The Inner World of Souls. On the Soul, Its Internal Geography and Its Inhabitants

In many series heroes have a complex internal structure (and this is something more than having a complex personality; they are metaphysically complex). I consider:

  1. Ghost in the Shell
  2. Sailor Moon
  3. Ragnarok
  4. Sazan Eyes
  5. Utawarerumono
  6. Bleach
  7. and, for comparison, a psychological book, “Manhood” by S. Biddulph.

Sailor Moon and Utawarerumono are treated at some length, but it is about Bleach that I write really extensively!

Warning: for those only watching Bleach anime, there may be some mild spoilers (some things simply become clearer further in the series and I use that in my analysis)

The end of this paper is about the Evil Twin (doppelganger / shadow…), not only in Bleach, but in general, in reality as well.

As usual, my papers go from simple to more complex things… So there is a bit of heavy philosophy in the last part.

What is interesting in many anime/manga series is the complexity of the internal structure of heroes. It seems a quite popular motive.

Some examples:

1) GITS. Makoto is partly human, mostly a machine. How much is a mystery. To what extent is she programmed as well? The passages nfrom the Bible… Is that this program which enters into her, or some part of herself; maybe the program was there even at her programming. Anyway, finally she also merges with the program: she becomes a two-sided person. Or maybe two perfectly united persons?

2) Sailor Moon

Take Usagi. First, she is a normal girl. Secondly, she is Princess Serenity – according to the interpretation worked out by me and Janusz (aka Maenardil) sailor senshi had not transmigrated; their bodies changed form, and went asleep for a long time; their memories becoming latent too [to what extent the parents on Earth are their biological parents? Their physique is the same as in old days on the Moon… Maybe some merging of original bodies with the parents’ cells?].

Thirdly, she is Sailor Moon; it’s not a particular personality, but a different form. It’s like when you assume a different role, enter into a part. archetype – this does not influence only your appeareance and powers, but your actions, thoughts, feelings too.

Another such form is that of the future Queen. I don’t remeber whether we have decided that it is this or another form which is timeless [this explains why the time travel was possible: on the timeless plane there was knowledge of what would happen, had Usagi not been called to the future. So there is a loop of sorts, but no change… (i.e. even knowing what will happen in the future Usagi can’t change it. She knows what will happen to her at the time when she’s the Queen).].

Senshi are angelic beings, existing both on the timeless plane (and they are connected with the powers of the planets/they are the powers) and in time. Usagi – maybe only her – can for a moment fully unite with this eternal archetype: Eternal Sailor Moon (it is analogous to Jesus’ Transformation on the mountain…).

Again about their being ‘gods’. The three treasures of the Japanese imperial family: the mirror, the sword, the jewel which are said to come from the goddess Amaterasu; are the imitation of the original treasures of the sacred kingdom of the Moon…

Hotaru is of course the angel of death. Perhaps normally she operates on the unconsious level…

Or maybe she is an apocalyptic angel of death, not the regular one…, an angel of cosmic catastrophies

[there can be many angels of death after all]

There are also other elements. There is the motive of the evil twin! (in the fight against the circus people…). And all senshi (or maybe everybody) have the form of an indestructible Diamond in the core of their beings. On the one hand, it seems as if it were material. On the other, we know that in Buddhism this is a symbol of the ultimate reality. But still, here, it is fully individual; which makes it much closer to our Christian view; the symbol of the immortality of the soul.

As should be obvious, I think the series can be made consistent with Christianity. Usagi prays simply to God, love is the ultimate reality…

3) Ragnarok. Rather simple. The hero is both a human and a beast; and sometimes becomes a great demon (involuntarily; later he does not remeber; no psychological continuity btw, him and the demon). Ragnarok is a sword, but can also assume a human form. The tiger-guy is half man, half beast, torn between two identities…

4) Sazan Eyes. There is the Sanjiyan, Parvati IV, and Pai. It should be noted that she also has a role, an archetype of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. Inside her soul there is a whole world… Are these memories or actually the conscious forms of the people from the past? [I guess it is the latter, and so this is a real sub-world. These are real persons, but not strictly identical to those dead, only resembling them] What these conscious form are is not quite clear to me. Are they just the form, a part of the person; or a sub-person? Maybe it is like that: when we contemplate the change, we know that the core will remain the same; but still we are afraid that „we” as we are, this personality, will vanish…

And Yakumo merges with Ushasu’s Wu…

5) Utawarerumono. The being called Hakuoro has multiple constituents:

– he is a man: first, he is called Iceman, experimented upon; and then he becomes Hakuoro, the king

– but in him resides a divine nature as well (I suppose this is Onbiteakayan? Or is Onbitaekayan the experimenters? We know too little about the true history and mythology): this is the black monster

–  Iceman/Hakuoro can also assume a divine form of the monster, and then he is Witsarnemitaea

– but Onbitaekayan can also take on a human form of Dii

I think the best way to think about it is by analogy to the Holy Trinity:

Onb. is like the Father, Wits. like the Son. There are two divine persons, one divine being. But instead of love, there is a conflict. Finally, they both incarnate (probably cyclically, but within a single, unfolding history of the Universe).

