The Lack of Empathy in The Anti-Moé Brigade

M134OpinionIcon-MOEThe Anti-Moé Brigade has an empathy problem. They have trouble seeing things from perspectives other than their own, and that causes them to be remarkably callous or hypocritical at times. This can often be seen in their assessments of moé fans, and often becomes a pervasive element in their arguments.

Let’s face it: To a certain extent, the popularity of moé among males, especially in Japan, is due to the attraction to an idealization of femininity as a substitute for a real relationship. Plenty of people enjoy moé for much simpler reasons, but the number of people who see it as a surrogate for real human romance is not insignificant.

This, by itself, isn’t a problem. Understanding that this is the case for some people is an important part of understanding the concept of moé and its popularity among otaku. The problem comes when people fail to even attempt to understand why this happens, instead insisting that something is wrong with these people because they feel the need to engage in so-called “2D relationships.”

Dating is a game where the goal is clear, but the rules, mechanics, and state of the game are all obfuscated. It’s like playing chess blindfolded without even knowing how the pieces move. In Japan, where the women are becoming increasingly independent, career-oriented, and picky about men, this is even truer.

By itself, women’s becoming more liberated and independent isn’t a problem, but compounded with other issues in Japanese society, it’s created an environment where many men and women aren’t interested in dating, and many men and women who would otherwise be interested in dating can’t find someone who lives up to their standards.

Let’s be real: When we’re talking about dating and love, a lot of it comes down to luck. It’s about meeting the right person at the right place at the right time in the right way. There are ways to increase one’s chances, certainly, but at the end of the day, it comes down to luck, fate, or what have you.

People who turn to 2D to fill their desire for companionship are pushed into their position. They’ve felt rejection from society for not being able to attract a mate. Why they can’t attract a mate doesn’t matter. Society expects every man to be able to do that, and if someone Is unable to, for whatever reason, they’re seen as deficient. They’re probably more than a bit bitter about that. They turn to moé as a coping mechanism, but then the Anti-Moé Brigade sees fit to insult, deride, and pathologize.

The Anti-Moé Brigade can’t understand what these people are going through and make no effort to do so. They’re quick to disregard the good that moé is capable of bringing to people’s lives, in favor of vilifying it and the people who enjoy it for supposedly taking the anime they like away from them. These are people who see a person’s ability to “get laid” as a measure of their worth, and if you own hug pillows with anime girls on them, you obviously won’t ever “get laid,” and those who can’t “get laid” are on the bottom of the totem pole.

They look at someone who’s in love with a moé girl and rather than being happy that person’s found a way to be happy, they can only see their own perspective.

It’s weird.

They don’t do it themselves, so anyone who does do it must have something wrong with them. That’s the Anti-Moé Brigade’s mindset.

Moé helps people cope with loneliness.

It’s helped me out of depressive states on more than one occasion.

I’m willing to bet money that it’s saved people from suicide.

It’s compelling. It’s moving. It’s powerful.

It can legitimately affect people’s lives and people need to understand that before writing it off as just dumb, pandering entertainment.

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26 Replies to “The Lack of Empathy in The Anti-Moé Brigade”

  1. I’d agree to some extent that some of these people do lack empathy, and they don’t try to understand or show sympathy towards people who are struggling to find happiness. They do instead just write them off as pathetic, spineless, lonely, guy losers with no life. They seem to have no sympathy for these people, and a part of me has to wonder if any of these people have actually experienced loneliness or depression. I’m sure they have, but they seem to think that just because they didn’t cope with loneliness a certain way, that means anyone who has a different coping mechanism is wrong.

    I know what it feels like to feel like there’s nobody in real life who you can trust and who will accept you for who you are. I feel that way every day of my life. But it’s hard sometimes for me to be sure of how I truly feel about the whole 2D relationships thing. On one hand, I can understand why they would want to escape into a fantasy world to cope with their loneliness. On the other hand, I don’t think using that to replace real human relationships is very healthy, and I almost view it as them running away from their problems instead of working to fix them. But then again, I don’t know their full situation, so who am I to judge? Should I just live and let live, or should I voice that I think they should learn to face the real world? I just don’t know.

    But what I do know is that calling them weird and pathetic isn’t going to solve anything. It will just make them avoid the real world even more. I also hate it when these people say, “Oh god, I just wish these people would stop being pathetic and get a life so that they can stop buying all this moeshit and actually good anime can be made!” Is it wrong of me to think that these people who say this are oversimplifying the situation? Is it wrong of me to think that these people don’t really care that some people in this world are having serious difficulty in the world and they genuinely want to solve the problem, but they only want the anime they like to be made?

