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Meaning of quote from Innocence..?
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RealFact#9



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Meaning of quote from Innocence..? Reply with quote

I wasn't sure if I should put this in here or in the Philosophy section but I was wondering what this quote meant:

"let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes,
like an elephant in the forest"

Thoughts?
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i keep that quote is in my signature, as you can see!
it's repeated twice in the movie, so i think it's
something we're supposed to look at.
just as kim and haraway spout their rhetoric,
motoko and aramaki both say this line.

i think it means that one should be disconnected
from this life, from materialisic humanity.
an individual with few wants and desires
maintains a peaceful balance within themselves
and the surrounding world....
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a quotation from the Dhammapada, one of the central texts of Buddhist traditions. The quotation has to do with ethical behavior.

The quotation is from the section on endurance:

Quote:
I will endure words that hurt in silent peace as the strong elephant endures in battle arrows sent by the bow, for many people lack self-control. They take trained elephants to battle, and kings ride on royal trained elephants. The best of men are self-trained men, those who can endure abuse in peace....Strong elephants when trained are good; but the best is the man who trains himself...For it is not with those riding animals that a man will reach the land unknown. NIRVANA is reached by that man who wisely, heroically, trains himself. The great elephant called Dhana-palaka is hard to control when in rut, and he will not eat his food when captive, for he remembers the elephant grove. The man who is lazy and a glutton, who eats large meals and rolls in sleep, who is like a pig which is fed in the sty, this fool is reborn to a life of death... Find joy in watchfulness; guard well your mind. Uplift yourself from your lower self, even as an elephant draws himself out of a muddy swamp...If on the journey of life a man cannot find a wise and intelligent friend who is good and self-controlled, let him then travel alone, like a king who has left his country, or like a great elephant alone in the forest. For it is better to go alone on the path of life than to have a fool for a companion. With few wishes and few cares, and leaving all sins behind, let a man travel alone, like a great elephant alone in the forest.


(The above was from Juan Mascaro's translation.)

This relates to the third Buddhist bardo or transitional state (which Chogyam Trungpa says "starts from the river of passion and desire of the human realm") and to maya, "the dance of illusions":

Quote:
The actual practice [of Buddhist teaching] in everyday life is to acknowledge that transparent uncertainty [of physical existence] as it is. There's no point in trying to stay back or run away from it-- in fact you can't; you are in it. And you can't force its development either; it has its own pattern. The only way to work or deal with this bardo experience of the human realm is just to proceed along. Depending on your previous training and meditation experience-- or your training in aggression and passion-- you just go along. It's the karmic pattern: you got onto this particular train, and the train is going to go on and on and on. There's no point in panicking. You just have to accept it and face it and go along with it. All the bardo concepts that have evolved have that unchangeable quality, that natural powerful quality. Once you are in that state, you can't change it. The only way you can deal with it is to see its background quality.


(Quoted from Chogyam Trungpa, Transcending Madness: The Experience of the Six Bardos.)

In other words, see your situation for what it is and act accordingly. Don't let your passions control you, and don't mistake physical forms or sense-impressions for ultimate reality. And don't freak out about it.

It's not quite the same thing as disconnecting "from this life, from materialistic humanity." (That comes later.) It's about training yourself to see properly.

Think of it as a step on a path. It's training, but it's not the final goal. How does one train? Right thought, right feeling, right action. "Guard well your mind." Don't get distracted from the path by illusory things or by the urges and feelings your perceptions inspire-- like lust or a sense of having lost something. Train yourself. Oneness of thought, feeling, and action. Calmness. "Like a great elephant alone in the forest." "Find joy in watchfulness"--in being mindful, in the monitoring-- of both your perceptions and your own mental states. And be mindful of your surroundings. Have few wishes and few cares, although one hasn't reached the point of being without wishes and cares (that latter condition-- being without thought, feeling, wishes, or cares; being free from karma and samsara-- is the ultimate goal of Buddhism).

Don't dwell on the path, be in the moment. And don't long for release, for the goal itself, as that is also a desire- and therefore a distraction. One can long for the transcendent so much that it becomes a false and illusory thing, a mental picture of Nirvana that isn't really Nirvana, that's just a projection of your own longing. And that will cause you to think about your physical nature in a way that distracts you from the path.

So the training must come first.

Batou asks the Major, "Are you happy?" She responds, "A nostalgic value, perhaps. At least I am free of qualms..."

She still exists, of course. But she's a little further along in the "training" than most humans, I think.

