Theological questions are rather muted in Chaos; Child until the depths of Onoe and Takuru’s relationship is revealed at the end of the series. The odd and poorly Englished subtitle to Chaos; Child reads: “If you are God, and the delusion becomes reality. About what kind of noids you get? Is it the sensual world? The despotic society? The destructive sanctions? Or…” Or, will your lust to solve a convoluted and macabre mystery materialize? By the end, I realized that Takuru is essentially a God character and Onoe is his creature, created by his psychic powers during his hour of need in the Shibuya earthquake set off by the events of Chaos; Head. For this reason, Takuru holds himself responsible for Onoe’s murders: they were committed to fulfill Takuru’s subconscious desire for solving a complex mystery and being a hero.
The first thing to notice about Takuru’s Haruhi Suzumiya-esque existence is his intrinsically flawed godhood. The real God does not need His creatures (Psalm 50:6 – 13) and His care of them is for the sake of their happiness, even if God delights in the happiness of His creatures. Conversely, Takuru needs Onoe, and she exists for him to be happy and rejoices in Takuru’s happiness. This reversal must happen whenever one incomplete being takes another incomplete being for its god.
One of the chief deficiencies of a human being is deficiency in virtue. When a human being takes a fellow human being for his god, he takes this person as his summum bonum (highest good). As the summum bonum, the deified human’s vices are not vices but virtues to the worshipper, and the worshipper conforms to his god’s vices as eagerly as his virtues. We see the tragic depths to which such false worship can reach in the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, where Hitler is treated as God by German school children and communists felt the decrees of Stalin represented the will of the Party.
Thus, the only equitable solution between Takuru and Onoe was for Takuru to sever their connection. Takuru, a human being, can be Godly but not God. Continuing the Creator-creature relationship between the two would only continue to warp the two of them. Yet, Onoe’s objection to the estrangement rings true:
No! I don’t want to be like them!…Don’t rob me of my reason for living! I’ve read lots of people’s minds since I was born! They’re all uncertain and worried! I can’t believe they live like that! How can they smile? They don’t even know why they’re doing it! I…I don’t want to be normal!
People need a reason for living–they need to know who they are. As The Perfect Insider reminded us, the chief questions to ask in this regard are: “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?” Some might solve these problems through ideology or hero worship. Others reject the burden of thought by plunging themselves in material reality. The true answer is “I am a child of God, from God, and going to God.” The answer to the enigma of existence is in God, and in approaching God we understand ourselves. As Gaudium et Spes declared, “Christ…fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.” One of the most striking ideas of Christian theology is that Truth is a Person, but a Person without the vices or defects which turn us away from happiness.
Interesting commentary as always, MedievalOtaku! Here are my thoughts. Warning on these in advance: I try to keep my comments more or less within the same frame of reference or worldview as the person I’m talking to, but it might be impossible this time. There’s going to be a lot of blasphemous details.
“The real God does not need His creatures (Psalm 50:6 – 13) and His care of them is for the sake of their happiness, even if God delights in the happiness of His creatures. Conversely, Takuru needs Onoe, and she exists for him to be happy and rejoices in Takuru’s happiness.”
….there is an argument I have in my mind which I can never use. And it tends to come up when God is referenced as having no need for his creatures, because my immediate thought as a writer is, “Bullshit. No one creates someone or something that they don’t need.” Ask any artist: It just doesn’t happen. Writing fulfills an overpowering need of the author to express themselves, to show who they are and what they believe. Ursula K. Le Guin famously described writing as “telling lies” in order to speak one’s Truth. And that’s exactly it. When I described my horrific monster of a supervillain, Mind Melter, in my own book, I very deliberately used reverent language that painted his brainwashing + illlusion-creating powers as a sacred experience. While still indicating that it was reprehensible behavior. Probably no reader will notice I did this, let alone why. But if I was to be accurate as to who he was supposed to represent, and what it was actually like for me, I’d have to show it in that way. In fact the closer the parallel the more impossible it is for me to avoid it, but that’s an entirely different discussion about worship for some other time.
It’s true that the Bible indicates God is complete in and of Himself…but it seems so obvious to me that He is trying to tell a story. And also trying to create companions and children of His own. He may not “need us,” but He definitely wants us for something, and that’s indicative of an emotional need that needs filling for literally everyone else.
“People need a reason for living–they need to know who they are.”
All that said, I think there’s a lot of interesting commentary you’re raising here on the flaws of making another person or human being your God. You inevitably take on their vices as well, because you delight in whatever success they might have, crucially— Even if you morally disagree with them. This is how so many fell behind the steps of men who committed acts they knew were wicked. Worship is a very powerful thing— It doesn’t obey the ordinary laws we have about love of other people.