I’m not sure how to understand the rel. btw. Mutsumi and Kamyu. Maybe there are two persons, Mutsumi just possessing Kamyu’s body. But I don’t think so. It rather seems Mutsumi is reincarnated, there are just two personalities. And continuing with the trinitarian analogy. Mutsumi assumes the role of the Holy Spirit, mediating between the two, coming from both of them. See the picture during the ending. Only that she’s not a divine person.

What about Mikoto and Eruru? I guess the ring was passed on in Mikoto’s line. So Eruru is biologically Iceman’s descendant (so Aruru is quite right in calling Hakuoro „father”). But as for the soul, she is Mikoto reincarnated.

6) Bleach

There are the following things to consider:

1) The Hollow: mask, hole, and the animal form

2) the hollow = evil twin; but it is another form of the hollow aspect of one’s being

3) the hollow as the form of one’s power at its extreme

4) the Zanpaktou and its many forms

5) the internal world

6) integration of the opposites: Arrancar and Vaizard

7) what is one’s power

What is particularly interesting about Bleach is that it is the deep psychological structure of all human beings. This is a real, and applicable, psychological theory. I mean it!

[ 7) For the purposes of comparison with Bleach, take Biddulph’s Manhood (quite a popular book written by a psychogologist. It’s not bad). He mentions three figures:

1) the child

2) the protector

3) the horse

That is probably not his complete theory, I should add.

Anyway, these figures represent certain capacities (sensitivity/fear; just anger; sexual desire) and roles/behaviour scenarios (shyness; self-protection; pursuit of sex). B. suggests what we should do with them. Take care/encourage the child. Find the protector, remeber about him and have him around. Don’t be afraid of the horse, not let it rule over you, but have the mastery.

Now, my dissatisfaction with this approach is that it’s piecemeal; the figures are extremely specialised… How many of them we’d have to have? These 3 things are important, but not everything… Well. maybe it’s just a convenient tool for some purposes. But then another thing is: are these really full roles/forms we can assume? No. It’s just a small part of us. And so it is partly external: I am not a child or the horse etc – these are just the things in me I can do sth. about. So they are kind of analogous to the Zanpaktou… ]

But let’s get back to Bleach:

Ad point 4): The Zanpaktou

What is it? First, it is a spirit („Shinigami can control many spirits”). Secondly, it is a power („I am you power”). Thridly, it is a sword. How can these answers be reconciled?

Here is a proposal:

1. Z. really is an individual soul; different from that of the possessor.

2. But its individuation, its place, its „embodiment”, its personality – in short, its identity – lies in being a power. What is the sense of „is” in „z. is a power”? I suggest it’s the same as when I say: „I am a human being”. Now, at the bottom I am I, a simple spiritual subject. But „I am a human” means:

– I have certain mental capacities and powers (and not other)

– I am embodied

– my singular identity is determined by my rel. to the body and parents

Now, z. has of course the capability to think and feel (and choose?) on his own. But what z. says „my power is your power” is true. How? Ok., let’s look at it from, say, Ichigo’s point of view.

There is Ichigo, the subject. And there is his free will. But will itself is not the power; it is that which controls the power. Now, I.’s soul has this power: to act in this and this way on reality. Or take Byakuya: he has the power to affect reality by spells. This power is not ensouled. But some other power is.

Now, the power is not just the disposition, but it’s base, sth. concrete within Ichigo’s soul.

So. If Ichigo wills so, his power=Zanpaktou is activated, acts. This power is also not sth. accidental to him, but lies deep in his soul, is affected by his thoughts and choices, and may affects them back… To some extent z. may choose what to do with itself, and what to do to the possessor (these are his personal capabilities). Further, it is conscious, so it wants to be activated, it feels lonely, it feels hurt or experiences pain.

So we have two subjects, two centres of consiousness, two wills and one power (in I.’s soul; constituting the z.’s soul…)

So, the power is for z. sth. like the soul to us, and a bit like the body [I mean, now I work with the following division: the simple I-subject; the soul (all mental capacities and properties); the body]: that which is ours (and which we have to have in order to live). It’s just that the z. is much less autonomous, his actions depend v. much on the master’s will.

