The Melancholy Of Neoplatonicism

So I traveled to Japan this summer and I was really excited because for the first time I would attend to a fireworks festival. I mean I had already been to Tokyo’s gigantic fireworks, and it was amazing, but it was not a real festival like in anime with booths and masks and goldfish scooping… Though by all extent Tokyo’s fireworks were as real as it gets, right?

It got me thinking about the dichotomy that we brushed upon while talking about identity: one the one hand you have the real of ideals, qualified by Plato’s metaphor of the cave, and on the other hand you have the real of actuals, whose imperfections contribute to their beauty and realness. For if the Tokyo’s fireworks was undeniably actual, it was definitely not ideal, and what I was doing was actively seeking to get closer to that ideal.

And though I talked about the inter-relations of these concept through language while focusing on dating simulations, this situation brought to mind another major anime I’m going to use to push this discussion further.

In my pursuit of the true matsuri, which has to have goldfish scooping, come on… I realized I was acting like Haruhi Suzumiya. Like Keima Katsuragi, she is very sensitive to the world of ideals and concepts and how things should be.

“Remote islands are all about strange incidents, right?”

Are you sure you captured all the elements essential for summer?

This imperfect and mundane reality torments her. Haunted by the insignificance of her existence, she throws herself in the pursuit of ideals, with an unwavering motivation and an iron will like no others.

Every school story has to have a maid character!

Through her will, she actually realizes the potential ideals she cares about. She founds the SOS brigade, turns Mikuru into a maid, organizes various events how they should be…

But the anime goes one step further and plays around the notion of Haruhi being God and, through her will, tweaking and shifting the actual reality to the point of destroying it when it cannot fit her ideals. Haruhi is a force of actualization of potentials who brings the ideal into the actual.

This is exactly the kind of food for thoughts that you can find behind the writings of neoplatonicians like Augustine of Hippo. To them, Christianity was important and innovative because of the character of Jesus Christ who was a bridge between the ideal/godly and the mundane. Jesus was supposedly the incarnation of God on earth, thereby proving that it was possible for absolute ideals to be actualized. Furthermore, this divine power could be achieved by any one human sufficiently righteous and yearning for elevation. Jesus was a model proving that godhood was attainable in this world and actualization possible. As such, Haruhi may be closer to Christ than to God (which doesn’t really matter because Christ is God /o/).

On top of that, the christian mythos was centered around the Word of God, aka the Logos/Reason, accessible inside anyone (that’s what the whole communion bit is about tbh), highlighting once again the importance of language in the tension towards the Absolute and reminiscing of Haruhi’s will. God/Haruhi wills things into existence through the power of the Word (verbe generateur)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

From which the most famous example would be “let there be light” (or as Haruhi would put it, “let there be maids). Haruhi shapes her reality through dialogues and orders and meta-works of narrative fiction.

God is the holy trinity of Ideal-Verb-Actualization and their union. So too Haruhi transcends and transforms her mundane actual reality by bringing in the potential ideal, and I kinda did too by going to this festival.

Haruhi is a perfect example of tension towards the superior, which would bring her close to Nietzsche’s ubermensch (which we already mentioned and will come back to). She will not settle for what is, but instead strives to realize what ought to be. She reconciles the dichotomic aspects of reality, and helps us build the bridge between religion, spirituality, philosophy and anime. But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that, although perfect example of this incarnation, Haruhi is still a fictional character, and thus an ideal, and it’s up to us to bring out our inner Haruhi to realize enlightenment.

4 responses to “The Melancholy Of Neoplatonicism”

  1. […] Which makes him, I suppose, some kind of prophet? But here is where it gets really interesting. Keima, which would be considered an outcast everywhere in the world but who is a messiah on this blog (but isn’t wisdom strongly correlated with loneliness as Nietzsche puts it so well ^^), has actually gained his wisdom through videogames, which are work of fiction made by men. It does make sense that, by trying to reproduce and analyse reality, mankind exhibits underlying patterns and rises into absolute (that’s called science and it kicks ass). And I find it extremely elegant that through creative invention, mankind touches the very essence of reality within reality itself, using the language, the Verb, or the Logos as neo-platonicists would put it. This ability to create and to use Reason is at the very core of man (some may say it contributes to its essence ^.^), which brings me back to Augustine’s of Hippo and how according to him Jesus was kinda the realisation of this inner Re…… […]

  2. […] the system, there is inherently something that transcends it. And that this something is contained within the system. I’m willing to let this be called God, for all the chaos and confusion that it will surely […]

  3. […] divinity aspect of consciousness is something that I’ve toyed with in the past, as consciousness seems to be the embodiment of the absolute concept of reason/Logos. In the same way as God traditionally makes order out of nothingness, consciousness is what allows […]

  4. […] their own nature. They willingly face adversity and challenge their essence, which sounds like Ubermensch growth 101 to […]

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