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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Naruto Manga 622 A Mindful Review

 Naruto 622 is out and Manga Stream is holding strong! This time we saw something that personally made me all warm and fuzzy know after I got past the senseless deaths and everything.
Hashirama and Madara made friends fast when they met at that creek as kids and we learn in this chapter that they have both known the painful loss of brothers, and surprisingly we discover that there was once a time that Madara really did want people to kiss and make up!

I was touched by the experience and sentiment that we see which we know will ultimately take us back to the war raging at present in the Narutoverse. Hashirama and Madara have in common the fact that they both find the adults in their lives idiotic. The point they made was one that really struck home with me. Why do people have to retaliate when they have been wronged?

It's seems like a stupid question...I mean if someone is a jerkass to you then naturally you have to put them in their place, right!? Right!? Hashirama argues with his own father that it's twisted and wrong to be sending children in to fight and die when the Senju claim to be a clan of compassion and love! His father merely punches and berates him for disrespecting his fallen brothers sacrifice, but Hashirama remains adamant that the deaths in the war of Senju versus Uchiha are empty and meaningless and he doesn't want it to continue.

Now common sense might tell you: Well hold on! This is just manga we're talking about here, it's all lovey dovey idealistic nonsense and doesn't reflect how the real world works! But as an Otaku I don't believe in common sense and as a Psychology student I draw research based conclusions that refute the reliability of common sense, soooo Double Whammy!!

Hashirama and Madara alike, after their respective bad experiences and arguments with their clans about the senselessness of constant war and revenge both agree in their conversation at the creek that if people were honest, open, and forgiving the endless bloodshed could find an end, but the selfrighteousness and fearfulness in peoples hearts prevents such progress. Guess what, I can make the argument that Hashirama's love and compassion philosophy is backed by research and experiments to ultimately be not only happier but a more  practical solution to conflict!

Yay for Love!

Refer to this webpage for details:

Apparently revenge stimulates the reward centers of the brain specifically in something with the fancy smart sounding name; caudate nucleus...yea the reward center in your head causes you a lot of problems as I mention in my last article "Anime Mind" and here it strikes again. People like revenge, because it satisfies a base urge to get what you believe you ought to have. Our nature as social creatures is partly responsibly for this too. Most other animals are not vengeful beacause as long as you leave them to live their lives they don't much care to hunt you down and punish you for what you've done. But humans rely on relationships to live so if someone wrongs you, there's a typical feeling of a threat to your survival and you strive to "set it right" for survivals sake!

However, when we take Hashirama's perspective and look at it empirically, we see the pitfalls and high prices to be paid for acts of vengence. All of the time and energy that could be used to, oh I don't know, build a Leaf Village or something are instead invested in war, and the return on this investment is what? We attack and kill some of them, they return the favor, then we kill more, then they kill more, and...when and how exactly do you think this is going to go anywhere? What are we achieving!?

This is a common fallacy that both characters point out. Which is the fact that humans will fall into the trap of; do what makes me feel good now. Unfortunately distracting us from what would ultimately be better for everyone in the long run.

So where is this going? Well I found it interesting in I think the previous chapter, when Tobirama said that when an Uchiha loses someone they love a unique chakra flows into their brain which enhances their power with Sharingan while simultaneously blinding them to reason. Which is a really cool fictional parallel to actual science, people react to stress with certain brain activities like stress and emotional reactivity which produce what can sometimes be very adverse and maladaptive effects and behaviors like memory failure, shortsightedness, alchoholism, shooting sprees...or on a lighter note...

It looks like Hashirama and Madara were on the path to friendship and revolutionary practices which will bring the warring factions together, however we can see where this is leading. They will persuade people to work towards a better world built on forgiveness and kinship, buuuut we already have it spoiled for us that Madara will break at some point, I don't understand how, because apparently his brothers have already all been killed...was he lying? Is there another brother or a friend he sees as a brother?(Like Itachi and Shisui?) Whatever the case Madara will suffer a loss he can't handle, which will drive him over the edge. Instead of standing by Hashirama and enduring through it, he will succumb to the natural drive to  balance the ledger so to speak and get his dues and set everything straight.

But we know it won't work, not just because Manga story telling is predictable, but because there's a grain of real truth infused into the work as a reflection of reality and human feelings. Nobody can stand as the lone supreme judge of all that is holy, different people with different standards of who owes what to who will continue a cycle of retaliation, and there will be no peace as long as people surrender to their impulses and fail to let go, see the bigger picture, and move on to better things.

The only thing I'm curious about here is what Hashirama's conclusion will be about the true purpose of shinobi. If love and kinship are what's best, then why is it still necessary to have shinobi and build our military power? I would argue that this is a recognition of the fact the we can't let our guard down with human nature churning within us. The fact is that the lovey dovey approach is easier said than done. It's not so easy to forgive and forget, and it sounds unbelieveable to even consider building kinship with people who killed members of your family, some of whom may have been children!

I think the purpose of shinobi here is this: they are guardians against human weakness. They do not exist to kill enemies or punish wrong doers. Their true purpose is to fight against the frailty of the human spirit. Sometimes this will lead to war, Hashirama himself even said "Whenever you live there is always war." both times he's been resurrected. So while conflict may be inevitable, I think the true philosophy Hashirama, and in turn everyone in the Leaf and perhaps the Ninja Alliance too at this point is this: Hate the Sin, not the Sinner. Fight for what's right and make peace as soon as you can.

This went waaaaaay deeper than I had intended, I hope you get something out of it!

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