Z. is of course embodied too. He has a spiritual body. First, he has a form in which it lives in the inner spiritual world of a shinigami (this is Zangetsu’s human-like form), but it can also move to the outer world, e.g. Soul Society (while training for Bankai). Secondly, he has four forms as a sword: when it’s still nameless; when sealed and unreleased; Shikai; Bankai.

Being a power, he contains in himself the evil twin…

Ad 1): The Hollow.

What is it?

a) It is a state one can be in.

b) It is a form one can be in. But it is not merely an optional form.

c) It is also something which always is within the soul, only does not manifest itself. So it is like one of the layers of our being.

d) Or a capacity and an aspect of our being. [don’t take all these answers as adequate. These are preliminary suggestions].

e) Perhaps it is a force within us [let’s observe: force is different from power. Power is sth. to be activated by will, and it is so to say reality-directed (it is the capacity to change reality). Force, on the other hand, is something active in our souls, independently of our will. This distinction looks promising in assessing the rel. btw. the Zanpaktou and the Hollow]

Is Hollow something evil? No. It is not a demon (although it approaches a demonic state). It is an arational, chaotic force, and we may agree, selfish force. These all traits can be summed up in one word: the Hollow in itself is something insane [v. visible in the form of the evil twin]

[There are also traces of sexual pervesion in Hollows; and of a sort of regress to childhood: selfishness, no control over the emotions and aggression, no tolerance of pain. Menos Grande are v. different, being multi-personal beings.]

The characterization of the Hollow as essentially insane is confirmed by the opposition to the Shinigami. They are characterized by:

– human form

– rational discipline [these two contrast with the animality of Hollows]

– ethical ideals; the vision of themselves as particular moral characters, and of the meaning of

their lives [Evidence: for them, just living is not enough; while the Hollows only crave for

life-force). The ethical character of Shinigamis also contrasts with the Hollow’s mask –

non-authenticity – and the hole in their chest: the lack of heart, the seat of ethical,

meaningful life]

In short: this is the opposition between Reason and Chaos.

[it might be interesting to trace Platonism here. If the Shinigami form corresponds to Reason and its rule; and the Hollow to the beast from the Republic, and its rule… The Zanpaktou itself would correspond to the middle part, responsible for courage, valour and manly energy. And indeed in Bleach it mediates between the two; and can be used by both parties (the evil twin, and then the Arrancar).

It is very interesting to think about Aizen along these lines. Just what does he find unsatisfactory…? Perhaps it’s like that: in fact, the Shinigami correspond mostly to the middle part. They are just warriors; with limited, and non-absolute moral code. And there is much to such contention: they mostly care about courage, strength and honour. But such people like Aizen, or Tousen (who knows what Gin thinks?) do not find it satisfactory. They look for something absolute; for a higher order and justice (the un-Platonic thing about it is that this involves the coincidence and integration of the opposites)]

Ad 2) The Evil Twin.

It is called many names by different people. Freud calls it „doppelganger”. People who investigate dreams call it the „Shadow”. I’ll call it the Evil Twin. Twin is sth. that is somehow still one with us, of one body, but there is a split too. Actually, Polish has a really exsquisite name „sobowtor”. 100% on the mark. It means sth. like: the second, who is me. Or me-double. And this is the key idea: „the twin is at the same time me and the Other”. It seems like he is and is not me, and this is extremely confusing. But the „me and the other” formula is more precise (it is not obviously self-contradictory at least). He is the other in me. Or he is me-as-the-other. It is only by such an unclear existential idom that we can approach this phenomenon.

Now, the simplest account would be just this. There are desires and attitudes which we have; but which we repress, or do not acknowledge having them, or which we judge evil. And we have the capacity (or even propensity) to have even more desires and traits which we judge evil. Now, the evil twin’s personality is the amalgam of all these desires.

Amalgam, for the twin is likely to be chaotic. Though in principle the twin of a chaotic and insane person would be cold and rational? no, it doesn’t work like that. It’s rather that such a person became his twin, or the twin got the control. Let’s be careful not to be biased against the twin: he is no less me than me. There is no reason to think that „true me” is the good and rational personality; this is just too naive. So we should say that the person became what once she and others would regard as her twin. The twin-side got the upper hand in her. Or, if there is still an internal fight and the person is self-alienated, we might still perhaps talk of the person and the twin.

So when we see the twin we see either:

– ourselves as we are in the recesses of our soul

– or ourselves as we could be.

