An Innocent Delirium #2 – The Sexuality of Innocence

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed last Wednesday. This has not happened in a long, long time now. I was perplexed at first — disorientated. And for the rest of the day I was dominated by this unnerving feeling that something was going seriously wrong.

Turns out I was right. Many things happened that day, to which I do not intend to comment or dwell upon any further. But, the main attraction was how my brain, preoccupied by the nuisances of my everyday routine, failed to comprehend this subtle string of events that stirred and whirled my thoughts in order for me to end up in a crowded subway wagon, on my way home thinking about, well — sex.

Suddenly, everything and everyone around me had this aura, this air of overflowing sexuality. And don’t get me wrong, I was not turned on by it; I was fascinated. I was observing people my age, holding hands or subtly touching each other without even knowing it, pursuing this connection with one another, again, most of the times probably subconsciously. Then, older people, women and men at their 70’s and 80’s, emanating this perishing, fleeting idea of sexuality and love, though one could almost still feel the floating mental traces — once body traces, of a lustful touch or a gentle bite. And then I started looking at girls around me; specifically those around the age of 13 to 15. What I noticed, once more, is the way girls nowadays chose to present themselves in a manner that is way more feminine and mature than their own current state of sexuality. Or what our society, collectively, agrees upon to be a ripe age for someone to explore and, more importantly, comprehend his/her own sexual drives and needs. I felt a bit guilty to be completely honest with you for observing them from that perspective, they were just kids, I don’t know if they were retaining much of their innocence but still, they were kids in my mind.

I went home and sat on my bed (’cause yes, I have no desk, that’s how well-structured my life is right now). I opened my books once more, this time I knew exactly which ones, and revisited the idea of

The Sexuality of Innocence

or is it

The Innocence of Sexuality? I can never tell.

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Let us begin with the basics (oh dear, it won’t be concluded in one go will it?). Let’s talk about “the male gaze” a term favoured by the film theorist Laura Mulvey and greatly analysed by John Berger in his tv-series and book ‘Ways of Seeing’. According to Mulvey the woman of the normal narrative film is treated as an image, an icon to be styled and presented according to the man’s fantasies. The man seems in control of the film’s visions as he is the bearer of the gaze influencing the story even behind the scenes as he is the one who can usually identify with the main powerful, male hero. Women, in and outside art, seem to be constantly observed and they in turn seem to be observing themselves through that interaction turning themselves into a sight. How a woman chooses to present herself is in fact a reflection of how she wishes to be treated leading her into a constant watch of her own image. As successfully put by John Berger, ‘Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves.’ .

How does all this gazing and being gazed back influences girls nowadays? Do they use film actors and popular singers as their role models? Thin, cute, pearl-like teeth, long lashes, full rose lips, big blue eyes; perfect in their eyes. The entertainment industry is with no doubt evolving and ever-changing. Beauty standards shift and are greatly different throughout the world. Girls have to adapt into what these standards dictate if they want to be gazed by men. Because they know men gaze at these perfect role models of theirs moving oh so gracefully behind the thin luminous glass. I’ve been there. Done the comparison. It doesn’t work out well for you. You always lose. Until you decide not to.

Back to the main issue; sexuality in an infantilized society. The need for women to look younger and, on a second level, girls to look sexier.

A child is considered to lose its innocence by the time he or she reaches adolescence and subsequently start exploring his/her sexuality and body. Though the previous statement is considered a common truth, sexuality theories such as Freud’s (never thought I would actually refer to Freud at any time in my life really) seem to blur the distinct lines between sexuality and innocence and raise doubts. If a girl has developed sexual urges from a very young age that could lead to the thought that an adult woman acting cute and childlike could be linked with and trigger sexual feelings and thoughts.

