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Kaiba’s final episode begins with the plant that is its namesake extending its tendrils through space, eager to consume all memories, to devour everything humanity has fought for and built. It is a warning, an omen and maybe even an inevitable event: if humanity does not cultivate its experience and share it with others, we will all eventually crumble. We will be as the ghosts of that abandoned moon, or even worse – simply an absence where our feet once tread, where we once strove and yearned for eternity, or merely for a better tomorrow. Our capacity for destruction will inevitably, and naturally, surpass our capacity for survival with the power we have at our disposal.
Kaiba could easily represent the climate collapse or nuclear annihilation that our steadfast embracing of global capitalism makes inevitable. Can we reach the top and guide this society with intelligence, compassion, and an eye on all living things? Or are we more like Popo and Warp who, in order to achieve ultimate power, must sacrifice their ability to feel compassion and understanding for the less fortunate among us, and thus give up all that power can create? Is power the absence of such sentiments, the ability to conduct oneself without moral restraints? Surely that’s too pat, too cynical of a framing; there must be a compassion that is both universal and undeniable, that can steer us beyond the clinking of coins and spinning of fans.
“People always want to take a dominant position over others.” The evolution of Warp’s home echoes the fatalism of his words, as we see a once-verdant planet where there were no tiers of separation steadily morph into the barren shell of stratified haves and have-nots that we’ve come to know. Does human nature lead to subjugation and domination, to a system where all that’s good and valuable about us is consumed by those who have the power to claim? Even if only some percentage of human beings are driven by a will to dominate others, won’t their pursuit of that goal inevitably lead to a system of winners and losers, owing to the relative passivity of the instincts surrounding them?
Is it possible for us to enforce equality without tyranny? And who is qualified to decide on what is fair to all of us in either case? And even if we established such a system, how could it continue unimpeded, when we’ve collectively proven ourselves so adept at exploiting and corrupting systems of justice into systems of restraint? Regardless of whether or not everyone thinks like Warp. You can’t get enough people think like Warp that a better way might not be possible – enough of the selfish irritants, enough of the characters Dostoevsky so bitterly described in his Notes From Underground, who will throw rocks through a glass palace just to see it crumble. Are we doomed never to create a society that is more noble than those who are the worst?
“Because unless you place others below you, you cannot obtain happiness for yourself.” Warp’s philosophy seems absurd on its face, but is undeniably how many people view the world. The basic instinct to think is at the heart of so much political discourse. “at least I’m not one of that group,”Whatever you decide to do with humanity. Racists take comfort in knowing they’re superior to some arbitrarily defined “other,”And their rulers are more than happy to cultivate this instinct. They can thwart any possible demands for a better life by railing against the things they consider worse. And at the top end of society, what drives people who have already attained more wealth than their children’s children could possibly spend, if not a fervent desire to still place their peers below themselves? Millions of human beings see their happiness as relative, as a function that can only be resolved by seeing how it comes at some other’s expense.
Oh, how we struggle for something more, for a relationship that isn’t mediated by money or dominance! Now that we’ve come to know every character and form of Kaiba’s opening, its procession of tentatively grasping hands strikes all the harder. All of these characters want the same thing – love and connection, the freedom necessary to pursue their dreams, a little slice of happiness in a very big world. Yet, the devil scarcity pits them against one another, forcing them into conflicts that have no real purpose, and pitting them apart despite their common struggle. The cruelty needed to survive or challenge this world must be tempered, balanced by kindness – without both strength and solidarity, there can be no better future.
Must the cruelty and selfishness of our nature be learned, the way Popo’s selfless wishes were corrupted into his eventual rise to power? The story of Kaiba seems to indicate so – that a Warp unfettered by memories might become a kind and earnest man, driven simply by his love for Neyro, just as Popo was driven by love for Cheki. Then perhaps the plant Kaiba or the storm of electrolyte clouds have the right of it – perhaps we must return to the Garden of Eden, living without understanding or memory, and therefore also without selfishness or sin. But surely, surely, our intelligence and ambitious are worth something. There must be a better way than just focusing on tightening and improving chains to harness our ingenuity and ambition for the collective good. There must be another way than to give in to the Kaiba or to emptiness and hopelessness.
After enduring a life of sacrifices that were utterly callous, Kichi shares his thoughts on the fundamental question. “I haven’t lived a life to be proud of, and I can’t apologize enough for what I’ve done to you. But when I met you, I remembered something important. Maybe if I hadn’t forgotten that, I wouldn’t have become like this.”Kichi, as he looks out at the destruction his hopes and ambitions caused, recognizes the sincere, compassionate hopes that once pushed him forward: Neyro, his own love.
If Kichi and Kaiba are able to remember what inspired their ambitions then perhaps there is hope in all of us. We simply cannot allow ourselves to be lost in the pursuit – in the sacrifices that must be made, in the power that must be claimed if a “better”Future is assured. We must remember our Neyro, our Kaiba, our Cronico – whoever it is that makes us vulnerable, that makes us wish to break our crust and share our bread, as meager as our portion may be. So long as we remember we are not fighting for ourselves, we might journey forward without losing our humanity – and we might not have to journey alone.
