Friday, September 09, 2005

It's you who mistakes reality for the truth

Last week I checked out the Director's Cut of Neon Genesis Evangelion Episodes 24-26. It wasn't what I was expecting. I think I'd confused the Director's Cut with End of Evangelion; as far as I can tell, the only change in the DC is some additional dialog and better titles. It's been a while since I watched the regular version so I'm not sure.

I did catch a quote this time around that I'd missed before, though: "It's you who mistakes reality for the truth." To really get the meaning of this sentence you need to watch the series, or at least the last two mind-bending episodes. As I choose to interpret it, this quote teaches us to disentangle the real from the possible. Too often we get locked into defining our options in terms of our experiences. In our personal lives, we might think that because we have not done something before, that is something we cannot do. Similarly, societies can become entrenched in a way of thinking that promulgates the past rather than explores the future.

In the worst case, you would run the risk of becoming a Shinji Ikari. But I think a lot of us (certainly including myself) fall into this trap with far more subtle results. There are many things I've given up trying because I've met with failure before. I need to train myself to try and look critically at what is possible, not at what has been done.

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