Hope this sheds some light on the quotation-- and the context.
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi


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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's nice knowing the quote in a larger context and i can see how belief in karmic reincarnation would prescribe such a proverb. of course, us westerners are more into "instant karma" and would in no way ever put up with abuse like a trained elephant.
however, spiritual discipline is universal--turn the other cheek if smote and all that jazz...not with the belief that there would be something to be instantly gained...but there seems to be a focus on a more patient reward.
Quote:
Strong elephants when trained are good; but the best is the man who trains himself...For it is not with those riding animals that a man will reach the land unknown.

it's all about he greater, unseen goal.
i read somewhere once that stated what we believe will happen to us in the hereafter dictates how we live accordingly.
the major obviously had her sights elevated before her departure.
it's hard to see motoko as transcendant because she is just a hybridized collective of 1s and 0s bouncing around electronic pathways...she is far from immortality as any EMP could prove, but symbolically, she is a guardian angel...and represents one who made the transformation to the oneness of nirvana.
i like my explanation better in my previous post...but i'm all about simpler. but even the most simple views contain complex parts and intentions.
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AlphonseVanWorden wrote:
And don't long for release, for the goal itself, as that is also a desire- and therefore a distraction. One can long for the transcendent so much that it becomes a false and illusory thing, a mental picture of Nirvana that isn't really Nirvana, that's just a projection of your own longing. Hope this sheds some light on the quotation-- and the context.


interesting. i think all in all, our desires DO struggle with whatever direction we take. A matter of submission, perhaps. To what? Ourselves? A greater force? Or perhaps a letting go of all that's meaningless.
That's difficult, because we all want to champion our passions and endlessly pursue what we have passion. The elephant won't always want to stay in the forest, but it doens't want to perform in a circus either.

personally, i like passage because of it's simplicity and it's easy translation into practicality. however, self-confrontation is always arduous, and many things in this life interfere with trying to be like an elephant in the forest.

thanks RealFact for bringing it up and thanks to Alphonse for shedding light.
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it's nice knowing the quote in a larger context and i can see how belief in karmic reincarnation would prescribe such a proverb. of course, us westerners are more into "instant karma" and would in no way ever put up with abuse like a trained elephant.


The language is metaphoric, after all. The point being, people can't control themselves, but I'll endure their behavior. The "abuse" (and notice that it's in the form of "harsh words" on the human end of the analogy) could just as easily be some nasty comment from your spouse or your boss yelling at you or screaming kids or whatever. In short, stuff that makes you miserable. The First Noble Truth in Buddhism: "Life is suffering." The passage is trying to get folks to train themselves to deal with their suffering- however great or however small it is. (And let's face it, even minor troubles seem huge at times-- hence Aramaki's comment to Togusa, that most of us are neither as happy nor as miserable as we think we are.)

Quote:
however, spiritual discipline is universal--turn the other cheek if smote and all that jazz...not with the belief that there would be something to be instantly gained...but there seems to be a focus on a more patient reward...it's all about he greater, unseen goal...


Buddhists don't view the goal as a reward, as the Self would cease to exist once you reached the goal. And you can't reach the goal if you're thinking about it as a reward- as that would tie the Self to the idea or mental image of a reward, and that would prevent you from extinguishing the Self.

(Admittedly, some schools of Buddhism are at odds with this position and claim that we all achieve Nirvana when we die-- after this lifetime, in other words-- or will eventually achieve Nirvana someday, but this hardly makes it a reward- as "you" cease to exist as you- or as anything, really. Anything but Pure Being, which has no Self. And which is Pure Nothingness. It's hard to articulate in words. Basically, Nirvana isn't anything that we can think as existence-- or conceptualize at all. No dualities, no dichotomies, no differences. No way to measure it, or even describe it. The world is that way, but it acts as if it's a bunch of separate parts, and those parts think they're separate things. So those parts suffer. Extinguish thought and feeling, and you become One. Which is to say, Nothing. And Everything.)

(Some schools would argue that your Buddha Nature- that part of yourself whose existence you can't grasp or conceive of- becomes One with Nirvana. Others deny this, and claim that Buddha Nature is itself Nothing, by virtue of being part of the One. There have been debates about this sort of thing for a long time... but such doctrinal debate isn't particularly relevant to this particular discussion.)

Once you attain release from samsara, rewards and punishments would no longer exist, because the Self would no longer exist, so rewards and punishments couldn't be experienced.