As for the quote, yes, definitely— But people vary in their concern with the questions listed. “Who you are” has a bunch of different meanings, some unconnected and even averse to the question “Where did I come from?” or “Where am I going?” Some people say “I am a good wife/husband, it doesn’t matter where I came from, and it doesn’t matter where I’m going” and that’s enough for them. Others define themselves in terms of their work or what they’ve achieved. Others are scientists who are defined in terms of an insatiable lust for knowledge.
Mine isn’t even literally true. “I am a soldier (I’m not), I came from God, and I am headed towards ultimate fulfillment and expression of my most deeply held Truth and conviction, and my own ignoble End.”
Thanks for your commentary. The question of whether there is need in God is a very interesting one. All creatures are ever striving towards happiness, and our needs highlight deficiencies in happiness. Ursula Le Guin writes because of a gnawing need to write. She has a creative personality and suffers loss of happiness if she does not create.
God, on the other hand, is perceived as a happy and complete being. God could not be understood to be omniscient and omnipotent if He were not happy. Happiness might be defined has having all the goods which fulfill the perfection of one’s being. God is happy because He possesses all good and all being within himself and does not rely upon external goods, which could only come into being by His will anyway. So, why does a perfectly happy and all-sufficient Being create the universe? Can the existence of other rational beings actually increase God’s happiness?
The first question is a mystery. I’ve seen people attempt to answer it in two ways: 1) God wanted to share His Love with others; or 2) For the sake of His Glory. But, the Father and the Son always existed and shared the infinitude of the love of God perfectly between each other–so perfectly so that the communication of Their Love is also God, the Holy Spirit. God does not communicate more love by creating a creature than He already has within Himself for all eternity. (If God had an emotional need, it certainly could not be supplied by His creatures, who can’t understand Him. The need could only be supplied by Himself.) On the second point, God already has infinite Glory. The only glory of God which can increase or diminish is His external glory, which is the honor He has from creatures. Yet, the external glory of God can never affect the plenitude of Glory which God holds intrinsically. Anyway, for some reason, God thought that it would be a fine thing to create beings in His image and likeness (men and angels) and to enable them to share in His happiness.
It is striking to think that the only lack God has is an inability to suffer! The inability to suffer is not a deficiency but a sufficiency. Yet, for the sake of saving Fallen Man, God joined mortality and the ability to suffer to Himself in the Incarnation. He suffered on this Good Friday around two thousand years ago; and certain of the saints revealed that He still suffers from man’s sins and the loss of souls. God had no need to save mankind in so expensive a fashion, but no other manner would have revealed His complete goodness and love. I can’t think of another manner which would have so perfectly preserved the freedom God imparted to us either. Ah, with such questions, one cannot so much find definite answers as meditate on them and marvel!
With the three philosophical questions, people do ignore them all or focus on one or two. Perhaps they do not have enough leisure to think about them. But, the questions of why one is here, who one is, and what’s the point are all absorbing to those who want to find the ultimate meaning of their lives. My answer above only provides the foundation of the particular answer each person must discover for themselves. That is, one finds one’s individual meaning in the context of God and one’s divine image and likeness. To view oneself outside of this context can lead one to deny one’s personhood. Many people unfortunately view themselves as tools and creatures of sensation rather than as persons.
As usual, Luminas, you find the points of deepest significance!
It’s interesting that I’m having this conversation on Good Friday, the day on which suffered and laid down His own human life for us. We didn’t deserve it, still don’t, but He did it anyway, as parents are wont to do. Particularly perfect ones. The “What is His motive in creating us, exactly? Can Someone like that even have one in the sense we understand it?” question is something of a recurrent one to me. For some reason, particularly around this time.
I wonder….if it has to do with an emotion that….potentially could not exist before the Fall of Man. Triumph. There’s an Enigma song which has a stanza that goes,
“Look around just people,
can you hear their voice Find the one who’ll guide you to the limits of your choice.
But if you’re in the eye of the storm just think of the lonely dove
The experience of survival is the key To the gravity of love.”
It’s not possible to achieve victory over yourself if you have nothing to achieve victory over. Not possible to defy a Devil who never Fell, fight a dragon that doesn’t exist yet, rise out of slavery into the Light if you were never and cannot be enslaved. There’s more than tasting Glory to this—- Martyrdom and defiance bring you closer to God. It’s power without material power, strength through humility and an iron Will. By having something worth dying for we draw a line in the sand where and who we are, and then you’re really *alive.* Maybe God wanted to see us fight for the ability to reflect His image like that, because someone fighting for You is an entirely different and more potent Love. “Greetings and defiance, fairest and fallen.”
But this is all rampant metaphysical speculation. A Happy Easter to you! Spend it well and offer thanks to the King and his Prince of Peace. :}
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[…] Chaos;Child is the sequel to the anime Chaos;Head, and our friend Medieval Otaku discusses the relationship between Takuru and Onoe. Whether it’s who we are, where we are going or what’s next, these are important to every person and having those individual answers give us hope and meaning. (Medieval Otaku) […]