Objection! – Fate/Zero Philosophy

This week’s “Objection” is very philosophical. Please take that into account before commenting. I encourage constructive conversation; NO flaming. Also, please take into account that despite what I say in this article, I’m not someone who lacks compassion. I do believe in a strict, straightforward, reason-driven, do what you can approach, but it’s not like I walk around everyday with an agenda. I’m human, I make mistakes just like everyone else. I’m just very hardened and generally pessimistic. Enjoy.

Chivalry is dead

Judge: In the most recent episode (16) of Fate/Zero, we see the end of dear Lancer, douche Kayneth, and love crazy Sola-Ui.  This leads to yet another debate between idealistic Saber and hardass Kiritsugu. Laevatein, what do you make of all this philosophical mumbo jumbo?

Laevatein: I personally take Kiritsugu’s side of things, as quite frankly, all the speeches about pride and honor are ironically very flawed.

Judge: I too agree with Kiritsugu. I believe the problem, or disconnect per se, between these heroes of old and modern day people is just that: they’re old, we’re new. Things change. Today’s wars and battles are not glorious, not honorable. It doesn’t help that in today’s world, we have come up with new ways to kill each other: unmanned fighters, nukes, biological warfare, etc.

Laevatein: I think even back then, war was pretty brutal, and not so honorable as people the heroes make it out to be. In fact, calling it honorable feels like a coping mechanism to forget the horrors of war. I mean, I find it hard to say that killing people under any circumstance is honorable, and I figure many people think the same way.

Judge: Well, I would argue it’s moar of an excuse than a coping mechanism. An illusion that they’re fighting for something greater. The only time I can call a death “honorable” is in a 1-on-1 duel. In The Last Samurai, one of the themes was honor. The samurai would rather die fighting on the battlefield then give up their beliefs. Getting killed over idealism solves nothing.  Sometimes you just gotta adapt to the times. You can’t achieve anything if you’re dead.

Laevatein:  I dunno if I can those 1-on-1 duels honorable; they seem more tragic to me. But I get what you’re saying. Past a certain point, that coping mechanism I mentioned becomes more of an excuse as a person starts to believe their own crap, to the point where they actually wholeheartedly believe in their glorification.

Judge: Well it’s ideology. Just look at Gundam. We could have even talked about that haha. The problem with (saving the world/making the world a better place) ideology is that it’s nothing but fantastical dreams by fools.  We’re human. As long as we’re imperfect creatures, there will always be conflict. I remember debating with some poorly misguided guy over Gundam Unicorn.  He believed Banagher was the best character in the Gundam series since he had seen things from multiple views; therefore, he could “understand” things better. That he, of all people, could finally show that war is stupid and doesn’t solve anything. There are so many things wrong with this.

Every war is a Hell on Earth...

People need to come to the realization that conflict will always happen. We can’t deny it.  He argued that in today’s world, we strive to make things work (and perhaps reach that ultimate bullshit understanding). This is nothing moar than delusional thinking. Unfortunately, it’s a lost cause since we’re–wait for it–human! We’re imperfect creatures!

At the slightest drop of the hat (if society were ever to fall), people will fight and panic. Hell, people do that over the smallest things. It’ll only take one psycho to throw the world into chaos. This other (for lack of a better word) idiot on her analysis of episode 16, despises Kiritsugu because she believes he’s just as idealistic as the people he berates (like Saber). What? He’s not idealistic; he KNOWS. He knows the Grail will break the cycle of human imperfection/stupidity/desire for conflict.  It’s not idealistic to believe the Grail will stop people from giving into their nature. It’s a FACT. We can even delve a little into Code Gayass, with the whole Ragnarok Connection. But let’s not haha.

Laevatein: Hmm, where to begin. I feel like I’m scaling a very steep mountain. Nowadays, with all these myriad ways to fight wars, the human element is gone. However, I think that human element is what keeps wars from often getting worse. I would imagine that among those who actually fight wars, only psychopaths truly enjoy them. Those people who don’t fight wars are the ones who clamor for more conflict. However, with the removal of that human element, nobody will even bat their eyes at conflict, no matter how bad it is.

