Zen and Ghost in the Shell

July 12, 2007

For quite some time I have had a penchant for characters that exhibit Zen-like or Buddhist qualities. Perhaps it’s their cool demeanor in the face of danger that allures me, but it’s hard to say. But what qualities are “Zen-like” or “Buddhist”? Wikipedia names these qualities as having mindfulness and concentration for Buddhism and Zen (since Zen is a school of Buddhism), and an “emphasis on experiential wisdom” [1].

In the landmark movie Ghost in the Shell, the character embodying these qualities is certainly Batou [2]. He is always mindful of his surroundings and of those around him, even when those around him aren’t. A key example of this in the film is the following part of the film upon the team’s capture of the Puppet Master:
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On the Nature of Memories and their depiction in the anime series “Big O”

November 25, 2006

Memories play a pivotal role in human existence, as they are the carriers of information and, like genes, can survive for long periods of time. A person with a favorable experience will remember it and be influenced by it in the future. In this way culture and religion have been propagated throughout our world, as well as countless others (technology being a notable one). They have grown less important in this purpose with the advent of writing and reading, but are still critically important to humanity for a different reason: humans are defined by some (as of yet unknown) combination of their genes and their experiences (memories / memes). The critical question posed by the anime series “Big O” is an important one for us (at least me) to consider: What is the relationship between memories and the quality of life of the individual or society?
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