Neon Genesis Evangelion: 2D culture and more (Part 4)

Table of Contents


Easily seen in Evangelion there are many religious symbols. What are the Tree of Life, the Tree of Wisdom, Adam, Eva, Lilith, the Longinus spear, etc.Even the name Evangelion is a reference to Evangelicalism. So many people use Orthodox Christianity to explain the movie. But that is not enough.

Orthodox Christianity’s creation from Saint Augustine (354-430) states that God created the universe (or the world), created life (including man) with His love and perfection. But Adam and Eve committed the taboo, wanting to gain knowledge equal to the Creator and eat the forbidden fruit. So they have to leave Paradise, away from the state of happiness (with God).

However, before Augustine there existed another kind of creationism. In the 3rd century, Plotinus (a Platonism philosopher) argued that God did not create the universe by perfection and love. He created the universe because of imperfections and necessity. Can be understood as simple as this. In the beginning, God and man were inherently “one”. However, this “the one” perceives itself as imperfect (or is inherently perfect, but its perception has not yet reached the level of recognizable perfection), so it ” splits themselves ”into 2, is God and man. Both have gone through the historical process, gradually completing and maximizing their potentials. Then, on the day of the “promise”, God and man will reunite, returning to “one”, with the potential of reaching the maximum of both 2. Although returning to the old state, “the This one is different from the previous “the one” in that it has attained (or fully realized) its godlike state.

It is easy to see, in Orthodox Christianity, the origin of “alienation”, which makes man “distant” from God is a matter of morality, namely, the original sins (Original sins). Salvation, returning to God, ending the individualistic “distance”. The action of each individual determines whether or not these individuals will be saved. Augustine by emphasizing the “total sin”, he pointed out the fact that human nature is an imperfect creature (anyone who likes Fullmetal Alchemist can be related to 7 sins) and implies that people are responsible for themselves.

As for Plotinus, later Hegel, “alienation” was metaphysical. Man “distant” from God is necessary, but also tragic.

But remember that in the previous section, we talked about Hegel wanting to “break” the limits of what reason can achieve (world perception) that Kant puts, by gathering the “noumenal world” and “Phenomenal world” becomes 1, which means “real world”. In his youth dissertation “The positivity of Christian Religion”, Hegel “revived” opposition to Orthodox Christianity “separating” God from two separate worlds (in Augustine’s language, “City of God” and “City of man”). Shortly after a few years, Hegel proposed his own solution in “The Spirit of Christianity”. In contrast to Orthodox Christianity, when God became man through the figure of Jesus, Hegel’s Jesus is the opposite. For Hegel, Jesus’ achievement was from man and becoming a God. Robert C Tucker, professor at Princeton University, specializing in Soviet union studies, in his book “Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx” points out that:

“… Is not God become man, but man become God. This is the key idea on which the entire edifice of Hegelianism was to be constructed: there is no absolute difference between the human nature and the divine. They are not two separate things with an impassable gulf between them. The absolute self in man, the homonoumenon, is not mere Godlike… it is God. Con result, in so far as man strives to become “like God”, he is simply striving to be his own real self. And in deifying himself, he is simply recognizing his own true nature. ”

At this point, we can see “3 concussions” in Evangelion corresponding to Hegel’s dialectical method, including 3 main steps, antithesis and finally synthesis. It can be summarized as follows:

+ Thesis (in-itself): equivalent to the first shock. “The self” perceives its imperfections and begins to split into “infinite self”. These “infinite self” are inherently one, now because they want to perfect themselves, they want to become perfect but they are distant, thus starting the so-called “alienation”.

+ Anti-thesis (for-thesis): equivalent to second shock. Humans are “one”, which understand each other (here Hegel uses examples of ancient Greek cities, when people lived together. in a community), but in order to develop oneself, a person’s individual ego must be free, right to seek his own happiness (division of labor, capitalism, etc.). But the price for this, that is, individual freedom, is that people increasingly separate from each other, the “self” increasingly do not understand each other, leading to more tragedy and suffering. It can be clearly seen in the movie, people because of their ambition caused “second shock”, destroying half of the population. NGE’s main movie circuit takes place right after Second Impact. Director Anno has subtly used the relationship between the characters from main to sub to express the “distance” between “self”. The characters are all pursuing their own goals, they cause suffering to others to avoid suffering themselves, and because they love others, they suffer themselves as well.

“Sotto fureru mono”
A longing for a slight touch… But not able to be achieved. That is “distance”. Is what Anno named “AT Field” (Absolute Terror Field), a “screen” for people to protect them from pain, but also prevent their hearts from “lightly touching” each other.

To solve the conflict between Thesis and Anti-thesis, we have a final step, corresponding to “Third impact”:
+ Synthesis (in-itself and for-itself): It should be understood that according to Hegel, “truth” can only be achieved by the “whole”. The next example is that if you look at the history of philosophy, you will see that there are many cases where one philosopher was influenced by another but their theories differ considerably. it is normal for you to “bash” the former. It could be said that Kant was influenced by David Hume, but he bash Experienced. Absolute idealism like Hegel is heavily influenced by Kant, but how you see it … So Hegel thinks that theories are neither entirely true nor completely false, the false of a theory can be used as a starting point. develops a “better” doctrine, and so on continues the dialectic process so that history can reach its final stage, then “Weltgeist” (World-spirit, True self, Giant Naked Rei, whatever you call it) will achieve the so-called “Absolute Knowledge”. Then “true self” (including infine self) will “self-perceive” its limit and “self-correct”, then move on to a new level. In the film, we see the “self” merging into “one” and compensate for each other’s defects. And so people will no longer suffer and live happily ever after? Well … of course not. If Evangelion just stopped here, it was just a “shabby” work, even somewhat trivial. However, Anno, through Shinji, decided to break this “happy” ending and thus, Neon Genesis Evangelion became one of the most well-performed existential works in anime history.

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