    1. @Drawingirl 94

      Sad to say it but we are moving into a digital era where more and more human interaction is being replaced by machines. It won’t be long until our entire existence and forms of communication are digitized. This new wave of technology isn’t just affecting Otaku its affecting regular people all over the world as less and less people are choosing to opt out of relationships. In Japan for example, 33% of young men and women are not having sex while in America only 20% of men want to marry nowadays.

      While the human heart will always want companionship, if a person can have that companionship without jumping through hoops (like you would in a real relationship) then people are going to choose the easier route that’s just in our nature. After all, we live in an era where you create your ideal partner with a bunch of 1’s and 0’s give it a few decades and we’ll have androids and mind uploading to replace human relationships all together. Whether it be cowardly or not.

      1. This is a bit shameful for me to admit, but I was not only referring to Japanese otaku, but also myself. Despite being in a relationship, I still somewhat have the desire to use fictional characters as a replacement for real people. It’s not so much that I’m a misanthropic bitter person or that I’m a coward (well, maybe that), but because of my general feeling of isolation and not being able to emotionally relate to people. I’m kind of torn on whether or not this is something I should just accept and replace people with bishoujo characters and cute fluffy animals, or I should grow a metaphorical pair and socialize and face the world. I have no interest in people generally, but I don’t know if I would later end up regretting not making friends.

        1. I’ve always been a rather isolationist personality, even amongst friends. I’m not sure exactly where it comes from, but it’s something that has always been a facet of my life. It’s not a lack of empathy or even necessarily being antisocial, but I don’t connect on a deeper level like that. It could be my wiring or a number of things. Maybe I just haven’t met the right person to bring it out of me. Who knows? In any case, to put it succinctly, I know what you mean.

          I enjoy moe, ero-anime, and so on, but I don’t use them for surrogate relationships. They are amusements in the same fashion that I categorize any other type of entertainment. Some people have really big hangups with that, but that’s ultimately their issue. I am reasonably successful, have numerous good friends, and hold a plethora of other interests that occupy my time and attention, so the idea that I don’t have a fulfilling life is laughable.

          1. I dunno, for me it’s kinda complicated. I don’t know if my issue is social anxiety, or just an inevitable outcome of having Asperger’s Disorder. It’s hard for me to tell if this is how I genuinely feel, or if it’s just me losing hope I’ll ever have a real genuine connection with people besides my boyfriend and a few other people. Sometimes I wonder if the reason why I always feel so depressed is because I don’t talk to very many people, but when I attempt to, I always feel like I’m the odd one out. I feel like I don’t fit in, and I don’t understand them. There is even a small cynical part of me who feels some of them are too vapid for my tastes, even though it might just be me setting my standards way too high for people.

  2. Oh yes the anti-moe brigade definitely has a lack of empathy. I think the issue is the other side with no willingness to engage or even truly understand just what moe is.

    Just yesterday I did my best to explain moe in the most layman’s terms to Josh of Collection DX who was willing to let me discuss what moe means to me and why I love and defend it. He was able to see and understand that even if it’s not something he’s into, it was great that I could be so passionate for.

    But go ahead AMB, you continue to mock and show distain for moe and its fans without any sort of ability to engage to with us and see where that attitude gets you.

  3. At the risk of sounding like a tumblrette, situations like these always remind me of the fact that the powers at be who are against moe display a large amount of cultural insensitivity toward the Japanese. More specifically than just a buzzword, it displays an inability to put aside your own upbringing to be able to look at a cultural landscape different than your own; to look at the factors that contribute to it and come to a conclusion based upon the elements present.