Quote:
it's hard to see motoko as transcendant because she is just a hybridized collective of 1s and 0s bouncing around electronic pathways...she is far from immortality as any EMP could prove, but symbolically, she is a guardian angel...and represents one who made the transformation to the oneness of nirvana.


She is transcendent, in that she has transcended her humanity. She hasn't achieved Nirvana, as she would cease to be if she had. Once you achieve Nirvana, you can't act, because "you" don't exist. At all. It's not a matter of changing states, it's a matter of ceasing to be. Period.

I think you're assuming godlike or transcendent things can't die... which hasn't always been the prevailing viewpoint, even in the West. (Look at Norse deities, for example. A whole lot of death in that scenario.) And it's not always the case with Eastern deities.

For a moment, remember that "Nirvana" literally means "extinguished", as in the extinguishing of Self-- personality, etc. The stuff you think of as you. Contrast this term with samsara, which is "flowing". To become One, you have to cease "existing" in any meaningful way. The Self- which flows- is extinguished. There is no "you" to perceive anything. You'd be One with all things, and you'd be Nothing (as all things are, in fact, forms of Nothing, and Nothing is Everything-- it's all One-- to Buddhists).

(Motoko fused with Project 2501, but not with everything that was, is, and shall be. Which is what Nirvana implies.)

Many Buddhist traditions- or traditions which have fused with or been influenced by Buddhism- have deities who are more than human (or at least different from humans) but haven't achieved Nirvana, or are extensions/projections of the perceiving Self (to conceive of a god is to think of one's own desires or fears)-- or both, as all things are One, and that Oneness only appears to be a manifold existence. Motoko is simply something with more awareness-- or a different kind of awareness-- than humans. She's obviously not One in the sense of having achieved Nirvana-- as she has to enter a gynoid body to perform physical acts, and has a Self that can do such a thing. After achieving Nirvana, she wouldn't be able to "do" anything, really. "She" would just Be/Not Be in the purest possible way(s). Which are the same thing. It's all One.

I suppose one might make a case for her being a bodhisattva-type figure, but I think that'd be pushing it. Maybe in an allusive way... but not literally.

The passage from the Dhammapada is about training oneself, training one's mind- to free yourself from karma, so you can be free of samsara, so you can achieve Nirvana. But that particular passage is simply addressing being ethical, having right thoughts, perceptions, etc. Training yourself. A particular step on the path. That's it, really. Nothing too deep.
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi


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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
thanks RealFact for bringing it up and thanks to Alphonse for shedding light.


And thank you, GhostLine and RealFact#9, for making this Saturday afternoon/evening interesting. I find the questions and comments very intriguing and useful, and quite relevant to a discussion of the films.
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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Tonks_kittygoth



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why do you all think that Motoko said that to Batou?

To sooth his ache of missing her?
To tell him he himself should become quiet in his soul?
Or to say that she herself was like that now?

Do you all think Batou felt better from his brief time seeing "her", maybe had more closure? Plus perhaps is reassured that she Is with him like a guardian angel?


My thought is that she was trying to perhaps say all of the above. I do think he will be soothed, but just as breaking up a relationship goes through the stages of greif as if someone died, he will have to heal for awhile.

I hope he finds someone to help him through. He seems like a man that would find better comfort in a friend or lover than a life of solitude. Though the person would have to be able to deal with his rather complex charecter.
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one wants to live and not die, so do other
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Lightice



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GhostLine wrote:

she is far from immortality as any EMP could prove


*sigh*

Why is it always the dreaded EMP that people bring out as an example of a thing that could destroy any machine? Did Matrix really affect our collective unconsiousness, that much? Even today it's a simple feat to shield an electronic device from the electromagnetic pulse - in most cases it isn't done simply because it's not worth the added cost, but if your mind's existance is dependent on the electronic network then believe me, you are going to put the critical parts into shielded machines.

And yes, like Alphonse stated, she isn't in a state of Nirvana. I do think that bodhisvatta is the best possible explanation for her being within the context of Buddhism. I'm not entirely convinced, though, if she should be percieved from this single viewpoint, alone. Buddhism is, after all, only one cultural aspect in humanity, that she has transcended. She might explain herself within the Buddhist context, because a human would be incapable of understanding the fullness of her being without such a metaphorical approach.
"A hybridized collective of 1s and 0s bouncing around electronic pathways" is a tremendous simplification - that is simply her method of information-storage, same way as collection of neurons with their chemical reactions and electric signals is for humans - I'm sure that you agree, that human is more, than a sum of his parts. Same applies, perhaps in even greater extent, to a being such as Major.
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tonks_kittygoth, I basically agree with you, but I'd like to add something:

Quote:
Why do you all think that Motoko said that to Batou?

