从《天使之卵》到《攻壳机动队》

 

From Angel’s Egg to Ghost in the Shell

Angel’s Egg

In the anime movie Angel’s Egg, a girl walked around in the wasted city with an egg in her arms. The egg was her emotional anchor. She had always believed that a bird would hatch out one day and bring happiness. But we don’t know what was actually inside until a boy with a sword came to break it.

In Oshii Mamoru’s interview, he said that his work Angel’s Egg was inspired by the bible. “People in the Noah’s ark flied a bird and waited but they didn’t get anything in return. Humans died and the only person alive was that girl. She wandered in the freezing time and then the boy with a sword appeared.”

The boy broke the egg secretly on a night and found there was nothing in the egg. When the girl got up she found that her egg was already broken. She couldn’t believe that actually happened and started to run, but unfortunately she fell off to the water and then died. When she died, many eggs appeared and floated.

In the last scene, we can find that the planet the girl was on was just a small place of the universe.

Religion

Archaeologists found some bones covered with red powder and gravel in old tombs of upper cave men, and that they were probably meant to send wishes to let them die peacefully. Just because there is always an end to a life, humans are fond of imagining life before and after death.

Different schools have different views on the origin of religions, and religions were closely related to politics in the past, often used for social stability by rulers. Different nations formed a variety of conscious communities bonded with specific beliefs.

Before the Reformation, the churches were always above the secular monarchy. The idea of humanism in the 15th century gradually turned people’s attention from God to themselves and during the age of Enlightenment they began to doubt God.

After the Reformation, the power of religions were gradually distracted. The coming industrial revolution and the development of science made people greedily want to create the new cognitive norms of the universe. In the movie Angel’s Egg, the egg the girl was holding had the same meanings of the religions in our history. It filled her fear of death and brought hope.

The boy’s action to break the egg were just like Nietzsche announcement of God’s death. And then humans suddenly needed to face the nihilistic state without their beliefs on religions.

After the ‘death of God’, those who are unwilling to take nothingness started trying to find out more about the rules behind the world, and that’s what eggs’ appearing after the girl’s death meant.

Ghost in the Shell and Existentialism

“Fear, restlessness, loneliness, darkness, and perhaps hope.”

In the 1995 version of Ghost in the Shell, those words almost described people’s mental state after the ‘death of God’. In this version, it also quoted a lot of sentences related to existentialism.

The devastation of French intellectuals in World War II made Existentialism more popular. They thought that the world was an absurd, and fears the existence brought revealed the existence of men, “One must imagine Sisyphos happy.”

The questions of existence had made the ontological questions come out too. In Ghost in the Shell, these ancient problems became more specific as a cyborg: Am “I” made of my own memories and experiences? And if other people’s memories were implanted in my brain, Am “I” still “I”?

Motoko was a cyborg, her parents died of car accident and she was born without a body. She is a only a ‘ghost’, and when she was transplanted into the ‘shell’, she became the whole cyborg.

Puppeteer was born from the ocean of information. It was firstly only a ‘shell’, but it finally got the ‘ghost’ through the continuous connection to the network.

Dualism

Dualism is a kind of ontology, and Descartes’ dualistic theory is that “people are composed of two parts — the mind and flesh”.

Ghost in the Machine is a concept from Gilbert Ryle’s book in order to satire Descartes’ dualism. And the anime movie’s name Ghost in the Shell was taken from this.

Postmodernism

The scene when Motoko was looking into her reflection on the water made me think of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. In Plato’s theory, there are two kind of worlds. One world is Ideal World, and the other is Phenomenal World. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave means that humans are like prisoners, limited by their senses, so that the world they sense is just the projection of the world.

A similar concept was used in the twentieth century by Saussure in linguistic research, which is what we’re familiar now — structuralism. Saussure divided the langue and parole in the study of linguistics. He thought that langue was a product of abstract memory, a system that was stored in human minds and due to its sociality it was out of individual will. And parole was the personal and individual use of langue. So the study of the system of the world ontology has become similar to the study of the symbol of langue, that is, “semiotics”.

The post-structualism after was more widely used in politics, believing that the world we live is only a social construct, such as post-structural feminists thinking gender is a construct and people criticizing western centralism.

