Why otaku are
There is something in the milieux of places that enriches and invites the fomentation of thought. Although I am unable to write at all whenever I am cramped in my own dormitory room, I find that even simply moving to a public Internet cafe (despite my possession of a decent Internet connection, and by decent I mean not a dial-up one) allows me to better organize my thoughts regarding the different occurrences and objects around, within, and beyond me. As I have noted in my previous entry, I have not written much about anime these past few weeks because I have been devoid of the Internet connection in my dorm. I have not watched anime because of this privation.
Yet I have discovered more than what I have lost. In addition to a rediscovery of Korean drama I have also introspected and looked within; I realized then that I am content as an observer of relationships: as the apathetic, distant observer I know more of what I need to know as regards myself. Seeing however, with the incompetency that I have tackled this personal issue, I shall strive to explicate better and with more depth this problematic.
This is the problematic of detachment, and I think this is pertinent to the appreciation of anime because most otaku have imbibed this attitude towards real life. Most otaku have disconnected themselves with the reality of the world, or the reality that Mundus est, or the world is. They have created worlds of their own, where amidst a vassalage of blind people they possess not one, but two eyes: they are not only king, but king, queen, emperor, and God. I have turned my back on this problem and enjoyed life as much as possible despite possessing a virtually nil social life; I immersed myself on the media that I love, and I was content. I was God of my own world, the world of my mind; I was Paley’s watchmaker, a detached being who was ubiquitous, omnipotent, and omnipresent in my own world of anime. I played, paused, selected, stopped, and terminated. But then I was asked by a friend of mine, ‘Is that enough?’
I could say nothing else but yes. For me, it was enough to live the worlds I have created and to observe what happens to these different characters. I had, however, in the end, the final decision: I could simply press stop, and they (the characters of my self-created world) would disappear into nothingness. I commanded their deaths and their lives. And maybe this is the reason why a lot of otaku disconnect themselves; perhaps this is why they ejaculate themselves from their mundane existence. I mean ejaculate not in the common sense; rather, I derive meaning from its etymology. To jacere in Latin is to throw; in the same vein, ex- or e- in latin is a prefix for out. They throw themselves out of their banal existence to become gods of their own worlds.
I realized this may be one of the reasons why otaku become otaku. Who does not want to escape from the painful realities of life to become gods? Practically no one. Everyone wants to do what they want, to sate their desires and to live as hedonistically and as sybaritically as possible. Yet the real world limits us, manacles us like chains and holds us to do what we need to do to exist.
But I do not want to be God. Yes, I do want to utilize anime as a means of temporal escape from the harsh reality of the world, but I do not want to be God, and neither has it passed my mind that I want to emulate God’s absolute command over life. (I ask pardon to all the atheists out there.)
What is the reason, then, why I disjoint and disconnect myself from the world through the means of anime? Why do I do these things?
Looking even deeper within, as if trying to uproot the weeds in the abyss of my memory to uncover the truth, I find that I seek perfection, and that I can only find this in anime. In anime, there is perfect good as there is perfect evil. There are existents who live to be as benevolent as is humanly possible; on the other hand, there are existents who exist on to sow evil. But this is not all; there are existents who are truly representations of beauty that cannot be found in this world as there are total representations of ugliness. And this was the reason in my previous article why I mentioned Fernando Pessoa.
Fernando Pessoa is a poet renowned in Portugal, but he was never known as a prosaist until 50 years after his death, when his manuscripts to which is now known as The Book of Disquiet were discovered. Although some of his entries (as it had the form of a diary) were simple and pedestrian, some possessed compact but explosive power. I was totally moved by some of his entries, especially those regarding aesthetics.
In one of those entries he mentioned that observing a beautiful lady from afar was akin to observing great works of art such as the Mona Lisa from pictures and stories. Because one does not know the lady one assumes (blindly) in his mind that the beautiful lady is perfect, that each movement of hers is the representation of perfection itself. But whenever one gets closer to the lady, one realizes that she may not possess the perfect teeth, or that something in her personality irritates one. The ideal of perfection is now decimated, run aground, and totally destroyed. It is because one knows more that one cannot fake anymore the ideal of perfection. When one knows, one recognizes his imperfection because, according to Descartes, we understand that we can always know more, that even when we near our deaths, even when we are moribund we still can know more and by that we are imperfect. Ignorance, indeed, is bliss. When we come to understand that reality in and of itself is terminally and inexorably imperfect, we tend to avoid it, or rather, avoid being held down by it. Perhaps this is why I bathe and enrich myself in the anime that I watch. Perfection is exemplified by some, and even the flaws in and of themselves are perfect (if one catches my drift). This quest for perfection that is impossible to consummate in reality can be observed in the world of anime. It may be sad, but this perfection is what everyone seeks, although in different manners and methods. Some try to excel in school; some try to improve their bodies; others dabble in anime and become otaku. There is something in the observation of perfection itself that reflects perfection, and among the ways to do this is the watching of anime. We feel perfect because we can see perfection. I guess this is my reason why I watch anime and have become an otaku of it.
(I really wish I could add more, but it’s almost 2 am here, thus I am tired, and by tomorrow my thinking would be in a totally different dimension so a continuation of this article would be nigh-impossible. I’m sorry if there are grammatical or spelling errors as well.)