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His Name is Unknown
The PURPOSE of this thread is two-fold:

- To ANALYZE the world view of Hiromu Arakawa's seminal manga: Fullmetal Alchemist

- To RELATE this world view to: morality within FMA, the origin of alchemy and truth, and the meaning of specific plot points.

DISCLAIMER: I have participated in many such world-view/spirituality/religion topics online. Because of the wide variety of personal opinions which can potentially clash in such threads, there is a tendency for them to degrade into bitter argumentation. I sincerely hope this will not be the case here, nor is that my intent in starting this thread. Rather, I am a firm believer that discussions of this nature are beneficial to all involved, providing valuable insights into the workings of not only your own mind but also the minds of fellow board members.

Additionally, due to an unusually complex back story, rich character development, and plot bursting with truth claims and metaphysical narrative, the Fullmetal Alchemist manga provides a fertile foundation for such discussion.

=====================

ASSUMPTIONS: for the sake of harmonious discussion, this discourse assumes the following...

- Ideas have consequences (thoughts produce actions) - in other words, "As a man thinketh, so he is."

- We can and should know both WHAT we believe and WHY we believe it

=====================

TERMINOLOGY: [ as presented in Glenn Martin's "Prevailing Worldviews of Western Society"]

I. World-view:"A world view is a full-orbed, rationally considered, and articulated view of God, man and the cosmos, which answers both the COSMOLOGICAL and the ANTHROPOLOGICAL questions (addressing to that end the four subsidiary questions: ONTOLOGY, EPISTEMOLOGY, AXIOLOGY, and TELEOLOGY) and applies those answers to all of life generally and to every area of life specifically in terms of the institutional structure and procedure flowing from those answers."

"Additionally, to be a world view, a view must address the larger questions of life, must be universally applicable across the entire spectrum of life, and must have demonstrated that it has sufficient durability to provide lasting answers."

II. Cosmological question: In essence, "What is the origin, nature, and destiny of the cosmos?" where cosmos refers, simply, to everthing.

III. Anthropological question: In essence, "What is the origin, nature, role, and destiny of man?"

- Is man basically free or determined?

- Is man basically good or evil?

- Is man rational, intuitive, or neither?

IV. Ontological question: In essence, "Who am I? How do I exist?"

- Supernatural

- Natural

V. Epistemological question: In essence, "How do we know?"

- Revelation

- Reason

- Intuition

VI. Axiological question: In essence, "What, if anything, is the ultimate value?"

- Theistic axiology (God)

- Humanistic axiology (Man)

- Materialistic axiology (Matter)

VII. Teleological question: In essence, "Where are we going?"

=====================

Just to get the ball rolling, some cursory observations:

Regarding...

I. Ontological question: FMA seems to be coming from a naturalistic perspective regarding the origin of the world, humans, homunculi, alchemy, etc. I believe Arakawa herself has stated that there is no god in FMA. Indeed, throughout the series, we are given references to an evolutionary (that is, naturalistic) worldivew.

- First, there are the images within the black hands at the doors of truth. When Edward and Alphonse initiate a transmutation in their attempt to resurrect Trisha and are sucked into the rebound, we catch glimpses of an ape-like creature transforming into a man and tiny amoebas becoming more complex drawn into the background of several panels.

- Introduced during the Yock Island interlude, we have the idea of the grand flow of the universe. Matter being composed, decomposed and recomposed as it moves through an unending cycle of life.

- More obvious is Lust's reference to homunculi as the next step in the evolutionary chain.

- Finally, the entire atmosphere of Briggs radiates the concept of survival of the fittest, long established to be the purposeless, direction-less force behind the evolutionary process.