The question often rising from discussing such theories, which link sexuality and childhood so tightly, is—how has, apart from the sexual context, this particular need for reliving childhood and re-enacting childlike behaviours occurred especially nowadays, for the modern woman? Within our infantilizing society women assume a most significant role and are the ones mostly targeted by this situation. Women nowadays are frequently expected to provide an image that is both sexy and cute at the same time. In numerous occasions, when a woman does not bear these characteristics is often viewed as intimidating or non desirable by the male audience – the male gaze.

At the same time as this phenomenon occurs for women, the image of men within the realm of visual arts manifests in a completely different way as the image of maturity and authority. This particular dynamic of the sexes is mainly a theme noticed in Western art and imagery; Japan’s image of sexuality has developed similarly but emphasizing even more in the image of the cute, virgin girl; innocence in chorus with sexuality.

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Japan, as we all know, has a long tradition in the art of erotic imagery. As the French philosopher Michel Foucault has mentioned, Japan is one of the most prominent societies that has greatly dealt with the art of sex. He argues that ‘in the erotic art [of Japan] truth is drawn from pleasure itself, understood as a practice and accumulated as experience’ – in other words, the act of sex is not represented as something shameful or dirty. Japan, compared to the West, has begun to exonerate the idea of the sexual act considerably early in time with the massive production of the erotic images (shunga). Sex, prostitution and even infidelity were not considered taboos and this way of treating sexuality as a whole has led to its frequent representation and great consumption in Japanese art.
Through the Japanese attitude towards sexuality and simultaneously their stance towards innocence with the shoujo image and the cult of kawaii , Japan is a prominent example of an infantilizing society were the borders between innocence and maturity are becoming somewhat more vague than they are in the West.

Well, now that we have established the facts we can securely look at specific terms and agents of sexuality in contemporary Japanese visual culture. But I think enough for today. We’ll pick up where we left off; when I’ll be ready to face this thing once more with a freshly delirious mind.

 

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An Innocent Delirium #2 – The Sexuality of Innocence

A never-ending delirium #∞

I’ll do something different now. Something I wouldn’t normally do, but I slept yesterday with the lights off after about three months, so I’m feeling quite brave today. I’m clearly not. I know that. You know it too but just, you know, sugar-coat me for a moment. Just let me be.

So this is a personal delirium. As personal as it gets. No art, no theories, no books. Just me and my delirious mind. I need to get it out you know? Looks like my sessions are not enough. I need to get it out, make it visible even if I know I may end up being the only one reading it back to myself. It’s still cathartic.  It’s gonna be short so don’t worry, it’ll be over before you know it. As it was for me.

I’m talking to ‘you’. ‘You’ know who you are because I do too. I’m talking to ‘you’ and that encompasses me too. So don’t take it too personal. Or do. It’s up to you in the end.

Okay; here we go.

It kind of feels like you’re bare naked doesn’t it? You smile, you laugh, you cry. It’s all the same. It’s all over the top. Feeling becomes a burden and you just wish for it to stop. It doesn’t though, it’s not up to you and you hate that don’t you? It drains you so. You can’t take a break from feeling and in the end, you don’t want to.

Listen. If I don’t say this to you nobody will. You need to hear this from me.
At times, you get so dismal. I loathe you.
You become cruel and cynical and lonely.
And that makes you furious.
It makes you so unbelievably annoyed that you stop talking to yourself.
Have you noticed?
You have stopped looking at the mirror again. You’re avoiding you.
You have never been in love and that vexes you.
Because you’re not even in love with yourself. Far from it.
Alright, alright. Don’t panic. Look at me. Stop smiling for a minute. It’s fine.

Just go with it.

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A never-ending delirium #∞

A Sensible(ish) Delirium #1

There comes a time in your life when you just know it. For me it was last Sunday when I woke up, made a coffee, had my breakfast, read the articles of a blog I stumbled upon, ate my dinner and as I was scrolling around with no care in the whole world, it dawned on me. What I feared most was right there in front of my eyes· I lack sensibility and I lack a certain, identified taste in my everyday life — and so does anything involved with me. My aesthetic is not the greatest to be completely honest. 

