[EVA] And now for some Levinasian-derivative thinking.
gaijin at i-manila.com.ph
Wed Sep 16 23:31:51 EDT 1998
>(snooty) I already knew THAT. But why would we WANT to be the object
>of our lover, who, as the observer, must judge us? And what is
>the fundamental difference between subject and object? I suspect the
>problem may be that we, as subject, see things through our own filtre.
>Any other must see us differently because he has a different filter, his
>own subject, or self. But perhaps an integration of the two subjects in
>love can engender a third subject and enable each to see the other
>through his own eyes. My problem is that such an integration would
>obliterate the first two subjects, and I don't wanna die.
I'd like to refer to another Philosopher by the name of Levinas, who also
had ideas on what Being and Other were. And some of my ideas as well.
1) The being we percieve to be ourselves is already two entities: the
I-as-observer and the I-as-observed. It is a fundamentally ideal state,
because both selves know the other, and therefore can simulate a feedback
of what's happening to the I-as-a-whole (the gestalt of both entities). We
are the only ones aside from God who can truly know ourselves, precisely
because the observer is the observed.
2) Others, however, will always be Alien. There is no way wherein we can
understand the totality of the Other, since we are not the other. Even in
the union provided by the act of lovemaking, there is still a hindrance,
because we are not of one body (arguments to the contrary, please, read on
first). The other then, is the indefinable, that which is the Unknown. We
can never really know the Other because the Observer is observing an
outside event, which takes place outside, not inside the observer/observed
world of the inner self. In the end, we can only approximate a "surface
understanding" of the Other, which is the Face.
3) The Face is the set of characteristics which we show to the outside
world. Just as our normal face is our identifier for most cases, so, too,
is the Face our identifier for our Being. We may never really show all of
our self to the Other, but it doesn't really matter, since the Other is not
us. No matter how sincere we are or not, The Other will accept these set
of characteristics as our Face, "what-we-are-to-them". Therein is one
paradox: It doesn't matter if our Face is true or not; that it is our Face
is, and as such, is seen as the true self by the Other.
4) Love can then be defined as a form of throwing of oneself to the void,
since it implies a total trust in the unknowable and the Alien, that
somehow, the Other will also have the same reaction. It is encompasses
faith, since faith is merely the throwing of one's self into the void
because of belief in an outside thing, separate from the self. Love
becomes an expansion of faith, being the reason for throwing one's self
into the void, knowing that if the Other does not respond, that there will
only be the void, instead of a acceptance of the Other as Alien but also as
Beloved. Being Beloved, then, is an exalted state; it is the state of
total acceptance of Alienation, yet because of that it negates the
Alienness of the Other. Being Beloved allows both parties to have glimpses
of the true self behind the Face, never in totality, but by small
epiphanies over the course of time as being Beloved.
5) God; where does he fit? He is the Ultimate Other; totally unknowable,
and yet the ultimate paradox, since he knows us. How he knows us is but a
fraction of how Alien he is to us, and that is why all attempts to perceive
the One True God has always been met with difficulty and failure. because
of this, he adopts many Faces, which suit the many types of expectancies of
humanity -- hence the term the many faces of God. God is the prima
materia, in this sense -- he is that from which all springs from, yet,
consequently, is also the Other for all things. Love for God, then, can
only be termed as Rapture, since even a small glimpse of the True God is
incomprehensible by nature.
What's all this for NGE?
The Levinas-derived theory above would actually fit into Shinji's dilemma
for most if not all of NGE. Shinji has become the ultimate alien to all
the others, even from himself, since he refuses to engage both observer and
observed at the same time. Throughout the whole series, however, he is
forced to "observe" himself more and more, through each angel attack,
finally climaxing with Kaworu (the angel of Freedom), which gives him the
unthinkable gift: that of offering a glimpse of himself to Shinji. Not
Kaworu as an angel, not Kaworu as human, but Kaworu, the one whom he liked,
perhaps even had the start of becoming a Beloved.
Rei II is the one whose Face seems to be no Face at all, but in truth is
the one with the most complex. The complexity is brought about by the fact
that she herself is not even aware at first of exactly how complex her
nature is...her faculty for self-questioning is only activated when Shinji
assigns to her an "I" identity by saving her life. Rei III, well, see the
definition of God in I.4.
Asuka is in the same position as Shinji, except that she chooses to be
aggressive. She, too, is an ultimate Other of sorts; her epiphany is two
fold: the realization that her mother-figure loves her, and the fact that
she perhaps senses that Shinji is attempting to be her Beloved (sorry,
just conjecture for this; no solid proof from my end).
I could go on with everybody else, but...you guys I think get the drift of
how it works.
The LCL/HCP thing at the end would mean, in this case, a total merging of
all Others into a one. While this is possible given the framework of the
series, it may be perhaps one of the most horrible experiences one will
experience as his/hert last. Without the barrier of Otherness, uniqueness
is extinguished, Love becomes a useless term, since there is no more
Unknown except God -- the only one left to love and to see as the Other
would be god. Power over others would be a useless concept as well. As
for the end of pain and suffering, well, that would be moot since there is
no inequality caused by individuality. This, would also mean an end to
humanity as we see it, whetehr or not this would be qualified as an
ascnsion of humanity to greater heights, I personally don't think so.
Humanity had always been defined by a reaching, a searching for the
unknowable -- for God, For Other. Without this, Humanity is not humanity
anymore. It may as well be a pool of gunk, as some people on this list
Perhaps that is why in the end, we are shown why Shinji and Asuka are left
separate...I think they instinctively understood the importance of being an
Other...and that they had the wherewithal to stay that way.
BTW, I did see the thread saying that Shinji was complimented...I find no
problem there, since it is highly possible that Shinji's experiences allows
him to be complemented, and at the same time be the one chosen to be the
"drop that never joins the sea", as it were.
Oh, and it doesn't matter if that is the Real Asuka. As long as Shinji
still percieves her as an Other...that's all that matters. Heck, maybe
it's Asuka who's real, and it's Shinji who's the construct. It doesn't
matter, as long as the other is an Other.
There, i've said my peace...no offense to anyone, and please, dissect as
Words are limbless without nuances...
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