[EVA] Moura interviews with Gainax people & others
gwern0 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 16 11:40:33 EST 2009
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 3:29 AM, Carl Horn <once at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> These are what could be
> called conventional practices of religion, but you don't see them in
> Eva--and to me, that's not surprising, as I accept Gainax's statements that
> they are not believers.
> Evangelion references, for dramatic purposes, a different religious
> tradition found in both Jewish and Christian history--that of the esoteric,
> the gnostic, the occultist, who has no use for conventional religious faith
> or philosophy, but instead believes the value of religion lies in secret
> truth and power that can be accessed via knowledge and ritual. The use of
> religion by certain of Evangelion's characters--again, not reflecting actual
> belief by the creators--is a form (there are many forms) of Kabbalism, where
> God is not up there, an eternally separated being, and man is down here a
> separate creation, but where "God" and "man" are different points on the
> same continuum of existence, and "man" can learn the secrets that will make
> him more like "God."
I think you've made a typo throughout; where you wrote 'God', surely
you meant 'gods'; as in 'learn the secrets that will make him more
like the gods Lilith and Adam and all the other Seeds of Life'?
And as I said, NGE's people are not occultists or even esoteric
scholars! They are scientists who have inside info and techniques
which lead them to mock their more timid, less skilled
colleagues/employees/serfs. We don't even know that their goals were
any kind of transcendence - why I linked that Olivier email...
> I am definitely not trying to say that I believe Evangelion only contains
> Kabbalistic ideas, or that its "one correct interpretation" is a Kabbalistic
> one--only that this was something that Gainax decided to put in, and decided
> to keep in; it wasn't made up by the fans. To not look into it is to leave
> out one aspect of the series--one aspect. However, I wouldn't say that you
> can't enjoy, appreciate, or analyze the series otherwise. After all, it's
> not something I bring up all the time myself.
You have published a fair bit on it though. What aspect is it? A
'costume'? That's all I see, and all that merits covering - a quick
list of allusions and where they point to, and caution not to think
that they have any meaning beyond looking cool or inducing a sensation
of depth & confusion. You seem to see more, yet I can't fathom what.
> What I was trying to suggest is that the fictional world of Evangelion has a
> recurring tendency to assign and accept religious names and iconography for
> beings, forces, and mechanisms. It goes far beyond mention of God: The Magi,
> 666, the Spear of Longinus, Seele, Noah's Ark, Evangelion, the Dead Sea
> Scrolls, Adam, Lilith, NERV's logo, the name "Seele," the names of the
> Angels. The cultural tendency, if you will, is for the people with power,
> authority, and knowledge in Evangelion to use religious symbolism in their
> activities. Sure, it isn't religion the way you hear it at church on Sunday,
> in much the same way your pastor never looks down on you from a great
> height, and orders you to pilot a giant robot. NERV and SEELE's
> religion--one more time, a fictional device--is nevertheless comparable to
> that of actual Renaissance occultist-scientists such as Athanasius Kircher,
> who drew the aforementioned actual diagram used by Gainax.
Visual motifs, empty allusions all. I asked for what religious
substance there was, and you pass off as good specie these impostures
> Presumably there was a choice of ways in which NERV's deepest secret could
> be kept restrained; in a giant steel box, for example, or encased in that
> famed special bakelite. If, for some reason, it absolutely had to be secured
> hanging up with each arm out, perhaps it could have been, I dunno, supported
> by straps or bands? The method these non-religious people chose, however,
> was a bit weird in its non-religiousness: crucifixion, complete with stakes
> through its hands and a spear in its side. You mention the
> non-denominational centopath for Yui and her graveyard; what about the
> billions of crosses we see rising from the Earth in EoE, and which settle
> again into the Earth as crosses? Is that not supposed to say something about
> the nature of the human essence in the world of Evangelion, or is it just
> pure coincidence it looks like a cross? The crucified poses of the fallen
> mass production Evas? The cross of light they form between themselves? The
> cross sealing the entry plug? The shadow of the cross behind Gendo?
Cross-shaped explosions. Enough said.
> Again, none of this, not one bit of it, means that Gainax had a religious
> message to the show, in the sense of "we're talking about our religious
> beliefs through this allegory," or even that "we actually believe, like the
> occult Kabbalists, that man and God are part of the same continuum." When I
> say religious elements, I mean as a plot device used by certain of the
> But if one takes what Gainax says about there being no religious elements in
> Evangelion too literally--and then bothers to watch what they actually put
> into Eva--it becomes like that old Groucho Marx joke: "Who are you going to
> believe--me, or your own eyes?" All I'm saying is that nobody would have
> ever bothered them about religion in Eva in the first place if, you know,
> they had simply managed to avoid accidentally putting in all that stuff in
> the plot about crosses, crucifying, spears, Angels, sephira, fig leaves,
> apples, serpents, the number of the beast, heaven's door, God.
How much would we lose if all the demons were replaced by dinosaurs?
Would Gunbuster/Diebuster have been better if they were *demonic*
aliens? If not, then why would Evangelion have been worse if they were
not angelic aliens?
"I have a tendency to like artists that are very careful with their
use of allusions. One of my main issues with Brazil is the way it
oversignifies and leaves the viewer with the impression that there are
a lot of "deep" connections being made.. when really we are talking
about connections made on the fly. As I was just re-watching the
commentary and searching for what Gilliam had to say about the
Battleship Potemkin scene, I came across his explanation of the scene
in which Sam Lowery attends his mother's funeral and sees a vision of
her entertaining some younger men. Lowery calls to his mother and when
she turns around it is Jill, the woman he loves. Gilliam immediately
laughs away the Freudian connections and tries to provide a more
ordinary way of understanding the scene. But by playing around with
strong Freudian overtones he is tossing out to viewers what could be a
bewildering interpretive framework. In my estimation that cavalier use
of allusion muddies his work."
--Dr. Martyn Smith,
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