But uh, getting back to Kiritsugu, he himself, on a basic level, actually does have ideals. His complete removal of himself and his wants and needs from the equation is very much an ideology. And his “kill 1 to save 2” methodology is very much an ideology, too. And putting ourselves into the perspective of the characters of the series, we have no clue whether or not the Grail actually works (since the previous wars have never really ended well). I would imagine that the Grail seems like a miracle to most people in the series, a Deus Ex Machina, if you will. So I don’t think they can accept that it’s a fact. The Magi all hope the Grail can grant their wishes. However, on a practical level, Kiritsugu’s ideology makes more logical sense. It’s very pragmatic. I guess that’s what pisses people off.

This is very true. Conflict will always exist.

Judge:  Being pragmatic and using logic are the best we humans can do. While I can see how some people would perceive this as ideology, I see it as just doing what the world dictates. Which is?  It’s unfair. In an unfair world, you must  be a realist and rely on reason, not ideals. You can’t cheat the world. We play by its rules in this game. Morals, ethics, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, these are all subjective. We’re barbaric and inherently selfish, despite people claiming otherwise and moral grandstanding. I live my life somewhat like Kiritsugu in the fact that I do what I can within reason to accomplish my goals without care or regard for what others think.

Whoever believes that committing acts of evil to fight evil will only lead to self-destruction is sorely wrong, in my opinion. Why? Experience. I’ve done some “bad” and very questionable things in my life to accomplish the task set before me. I don’t think twice about it afterwards. Unfortunately, some “innocent” people got involved, and innocent people will always get involved, whether you like it or not. It’s knowing and accepting that this will happen which makes it ok in my mind. After all, it’s life, which I stated is unfair. You play the game by its rules.

Kiritsugu for the most part plays by its rules. The “trying to remove himself” from the equation is the only thing I fault him for. He kills what he thinks needs to be killed in order to accomplish his goals, but all within the parameters of pragmatism and reason. I should note that, yes I am a pessimist and somewhat of a nihilist.

Do things within reason...

Laevatein: I would argue that what you just said does still constitute as an ideology. He very much wants to save everyone. Granted, he needs to sacrifice people, but by trying to maximize the number of people saved, Kiritsugu is essentially following an ideology.  He’s just being extremely pragmatic about it. To a lot of people, these don’t seem like very reconcilable ideas. But I think that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Judge: I guess I should clarify. The idea of “saving humanity” is as vomit-inducing of an idea as I can think of. But we’re talking in the context of work of fiction. “Saving humanity” in real life is definitely on the ban list if this were a card game.  However, as I said before, the Grail is a sure thing. So is it so much an ideology now at this point, then just doing what it takes to accomplish the goal?

So what do you suggest? People will always fight. I (Judge) am just going to do what I want.

Laevatein: Are you sure you’re not saying the Grail is a sure thing from the perspective of the audience, as opposed to the perspective of a character in the series?

Judge: Well, of course the audience (if familiar with the series) knows. And I still believe the characters do know as well.

Laevatein: Well, actually, fuck, this is way too hard to say without getting into spoiler territory. But let’s just say that I disagree with the idea of the Grail being a sure thing.

Judge: I will say nothing is a sure thing. And even if you try to live your life on reason, without care, you’re not perfect and you will make mistakes. Yet the most logical thing to do is to accept something even if it’s 99% true. My (and to a certain extent, Kiritsugu’s) way of thinking is by no means perfect, but it’s closer than anything else out there. But anyways, I think this a good place to stop. We could go on all day. That’s it for today’s “Objection.” Until next time people…

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Nick

Just a simple man, trying to find his way in the universe. Image hosted by servimg.com

4 Comments:

  1. This column is highly engaging, as always.

    This quote stuck out to me: "i live my life somewhat like Kiritsugu in the fact that I do what I can within reason to accomplish my goals without care or regard for what others think."

    In terms of helping the greater world, this way of living may not matter. As you emphasize, Judge, there's little we can do individually (most of us at least) to "change the world." But, the way we live affects individual people. We're all binded by relationships and our choices can make life better for others – first, for those in our inner circle (family, good friends) and then for even those we only know more casually. Not only can our selfish decisions sometimes hurt or make things harder on others, choices to go the extra mile and actually be kind to others can positively effect their lives.

    So perhaps one person doesn't amount to much on an epic scale, but he or she can do great things on a more personal scale, which is perhaps a large part of what this life is all about.

    Also, no real comment on the following quote by Laevatein, except to say that I agree with it and find it somewhat profound: "Those people who don’t fight wars are the ones who clamor for more conflict."

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