meet every time, I wonder what the former does, and why it's important to Seele at the end of 1.0 so that they need to awaken Kaworu...

Also, the Dead See Scrolls "proceeding" from one chapter to another reinforces the idea that the scenario described therein is somehow "playing out" in real life. Like some sort of prophecy. This prophetic characteristic of the scrtolls would explain its accurate depictions of most angels, which likely do not yet exist at that point... or do they?


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