CultState| You are more than your identity
I know Lain can occasionally be a popular topic around here. It provides prescient, weird, and resonating exploration of the human psyche when it can connect with people without the constraints of space, time, culture, language, obvious emotional cues, and even death itself. The result is not obvious: Without these core limitations in place, the forces of creativity are no longer linked to survival. They become, instead, a conduit for dehumanization.
Before the internet, human potential could be expressed as a creative font of memetic brilliance: A genius author, a talented musician, a skilled orator, etc. Lain, however, exists in a world where everyone is connected to one another. In doing so, our 1psychological ability of navigating reality become decoupled from survival, which turns creative tasks not just into escapist fantasies, but into meaningless noise. Once mind uploads (Masami Eiri) and artificial sentience (Lain) become possible, humans will no longer solely occupy such high-minded creative responsibilities and we will slowly fall from that time-cherished position of creative savant as embodied by Lain’s awkward existentialism. The show, then, is a critique of the upcoming post-creative world we are walking
On the Wired, no one knows who you are unless you reveal yourself and even then, that identity isn’t to be trusted. The cognitive power usually reserved for social continuity is, instead, allocated to engage in perpetual identity verification. In this scenario, all creative tasks that can exist are intrinsically defensive.
The KIDS project was designed to utilize the psychological energy of children, which is to say, try to upload the minds of children so that one could utilize their intuitive creativity as function without any of the form. If such a thing was possible, a significant blow to the mythical creative archetype would be dealt.
Later, the Knights utilize the techniques with the KIDS project with a game called PHANTOMa, an experiment to merge the real world with the Wired. The Knights come from a tradition of Hermes Trismegistus, a fusion of the Greek God of communication, Hermes, with Thoth, the deified version of history’s first revered autist, Imhotep. Fiercely creative and talented, and by the end of the show, they are the last humans to carry such a responsibility, choosing death over giving up their creativity. Creativity leads to death in Lain’s world.
Protocol Seven allowed Masami Eiri to upload his mind and consciousness into the Wired. He not only existed beyond the limitations of the physical world, but also existing as an archetype of what happens when reality can no longer enforce a marriage between survival and creativity. Creativity becomes the pathway of the self-dehuanization (disguised as elitist ascension) that justifies and enables the dehumanization of others.
Project Xanadu makes reference to the idea that a superior foreign intelligence assisted in the creation of the Wired and that Lain herself might be the culmination of such a creation. This is a play on the Age of Aquarius motif from the 1960s (when the actual Project Xanadu was actually conceived) which is a reference to the astrological water bearers, or those who will bring spiritual connectivity to the world. (Once the world is spiritually fulfilled with the Wired, creativity is no longer needed) Additionally, the water bearer of lore was originally Ganymede, a beautiful boy stolen by the Gods to serve them, which, once again, symbolizes the destruction of creative potential by stealing it from the mortals.
This brings us to Lain, a cyberpotent sentient program, a being who exists in this post-creative world where all decisions are ultimately hers and hers alone. The ultimate creator of a civilization-wide echo chamber centralized around her, shaped by her time experiencing life as a human does, she chooses to destroy memories of herself in everyone, and thus, eliminating the Wired itself. She saw that the Wired created a post-creative future and opted to destroy it.
Let this be a lesson to you, anon. Those who wish to decouple creativity from survival often call it a utopia. To have all of your human needs fulfilled, paradoxically, dehumanizes you. MKULTRA, social experiments and neglect of children, the sexual revolution, widespread abortions under the guise of women’s choice, a lionization of single mothers, pedophilia honeypots as exchangeable political currency, and outreach programs like GATE were all part of a grand initiative to make a nation of farmers and factory works breed “Children of the Thunder”. These children would go on to eventually make up the deranged elite of Silicon Valley, obsessed with their quest of connecting all of mankind so to bring forth an supposed Age of Aquarius where all are to be as gods. (Dehumanizaiton disguised as ascension) Lain shows us how to defeat such machinations.