    The main source of the reality that many young people in Japan are unwilling to dabble in love/relationships (and by extension the need for surrogates for some) comes from the line you can hear in almost every travel show that makes it’s way to Japan: “Japan is a land of contrasts, of the old and the new.” Though spoken more truthfully, that “contrast” can often turn into outright “contradiction.” In both the Meiji and the post-war/pre-bubble burst years, Japan modernized unthinkably fast, with the the physical state of the nation (technology, amenities, jobs and opportunities, etc…) drastically changing in just the space of a single generation at times. In terms of widespread societal change, that is lightning quick. It is important to note however, that because the physical state of the nation changed so quickly, the cultural state of the nation lagged behind. This is exasperated by the fact that if you look at an age chart of Japan, you’ll notice that it is more or less pear shaped: the average age in Japan is far older than in the rest of the 1st world (a little aside: it is a pet peeve of mine when people say Japan has a “shrinking” population, it is an “aging” population. It sounds like a minor difference but there is a lot of meaning lost in the nuance, please get it right). An old population coupled with the sheer unbridled speed at which Japan modernized in the past means that the cultural mindset and landscape had no real time to catch up, resulting in a new face with old feelings which often causes problems.

    This contradiction can show itself in numerous ways (a notable one is voter apathy on a scale that makes the U.S’s problem with it look feeble, but is is neither here nor there) and one of them is the problem with relationships in Japan. The physical reality of women’s independence/liberation is at odds with the dutiful wife/yamato nadeshiko (or in brass tacks: the stay at home mom) concept that many Japanese women still want to take part of. As the amenities of modern society become more expensive, it follows that it becomes more acceptable for women to enter and stay longer in the workforce due to the need for two breadwinners instead of one. This is a case of economic demand pushing social changes, something that is entirely normal. Where it goes pear shaped is that many people, even women, want the cultural ideal of the housewife to still be a thing. The result of this is that there are women in the workplace up until a certain age, and then the number just falls of a cliff (around the same average age where women in Japan have kids). This also means that in a relationship, there is a cultural pressure for there to be one breadwinner as would be true in the past, while economics dictate that two breadwinners would be far more practical. This means that that the viable pool of partners becomes significantly smaller due to this mostly artificial restriction. Also while I am saying “partners” because there are always exceptions to the rule and human relations can never be totally described by any blanket statement, I am mostly referring to the males of the population. Biologically speaking (and without any limiting factors like arranged marriage, brides as the spoils of war, etc…) it is the male who presents himself to potential mates, and the female who selects the potential mate. With women being freed (rightly so) of the aforementioned limiting factors (which themselves are cultural constructs) we default back to a model that is basically as old as the primordial ooze that began it all. This combination of women’s liberation leading back to a biological status quo and certain cultural pressures that die hard, leads to quite the limit on the pool of potential mates. This, due to the complex nature of human relations and specifically dating as already said by Anubis, means that some individuals will either never be selected or are highly unlikely to be.

    These individuals however, are still human and will try and find some way to fill the gap left from what amounts to being the last kid picked for the dodgeball team (except this time, you just go strait to the bench instead of going on the court). These measures can vary, some people go the route of the the bottle cap collector, a select few go down the dangerous path of people like Elliot Rodger, with a sea of differing paths in between the two extremes. Moe can as already stated, serve as one of these coping mechanisms. Personally, even though I do love moe for both it’s cathartic value and what it can bring to narratives I don’t think anything can serve as a replacement for human interaction. However one always has to keep in mind that one’s opinions are shaped by the world around them. I may feel this way about moe now, but what if I didn’t have a good relationship with my Mother? What if I didn’t have friends that I feel that I could lean upon? Changing those factors alone could have changed my opinions on what can and what can’t serve as a replacement for human relations, I can only imagine how different I would be if I wasn’t a child of NYC and instead a child of Tokyo or Osaka. It is always important to maintain as much objectivity as possible and to be mindful of the position of others, as you could be just a few different decisions and a different birthplace lottery away from their shoes. This is especially true of people who often stare into the looking glass of other cultures, whether through their current events or through their cultural products.

    Ignoring the fact that this surrogate method does not physically harm others, the failure to be objective and to try and comprehend that a culture different to yours has different problems and pressures that can lead to different results than your own, especially for a culture who’s products you consume on a regular basis, is lazy if I am being nice and despicable if I am being blunt. Even if I don’t see it as a replacement, the healing effects of moe has helped me out through some tough times in the past, and it still continues to. Even if you do not personally agree, I would argue that there is in the very least some merit to the idea of it’s healing value.

    A certain level of cultural objectivity and “cultural sensitivity” would make that fairly easy to see to anyone paying attention. Cultural objectivity is not just the mark of a good fan, it is the mark of a good person in general. However, it has been shown multiple times that the anti-moe brigade are not only poor fans, but are also poor people. So really, this is quite unsurprising.