This is a part of post-modernism and, in fact, a more popular ideology among young people nowadays in first world countries. They use those terms as the theoretical basis for the Black movement, the feminist movement and the LGBTQ movement.

At the same time, the side effects of post-modernism appeared. Relativism it brought made a moral blankness in people’s mind and it exacerbated the perception of the nihilistic state after the “death of God”, and therefore people feel more empty and weak.

We can also see that from Motoko’s confusions, and also in Oshii’s early work Angel’s Egg.

More “Post” than Post-Humans

There are so many films about Cyborg since last century. But we can’t simply take Ghost in the Shell as a general Cyborg movie.

The final choice of Motoko to combine with Puppeteer was the culmination of Ghost in the Shell I. It is also the reason why Ghost in the Shell is not just a Cyborg movie. In this scene Motoko chose to give up the her “I” (Ego) she’d been struggled with and made the network wider.

This was actually a vision and a wish for dissolution of mankind’s pain from struggling with nothingness. And what I can think from real life about it is that there might be a combination of quantum physics and post-human.

In 2004, Ghost in the Shell II was a follow-up to the society in 1995’s Ghost in the Shell that has not yet been successfully converted every person to Motoko-Puppeteer-like cyborg and was still a retell of the original line.

On story telling, these two kinds of worlds was connected by the Batou and Motoko’s love line, and it can be said that it’s also a movie’s strategy to meet our ordinary human feelings.

I personally think that Batou has a special feeling on Motoko even though they’re in different time and space line after Motoko combined with Puppeteer. What Motoko said before she went offline broke away the sense of alienation between people created in Ghost in the Shell and the nihilistic atmosphere created in Angel’s Egg:

“Batou, remember that whenever you connect to the network, I’m with you.”

从《天使之卵》到《攻壳机动队》

天使之卵

  一个女孩在废城中四处游走,始终守护着一个蛋,蛋对她来说是她的支柱,她始终相信蛋会孵化出鸟,会带来福音。而实际这蛋中究竟有何物,在那个背着剑的少年将它打碎之前我们都无从得知。

  也许押井守知道。他在一次访谈中提及自己在创作《天使之卵》时联系了圣经的题材:“人们在诺亚方舟上放飞了一只鸟,在了无音讯的等待中,所有的动物都化作了石头,人类也都相继死去,最后唯一存活下来的便是她……女孩在凝固的时间中徘徊,此刻少年出现了。”

  少年在一个夜晚偷偷将蛋打破,却发现蛋中空无一物。女孩在醒来后发现蛋已经碎了,无法相信这一切,她奔跑着,却不慎落入水中死去,紧接着,水中浮现了无数的和原来的蛋相似的蛋。

  在故事的结尾,镜头的范围逐渐扩大,这个女孩所在的星球原来不过是广阔世界的一个小小的一处。

天使之卵与宗教

  关于宗教的起源,不同的学派说法不一。宗教在过去与政治关系紧密,时常被统治者用作维稳的工具,而不同的国家、民族因为有特定的宗教信仰也形成了各种意识上的共同体。

  人们在山顶洞人的墓葬中发现一些尸骨上洒满了红粉及砂石,猜测是为让死者安稳或再生。生命总有穷尽之时,人类对人们生前和死后的世界充满了幻想。

  在《天使之卵》中,女孩怀中所抱着的蛋也具有历史上宗教的意义,它填补了人们对死亡的恐惧,为人们带来了希望。

  少年将蛋打破,蛋中空无一物,就像尼采宣布“上帝死了”之后,人们马上就要面对的虚无状态。

  在宗教改革前,教会高高凌驾于世俗王权之上。15世纪出现的人文主义思想逐渐将人们对神的注意力转到人的身上,到启蒙主义时期开始对神产生怀疑。

  宗教改革之后,宗教的力量大大分散。工业革命与科学的发展使得人们对建立新的对宇宙秩序的认知的要求变得越来越高。

   “上帝”死后,不甘听命于虚无的人们对于这个世界背后运行规则的探寻的尝试又变得多了起来,在《天使之卵》中,它们表现为女孩死后出现的更多的蛋。

存在主义与攻壳机动队

  “恐惧、不安、孤独、黑暗,或许还有希望。” ——《攻壳机动队》,1995

  这番话几乎概括了“上帝已死”之后的人们的精神状况。

  二战对法国知识分子精神上的摧残使得存在主义在他们之中的地位变得重要起来。他们认为世界是荒诞的,而人的存在所带来的恐惧,又揭示了人的存在。正如加缪作品中所包含的:希绪弗斯常年做着的苦工,将石头推上坡,等其落下后再重复此举,虽然苦工毫无意义,但我们应当假设希绪弗斯是幸福的。