As Kaiba, Warp, and their ilk clash in a deliriously rendered fight, we turn our attention to the wounded, where Cheki and Neyro tend to them and bring them to safety. In spite of the apocalyptic violence above, this act is what is truly important: the human spirit’s indomitability, expressed through its unerring compassion even in times like this, even from victims who have every reason to despise these false Warps and would-be tyrants. Even without her memories, Cheki’s kindness remains, proving she is fundamentally instilled with a sense of empathy and forgiveness. We may think that we have “lost everything,”But we “nothing,”Our basic level of thinking and feeling is already a generous gift. Cheki and Neyro have little, but their strength, compassion and determination to help others is what they have.
We have our hopes and dreams, and we are connected. Kichi tells Hyo Hyo that Neyro is Neyro as his body gets crushed to disable fans. “don’t be ashamed. Live for what’s important to you.” The essential fact – you must remember what is important, remember what first drove you to claim power and seek eternity. If we can remember to live for the people who are important to us, we will not be led astray like Chronico’s mother, or Vanilla, or any of the other poor souls who made whatever compromises they thought might grant them a sliver of control over their lives. Don’t live to sustain your own existence. Live for what you cherish, so that they can live happily and safely. Kichi may have found the answer, the solution to growth and advancement without solipsism or cruel treatment. Live for the people that you loveMake your life a prayer of thanks and gratitude to them.
It is impossible to be satisfied by emptiness and a voracious appetite without that instinct. Warp’s best hope is destruction via Kaiba. “if we get eaten by that, we’ll become one. We won’t be lonely anymore.”This empty edifice and this pursuit of power and wealth for their own sake is what creates this sense of loneliness. These concerns are laughable among those we love. Warp, as his philosophy crumbles and his philosophy falls apart, switches from bargaining into threats, telling Neyro “I can kill you easily!”Neyro’s response is simple and essential “there’s nothing impressive about being able to kill.”
Subjugating others is easy. All it takes is selfishness and a lack concern for your fellow human. Pulling the trigger and ending a life is an easy way to solve an immediate problem. It’s an act of dominance, which can invalidate years and ages of struggle and possibly salt the earth for future generations. It is becauseIt is so simple to destroy that it makes the task of creating a more civilized society so difficult. To create a better society, we must acknowledge that we are capable of destruction, but still put it aside. Instead, we should trust in our abilities to find common ground and to build things with an impact that goes beyond our own needs.
Neyro’s task is to find Kaiba in the tyrannical, scared Warp. As so often is the case, the root of his unhappiness is personal grievance: Warp’s feelings of abandonment and despair at being poisoned by his mother. The pettiness behind the tyrant’s all-seeing outlook would be worth examining and criticizing at another time. But Neyro is not interested in judging, but rather, she wants to comfort Warp. “no matter how much you consume, your loneliness will never go away.” With these words, she digs further into Warp’s mind, reaching out to the scared and lonely boy who wishes only to be held, to be told it’s okay. Neyro is a flawed character, but she has the most powerful power in the world: the ability of understanding, forgiveness, and connection.
In a society that revels in comparing all of us to specific interchangeable items, only selfless love will redeem us. We must be able to forgive – there are too many grudges, too many well-earned sources of resentment, for our species to survive the fulfillment of all our hatreds. We must be stronger than our capacity to hate, to subjugate, to disenfranchise and destroy – as difficult as it seems, as easy as it is to fall back into distrust and selfishness, we must be stronger. For a selfless love is the only thing that can save us – the only force that does not take more than it offers, the only route to a world where happiness and security are freely given. Vanilla, Kichi, & Neyro are examples of how we can give freely to create a better world.
With Neyro’s arms wrapped around him, her blood freely given that her love might be restored, Kaiba awakes. “I have returned, my Neyro,”He whispers. “Before I met you, I was nothing.”We paradoxically find ourselves in the end by giving ourselves freely. You can find out more about us by clicking here.We are now more powerful than we were before. By consuming freely, we can’t fill the void inside ourselves.. Only by giving can we be nourished, loved, and sustained. We are empowered by the love that we receive. It might sound simplistic or cliché, but the truth is that we are simple animals, and our most fundamental questions mostly have simple answers. To be satisfied, we don’t need to consume until all our selfish desires are satisfied. That will never happen. To be filled means to love and be loved back.
Kaiba ends with silence. The misbegotten spirits that reached the surface still alive have all been reunited. Hands reach out to each other and embrace in fellowship, forgetting old grudges. Humanity is not about claiming, dominating, or consuming. Let this experience of joining hands, sharing equally and with love, be the essence of humanity.
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Original content by wrongeverytime.com – “Kaiba – Episode 12 | Wrong Every Time”
Read the complete article at https://wrongeverytime.com/2024/02/05/kaiba-episode-12/