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.
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.”
I've been really enjoying the late Thomas Keating's The Human Condition, in which he describes psychological development through contemplation and meditation. Keating's work actually reminds me a great deal of modern leaps in neuroscience, especially as outlined by philosopher Thomas Metzinger in The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self. In this post, I compare Keating and Metzinger’s work in leading a contemplative life.
Ray Brassier may be the rightful heir to Friedrich Nietzsche's wrestle with nihilism, in no small part because I think Brassier possesses a far more articulate and considered version of nihilism than most.