Otaku Legend | Posted 09/20/09 | Reply
No no, your essay is pretty long put your proving points so thats good. I'm rewatching/reading ergo proxy over again to pick up what I missed. Cause the first time you watch your into it so you miss some key elements. I will develop my own notes and we shall compare xD!
Meganekko (Otaku Eternal) | Posted 09/20/09 | Reply
I hope this article of mine was more helpful than confusing; otherwise, I've seriously failed in my intent!
There are some issues in it that I've now come to see as being questionable or, at the very least, badly stated. Still, I don't think that my overall project has nothing to offer the reader. If this does bring some clarity to Ergo Proxy--specifically that one episode, which I found to be something of a turning point for Re-l--I won't feel like I've completely disappointed the reader by wasting his or her time in reading this lengthy essay. In any case, I hope you found it worth your time to read. Perhaps, I can add a condensed version here (which, undoubtedly will not be in complete accord with my essay, but nevertheless captures what I was going after).
If I can now try put it in a single sentence, I might do it as thus: The world is concealed to us in some respects, and sometimes when we find ourselves within a mood, we might see the world offering us novel insights into it and ourselves if we are willing to take that look.
Thxs for the help on understanding ergo proxy again. you guys are way to detailed for me, lol.
Meganekko (Otaku Eternal) | Posted 06/24/09 | Reply
Too critical? I'm not sure if that even entered my mind when I read the comment. Trust me, I don't associate criticism with its pejorative use when it comes in the form that you've given. So, I'm quite happy and welcome it!
Regarding the linguistic difficulties, I think that may have been the result of my constant reading of thinkers such as Searle, Dennett, Block--you know, "Analytic" philosophers. I won't deny their own terminology crept into my thought, which itself owed more to Heidegger's ideas of mood. Heck, even Ryle makes a linguistic appearance here and there: e.g. "dispositions". Perhaps my trying to lift the language of certain thinkers and then applying them to another thinker didn't go as well as I thought it would. But when you raise the issue of linguistic confusion, that leads me to think something else: Is that a source of the conceptual difficulties?
I think that may be the case. I'll admit that I was very interested in trying to elucidate this thing called a mood and to communicate its "feel". But when I'm thinking more along the lines of Block, or Dennett (and his "heterophenomenology"), am I unintentionally losing something that I'm trying to explain? Let me put it this way: When I shift from third-person descriptions of "dispositions", "analytical type", etc., to first-person descriptions of "the qualitative feel of experiences", should I be focusing primarily on the one--namely, how it feels to be bored? I can indeed detect the signs of someone else's boredom, but I think that's only possibly if I actually know what it is that I'm detecting. And it was this "knowing" that I was getting at, but that may have been muddled to some extent when I go into my "analytic" mode of philosophy, as opposed to its "continental" brethren. Mind you, I'm not laying the blame on Dennett (I love the guy!); I'm just pondering if the conceptual change-up may have clouded my thinking and, subsequently, essay. However, I remain satisfied with what I was trying to do. My way of doing it, as I now see it, is somewhat suspect.
I'll admit that I found it quite helpful to have someone (anyone!) point out where confusion arises; in this case, making me see that my use of terminological translations isn't always successful (but I do think that it could be successful to a certain degree. But that would result in an essay of another form, I think). And yes, I find that writing philosophically about anime to be more difficult that I had initially imagined. But I think I've gone too far down this road to stop here. With time and effort, I'll render my thoughts more intelligible--in every sense of the word.
Otakuite++ | Posted 06/23/09 | Reply
Sorry to reply so late, I haven't had much free time recently. I'll try to make up for it with a fairly lengthy post.
First off, I am extremely happy that there are other people out there trying to write on anime in a serious way. I think the very fact that you were able to finish this essay is a fine achievement. As you know, this isn't the easiest stuff to write. On the other hand, since criticism is almost always more helpful than praise, it seems to me that what you're attempting here is blocked by a number of difficulties, both linguistic and (more importantly) conceptual. I haven't actually seen the episode you're describing, so I can't talk very intelligently on that, but I'll try to help out where I can.
So, first issue. At a number of points it seems to me that the very language you're using is tripping you up. In the very first sentence you speak of "subjective experiences," and I'm not convinced you've thought through what that is supposed to mean. Of course, it calls back to the sense of the subject as a thinking "I" representing objects to itself, but such a language - the paradigm of subject and object - seems to me in direct conflict with what you're trying to say about boredom. The drive of the language is to try to understand "boredom" as, if not some quality tacked onto the subject-substance, then at least some subjective addition to experience. You yourself are occasionally tempted in this direction: "Whatever falls in its scope [that of Re-i's bored anger] is subjectively tainted by the mood." This is quite an odd passage, since I know you yourself recognize it as quite inappropriate. Thus you also write: "Boredom is strangely an external and internal experience." This is better, but external or internal to what? Is this meant to establish that the subject and its objects are both entities affected by this thing called "boredom"? Certainly not, but then, what does it say? "We cannot easily disentangle the subjective and objective while we are in such a mood." What sort of "entangling" has happened here, though? What exactly are these entities, subjects and objects? Can we so easily take them as fundamental? Does boredom even essentially involve subjects and objects?