Now, it’s an important point: on this account the twin can only be a vision-being, an intentional being (like any possible-me); not a real being. Or, insofar as I really am like that, the twin is really there: it is just me. I see me. It is just that I see myself in a very peculiar manner – I am given to myself through the awareness of sth. else. The otherness of the twin is just that there is this mode of presentation, this vision (picture, not act) of me [so again we may call this the twin: the vision=image of myself]. It is strictly analogous to seeing myself in the mirror: I see myself not directly, but by seeing something else. But there is usually no awareness of this mediacy in looking in the mirror: I say that I see me. But there can be. I might be startled by what I see in the mirror, and not want ot accept it. Then I become aware that I do not simply see myself. Then I become aware that there is this thing: the mirror and the vision therein. And I say that this is not me; though I cannot deny that it is of me.

(Imagine that the mirror image starts to act on his own, independently of your moves. Seeing the twin is a bit like that).

The capacity to see oneself like this might be connected with two capacities:

a) viewing oneself from outside

b) with the projective capacity

Now, there is much truth in the simple account. But it fails in two respects:

a) it does not analyze the internal logic and consistent unity of the twin’s personality

b) the otherness of the twin is too feeble and too shallow.

I tend to think that it is sth. real within one; a real, operative force. And I want an existential account.

Furthermore, the integration with the twin would not be quite intelligible. We would just have to see through the illusion: that either we are (partly) like that or that we aren’t. Then the twin would disappear, as a needless projective figure. But it’s not quite like that.

The basic problem is the subjectivity of the twin: it’s will and consciousness. If one thinks that it has them, then two accounts are possible:

a) the Twin is a peculiar spirit, similar to the Zanpaktou. It is not the part of the Zanpaktou (no more than Z. as a subject is a part of me). But the power which constitutes the Twin’s soul is a part of the overall power which constitutes the Zanpaktou’s soul; that’s why he’s normally within the Zanpaktou [so it’s like Russian dolls: me, z., Twin]. And what is this power? It is one’s Hollow power; a chaotic, potentially limitless power. After all, I think I want to drop the distinction force-power. It is sth. within the soul; and something which can be controlled by the will; and it grounds the disposition/capacity for bringing about some effects. But it also has a particular vector, so to say, a particular direction. For example, z. presents our force directed to fighting, our love of fighting. Most of the normal z. power is ready to be used at will. But already achieving Bankai requires a fight and subduing the Z. The Hollow power is even worse: it is by nature sth. opposing any limit, something totally unruly; it can get to act on its own contrary to one’s will… Now, one can repress this power. But when the normal mental defences are broken down; when the power of our reason falters – then this power gets the chance to become active.

Now, the only way to get it in line with our reason and will is to bring it out to full light. And then to unite with it. How one can unite? It is that our will and this force become harmonized. Now, let’s finally spell out what is the essence of the Hollow force: it is the tendency to break all limits; to transcend…

Now, in itself this is a purely negative tendency. In itself it offers no positive goal: only insanity, unlimited growth of oneself and destruction of all else. There are two ways of harmonizing this tendency with one’s will:

a) the Arrancar. The will becomes assimilated to the power. That is, one wills (and that becomes a steady disposition of the will) in accordance with the hubris of the force: one wants unlimited power, destruction etc. We might liken Arrancar to tyrants: their deep motivation is like that, but it can mobilise subtle reason and act in a cold way… Contrary to the Hollow, where this force runs rampant, one has will, projects, personality…

b) the way of Vaizards: the force becomes a suitable tool and means of expression for the will. This negative force can be used in the service of a positive will, provided, that this will really demands the use of such force. Now, what it this will? I guess, it’s the will to be free; to realize this freedom (by managing to stay alive and live meaningfully) and to confirm this freedom in relations with others.

Now, Ichigo also wants power. But this is as Zaraki says: do you want to fight because this gives you power? or is it that you want power just to seek more fights? Doesn’t matter… This means: what counts is to be and live to the full in the interaction with others (fight is par excellence an intercourse of two freedoms), to carve one’s path in reality through any obstacles… In a sense, one acknowledges a certain dependence from obstacles: one needs people to fight with, to feel that one is alive… This is what Zaraki is like.

I guess this would be my interpretation of Bleach. And I think this captures quite well the phenomenology of the twin: he is not the same person, subject as me; but we share the same soul and body: and so we are one and he is v. much like me. We are like closest twins indeed, coming into being at the same time, who cannot live separately… We don’t need to talk to understand each other, for we share the mind. But, whereas I am naturally disposed to use my reason and heart, the twin is united with and controls my a-rational side: insanity, emptiness, ability to negate, and to break the limits. But if one learns to reject one’s limitations and use insanity in service of a higher end – then one is the master.

