Amber Michelle (myaru) wrote,
Amber Michelle

Xenogears: some messy talk about Biblical quotes

This all started with with Milton, because Book 9 is about the fall of man, and you find quotes like ye shall be as gods, and-- of course I thought of the opening movie from Xenogears. (What else would I think of? Not the nature of sin, please.) Watching that reminded me of the other quote - I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Rev 22:12) - which everyone is so proud of finding and reporting to me for GA's references section.

They're not on the site because I didn't think they were worth making an entirely new section for. Biblical quotes are a different beast from names and places, in my opinion. With Judah or Sandalphon I can write a short paragraph on what it is in the game and what it is in mythology, and that's it. These have no place in the game the way the other stuff does.

Well, I can't say that. The Existence quotes the Revelations passage to Fei, I think. I'd have to look.

Anyway. They weren't worth talking about on GA because I think the inference is pretty clear: I am Alpha and Omega, judging from the way it's presented in the opening and by dialogue, can be attributed to the Existence. I guess that's Abel's meeting with him. Ye shall be as gods can be attributed to Deus. The former is said by god, the latter by the serpent. The one thing that is clear about the Existence and Deus in the game is that Deus is a false god, or a destroyer, and the Existence claims to be god as the characters would understand it.

I don't think you can follow this reference any further, because the WE is not trying to judge the world, though I suppose he wants to destroy Deus for pragmatic reasons - he/she/it wants to rejoin the rest of its essence. You have to step away from Revelations, which supplies the immediate tension of oh shit, apocalypse, and go to some mystic Jewish traditions, which I still think are the core of the game despite the surface conflicts between religions.

I think the Wave Existence = Shekinah, given the whole 'imprisoned in Zohar' problem. But that's another topic. I'm writing it to remind myself later.

So, like. All of this is to say that I've been trying to decide how to interpret you shall be as gods if I'm not going to read it as a straight up comparison between God and Satan. It's not referring to temptation, because Deus wasn't giving them a choice. Participation in 'becoming god' is only voluntary for Krelian, and everyone else is sucked in whether they like it or not. (It can be taken literally too. The fall of man to the planet surface, yeah.) And Krelian wasn't tempted - he was pissed off, and thought returning everything to god was a good idea because people suck. I CAN RELATE.

But there's also the Tree of Knowledge, which has a physical representation in the game in the form of the Razael supercomputer. In The Zohar (the book, not the one-eyed brick) there was an interesting image of the leaves of the Tree having spells and other things written on them that Enoch read, and as this is a source of god-like power, I think you can equate the technological Razael to it.

The problem here is equating the Tree of Knowledge to the Path of Sephirot, which kind of seems to happen in the game, but not really. That is, the path to god is twofold - one way to get there is via Razael, which Krelian chooses to use. He chooses knowledge, Fei chooses... life. Or action. I'm not sure, but I think in Kabbalah, if you equate the sephirot with anything, the path is tied up with the Tree of Life, not Knowledge. Maybe I'm oversimplifying that. This is only a problem because Takahashi's script screws with what I actually read. I mean, what it's saying is that there isn't only one path - that's the meaningful, didactic lesson in this story. The entire game pounds that into your head.

Fei merges and releases with Zohar, in Grahf's words. That's the goal. So he ascends the path, finds the Existence, and returns. That's the basic mystic journey. I really wish I liked Fei more if he's going to be the quintessential mystic of Xenogears. I used to think of Krelian that way, but he does something else. He uses the knowledge to transform himself - and I guess in that way he's parallel to Enoch, who is the real Mystic of mystics - but I'm not sure how I feel about this. If Razael = Knowledge, he commits the sin of taking from the tree, and so he is the fallen man, and Fei is the transcendent, spiritually. The latter is true, but is the former? Krelian's crime is the willful use of his knowledge to do terrible things. That's the essence of sin - but knowing isn't.

I'm not any closer to how I want to read that quote. The answer is: there's no clean parallel.

Also, analytic skill? None here.

It's been so long since I played that I have to rethink everything I thought back when I cared more. Damn. I think the problem I'm having has a lot to do with my last playthrough and my last reading of anything Kabbalah or religious were both in '05. Milton doesn't count. I need to find some theology on the fall.

Maybe I won't write those editorials.
Tags: public: xenogears
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