Of course you can imagine my panic and disappointment when this epiphany came along. I can only compare it to that dreadful feeling I got when I was 16 and my nose started bleeding while talking to the class’s cute boy. Like a proper hentai manga character (in the literal translation of the word not the genre).

My lack of sensibility is outrageous. It is everywhere and it is ineffable. So I used the keyword and opened my books to find my answer. As I went through them I realized quite a few things, besides that my taste in books is quite ineffable as well. I realized I’m older than I think, I realized I had too much ‘alone time’ to ponder on meaningless things and, once more, I realized I have no order in my life whatsoever. But let’s discuss this some other time, or like, never.

So I reopened this book I had the pleasure of reading about two years ago (cheers to my source) that I deemed it was the most fitting for this late 20s crisis of mine on my values, ideas of love and aesthetics, The Structure of Iki (1930) by Shuzo Kuki. Just a warning beforehand, the book will act as a stepping stone so I can once more unleash my  personal delirium. This is NOT a review, it has NOTHING to do with what iki actually is (how could it anyway?) and it surely is NOT well thought. It’s just my reverie, a delirium exactly as the word dictates it.

So what did this fine Japanese philosopher had in mind when he was pondering on the definition of iki?

First of all, let’s get this out of the way, iki is not to be comprehended per se, iki cannot be translated into a non-Japanese context without the right tools, and you should, by no means, try this at home. Now that we’re clear, let us proceed. Shuzo Kuki grew up as the adopted son of Kuki Ryuichi, a top ranking samurai official and Hatsuko, a beautiful but psychologically unstable mother. During his juvenile years he was much influenced by Okakura Tenshin who was an acquaintance of his father. This is a detour and has a lot of background but, long story short, Okakura Tenshin (who was later to be widely recognised as the author of The Book of Tea / 1906) developed an affair with Hatsuko which eventually led to the collapse of the Kuki household. Shuzo, as a child, became really attached to his mother and developed a respect and love for Okakura, deeper than this for his father.

When Kuki returned to Japan from Europe, in 1929, he was offered the title of lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Kyoto Imperial University.  Three years later he published The Structure of Iki and in 1935 he became a professor of philosophy. Unfortunately, Kuki and his stoic-epicurean way of living was not favoured by his colleagues which led in an isolated and lonely life. He distanced himself from the ‘Kyoto School’, did not try to build a school around him and drove away any potential disciples. He was a strict scholar, never backing away from his own path and ways. In 1941 he died undoubtedly alone, with no one beside him but leaving behind him a rich legacy in his writings and aesthetic theories.

Well, background time is over (yes that part you always skip in the beginning of the book, you know who you are) let us get to the first part of iki.

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Iki is, as every term so far, structured in both an intensional and an extensional way.

The first intensional feature of iki is coquetry, or what you’d call “flirting”. When one refers to an “iki matter” that automatically translates to “keeping a woman“. So what is coquetry according to iki?  ‘Coquetry is dualistic and encompasses all the possible relations between the self and the other person’.  It encloses the  volptuousness, raciness  and passion found in iki.

Where these tensions are lost and complete union is achieved, coquetry will be gone. Nagai Kafu writes in “Kanraku” [Pleasure] that  ‘there is nothing more pathetic than the person one has after the successful attempt to have him’. That’s quite accurate wouldn’t you agree? Pessimistic and cruel, but yet, true. Boredom, despair and aversion follow the extinction of coquetry unless its possibility, as possibility, is preserved, that means… well, that’s nearly impossible. Don’t blame it on me, it means whatever you want it to mean, if you think love can cut it then you’re good.

It’s short of a misconception really, that coquetry declines when distance is created I would say. According to my books (because real life is overrated) proximity increases the intensity of coquetry. Oh well, it’s a never ending circle, and nobody uses the word “coquetry” anymore so don’t spend any more time dwelling on it.

