Written Statements


What I learned from meeting a girl who didn't know

What I learned from meeting a girl who didn't know

Author: Megumi Hayashibara
Source:
Evangelion Manga Volume 3
Translated by: William Flanagan and David Ury
Dated: 1996

Throughout my encounter with the Eva, with Rei, and with Yui, I was able to go deep--deep within the soul, where it gets dark, and the more you try to to see you come closer to the point where you're almost blind.  And of course, I then drew back from that place.

It began when the director told me, "It's not that she doesn't have emotion, but that she doesn't know what it is."  His technical request was that I should read my lines as flat as possible.  But she's obviously not a machine; she's a human being, flesh and blood.  It's a huge difference between "not having emotion" and "not knowing emotion."  After all, she could develop feelings, once she learned...

So I sat down, wondering how I should handle her, and decided to ask some questions about my own sense of self.  What exactly is an "emotion" to me?  Why and how do they happen for me?  Where do my own feelings come from?

Nobody was asking me to ask these things.  I wasn't even sure what good it could do.  But I found that it didn't matter; I just wanted to do it.

Because I was sure of one thing at least, even if that thing was this vague idea: expression isn't emotion.  Emotions, rather, are sometimes something hidden deep inside the heart.  The mind may not even want to know.  The subconscious has something deeper beneath it--these emotions float on a dark pool that rises up to try and drown them.  It's your innermost conspiracy; the way you keep yourself ignorant of yourself.

Drain it; draw your feelings out.  And of course this may be painful.  But otherwise, who are you?

 

The voices in your head that you pass without hearing

This is about the difference between what you say and what you feel.  What you say might sound more noble, more socially acceptable, so you try to convince yourself it's also what you feel.  And if it isn't--if your true feelings are festering deep inside, filling you with a sick subtle poison...

Look at Shinji.  Why does he continue to fight as an Eva pilot?  The story kept changing.  He said it's because everyone tells him to.  Because only he can do it.  Because it has to be done to save humanity.  Selfless and lofty sentiments for sure, and he believed these reasons to be genuine.  Wrong; he wanted his father to approve of him.  To say he was a good boy.  How selfish of him, really, to be a human being.

The important thing is to realize how you truly feel, and to accept it as a legitimate part of who you are.  I'm not saying this search of yourself is a risk-free proposition; you must be particularly careful if you find you are beginning to pry under your jealousies, and under things that happened to you long ago.  Be patient.   Your deep feelings aren't going anywhere, after all; you can take your time to feel through them.

You may even find the block is something more familiar, that it didn't lie nearly as deep as you feared.  As you gain experience seeing into yourself, you'll be surprised how your path seems to open up before you.  All the things that seemed so frustrating will begin to untangle.

And I also don't wish to say that this is always the way you should go; I don't want to force it on someone who just wants to be left alone right now.  Everyone runs on their own time.  There's a different moment for these things for each of us.   But I do wish to say that this is how I learned to like my own life more.  To have more fun with it.  When things aren't going right for you, quite often the answer lies within yourself.

Let's go back at last to Rei.  She doesn't know emotion, so there's no difference between what she says and feels; there's nothing ulterior about her.  At first sight, then, you may theorize: that is where her very great beauty comes from, this surface, not without depth, but with the absence of its necessity--someone truly mystical.

No; Rei's beauty comes from the truth that she has feelings. When she cried, it meant the waters of the pool were coming out at last.  The struggle to draw your feelings forth, the reconciliation between your surface and your depth--that, I believe, is where we truly become alive, truly become human beings.  And when I found the warmth below the coldness in her words, I synchronized with Rei for the first time.  And it felt so good that I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my own heart.