Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'll never forget - that minute, that second.

There are quite a few things in my life that I take for granted.  Things I've realized or been told that at the time, really had a "Wow" effect on me.  The details of each span many a subject, and I can't even begin to describe them all here.  But the ones that are really resonating with me right now (interesting thought on that in another paragraph) are that from an anime series called Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.  Everyone that I know that has watched has came away with the same thoughts - AWESOME.  MANLINESS.  WILLPOWER.  Generally a combination of all three.  I'm going to tell you about the show, because it is much more relevant that most people realize.  It's the story of a man who has yet to realize his destiny.

Simon is a boy that lives in an underground village.  The village chief has him (and quite a few others) dig daily to expand the village.  However, no matter how much they dig, one day, the ceiling will collapse and kill them.  It was a certainty of living underground.  A rebellious youth named Kamina tells Simon of a surface world, where people live without ceilings.  The chief tells them that there is no surface.  Due to a major plot point (a giant mecha crashing through the ceiling into the village) they're able to escape, only to find the surface full of creatures called Beastmen.  They pilot Mechas and kill any humans that make it to the surface.  I'm not going to get in to the nitty gritty of this, but most people see the main conflict of the story as their fight against them - which is understandable.  Kamina has an unbreakable willpower to fight against them - and every case I've seen of people watching this series, it's always made a huge impact on them.

Spoiler alert time!  Middle of the show.  It was discovered that a man named Lordgenome aka "The Spiral King" created the Beastmen to contain the world's population.  Why, is unknown at this point.  After the defeat of the Beastmen, The Spiral King, and his generals (Thymilph, Cytomander, Guame, and Adiane) they build a giant city for mankind to live on the surface.  After the population reaches 1 million, a new enemy appears - the only information they know is that they are highly advanced, and call themselves "Antispirals".  Humanity creates new technology to combat them, but ultimately, the antispirals have a superweapon capable of destroying all life on the earth, so humanity must take the fight to them, in space.

Spoiler alert number two!  Fast forward to the end of the series.  It is discovered who the antispirals are.  They were once humans, who feared that technology was advancing much too quickly, and that it would be the cause of not only humanity's destruction, but the destruction of the universe as well.  They violently fought against humanity (aka spirals) to suppress their will to create.

There is a recurring theme in this show, of "Spirals".  Most people equate the "Spiral Energy" that the mechas operate on as meaning manliness, but it was always much more symbolic than that.  Even in the beginning, when Simon was just a digger, his Drill would slowly work through any obstacle that he put before it.  With each revolution, he'd make little gains, until suddenly, he'd be able to break through.  Throughout the series, in a matter of years after humanity first starts living on the surface, their rate of technological advancement increases.  They go from fighting with small guns (a nearby village underground had them in storage) to having higher tech mechanized warriors, to having spaceships, to the last few episodes, where they are required to take inter-dimensional relativistic physics into account in order to properly attack their opponents.  All of their advancements are due to this "Spiral Energy".  This concept is explained in the show briefly, but no one that I know that has watched it has really taken it to heart.

This "Spiral Energy" is not just willpower - it is humanity's spirally-structured DNA.  With each revolution (generation) we'd make little gains, until there was an intelligence explosion, with new technologies.  The humans finally defeated "The Sprial King" and his generals (which if you abbreviate, are TAGC - the same proteins that make our DNA) they were able to rapidly and positively change their future.  In the end, they triumphed over the antispirals, and changed their future into a long, and prosperous one.

What I've been getting at is this.  As of late, the idea that Mankind is capable of improving itself beyond the limits of our slow microevolutions is becoming more and more popular.  It's something that I see as a firm and unstoppable future for us.  It's simply a matter of which future we will build - one that is oppressive by those who are fearful, or a prosperous one.  The first idea of Gurren Lagann was of willpower - that through thick and thin, Humanity was capable of breaking through all obstacles - and isn't that exactly what we've done, as a species?  The second is that we're capable of building a much brighter future for ourselves, and we're already on that path.

I've had this idea in my head for quite some time now, and I must say, it made me LOVE watching this show, and seeing how the Transhumanist ideals were represented in it.  Additionally, I would like to say that it is one of the single most motivating things I've ever watched!  Not even on a transhumanist level, but the passion it fills you with, to excel in everything that you do!  Kamina is probably one of the best role-models ever, even if he is a fictional character.

So that was a lot longer than I expected.  Heh.  So to get back to my first paragraph, the ideas that have been resonating a lot with me recently of Humanity's future, and how we are a spiral race, capable of overachieving beyond what we're currently able to do.  But the future that's in our hands is dynamic, and if we do not make a conscience effort towards a utopia, and let the decisions of the future fall into the hands of those who are greedy or fearful, we will soon enter a state of dystopia.  It is my fear that unless the world as it stands today is changed, we will not make it out on top.  But even now, there is hope for man.