The second intensional feature of iki  is chic or ‘brave composure’ [ikiji]. The Edo man took much pride for being brave, chivalrous and well, pretty much an Edoite. The bravery and courage within coquetry, the principals of being an iki man was something highly regarded by him. Approaching coquetry and the matter of love in a brave, chivalrous and valiant way was of a high priority. ‘Oh the bravery of love!’ you’d say. Bollocks. But hey, it’s up to you once more isn’t it? If you think, a. you’re brave enough to love, b. you’re brave enough to live and c. you’re brave enough to face the consequences of a. and b., then by all means, go ahead and be that. I’ll watch and cheer for you.

d85ca91743ccc4558daeca7b05493842The third and last feature of iki, and probably my favourite, is resignation [akirame]. It’s, the way I see it, this clear view on the workings of love, the renouncing of attachment and overall, the knowledge of fate. The society in which iki operates needs to provide a vast array of opportunities for experiencing the pain of dissillusionment about the actualization of love.

A heart forged by distress and betrayed several times comes to believe in the concept of being easily cheated. It’s a heart that, through iki,  has attained the knowledge and weaponry to realise the true facade of love. ‘Better the dark than a little moonlight’  is the darkness of a heart made distraught by love. This completely resigned heart which has lost its naive trust is certainly not acquired without cost. ‘…because, I cannot get what I crave for, this is called the dear floating world, and I give up my desire as an impossible wish.’ 

Another face of this resignation encompasses the idea that people’s hearts are so ever-changing, vain and frankly easily bored, as well as the pessimistic conclusion (as a geisha would probably say) that in the end, there is no-one to think sweet of, and there is no-one who considers us so in the whole wide world. Resignationthat is the disinterestedness in iki, is a well-formed heart that has been polished and hardened through the floating world.

What I gather from all of that is a great, huge, neon lighted, “WHY BOTHER?”. This idea of just giving up, building up and hardening your heart, or whatever that is, seems so easy, painless and effortless. How great would it be if we could just resign our minds in the face of love? Because I wouldn’t use the notion of heart  myself, I would personally go with mind but iki is heartless not mindless. So once again, do your thing, but keep your wits about you; have the knowledge of fate.

To quickly sum up, iki sustains the idea of a love of a higher intellectual domain. Simple mindless love won’t work. Iki is flirting [coquetry] in a valiant way [brave composure] but obtaining the knowledge in the end that this is as far as it goes, this is the end [resignation].

 

A Sensible(ish) Delirium #1

A Dystopic Delirium #2 – The Nuclear Issue

We go back. The idea is this now. We go back. We go to the heart of the issue of dystopia themed art in Japan. We translate the fear that strikes the chord in these particular stories.

It was just a Little Boy and a Fat Man.

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The NUCLEAR Art of Japan

This collective suffering of the Japanese still lingers on. People are still suffering from its effects. It is a theme undoubtedly repeated through many artworks, even if the piece of art itself is not clearly referring to the bombings. (see. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Akira, etc.)

CASE 1

Firstly, let’s take a look at a more ‘direct’ example. Isao Takahata’s —  Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies / 1988). What Takahata is doing is visually clear, he is creating a world of chaos, destruction, pain and injustice and the viewer is experiencing all that through the eyes of two innocent kids that just happened to be there. He is ‘forcing’ you to feel and he is triumphantly succeeding — from my own perspective that is. This is achieved through simple images, he is not trying too much and he is not hiding behind them. The image of planes going by in the skies, long horizontal lines against the small, vertical ones of the children, conveys perfectly the constant feeling of threat and vulnerability.

This balance shifts when the bombs start raining down and their downward movement now overwhelms the small lines of the children beneath emphasizing on the hopelessness and inevitability of their situation. The war rages on and there is no escape. The children fight for their survival. But in the end, fire was not their single foe. This particular film does not dwell in the topic of nuclear disaster per se but the after effects of that attack. The results of any war really. Those who fight die and those who don’t die as well. Hunger, disease, mental meltdown; a whole film based on the struggle for survival, the need to protect what’s yours, the futility of war and the inevitability of death. Both text and subtext, in Grave of the Fireflies, embody an endless nightmarish vision of passivity and despair. It suggests a history that can never be escaped or transcended but that must be continually experienced as harrowing, painful and relentlessly oppressive.