  对存在的诸多怀疑也引出了本体论的问题。本体论曾衍生出了二元论,“人是由心灵和肉体两部分所组成”——笛卡尔的心物二元论便是二元论中的一种。吉尔伯特·赖尔在《心的概念》里为了讽刺笛卡尔的二元论而提出了一个概念:Ghost in the Machine。攻壳机动队的片名Ghost in the Shell不正是取自于此吗?

  在《攻壳机动队》中,这些古老的问题变成了义体人更为具体的困惑:“我”的一切是不是由“我”过去的记忆和经历决定的?如果“我”脑内的植入了其他世界、其他人的记忆,那我究竟还是不是我?

  素子便是一个全身义体人,她的双亲遭遇车祸,于是她被移植到了机械躯体之中。她是一个ghost,因为移植进了shell,变成了义体人。

  “如果电子脑能自己产生ghost,并有了灵魂……”

  傀儡师是诞生于信息海洋中的生命体,它本是一个shell,通过不断连接网络收集信息而最终拥有了ghost。

后现代主义与攻壳机动队

  素子在水中看到自己时的旁白“你我犹如隔镜观物,所见无非虚幻迷朦”让我想起了柏拉图的“洞穴比喻”。在柏拉图的理论里,世界分为理念世界和可感世界,而洞穴比喻即是,人类是囚徒,受限于他们的感官,故可感世界是人们对理念世界的感觉的投影。

  类似的概念在二十世纪被索绪尔在语言学上再次使用,也就是我们现在所知的结构主义。索绪尔在研究语言时将语言(langue)和言语(parole)划分开,他认为语言是一种抽象记忆的产物,是一个系统,存储于人的头脑中,因其社会性而存在于个人意志之外,而言语即使语言的个人部分,是对语言系统的运用。

  于是对于世界本体的系统的研究,变成了类似于索绪尔语言学研究中对“语言”这个符号的研究,也即“符号学”。

  在结构主义之后出现的后结构主义在政治上的使用较为广泛,认为这个我们所居住的这个世界事实上只是一个社会建构,比如后结构主义派的女权主义者认为性别是一种社会建构,比如许多对西方中心论的批判。

  这即是后现代主义的一部分,也事实上是如今世界上第一世界国家年轻人中较为流行的意识形态,他们以此作黑人运动、女权运动、LGBTQ运动的理论依据。

  同时后现代主义带来的副作用,也即相对主义带来的道德虚无感加剧了人们对“上帝死后”的虚无状态的感知,因此而感到更加的空虚、无力。

  在素子身上我们看到了她类似的迷思。

攻壳机动队

  从上世纪开始,关于赛博格的电影就层出不穷,但是我们并不能仅仅把《攻壳机动队》当做一个普通的赛博格电影。

  素子选择和傀儡师结合的结局是第一部中整片的高潮,也是《攻壳机动队》脱离平庸的赛博格电影的一个重要场景。在这个场景中,素子选择了脱离了她之前所念念不忘的“我”(ego),使得网络变得更加广阔。

  这是对人类作为ego的主体、作为一个个体承受虚无主义带来的痛苦的消解的一种美好愿景。而生活中能让我联想到这个的大抵就是量子物理与后人类的结合。在我前段时间玩一个叫做《回声迷踪》的致敬攻壳机动队的游戏的时候更加深刻地感受到了这一点。

  2004年第二部的《攻壳机动队》则是对这一转变还未进行的人类社会的后续,仍旧是对于第一部《攻壳》结局的一种复述。这两个截然不同的世界以巴特对于素子的感情线作为连接,可以说是满足了我们这些普通人类对于电影感情戏的喜好。

  巴特对素子是有感情的。进化之后的素子的情感虽已与巴特的情感存在于不同的时空线上,但素子在离线前说的话一下子攻破了先前《攻壳》中营造的人与人之间的疏离感与《天使之卵》中世界的虚无感。

  “巴特,记住。无论何时,只要你连上网络,我就在你身边。”