I sense you're drawing your main inspiration in this paper from Being and Time sections 29 and 30. That's certainly not a bad source, but you have to remember that Heidegger presents those investigations as a determination of Being-in-the-world as such, which (for him) means the being of the "there," and that means the being of "truth" as unconcealment. The point is just to show one mode in which entities can show themselves to me (which is not to be taken as a subject's "experience" of an object). His concept of befindlichkeit is meant to describe how entities disclose themselves, i.e. bring themselves to light. If I may borrow his language to clarify the concept of boredom you're getting at, then we would just be talking about how the things (the pragmata), and perhaps even my own Dasein, give themselves to be seen. This is not adequately gotten at by any description of the "subjective" coloration of objects. It is rather the mode of appearance of the entities themselves - for example, as obstinately unchanging, as "stale," as boring.
The deeper difficulty than the language, it seems to me, is the conceptual tools you try to employ. "I propose that being in certain states of mind can reveal or highlight details of our experiences, thus allowing us to reconsider and learn from those states that take hold of us." How will this be shown? Answer: "We shall explore such an example of this in the following essay, centered on a specific episode and character." The argument must thus proceed from the exegesis of this example. If what is to be demonstrated is something about the character of experience, then this example must somehow appeal to my own life, my own existence in a world full of things, with my own hopes and fears and loves. How can this happen, i.e. how is it possible for me to gain insight into the makeup of my own experience from watching an anime?
It seems to me that the best form of your answer comes fairly late in the essay: "While we might question how we the viewers can know her subjective experiences--i.e. not ours--we can safely assume that there is an essential commonality we share: we actually know what boredom feels like, when someone says that she is bored. As such, we had taken it upon ourselves to appreciate what it would be like to be in her situation, to have her experiences." This is to say, we "project" ourselves into Re-l's situation. We find, in our own legitimate possibilities of being, something that matches what she is going through. My interrogation, then, must finally focus upon my own projection of this moment. Thus, the whole analysis turns upon sensing what Re-l senses in her own boredom and "actually knowing what it feels like."
This is the most important methodological point in your essay, and the problem is that I don't think you remain true to it. When you get down to the business of describing the matter, I find passages like the following: "We must consider Re-l's personality so that we may see how outside influences interact with her thoughts and feelings, and how her inner character changes under these influences." "For our present purposes we can classify Re-l as the analytical-type, meaning that she often thinks very carefully about what this or that means." "It would not be entirely unfair to say that she is usually stern and indifferent. Consider this her default position." "She inevitably embodies Romdo's rules. It could not be otherwise." "For an analytical mind that naturally tends to focus on certain relations, objects, or qualities in her experiences, it would be safe to say that Re-l gradually learns her limits--her breaking point. We say this because repetition of certain things is always a fine way to test someone's limits."
Are these descriptions of experience, or even possible experience? On my own reading, I cannot see how they could be. They sound more like the descriptions and diagnoses of folk psychology. Re-l is a certain "type," she has certain characteristics (indifference, etc.), meaning she will "naturally" behave a certain way given certain stimuli - i.e. she is classifiable as a certain kind of object. But does it ever happen in a normal situation that I myself (as Re-l) ever experience this? That is, do I ever consider myself as a psychological object in this way? It may be possible, but only in a very complicated and special sort of situation (e.g., in a university science lab). Things get worse than that, however. If Re-l is supposed to be a certain "type," this implies that if I am to "know what her boredom feels like" then I myself must be the very same "type." If I am not, then I will simply have no access to her mood - and then the whole essay collapses. Not only must I make a psychological object of my own experiences, then, but the argument only works if I end up with right kind of object when I do so.
This gap between the "external" description of Re-l (as the kind of "personality" she is) on the one hand and her experience (and my own possible experience) on the other seems to me to run through the whole paper. I see no justifiable way of joining these two things together, and I think it finally undermines the whole argument. Either we describe the "behavior" or "personality" of an anime character, or we describe experiences that we ourselves might concievably have (though there is a certain sense in which the former can be "translated").
"Furthermore, by concentrating on whatever is immediately before us while we are in that state, we can classify or re-sort those particular elements within that experience. Think of it as a kind of reordering of priorities to match the present situation." This seems wrong to me (for a number of reasons that would take too long to explain), but if well-presented I think it can be defended as a philosophical position.
I'll stop here. I'm sorry if I come across as too critical; in any case, I agree with the basic direction of your essay. It seems to me to be thinking about the right things, given your description of the material. (Consider that everything happens because the wind is lost. Wind, in Greek, is ho anemos, from which we get the Latin anima, soul or life. No wind means no life, no soul.) I certainly hope you shall continue your work, but for awhile you may find it most helpful just to consider what you are doing when you write something like this - to focus on the "total experience," in your words. What is an interpretation of this sort supposed to be doing, exactly? From whence comes its justification? What, in other words, is the proper method of philosophy? Attend to that question for awhile (it's work for a lifetime, to be honest) and you may quickly find that the issues you approach clarify themselves dramatically.