Lovecraft in 07-Ghost. Shifting the reference point from oneself to God
The plot of 07-Ghost revolves around Teito Klein, an amnesiac and runaway student from a military academy who finds shelter in a cathedral. But the world of 07-Ghost does not revolve around Teito Klein. One theme of the series is that God is the center.
The God in 07-Ghost is a Christian God. While the military academy teaches conventional warcraft, the Church teaches warcraft-as-lovecraft. The Bishops in 07-Ghost teach their students the architectural knowledge of love.
The Bishops seem to teach lovecraft for God’s sake. One can say that the Bishops use relationships with others as a means to build a relationship with God. Is this approach to human relationships morally indirect and morally eccentric? If we accept God as the basis of human persons’ identities, their approach is morally fulfilling rather than morally eccentric. It is at least conceivable that God-as-love is present in all humans. Indeed, towards the end of the series, Teito suggests this to Ayanami, the series’ main antagonist. Teito speculates an element of self-sacrifice in Ayanami, apparently made only for the sake of his subordinates. He suggests that Ayanami’s warcraft, rather than independently based, is merely a corrupt lovecraft. On the other hand, Ayanami may respond that some mutual loyalty is indispensable in a self-interested and self-centered warcraft. Moreover, during their clash, Ayanami speculates an element of egocentricity and will to power in Teito. He suggests that warcraft-as-lovecraft is a sham and a corruption of classical warcraft. Since both reject each other’s interpretations, psychological consonance in the opponents’ minds, and, in general, the two approaches’ relative success, remain to be tested on the battlefield.
Making God the center of one’s life takes an intermediate step: centering one’s life around another human being. The intermediate step is made in episode 23. Teito decides to center his life around his friend Mikage’s wish rather than around his own instincts and judgments. Teito’s wish, instinct and judgment is to die, as a relief from his sin against the dead Mikage whom he indirectly killed. This is a morally noble path but still self-centered. Teito then remembers that Mikage’s wish was that Teito lives on. Teito finally decides that the source of meaning in his life be his friend’s wish, instinct and judgment rather than his own.
But the key shift of reference point from oneself to God is made in episode 15. The world of 07-Ghost has two centers of power, the Barsburg Empire and the Church. There are also two ultimate weapons that balance power within the world: the Eye of Raphael and the Eye of Mikhail. The Empire, the secular (and corrupt) power, holds the Eye of Raphael. The Empire is also in constant search of the Eye of Mikhail. The world is temporarily imbalanced since the Church currently does not hold the Eye of Mikhail. Teito Klein does, but Teito, for all the world knows, is a mere teenage refugee from the Barsburg Military Academy. Before any question of Teito’s rightful claim to the Eye might arise, the Bishops and Teito himself come to learn at the same time that the Eye is de facto buried within Teito’s flesh. In episode 15, Teito, tormented by a crisis of individual responsibility, and still enjoying asylum in the cathedral without remembering having asked for it, doubts the Bishops’ ingenuity. He asks Bishop Frau plainly whether he, Frau, is “on his side”. The question seems natural; yet, it is corrupt. Teito’s question falsely presupposes that he is the center around which the sides of the world define their identities. Frau answers: “that’s for you to decide”. Frau implies that the power and location of the Eye notwithstanding, the unmovable moral reference mark is the Church. Even though the Church’s power may seem precarious, its principles are objective. The Bishops will be “on Teito’s side”, only as long as Teito chooses to side with the Church’s unmovable principles. Frau’s lesson marks Teito’s final shift of reference point away from oneself. Human beings cannot be reference points or anchors, neither for themselves nor for others. Only against this “moral anamnesis”, starting episode 15, do Teito’s childhood memories come back, disclosing him as rightful inheritor of the Eye of Mikhail and rightful claimant of secular government.
I presented the two episodes and the two steps in reverse order because this is the psychological natural path in moral learning. We first place ourselves in the service of humans, and only through trial and error do we gain a better grasp of God. But logical order is the reverse of psychological order, as Plato discovered. Once one gets a grasp of God, one knows how to serve others only because one knows how to serve God, and one serves others only because one serves God. The lesson gradually revealed to Teito in this learning process is that the Eye, and ultimately Teito’s own place in Teito’s own mind, should not matter. Power, the self, the sense of personal destiny and one’s own well-being are not standards of judgment.