I find this all fascinating in light of the Ishabal equation. Their religious beliefs and the language employed in some of Scar's monologues give off a distinct Judeo-Christian vibe. Scar's character is much more in-depth than, say, the shallow (largely Catholic) religious stereotypes present in Edward's escapades in Liore - and his arc deals with some very relevant issues such as justice, revenge, and forgiveness (or endurance, as it is described in the manga). This would seem to present and enormous contradiction, for while the Ishbalans are painted largely in a sympathetic light, if there is no god, then they are really just worshiping, living, and dying for empty rhetoric...

II. Epistomological question: The answer to this question seems to be that man knows through reason. Repeated emphasis is placed on hard work and the importance of scientific knowledge throughout the manga. An early conversation between Edward and Rose in the town of Liore paints the picture that those striving for truth through scientific means (in this series, represented by alchemical knowledge) are the closest things to gods there are. In contrast, certain religious individuals are portrayed as weak-minded, bumbling, and corrupt. The opening episode concludes with Edward 'liberating' Rose from her naive religious superstitions.

III. Axiological question: More difficult to classify than the ontological or epistemological questions. However, upon initial inspection, I would place the axiological mentality of FMA as revolving squarely around humans. One of the biggest questions of the manga, which Edward wrestles with constantly, is the proper definition of a human. Theological terminology such as the soul, the mind, and the spirit are referenced frequently, and it would appear that humans have intrinsic value, although this idea is often cast aside by the characters, who refer to themselves as monsters, dogs, pawns, etc. As with the ontological question, there are some very interesting contradictions that bear further exploration.

Sourcing:

- Edward - "the closest things to gods" (To Rose; Volume 1)

- Izumi - "all is one, one is all" (Elric brother's training; Volume 6)

- Homunculi - "next evolution" (Lust to Roy; Volume 10)

- Briggs - "survival of the fittest" (Armstrong - Volume 17?)

Much, much, much more to come!!! I hope this thread develops into an interesting and enlightening conversation ^^!
ehxhfdl14
Wow o-O That was a heck of a post, His Name is Unknown! Moving on to discussions...
You put forth some interesting observations there. For instance, the implied 'lack of god', a Prime Mover of the world, so to say. Even what Truth says, 'I'm what you humans refer to as the world-also known as the 'universe' or 'god' or 'true knowledge' or 'all' or 'one' and I'm you!' seems to suggest that humans are god(of their own destinies).
For the Ishvalans, they might be dying for nothing. However, they believe that their faith is worth something. And thus, they made it valuable . Value, after all, is given by ourselves. Take money, for example. They're just some heavy paper pieces mixed with linen, cotton, a/o other textile fibers. But we view it as valuable, so they are. To others, they are dying for something worthless. To themselves, they are dying for something that is worth all the pain and suffering. To them, that is the Truth. In their own universe, the knowledge of Ishvala, their 'god', is the 'True Knowledge'. That differs substantially compared to what the alchemists perceive as 'True Knowledge'.
It's all a matter of perception.
Which brings me to another topic, 'Is man originally Good or Evil?'
I do not believe that 'good' or 'evil' exist in the first place. As I've said before, it's all a matter of perception. We view cannibalism as being 'bad' or 'evil' in modern societies, but what about in extreme circumstances? Take the Donner Party, for example. They had to resort to cannibalism, but it was for survival. It was necessary.
I do not believe in moral absolutism- rather, I believe that moral relativism is closer to reality. Murder is frowned upon in society nowadays, but they were tools for our own survival. After all, as Joseph Lopreato said(Human Nature and Biocultural Evolution, 1984), 'To deprive others of their life is one of the most effective means of increasing one's fitness.'
The intrinsic value of humans- now there's a truly complicated question.
Many believe that intrinsic value does not exist in the first place, that a value cannot exist without an evaluator- so we could get a nice debate going here about the issue. However, I am still sick and probably shouldn't overexert myself, so I'll come back to it later...
Tombow
@His Name is Unknown - You must have some foresee power... I think this very concept shows up again in chapter 75... (according to the preview..I have to wait to see the raw.. ^^) Anyway, you and ehxhfdl14 are presenting very interesting insight into this. I'll be back for more here reading after translating chapter 75. ^^
ehxhfdl14
biggrin.gif Other people are actually interested in this! *cheer*

