[EVA] Evangelion is not "endlessly re-interpretable"

Gwern Branwen gwern0 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 1 21:36:32 EDT 2010

On Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:04 PM, Aaron Clark <aaronc1 at umbc.edu> wrote:
>> So, it sounds like you think there is a criterion. That's good. And as
>> I've already said, there being a criterion prevents Eva from being
>> endlessly-reinterpretable, which settles the the original question.
> I don't quite think I follow.  I do think there are loose confines to how
> Evangelion can be interpreted while still being cut from the same cloth.
> But I think there is enough flexibility within those confines that any
> number of variations are possible.  Sure, there may be redundancy, but
> there are unseen possibilities inherent to the creative process.  So long
> as there is an interest in the property, there will be new ways of looking
> at the story and its characters.
> Does that make sense?
> --Aaron

I think the problem is that you aren't really accepting that there can
be a very large number which is not infinite. You say 'any number'
within those confines, but is it really 'any' number? Some physicists
look at things like time and space apparently being quantized and the
speed of light and calculate that the entire universe can only occupy
somewhere upwards of 10^200* distinct states. Would you want to say
that there are, say, (10^200)^200 different distinct 'variations'? I
sure wouldn't. I would guess that the number of stories that fit
'within those confines' is less than a quadrillion, probably less than
a trillion, maybe less than a billion, and possibly down in the
millions or hundreds of thousands.

Of course, humanity doesn't care enough to actually create and
evaluate millions of stories building on Eva, so we'll 'never run out
of' new Eva stories. But I hope it's more clear what I mean when I
oppose Eva being infinitely-reinterpretable and say that there must be

* I don't have a citation handy for this, but with numbers this big,
it's doesn't really matter


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