To sooth his ache of missing her?
To tell him he himself should become quiet in his soul?
Or to say that she herself was like that now?


Well, he does ask her about her happiness... and perhaps being free of qualms-- and acting correctly, in the moment-- being of the moment-- is the closest humans (and post-fusion entities like Motoko) can come to something like that state. Or to explaining that state...

Hence the importance of the basset hound... Forgetting one's own body for a moment, and simply getting caught up in the experience of being with the dog... being mindful of and towards the dog... I believe Oshii said something similar to this in an interview...

And Oshii did tell an interviewer from Midnight Eye that the movie is really about his own dog. I don't think he was being facetious.

Quote:
I do think that bodhisvatta is the best possible explanation for her being within the context of Buddhism. I'm not entirely convinced, though, if she should be percieved from this single viewpoint, alone. Buddhism is, after all, only one cultural aspect in humanity, that she has transcended. She might explain herself within the Buddhist context, because a human would be incapable of understanding the fullness of her being without such a metaphorical approach.


Lightice: Yep. That's why I said it was probably allusive rather than literal.

Incidentally, I think some of the other quotations scattered throughout the film lead us to a consideration of Eastern thought.

The idea of consciousness- and of perception of things- as a mirror of the Self is an old one. It relates to what's referred to in the West tradition as map-territory confusion...

"How can we tell the dancer from the dance...?" If the dancer's skilled, you can't and don't-- until later, when you're thinking about how skilled the dancer must be. Or unless you're intellectualizing the experience as it's unfolding, which kind of defeats the purpose of watching.

Linji, one of the great Chen (to the Japanese, Zen) teachers, told the following to his disciples:

Quote:
If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

If you meet the Patriarchs on your way, kill them too.

Here there is no Buddha, nor Patriarch.

Bodhidharma was only an old bearded barbarian.

The Bodhisattvas are only dung-heap coolies.

Nirvana and bodhi are dead stumps to tie your donkey to.

The twelve divisions of the Tripitika are only lists of ghosts and sheets of paper fit only to wipe the puss from your skin.

And all your four merits and ten stages are mere ghosts lingering in their decaying graves.

Can these have any thing to do with your salvation?


(From Dwight Goddard's translation.)

Again, the statements are metaphoric. But they're still surprising to most Westerners.

While it's hard to imagine religious Westerners speaking this way of saviors and priests, there's a point that's not lost on Buddhist practioners. The point being that to dwell upon or to attach oneself to these things is to attach oneself to a mental image or concept, to be bound up in the things generated by and in samsara. We might paraphrase these statements this way: "Don't confuse your notion of the Buddha with the Buddha, or your teachers and their teachings with the truth. Kill your mental images and concepts." The statements show the influence of Taoist thought on Chinese (and by extension Japanese) Buddhist teachings; as the Tao Te Ching states, "The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao."

One also thinks of the Taoist notions of proper action, proper being: wu wei- "non-assertion" or "not having/acting"- and wei wu wei- "having without having" or "acting without acting". These concepts have more to do with a person's frame of mind than with non-action in the sense of not "doing" anything...

To once more cite the Buddhist Dhammapada: "With few wishes and few cares, and leaving all sins behind, let a man travel alone, like a great elephant alone in the forest..."

We might want to consider the references to and quotations about mirrors, dolls, and images in the film in this context.
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lightice wrote:
Why is it always the dreaded EMP that people bring out as an example of a thing that could destroy any machine? Did Matrix really affect our collective unconsiousness, that much?"

ha-ha! sorry to stir your anti-wachowski sentiments.
Lightice wrote:
A hybridized collective of 1s and 0s bouncing around electronic pathways" is a tremendous simplification - that is simply her method of information-storage, same way as collection of neurons with their chemical reactions and electric signals is for humans - I'm sure that you agree, that human is more, than a sum of his parts. Same applies, perhaps in even greater extent, to a being such as Major.
it wasn't meant to be complex nor difinitive. I was loosely stating that Motoko wasn't entirely in a spritually transended state, that she still resides in a man-made line of communication...but she does represent one who had transcended.
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Tonks_kittygoth



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:12 pm    Post subject: Warning tangental rambling. Reply with quote

The Linji quote calls up the images of the western concepts of nhilism/absurdism in a way.