I know, it’s a Ghibli film, but Isao – senpai is not fooling around.

CASE 2

On the other hand, Keiji Nakazawa’s Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen / 1983) conveys a feeling of resistance, hope and renewal, although depicting the same horrific war scenes, in contrast with the passivity and powerlessness of the Grave of the Fireflies.

Though it has been heavily criticized by the Hibakusha community, the graphics of the manga and anime help to “convey the unconveyable” of the bomb’s horror. “While Grave of the Fireflies uses the elegiac mode and realistic graphics to show a slowly dying world, Barefoot Gen indulges in the apocalyptic mode with a grotesque and frenzied graphic style to show a world paradoxically dynamic in its own destruction” (Napier, 2005)

Another core difference between the two films is the character of the protagonists. While Seita is caring and thoughtful but passive and oppressed, Gen is energized and rebellious going against the authorities and claiming what is his. Where Grave of the Fireflies seems to convey a message of passivity and slow painful changing in the world around the characters, Barefoot Gen seems to be filled with action and deals with the feelings of resistance and rebuilding. Grave of the Fireflies could be seen as a lament dedicated to the bombings disaster, a continuous story of pain and sadness using realistic depictions of the events. In contrast, Barefoot Gen is using intense and frantic images, filled with saturated colours and grotesque and twisted illustrations of the event; seemingly applying more ‘gravity’ to that single moment that everything changed.

To conclude this delirium, both films tell a story differently but both films end up in the same concept, the collective trauma of a whole nation and the creation of a dystopian life, a hell on Earth, where children are forced to grow up and die by the hands of the adults who are supposed to protect them.

Footnote: All this is but an introductory delirium on the war dystopia theme in manga and anime and will work as a stepping stone towards my future goal of undergoing a thorough research in the post-apocalyptic, dystopic world of manga and anime.
A Dystopic Delirium #2 – The Nuclear Issue

An Innocent Delirium #1

Innocence.

Is my innocence the same as yours? Is innocence being free of guilt? Are you innocent? Of what?

You surely are innocent of something. But you are no shoujo.

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Let’s talk about shoujo then. Aren’t they wonderful? With their oversized teary eyes, their casual/natural looks, their frail bodies and their free of makeup faces? So innocent. So pure. Almost magical.

The shoujo is the core of everything. She is what you wish to become; she is what you wish to possess; and she is what you’ll never be and what you’ll never have.

She is all that and she is trapped there. Trapped in her own image. She cannot grow up nor explore her sexuality. You could say she is almost unaware of her own, often mature, body. She is there to fulfill; to make you, the reader, satisfied. She is so fragile, so pure; she needs your protection. She is so submissive, so passive; she’ll do whatever you say, will she not? Isn’t that why you’re here? To empower your masculinity and project your fantasies onto her? Or to see your insecurities and weaknesses come to life and being taken care of by him?

As much as the shoujo stays frozen in time, ethereal and unchanged, she is also growing up. She may be still teary, but she is an adult now.

original Nana is a bad girl. A cool, smoking delinquent. 

This is a special type of shoujo; the one that ‘breaks the chains’. It’s a woman, created by a woman, for other women. She has another duty. She is to inspire. Celebrate feminine independence. Hogwash. She is as frail as the rest of her family, it’s the approach that changes. Her skin got thicker, her habits and looks got more mature; she even got a tattoo (!), but at the end she cries. She needs something — someone to complete her. But she is approaching it in an adult-way now. Smoking and drinking or even letting go; unrequited love is a prominent theme with this shoujo but that’s another topic.

Lastly, a third type of shoujo. My personal favourite.                                       The shoujo of Satoshi Kon.

