Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Relation between Anime/cartoon and My Philosophy

Have you ever wonder how Superman, despite facing numerous tasks and enemies of various kind, some even much stronger than himself, would always prevail in the end? And what is it that motivated him to go on, and on and on, like an Energizer Bunny?

I believe that there is more than just the sense of justice or destiny playing in those delicate brain cells of the superheroes. And I am here to perform an autopsy, not literally, of course. What was that mystery force that pushed the muscles and will when the chips are down? For a start, I have a story to show what I mean.

Once, I participated in my company’s bowling competition. Most of the time, I scored around 100 pins. That day, due to some internal arrangement, I was also playing on behalf of my colleague. In the end, I top scored 175 pins for my colleague, while for my own game, I scored an average 100 pins. Now, barring any inconsistency due to my amateurish play, the difference in score has all but highlight one point – we will always do better if we know we are not only doing it for ourselves. The superheroes are not only fighting for themselves or for justice, but for the others whose lives depended on him.

At one point in my part-time studies for a professional certificate, I felt I was not only doing it for myself. I felt I owed it to all the people I know, for I realised that with a better education, I would be better equipped to help those around me. And it was specifically for this reason that education is so essential and useful. You may think that with such an approach, my studies would be hellishly stressful. On the contrary, it gives a more profound and purposeful meaning to my studies. It is like I could run faster and further with the world on my shoulders. Indeed, the will to help and learn could be self-generating - the more you help others, the more you will learn and the more you learn, the more you will be able to help others.
The superheroes have their super-human powers while I have my “brain-power” to kick butts. I could have been an evildoer using my knowledge to satisfy my desires and accumulate my personal wealth. But that would be more stressful; having to resist consistently from listening to the heart and conscience in addition to facing your love ones and family’s disappointment when your immoral actions caught up with you.

I guess most of us have grown up with anime and subconsciously, it has an impact on us to an extent depending on the individuals. One of the most common storyline revolves around the main character and his group of friends on a mystical quest for a treasure with enormous magical power, only to find out what is important in their lives and ours: love, friendships and knowing who you are. Characters and values, friendships and bonding were acquired on the journey and at the end, if any, our heroes would part in tears, vowing to remember and to meet again somewhere in the future, which in reality, is the next season.

There is another genre of anime which I find to my liking: sets somewhere in an imaginative futuristic world where humans and demons existed together and war was breaking out between them. Humans had by that time, lost much of their spirit and soul along with decadence. They became too weak to want to fight the demons. The result of which was that the humans could only hope the demons would agree to a co-existence, and through it all, the demons had only one thought in mind: the annihilation of mankind. As in any relationships, more often than seldom, two parties’ wants and needs are in conflict, therefore, a compromise has to be made for “co-existence”. However, there should be no hesitation in putting your foot down and standing your ground when your rights are perpetually trampled on.

We can also draw parallel here with my workplace, which is dominated by Chinese with a small population of Indian, inevitably there always seems to be some tension airborne. Especially when we have an Indian as our department head who would be seem as being on the side of those colleagues of her race. Understandably, the same thing would happen if the department head is a Chinese and most of the staff are Indian. Under actual circumstance, I choose the policy of engaging the Indian colleagues in my office, not out of respect or fear of my head, but because I think that provide the only chance of getting any good out of the situation. Without doubt, I would readily jump to the defence of any Chinese if I feel their rights have been infringed.

In line with anime, I believe life is a quest for the Holy Grail. And the Holy Grail, to me is the eagle in you, allowing you to spread your wings and soar. In the process, we become better persons, touching and making a difference in other people’s lives. Similarly, there are stories about a group of misfits competing with other likeminded people with special powers or abilities to find out who is the best of them all. The main character may or may not ends up as the winner, but he has taught us that winning isn’t everything, self-actualisation is.

And finally, hard work and perseverance pay in whatever you do. This is where the main character, with the encouragement and support of his friends, achieved his goal with tears in eyes after going through much torments and sacrifices.

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