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the will of being and the woes of remembering
Posted by tai on Nov 4, 2008 under Discourse, Movies, Visual Novels

When humanity has fallen into the pits of war, what is the place of a relic of the past? A relic, which has seen only beauty, kindness and compassion? A relic, which has been recovered in a time it should not exist in? In a time where humanity is on the verge of self-extinction, what role does such a relic take? Is it an artefact that one would look at and proudly think, “This is the pride of mankind”? Or is it an omen one would consider to be a taunt from the people of the past?

Kuzuya cannot bring herself to accept the current state of humanity.

Kuzuya cannot bring herself to accept the current state of humanity.

These questions are answered clearly in Planetarian and . Everything humanity does: thinks, says, destroys, produces; is a little relic of its own. It is a relic that has frozen the values of the time it was created in. And when this is recovered tens, hundreds, or thousands of years later, it becomes a soliloquy from the people of it’s time. It is a tool to force people to look at the past and reminisce about all the events on the thread that connects the relic to the present. It is a proof of our opposition to change. Seeing light in the dark world we have hand-made for ourselves only makes it feel darker; seeing happiness in a prison of death and sorrow only depresses us further. One who has lost hope would turn a cold shoulder and deny its existence as not to be humiliated by the woes of their own civilization, but one who even has the faintest glimmer of hope accept it readily.

It matters not if the relic is an artefact of war, like the spire in Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho, or an anthology of history like the archives in Pale Cocoon. Proof of vanity in glamorous times are either accepted or denied; proofs of glamour in times of vanity are similarly accepted or rejected. Because humans are self-aware it is impossible for us to look at something as a stand-alone. Everything we perceive is relative, relative to the events in our memory and our current environment. Beauty in times of beauty and darkness in times of darkness is never given a second thought, for is this change that will bring humanity to it’s rise and fall; and it is the change we pray to avoid but have no escape from. And because of this unavoidable terminal change, we leave behind relics of our time as a proof of our existence whether such things belong in heaven or the purgatory below.

The desire to not be forgotten is a selfish desire, but it is engrained deep within our will to live. However, the choice to respect and remember or to ignore and forget is a conscious option. Will we be selfish and choose to forget like Rika in Pale Cocoon? Or will we remember like Kuzuya in the visual novel Planetarian?