[but I should stress that I don’t believe there really is such a twin spirit. This is how it seems to us, when we encounter him. But I don’t think it’s correct. This is, after all, a dream… of course in the dream people we meet seem real; but in fact they aren’t. Well, unless we think that the twin is actually embodied in the non-dominant hemisphere and is imprisoned there all the time, unbeknowst to us…]

b) or we might think that this phenomenon is actually controlled by an alien, evil spirit: by a devil. Who would strive to possess one; and only in this sense there would be some unity.

Now, this possibility cannot be dogmatically rejected. That is why one should be v. suspicious of attempts to communicate with the twin, or of making it an ally. Of course, a devil would gladly play our ally…

Integration, on the other hand, is a fully conscious process. And if there remains in us nothing alien (if we regard it as alien, we loose control over it; and then it can be controlled by someone else), nothing to be projected, from which such a disturbing image might be created – then this way is blocked.

So far I have proposed a plausible interpretation of Bleach. But what about reality (assuming that b) hopefully is not right, or at least quite rarely…? I rejcted both the simple interpretation and the interpretation which seems true for Bleach, but not in our world… My view is quite close to the simple account. What I think is there is, first, a force in us: the Hollow force. This force gives a unity to twin’s personality, which also contains various more specific desires and attitudes in which this force is also present. Finally, we may think that there is a mind in the weak sense (to use Vinit Haksar’s handy phrase): that is, a functional system of beliefs and tendencies (which can in this case be defined mostly functionally). There can be a mind in weak sense without there being conscious subject having this mind (if there is, we have a mind in the strong sense). Now, it is possible that in one human being there be more than one mind in weak sense (for example, in cases of multiple personality or in split-brain cases). I think that the Twin can be treated as such a mind existing in us. So he is not only an optional personality of mine which I can assume, but actually something which may be acting on its own, without my being aware of it and beyond my control. For I – the subject – am using my own mind in the weak sense. But, again, I could move from my mind and personality to Twin’s mind and personality. Than this would be my mind and there would be consciousness and subjecthood, and my old mind would be abandoned and pushed into unconsciousness.

Now, what happens when I actually meet the Twin (in a dream for example)? In this case both minds are simultanously active, and, moreover, the workings of them are open to our consciousness – though not in exactly the same manner for both of them! The thing is that, without any effort I understand what the Twin is thinking, I know his state of my mind (which is rather simple, pure insanity and murderous desire). And, converesely, I know my thought are open to him, he can react to them immediately (so it’s like mutual telepathy). In fact, my normal mind and Twin’s mind form a continuum with two poles… Two parts of these continuum have divergent aims, but there is communication (as noted above). I, the subject, am closer to one of the poles, and am normally conscious of its activities. I am also directly conscious of the activities of the other part. But these activities present themselves, paradoxically, as alien activities, not mine. Here’s an example which might be more familiar: it sometimes happens that I observe myself and wonder what I’m doing, it seems alien (this happens more often after some drinking…). But there is no doubt that it is me who’s acting.

Now, in the case of the Twin the illusion goes deeper: we actually are presented with an alien candidate for having these activities and experiences! But in fact, there is only one subject standing behind all that, and two minds (which form one, but imperfectly unified system).

[it might help if you think that the subject has to act through the mind. In this case I am acting both through my normal mind and through my twin mind. The first acts are experienced as mine, however, while the latter are experienced (to some extent deceptively) as acts of someone else. Alternative account is this: I act through my own mind. Twin’s mind acts on its own, independently of me, but I am consious of it (though again there is a deceptive dressing)]. I think this is a good account of what happens. Because for all his otherness and enmity toward me, I know that the twin is me. The formula: two minds, one subject, accounts for that.

To sum up, what we have:

– a force

– two complexes of desires and attitudes making up two personalities

– two minds in the weak sense

– one subject, one centre of consciousness.

Now, when one manages to achieve integration, the two minds in the weak sense, merge into one mind. The system gets wholly unified. Both parts act simultaneously and I am consious of that and exert control. We could say that the subject stands in the centre of the continuum between two poles.

Now, the fact that my normal mind and twin’s mind are minds in the weak sense allows for desirable gradualness. First, the two parts can be more or less integrated. Secondly, the subject may move from one part to the other: at some times be close to one pole, at other times to the other. When meeting the twin the subject is quite near the centre, but still on the normal side. In the case of integration in fact it does not matter where he is: he can move through the continuum as close to one or the other pole as he likes; because there is now only one fully unified system, so he always stays „himself”, and can always go back to another mode, closer to the centre…

Milosz, 26 jan, 07


~ by aquinis on January 26, 2007.

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