Literature

The Zen of Nier: Automata — Tasting Reality in the Death of Meaning

The Zen of Nier: Automata — Tasting Reality in the Death of Meaning

What follows is devoid of spoilers for Nier: Automata. Instead, what I offer is an interpretive lens through which those who have yet to play the game, or who may have already done so, may interpret the narrative of Nier: Automata. This is, of course, only one possible reading among many others.

Ender’s Zero-Sum Game — Psychoanalyzing Andrew Wiggin

Ender’s Zero-Sum Game — Psychoanalyzing Andrew Wiggin

Thanks to some recommended reading from one of my sisters, I’ve come to read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game in an entirely different light. In “Creating the Innocent Killer:Ender’s Game, Intention, and Morality,” John Kessel offers a fascinating reading of the moral ambivalence, and even potential immortality, of Card’s novel.

In Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, Kessel sees the construction of an ostensibly “innocent killer” merely; in other words, that Ender, though guilty of tremendous atrocities by the novel’s end, is written off as simply a product of his circumstances and thus justified rather than morally culpable. … After his own damning character analysis of Ender, Kessel concludes, “If I felt that Card’s fiction truly understood this, then I would not have written this essay.” …

That said, and I’m tempted to say that Radford and Kessel may likely agree, I am not yet prepared to toss all copies of Ender’s Game — and Card with them — onto the pyre, cultural or otherwise. Instead, rather than a zero-sum condemnation of Ender’s Game, I believe Radford and Kessel’s critiques offer readers an additional layer to Card’s novel — though not at all necessarily one Card himself may have noticed or even intended.

Why Reading Is So Damn Hard — with Gilles Deleuze

Why Reading Is So Damn Hard — with Gilles Deleuze

Reading is difficult, if for no other reason than that the text is always already dead in some substantial way, opaque to the reader to some degree. Even if one had the author to explain the text, there is no guarantee the author understands their own text, let alone what it means.

The Psychology of Evangelion — On Falling in Love with Existence

The Psychology of Evangelion — On Falling in Love with Existence

With the recent release of Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix, as well as the anticipated conclusion of the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy in 2020, it seems fitting to dive back into the franchise as a whole and explore what it may have to offer viewers. Despite belonging to medium which has largely been overlooked or denigrated in the West, as far as anime is concerned, Neon Genesis Evangelion nonetheless contains a subtle yet substantial message about human psychological development, one as relevant now as when the series was originally aired in 1995.

"The Divine Gift"  —  Westworld as an Allegory on Consciousness

"The Divine Gift"  —  Westworld as an Allegory on Consciousness

In Westworld (S01E10, “The Bicameral Mind”), Dr. Robert Ford explains to Dolores, one of the hosts (or artificial human occupants of the American Frontier-themed park) a secret in Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam: “You were right, Dolores, Michelangelo did tell a lie. See, it took 500 years for someone to notice something hidden in plain sight,” Ford says, tracing his finger around God, reaching out to Adam, and the silhouette surrounding him. “It was a doctor who noticed the shape of the human brain. The message being that: the divine gift does not come from a higher power, but from our own minds.”

The Rejected Sublime — Reading Terry Eagleton’s Radical Sacrifice

The Rejected Sublime — Reading Terry Eagleton’s Radical Sacrifice

Were I to review Terry Eagleton’s Radical Sacrifice, I would recommend it unequivocally. Though Eagleton and I may not see eye to eye in all things (and I would have it no other way; how else would I learn?), this latest addition to his bibliography is well worth the time of any reader interested in revolutionary politics, ideology, or even the Christian narrative itself. Rather than evaluate the merits of Eagleton’s work, I’ve instead experienced it for myself; and in lieu of a review, I have instead opted to share a stream of insights I gained from reading Radical Sacrifice.

The (Un)willing Zeus — Heraclitus, Hermeneutics, and Religious Expression

The (Un)willing Zeus — Heraclitus, Hermeneutics, and Religious Expression

I’ve recently found myself fascinated with the surviving fragments of Heraclitus and his philosophy, especially what he has to say about what we may call religious expression. What follows is a brief exploration of his ideas and an application to religion generally, especially my own native Mormonism.