The more positive reading of those concepts, rather than the world is a hell hole of rapidly decaying, disease covered, walking corpses, ripping each other apart mentaly and physically just to continue living, F*****g and eating. No point, no meaning just teduim pain and eventual ignobal death.

More of the Camus thought of yep, that all is true, but what do we do with that knowledge now.

Knowing, rather, acknowledging, the concept of Nhilism still doesnt abscent you from life, nor the whole of culture, the beauty of emotion, and love and sacrifice.
To just wallow in the dispair of the realization is defeat. To take on that existential reality and incorperate it into your system of thought is triumph.

Realizing the Budda or Emporer has no clothes, does not take away his imperial stance, but abstracts that stance to a creation of human congnition, rather than an intrinsic state.

Western thought has been about denying the physical reality of life, the animal that we all are. Even the conceptual difference we cling to between human vs animal denys this reality. We dressed ourselves in increasing phyical costumes, and mental constructs of our superiourity of the human mind till the height of neo classiscism, then the romantics came along and pointed out the monkey under the crust of the porecilin doll.

(I suppose the romantics were one of the first punk's Very Happy Spiting in societies eye to clear its blindness)

Isnt that the beauty of the christian idea of god made man? That divinity can be and is part of that that is as tangible, and base as the flesh, which sweats, smells, aches, and spits. Making those undeniable realities of the human condition devine and beautiful.

I dont know how many of you ever had to deal with a terminally sick loved one, but it brings home very concreately that love has very little to do with romance and flowers, and everthing to do with wiping the sweat from someones brow, clearing thier crusted eyes, and bringing them comfort when they can give you none.

We are all ghosts in flesh machines, and part of us realizes this. That I think is the attraction of the basic concept of this , media colective/show/ whatever. It speaks to the alienation between mind/body. That perception that our consciousness is somehow seperate from our physicality. (as well as the modern anxiety of a increasingly machine dependant world)

Perhaps that is a symptom of self awareness, perhaps it is a aboraton from the higher more integrated mind-body consciousness of "animals".

Whatever it is it is important to get past, as a colective cognitive entity, and conceptually reintegrate our physicality with our mentality I believe. It is true that

"Bodhidharma was only an old bearded barbarian.
The Bodhisattvas are only dung-heap coolies. "

The pope and the imam's and the rabbis and the presidents, emporors, prime ministers and queens are all filled with blood and pus, and bile and dung. Just as much as me and you. We are a bunch of bone machines.
And that is just fine, and really quite good, quite holy, and quite beautiful.
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one wants to live and not die, so do other
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

here, here, kittygoth!

i'm not sure what her motive in saying it to batou.
perhaps like the soundtrack music, she is saying,
"follow me." that he is on the right path....
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
(I suppose the romantics were one of the first punk's Spiting in societies eye to clear its blindness)


I think I'd have mentioned the Boulgres/Bogomils (in whose honor several languages generated naughty words), the Albigensians/Cathars (the straight edgers of the medieval West), or some other European heretical sect from the Middle Ages as truly wonderful examples of proto-punk-- maybe even proto-hippie-- behavior... They were certainly countercultural (and subcultural) and subversive enough for the times in which they lived...

(I visualize Cathars ecstatically dancing to Minor Threat and the Brethren of the Free Spirit handing out photocopied zines, and I shudder at the weirdness of those images.)

Oh well. Laughing

"And now, back to our film... and to our discussion of that film..."
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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Tonks_kittygoth



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think I'd have mentioned the Boulgres/Bogomils ...
:D

He he. But how would that complete the neo clasical allusion? Plus they all were still middle ages Europe which I dont feel I can go with as the height of artifice vs nature.

Seemed pretty hard to escape the natural concept of life then even more than the 17th century.
"How do you know he's a king?
He hasn't got any sh*t on him." -monty python, (like anyone doesnt know)


Quote:
proto-punk-- maybe even proto-hippie


AAAAAAAAAAAAh heaven forfend you mix those two in the same sentence... *gasping for air* Thats like handcuffing Ann Coulter and Al Franken together...

(which gives me an idea...)



Quote:
"And now, back to our film... and to our discussion of that film..."

OI, I gave fair warning in the title of the post Very Happy

And so going back to our fair film............


Quote:
perhaps like the soundtrack music, she is saying,
"follow me." that he is on the right path....


That makes sense.

Do you think he could divorce himself so utterly from the physical?
He seems to be more of a physical person than her, at least the Oshii version.
Maybe that is part of the reason he looks sad.
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"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man.
Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as
one wants to live and not die, so do other
creatures." - His Holiness The Dalai Lama
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