Methodology, Content, and the Interconnectedness of Disciplines

Management: Final exams ended up tearing me away from working on new posts, but I didn’t want to leave the blog unattended for too long, so here’s this abridged version of a thing I had to type for my class on religion and politics you can read. It’s not about anime per se, but hopefully me laying out my epistemology to academics, the methodology and content I approach political science and other disciplines with, might be interesting.

Perhaps it might be useful approach for digesting media such as anime. Perhaps it might be useful for digesting life. I don’t know. That’s up to you. Also, it’s laying the preliminary groundwork for a piece I’m later planning to do.

It is part of the social sciences, and in a way, the discipline of political science is much a science as physics, chemistry, and biology. Political scientists are supposed to apply the scientific method. Political scientists attempt to explain how people tend to act and react whenever they respond to a particular stimuli socio-politically. When faced with a scenario characterized by specific conditions and circumstances, we attempt to observe, analyze, and illustrate how the specific conditions and circumstances a people face lead them to form, interact with, and topple the governments that they do. We study governments because of their ubiquity throughout much of human history and the impact their policies have had on human society. We formulate a hypothetical model of thought based on the results of the scenario observed. We then attempt to apply it to other scenarios similar, if not quite exact to, the original scenario.

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Psycho-Pass: The Ceremony of Innocence

Management: While my opinion of the show is generally positive overall, this essay, by no means, is meant to serve as a comprehensive review, but rather, as an articulation and analysis of some of what I feel is this series’ most integral and interesting themes. This essay covers thematic material from Psycho-Pass as a whole and Episode 14 of Psycho-Pass, “Sweet Poison.”

Additionally, I go over content from Haurki Murakami’s Underground, a non-fiction piece that reflects on the testimonies of individuals caught and involved in the March 20, 1995 Tokyo Sarin Gas Attacks.

Psycho-Pass 9

So I was reading Haruki Murakami’s Underground and while I was digesting its content, a point struck me that made me think of Psycho-Pass. For those who aren’t familiar with him, Murakami is a novelist. Post-modernism is a pretty broad and oft ambiguous genre of storytelling, and Murakami in particular is well-known in contemporary literature for his post-modern brand of literary treatment. If there’s one common thread in the post-modern literary genre that could be pinned out, it’s that it often entails a challenge to the status quo, a shakedown of the essentialist assumptions that people take for granted: about themselves, the world, and their place within it.

In one way, Underground is a departure. Murakami’s career up until then was in fiction, not non-fiction. In another way, it’s not. Many of Murakami’s works deal with the recurring thread of the underground, the underworld that, if not quite belies, runs underneath, clandestine, interior to the exterior of the trappings of the external civilities of societies and individuals, specifically those of the culture of Japanese. It’s like the difference between tourism and immigration to Japan. The Japanese take to the former foreigners more warmly over the latter. The title of his book is Underground, the setting is the underground Tokyo subway system, and the theme is the underground of people.

Underground specifically deals with the Tokyo Sarin Gas Attacks of March 20, 1995, specifically those of the cult of Aum Shinrikyo. Kunihiko Ikuhara’s Mawaru Penguindrum makes visually explicit allusions to it, and there are obvious thematic parallels that could be made between anime and event. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gen Urobuchi also reflected on what that incident exposed when he wrote Psycho-Pass, and specifically Episode 14 of Psycho-Pass, “Sweet Poison.”

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