Going back on topic.
With your axiological question, you mentioned the mind, body and soul theory; I find it interesting that characters in Amestris believe in it, too. That theory is usually employed by Christians and other 'orthodox' religions (I believe it has to do with the Divine Trinity: Father, Son and the Holy Ghost). The mind is usually accepted as the 'logical' part, while the soul is deemed the 'emotional' part- the two together forming self-awareness, or consciousness. These three are usually thought of as 'intertwined', but with Al, that's clearly not the case(laugh). Al has shown that he can still reason, and the body/mind in the Gate of Truth seemed to show a bit of remorse (as in, a feeling) at not being able to go with Ed. Now we see here, that the body/mind in the Gate can function on its own; Al's soul in the armor shows no knowledge of what has happened. At this, we can surmise that the body/mind and the soul are interconnected to each other, allowing each to access the other's functions, and yet working independently. Interesting, I'd say. Does anyone have any thoughts on how this would work out?
spooooooooon
Thanks for creating this topic, His Name is Unknown, I have always wanted to have a discussion like this one on FMA.


First of all, I want to say that I agree with everything that has been posted except with ehxhfdl14’s last post, to which I will react immediately.

We don’t know how mind, body and soul are defined in Amestris; we only know a bit of Ed’s thoughts about them: he considers that the mind connects the body and the soul (vol. 11, chapter 44). I therefore wouldn’t associate the mind with logic and the soul with emotions in FMA. I think that there is no division between logic and emotions; the soul includes
reason, emotions, memories, beliefs, etc., and the mind 'only' links it to the body, thus apparently having a purely practical function.


This being said, I would like to continue with the axiological question. I agree with His Name is Unknown when he says
QUOTE
I would place the axiological mentality of FMA as revolving squarely around humans.
Indeed, a lot of importance is given to human life in general:
- killing is illegal;
- human transmutation is illegal;
- Ed refuses to kill and to let Winry kill Scar;
- Ed initially refuses to use the philosopher’s stone because it is obtained by killing humans;
- Ed beats up Tucker when he realizes what the latter has done to Nina and Alexander (“Do you think you’re going to be forgiven for doing something like this!? For… Toying with human lives!!”);
- Marcoh doesn’t want the homunculi to kill a little girl or an entire village;
- Most of the Amestrian soldiers have difficulty accepting that they must take part in the Ishbalan massacre;
- Riza says that she, Roy, Knox and others would be considered as mass murderers if the state alchemist institution were abolished.

Importance is also given to happiness and protection of people:
- it is Roy’s motivation for becoming a State Alchemist and for trying to become the Fuhrer;
- it is Riza’s reason for telling Roy about her father’s research;
- it is the reason why Riza is so devoted to Roy and ready to kill to protect him. (Isn’t she an extremely interesting character? She lives on the one hand for human beings in general and on the other hand for one particular human, and is ready to kill and to die for both. Moreover, she nullifies the contrast between self-assertion and self-abnegation: she asks Roy to burn her back so that she can “become Riza Hawkeye as an individual” [vol. 15, chapter 61], and at the same time is in constant self-sacrifice.)

Interestingly, only humans seem to value human life this way: the homunculi simply consider humans as tools and don’t care about them if they aren’t useful. Of course, there are a few exceptions among humans – Kimblee, for example, doesn’t mind killing. He is actually a moral outsider; he has different ethics than the other humans, which makes him a very interesting character (at least that’s how I consider him).

I think that there is just one problem with His Name is Unknown’s proposition:
QUOTE
I would place the axiological mentality of FMA as revolving squarely around humans.
The main characters share a humanistic axiology, but it is not the case of all the humans in FMA; the Ishbalans, for instance, have (or seem to have) a theistic axiology.