Kon had always had a preference on female protagonists for his films; the most outstanding, for me, being Mima (Perfect Blue / 1997). Mima is a great example of a special case of shoujo. You see, Mima is sacrificed as a warning to all shoujo out there who want to break their chains completely. She is a pop-idol who wishes to pursue a, more mature, career as an actor thus turning the wrath of her fans’ male gaze upon her. She is the manifestation of what maturity and the loss of innocence could bring. But it’s not just that. Mima had lost her innocence a while ago. She is a woman, as much as her fans would not admit it. So, it’s not the shoujo that is not growing up; it’s us who don’t let her do it. We, who wish to possess her in her pure and untainted form and in extreme cases even become her (Mimania).

As an honorary mention I should also allude to the concept of the shoujo of Hayao Miyazaki and briefly touch on the subject of Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle /  2004). Miyazaki loves all shoujo. They are, in the majority of his films, the key characters, protagonists or not. The words I would use to describe them would be simple, sincere, natural and maternal. I would go as far as to state that Nature herself is his favourite shoujo of them all but, oh well, let’s not go there.  In Sophie’s case, the young girl is forced into maturity, due to a spell which transformed her into an old woman thus beginning her travels alongside the peculiar Howl in order to lift the curse. To bring my delirium into a conclusion, by the end of the film, Sophie returns to her youthful self maintaining her grey hair, ‘a suggestion perhaps that it is time for Japanese cinema, or even Japanese society, to acknowledge that youth is not a permanent state and that, magical or not, all shoujo do eventually disappear’ (Napier, 2005).

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 (No shoujo were harmed during this delirium)

An Innocent Delirium #1

A Dystopic Delirium #1

What is it that makes a dystopia so appealing? What is it with our urges to create, and even experience, a post-apocalyptic world?

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The Art of Dystopia

We create in order to destroy

Waiting for the world to end

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One of the most striking features of manga and anime art is its fascination with the theme of apocalypse. From Akira’s black crater in the heart of Neo Tokyo to Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s rendering of social and psychological collapsing, contemporary manga and anime are filled with images of mass destruction.

Just what exactly is the drive here? Do we like to destroy? Or do we like to rebuild? Most of the times (though the theme might seem to be humanity’s annihilation) ones story is all about the rebirth after that and how we would cope with our own extinction. Maybe. This is just my personal delirium.

We create in order to destroy

We destroy in order to create

So are the dystopias created in order to collapse and give place to a new, refreshed and remodeled world; a utopia? That may be true but you see, in many cases, we find out later on that a utopia is nothing more than a dystopia in disguise. When everything is running—oh so smoothly and everyone is happy in a perfect world where we have everything we need in-the-snap-of-a-finger, someone ‘wakes up’. Someone sees the system for what it is. And this is a motif we meet in many cases e.g in Hollywood films, as in the all too famous Matrix trilogy where our hero; the chosen one, wakes up from the utopic dream the system has caged humanity in and sees the real dystopia around us. Returning to the East, we see that this is a concept regularly used in manga and anime, e.g  in Psycho Pass where, again, humanity lives peacefully under a false feeling of safety and, again, our hero emerges and sees the system for what it truly is—a corrupted agent enslaving humankind for its own diabolic purposes. So if a dystopia is a dystopia; and a utopia is a dystopia; we’ve come a full circle.

 We create in order to destroy

So what’s up with that? Do we want to witness our own death? Do we create and see these films, tv-series, books, etc. as a warning? ‘If we are not careful this may be us in the future!’. Or is it as to say, ‘We are already living in this world, you just don’t realise it.’ ? On the other hand, though I love dystopian settings as much as the next girl, it wouldn’t be the same without our hero would it? What if all of these dystopian themed films and series ended with a desperate, bleak message for the world? What if the hero lost the fight and the humanity continued on, enslaved and oblivious to the system’s evil mechanisms? Would we like that? Well maybe; if we are talking about alternative, award winning and ‘accomplished’ art but, in my opinion, this is something popular art should not venture in. It would end badly for both the artist and the audience.

