Guest Post: Suisei no Gargantia and How One’s Goal Dignifies One’s Life
Medieval Otaku is run by a bookworm inflamed with a desire for learning and for God. The study of foreign cultures, literature, and history eventually led to him discovering anime, which hooked him with the remarkable richness and beauty of its stories and is likely to remain a strong hobby of his for decades to come.
Suisei no Gargantia stands as one of the more interesting of mediocre mecha shows because of the themes it explored. For all its failures of plot and containing only a couple of dynamic characters, it attempted to ask great questions concerning human life and dignity. Of the two prospective societies, we have the plainly Spartan Galactic Alliance, fully devoted to war, and the republican Gargantia flotilla, where each person seeks their own happiness without the undue interference of others.
But, what criteria do we use to determine which society stands in the right? It is self-evident that every man wishes to be happy presently and, for those who avow the immortality of the soul, to be happy eternally. The way we strive for happiness and what we determine as our end goal that lends dignity and meaning to life. One can hold it certain that goals which do not lend dignity to life are neither correct nor lead to happiness.
The destruction of human dignity clearly evinces itself in the Galactic Alliance. One may claim that the struggle for survival of the whole necessitates eliminating the weak and unfit—the poor and the crippled. But rather than dignify life, this course of action renders it disposable. People no longer value each other intrinsically, but only as far as they function as a cog of the Alliance. This narrows the worth of human nature to the level of brutes, which may be sold for slaughter as soon as they can no longer function in their former capacities.
But, Christians have a higher vision of human nature. As St. Paul said, we are all members of one body with our respective roles, which follows Our Lord’s saying that He is the vine, we are the branches. By remaining in Him, we bear much fruit. How do we bear fruit? By remaining in Him. This requires nothing save following the dictates of conscience. We do not need a government official’s stamp of approval or a resume of achievements.
While I would consider Gargantia’s philosophy of “just living” as somewhat defective, it does understand how human approval is extraneous to determining the value of human life. Therefore, the lameness of Amy’s brother does not merit his execution, as it would in the Galactic Alliance. He is permitted to pursue his interests until he gains enough knowledge to teach. The philosophy of personal fulfillment and freedom do much to increase the dignity of life.
Yet, Christians must go further than living according to our inclinations, because Christian dignity is founded on the goals of imitating Christ and attaining the Beatific Vision, which is indeed the goal of all men—if only they would realize it! As members of the Vine, all that we do and suffer may be consecrated to Jesus Christ, who wishes to make us all as good as He is, as the author George MacDonald avers. We must become what we were created to be: true to our creation in the image and likeness of God and to our vocation as adopted sons and daughters of the Most High. When viewed in this manner, the value of a single human life becomes inestimable, whether we spend all of our lives busy or all of it suffering.
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