Still regarding this axiological question, things get complicated in volume 15, chapter 58, when Riza’s father says that truth is what an alchemist always seeks: apparently, alchemists cannot care only about humans.

Things get even more complicated when we remember what Truth says in volume 6, chapter 23: “'I'm what you humans refer to as the world – also known as the 'universe', or 'God', or 'true knowledge', or 'all', or 'one'… And I'm you!” ehxhfdl14 already said that it apparently entails that humans are gods, but it also implies that Truth is God; does that mean that alchemists actually have a theistic axiology even if they do not believe in a god? Or that they are actually only looking for themselves? In that case, it would be interesting that Ed and Al are looking for both their physical selves (their bodies) and their spiritual selves, or whatever we should call it.

Furthermore, does it mean that the Ishbalans’ faith is a 'failure' (I hope no one will be offended, I just can’t find the right word) due to the fact that they don’t know that God and Truth are the same thing? Is Ed actually right when he says that “scientists are the closest thing to gods” (vol. 1, chapter 1), and wrong when he says “we’re definitely not gods” (vol. 2, chapter 5)?


As for the teleological question, I am tempted to say that the destiny of humankind in FMA’s world is the one that Father decides. But Father isn’t a god, so he can certainly be killed, which means that this destiny is not irrevocable; humans can change things, but, to do so, they must be aware of Father’s existence, intelligent and very strong (mentally, physically and, if one is an alchemist, 'alchemistically').


Finally, there is one thing I would like to add concerning the epistemological question. Knowledge is indeed generally gained through reason, but alchemists can also gain knowledge by seeing truth – which I would consider as a revelation if I had to choose between the Glenn Martin’s categories (revelation, reason and intuition).

Also, in chapter 5, when Ed discovers that Tucker used Nina and Alexander to create a chimera, it seems to me that Ed’s sudden understanding is not the result of a super-quick reasoning, but a revelation triggered by the chimera’s words – which shows that, even without taking the sight of Truth into account, man does not know exclusively through reason.
Omamori
Wow...

Hadn't exactly expected to see a thread like this here.

Anyway...time to add my two-cents (beware, spoilers ahead):

"Humans are in charge of their own destinies." That's pretty much the message Arakawa-sensei is sending in her series. However, what I find interesting is how the military lacks value for human lives (or, rather...they value human lives for the wrong reason): creating dolls so that human souls can be bound to them; no matter what happens to that doll, it will not stop moving or fighting.

Human transmutation is frowned upon for different reasons: playing in God's domain, resurrecting a dead loved one without the authority, and the fact that, when possible, you could create your "own army"; that's the real reason the Amestrian Military outlawed transmutation of human beings, as it was revealed to Olivier Armstrong in chapt. 80. Yet another example of humanism: humans taking charge and going against this supposed 'God' (Father).

However, it makes sense that Mustang would want to be Fuhrer to help their nation, so I don't really see that as a reason for the humanistic values in the series; even with Ed's reaction to Nina's chimera form, it was natural for him to react that way. You just don't do that to human beings.

In chapt. 81, Rose states that after the fall of Father Cornello, they decided that they couldn't wait for miracles and just started trying to make Reole a better place. Once again, "humans are in charge of their own destinies"; we shouldn't wait for Heaven to come on Earth; if we want the world to be a better place, we need to start working at it instead of waiting for God to come and change it for us.

This also coincides with Scar's older brother's alchemy research and the RentanJutsu of Xing: all is one, one is all (Izumi Curtis' well-known quote); we are all part of the life cycle: if anything disrupts that cycle, it will effect everything else. If negative energy were to pervade that flow, the rest of the world would follow and become one full of unhappiness, the opposite of paradise; however, if everyone were to become positive and treat others kindly, that positive energy would effect the rest of the world to make it a better place.

Anyway...I gotta go. That's all I can type for now.