So…repent?

The end is nigh now

A Dystopic Delirium #1

A Machine’s Delirium #1

“By the very act of denying the existence of the ghost in the machine—of mind dependent on, but also responsible for, the actions of the body—we incur the risk of turning it into a very nasty, malevolent ghost.” – Arthur Koestler

Has Is Humanity Lost Real? This is not an art review. This is a serious contemplation visual based delirium.

The Ghost

The ghost is what we could call the consciousness—what differentiates us from machines. While reading Arthur Koestler’s ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ we grasp the feeling that Koestler wholeheartedly denies Cartesian dualism, which states that the mental cannot exist without the body (the mind = non-physical substance ≠ brain), and he then proceeds to locate the origin of the human mind in the physical condition of the brain. 

Shirō Masamune, mangaka of the Ghost in the Shell mangaon the other hand, defines the ghost as a phenomenon that occurs in a system at a definite level of complexity. The brain is only but a part of the total neural network (e.g if an organ is replaced then its ghost vanishes with it unless the stimulus of the existence of the organ is perfectly re-produced by a mechanical substitution).

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Shiro Masamune’s view of the ghost raises the question that was long ago posed by an ancient Greek thought experiment, the Ship of Theseus paradox: Does an object which has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object? And what if, all of the components that consisted the object before were gathered and create another, new object, which of the two will be the “original” one? (see: Thomas Hobbes)

So what if we were to be remade totally, except from our brains, will we still be the same as before? But what if, we took our brain and place it in a metal, square body still capable of experiencing all five senses? Are we the same then?

Some argue that the brain cannot function outside our body, that the brain alone is not the “soul”. Some, as in Koestler’s case, believe that the ghost resides solely in our brain, the brain as an organ is our whole essence, our entity. Masamune on the other hand tries to detach the ghost from this physical connection with the brain as an organ and looks at it more broadly. It would be helpful, I believe, in this case to distinguish the brain from the mind. It seems that by doing so we can see what Masamune thinks as the ghost.

If we seek out the definition of ‘mind’ in any encyclopedia we’ll come across this: ‘[…]the complex of faculties involved in perceiving, remembering, considering, evaluating, and deciding. Mind is in some sense reflected in such occurrences as sensations, perceptions, emotions, memory, desires, various types of reasoning, motives, choices, traits of personality and the unconscious’. So, to sum it up, the mind is pretty much described as everything we are, right? It is this non-physical substance, these phenomena taking place in our neural system’s network, that is possibly what Masamune is referring to as the ghost. So it might be safe to assume that Masamune is using the notion of the mind to create the definition of the ghost in the universe of Ghost in the Shell. In spite of detaching it from the physical ‘cage’ of the brain though, it still seems that the brain as an organ plays a vital role in the creation of A.I (e.g Ghost in the Shell’s main character, Major Kusanagi, underwent full cyberization with the only organic part of her remaining being a portion of her brain).

ghost-in-the-shell

Through his work, Masamune, draws the picture of a mechanical future where Artificial Intelligence is equal to evolution. Creating A.I is described as ‘the process of merging two sets of data (DNA) in order to create a third set which contains the most vital elements of the original organisms with some element of chance.’ In his future though, it seems there is really not much hope left for the human body—since it is treated as nothing more than a fragile vessel that is left to be controlled and transformed by outside forces.

“It can also be argued that DNA is nothing more than a program designed to preserve itself. Life has become more complex in the overwhelming sea of information. And life, when organized into species, relies upon genes to be its memory system. So, man is an individual only because of his intangible memory…and memory cannot be defined, but it defines mankind. The advent of computers, and the subsequent accumulation of incalculable data has given rise to a new system of memory and thought parallel to your own. Humanity has underestimated the consequences of computerization.”  – The Puppet Master

Technology ∼ Body ∼ Soul

One is out

Make your bids.

Continue reading “A Machine’s Delirium #1”

A Machine’s Delirium #1