EDIT:
Noticed this while reading through the latest chapters of the manga (spoilers, so beware)...

It is believed that Man created God, as is stated by King Bradley in chapt. 60 while wiping out the religious Ishbalans. "It is the hand of man, not God, that we have to be weary of," he says to the Ishbalan Prophet who is willing to die for the remaining Ishbalans.

Man creating God...you hear that a lot these days. Father is 'God' in the series, right? In chapt. 75 (I believe), during the Xerxes flashback, the shadowy homunculus in the flask was created by an alchemist (a man), and, somehow, this homunculus knows the key to Immortality. Tricking the King of Xerxes, the homunculus attains power and immortality for himself after sacrificing the entire human population of Xerxes.

The concept of the series: Humans are equal to God; religion is (well, not necessarily 'bad') corrupt; for us, there is nowhere else, no Heaven or Hell, no God, etc...so if we want a paradise, we, humans, have to make it.
ehxhfdl14
spooooooooon(I shamelessly copied and pasted your username >_>)- To avoid absolutes, I did put "usually" there, and I did fit the FMA events into the conventional definition; I thought since I mentioned religions and such in the preceding sentence the rest would probably be accepted as the beliefs from the world we live in, but apparently I wasn't clear enough... I apologize.
It could be that the mind serves only as a practicality, and there really exists only the soul and the body. But how is the memories stored is what I really wonder about. The... p-zed or Al's body or whatever it is, its memory seems separate from Al in the armor (this Al does not have any knowledge of the body's experiences, such as when Ed saw it briefly). Would the memories merge when Al is back to "normal"?

Rosicrucian- That theme does show up, doesn't it? And authoritarianism seems to be one of the central themes- characters making their own way.


Just had to revive the thread tongue.gif
spooooooooon
QUOTE
I shamelessly copied and pasted your username
I'm quite sure I did the same with yours, so we're even smile.gif

QUOTE
I thought since I mentioned religions and such in the preceding sentence the rest would probably be accepted as the beliefs from the world we live in, but apparently I wasn't clear enough... I apologize.
Ah, I didn't understand it that way, sorry.

QUOTE
Al has shown that he can still reason, and the body/mind in the Gate of Truth seemed to show a bit of remorse (as in, a feeling) at not being able to go with Ed. Now we see here, that the body/mind in the Gate can function on its own; Al's soul in the armor shows no knowledge of what has happened.

QUOTE
But how is the memories stored is what I really wonder about.
You raised (and keep on raising) an interesting point; I realize that I didn't think about it until right now even though I had read your second post (guess I focused on the body-soul-mind thing and forgot about the rest).

Maybe Al's body stores the memories, but doesn't have access to them; this would mean that, when Ed sees him in chapter 53, he showed regret and then smiled not because he recognized his brother, but only because he was happy to hear someone telling him that he would be brought back (this is consistent with the fact that he never calls him "Ed" or "brother" and only refers to him as "not his soul", by the way).
But this does not resolve the problem of the body and the soul both having feelings.



(By the way: I understood your post, but... what does "p-zed" mean?)
ehxhfdl14
Oh, good. I know that my username is practically impossible, though... *laugh*

Now, on to the discussion. A p-zed is a shorter term for philosophical zombie. Yes, I was feeling too lazy to type "philosophical". ㅡ,.ㅡ

I think Wikipedia can explain it so much better than I can, but to summarize:

[A philosophical zombie, p-zombie or p-zed is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except that it lacks conscious experience, qualia, sentience, or sapience... One might invoke the notion of a p-zombie that is behaviorally indistinguishable from a normal human being, but that lacks conscious experiences.

There are, in effect, different types of p-zombies.

* A behavioral zombie is behaviorally indistinguishable from a human and yet has no conscious experience.
* A neurological zombie has a human brain and is otherwise physically indistinguishable from a human; nevertheless, it has no conscious experience.
* A soulless zombie lacks a soul but is otherwise indistinguishable from a human; this concept is used to inquire into what, if anything, the soul might amount to.

...David Chalmers in The Conscious Mind (1996). According to Chalmers, one can coherently conceive of an entire zombie world: a world physically indiscernible from our world, but entirely lacking conscious experience. In such a world, the counterpart of every being that is conscious in our world would be a p-zombie.

...For example, it is possible that there is a world exactly like ours in every physical respect, but in it everyone lacks certain mental states, namely any phenomenal experiences or qualia. The people there look and act just like people in the actual world, but they don't feel anything; when one gets shot, for example, he yells out as if he is in pain, but he doesn't feel any pain.]

The actual possibility of a philosophical zombie existing is disputed, but hey, FMA isn't our world. So anyhow, if you consider the place where Truth resides as a "world" of its own, then Al technically exists in two worlds; if we see it this way, say- the Al in the Gate would be the "counterpart" of the Al in the armor, and would thus be a p-zed according the the theory. He reacted as Al would have, but the body didn't have a conscious event if we were assuming that he was a p-zed. That would explain much.

Except, is it then that the body doesn't have an ability to access the memories stored in his brain (the armor Al's, probably) because the body "lacks" a soul? The homunculi don't have souls, but they weren't human, after all.

Do you think that the matter is going to come up in the manga at all? If the body is just a p-zed, it wouldn't really be conscious, so there wouldn't be memories; so when Al gets his body back (probably with complications- I've discussed this in another thread before, I'll go dig it up if you're interested) there wouldn't be a conflict of minds, and so no problem is raised. Then there wouldn't really be any reason for the manga to address the body-soul thing DX
spooooooooon
And I thought it was just an English abbreviation I didn't know about...

QUOTE
Do you think that the matter is going to come up in the manga at all?
Well, there seems to be already quite a lot going on already, but you never know... It could be a way not to end FMA where one expects it to end - i.e. when the Elrics finally have their bodies back.

But, even if Al's body has memories, is there anything to remember where he is? I dont have the impression that a lot is happening at the Gate, considering that very few people get to see the Truth. (Hmm, actually, I think we don't know how many people see it... We just know that those who do generally don't come back - cf. Izumi, in chapter 25. So I might be wrong... But I don't think so tongue.gif )

Anyway, it is interesting to notice that Al's memories concerning the Gate have already been more problemtic than Ed's so far, since he needed the shock of Martel's death to remember what happened when he saw the Truth.
Gukumatz
QUOTE(ehxhfdl14 @ May 10 2008, 01:05 PM) *
The homunculi don't have souls, but they weren't human, after all.


This is true in the anime, but in the manga they have souls. Oh, they have souls. Souls to spare.

They use their souls as a powersource to regenerate and transform and such, though, and don't seem to have such a personal connection. Bradley wonders if the soul in him is really his soul or another one.

By the way, could you explain what you mean by "conscious experience"? Gate!Al seemed to have some sense of self. At least enough to distinguish his self from Ed and tell him that he could not go with Ed because Ed was not his body.
ehxhfdl14
spooooooooon- I hope that Arakawa-sensei would tie up all the loose ends. It would be surprising, though, to see FMA end that way, oh yes.

The memories of Al’s body. Well, if anything, I would think that (presuming that the body stores its memories) Ed’s appearance there might be remembered, as well as anyone who might have stumbled through and died. And quite possibly, the memory of “nothingness”. Have you ever had a moment where everything was silent, nothing was happening and you were doing and thinking nothing? Yes, that. Certainly not much to remember, though >_>



Rosicrucian- Well, but none of the souls are technically the homunculi's, it belonged to the people who were killed (On Bradley's case... well. That’s another area altogether, isn't it?). The independent souls seem to be able to think separately, even (in Envy's true form scene, they seemed to be thinking along similar lines, but with variances- mothers call out for children, others for brothers, existence of different facial expressions, etc.). The thing we're talking about requires that the subject possesses a unique soul of his own to connect with the body, so I didn't think the multiple soul phenomenon quite applies in this case, as you've wondered yourself^-^

To me, it seemed that the body in the Gate seemed to lack the ability to access memories. He mainly has a "My Soul" and "Not My Soul" definition, and didn’t quite seem to recognize Ed (which is why I said that he seems to be unable to access his memories- I assume that the body-soul link is naturally innate, and thus needs no memories or knowledge to be able to distinguish “My Soul” from “Not My Soul”). If he lacks memories and only the instinctual desire to complete the union of body and soul (it was even calling Armor Al back, if you’d recall), then that would explain why Al didn’t seem quite so bereft to see Ed go- it wasn’t someone he knew, it wasn’t his soul. If this is the case, it would also demolish my earlier assumptions XP I simply thought that he showed “remorse” at not being able to go with Ed, but it could be that he was just sad that this wasn’t His Soul. Or, it could be that he can access the Armor Al’s memories somehow (the likelihood is stronger when it is as presumed, the Armor Al’s memories stashed in the body) and all, but then- I just think the theory A is stronger than theory B.

Ah, consciousness. You've just stepped on a minefield. biggrin.gif

There are several definitions (which causes a dispute for/against the possibility of p-zombies existing):

The simple "hospital" or "normal" definition is that someone who reacts to others around him, the environment, in addition to being awake is conscious, while someone who doesn't fit the criteria is deemed asleep or in a comatose state. This is too simple for the case before us now, I think ㅡ_ㅡ;;

Rene Descartes describes it as an ability/state to be able to experience qualia. It's usually defined as something that cannot fully be explained to someone else, for example color or sensation- you could say "blue feels cold" but you can't translate the experience directly to others. But he defines it as body-(rational) soul interaction. If defined this way, we have to question armor Al's consciousness or the very definition of Descartes' definition of qualia itself; does indirect contact count? If Al's soul is assumed to be connected to the body with the mind as a mediator, then it technically is in indirect connection with the body. Descartes operated on a simple body/soul theory, the soul and mind being the same in his theory. So things would be more complicated here- let's move on to the other, simpler definitions.

Ned Block has divided the definition of consciousness into two main categories: phenomenal consciousness, the subjective experience itself (qualia- philosophical zombies are assumed to be unable to detect qualia/lack qualia altogether), and access consciousness, the ability to process information (to be able to access information to). If Al is presumed to be a p-zed, then he would possess access consciousness, and thus be able to process the information of Ed being present in front of his Gate; meanwhile he would lack phenomenal consciousness, and thus unable to quite experience qualia, "the way things seem to us", not quite having a perspective. But if the consciousness is divided up this way, it gets even more complicated from here; qualia itself, its definition is again disputed. Such an area is philosophy.

But summed up (getting too lazy now), it's something that can't be defined! biggrin.gif

Wait, don't kill me yet.

Or we can just say that it's something that involve awareness of self, awareness of the environment, thoughts, imaginings, sensations, perceptions, moods, emotions, dreams, and ideas, although it may include all/some of these (all are not requirements depending on definition). So if we create a definition of consciousness in this case to exclude some contradicting definitions, the Al-philosophical zombie theory is possible. (forcing it a bit, but hey. The others' theories were created, too, no? tongue.gif)



How is Al being fed, anyhow? We just accepted that Ed and Al's minds crossed and that Ed was sleeping and eating for two, but how is energy getting to Al? If Al is still just as he looked when he was taken, there would be no problems- we can just say, hey, the Gate is in a suspended real-time zone. But he seemed to have grown, and is emaciated (but not dead). Augh, this is out of my area, I’ll need to do some research.
Anyhow, has anyone else wondered? I simply accepted what the manga fed me, for the most part. Suspension of disbelief, anyone? *Laugh*
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