  4. Does being “anti-moe” include people who simply wish for the person in question to have a healthier relationship perspective? I have no urge to be in a relationship, but then I also don’t kid myself and concoct a fantasy to justify not trying harder to fulfill my needs. That’s simply not healthy behavior, that’s settling for false happiness. If my calling someone out on this is being labeled as showing a lack of empathy, then I must say that the anti-anti-moe brigade doesn’t know what empathy really is, and is starting to suffer from a victimization complex. There are plenty of people who have a healthy perspective on this, while liking their 2D characters more than the average person. They’re not the ones I think the “anti-moe brigade” are after in the first place.

    1. The thing about it is, many of these people have a very clear separation of fantasy and reality. They know the character they fancy isn’t real, and prefer it that way. That’s the thing about all this: A lot of people are only viewing this through their own perspective, with no eyes for how the people affected by this might be thinking and feeling about it. “Wishing for people to have a healthier relationship perspective” shouldn’t involve “calling someone out” on anything. That is a lack of empathy. All that’ll do is make these people bitter and unwilling to engage in discussion. That’s the entire problem: People are too focused on “calling people out” and don’t seem to want to actually have a conversation.

      You think it’s unhealthy, and you think it’s false happiness. These people obviously don’t think so, but instead of having a desire to understand where their head is at with all this, you want to “call people out” and accuse them of having a “victimization complex” when they take issue with that. That’s what makes it a lack of empathy.

      1. It’s been a while since I checked in, but whatever.

        >“Wishing for people to have a healthier relationship perspective” shouldn’t involve “calling someone out” on anything. That is a lack of empathy.

        I was talking about the people who have the fantasy/reality problem. Empathy DOES involve calling people out when the situation calls for it. They may not be ready to hear the message, but if they never get the message at all then they’re even worse off.

        It’s fine to be gung-ho about your hobby and passion, but not when you forget about the people on your own “side” who have legitimate problems, and start getting overly defensive and polarizing.

        1. The outliers within any group of people will invariably be special cases that require different methods to manage than the more average people in the group. People who have a fantasy/reality problem (in general, not just among moé otaku) are outliers and, naturally, require different methods to manage. I still don’t think “calling them out” is the best way to go about it, but then again, you and I might be talking about different things when we talk about “calling someone out.”

          Specifically, however, I’m opposed to treating everyone who chooses to turn to 2D like they’re someone with a fantasy/reality problem, especially when that involves dismissal and passive-aggressive hostility, which is often the case when people of the Anti-Moé Brigade talk about this issue.

          The kinds of people I’m talking about begin from “This practice is unhealthy, narcissistic, and indicative of a problem separating fantasy and reality,” and bring everything back to “This practice is unhealthy, narcissistic, and indicative of a problem separating fantasy and reality.” They’re not out to help anyone cope with any issues they might have, and they’re certainly not out to solve any problems. The only thing they’re out to do is feel better about themselves by pathologizing other groups of people whose only crime is doing something they don’t themselves do.

          I’m 100% all for having a discussion about the subject and all aspects of it, because I feel like that’s valuable, but what I’m saying is that there are a lot of people (Unsurprisingly, a lot of them hardline anti-moé) who approach this issue talking about how “wrong” the people who choose “2D relationships” are, masquerading as being interested in having a real discussion when, in reality, they’ve already made up their mind that the whole set of people in “2D relationships” are deficient in some way, either mentally ill, narcissistic, or just plain “unhealthy.”

          There absolutely are people among those in “2D relationships” who have legitimate problems, and I don’t want to minimize that. What I’m saying, though, is that the effort by people with an interest in vilifying moé and moé fans to paint everyone who engages in “2D relationships” as those people who have legitimate problems is not only a smarmy, disingenuous, self-aggrandizing farce of a talking point, meant only to raise one group of anime fans above another, but also does minimize that there are people there with legitimate problems.

          So, if I came off as minimizing those with legitimate problems and those who legitimately want to help them, I apologize, because that’s not something I was aiming for.

  5. Great post, as always. It’s true that people don’t realize that times are changing and you don’t necessarily HAVE to get married or even have a relationship in order to live a fulfilling life. As you said, both men and women (cautious ones anyway) have higher standards for who they’re gonna have a relationship with than they did decades ago, and the more careful you are about who you choose (and you should be careful of course) the smaller your chances of finding the right person. So some people fulfill that gap by other means, whether it’s by watching moe anime or engaging in any other fictional work on a deeper level than most other people. Does that automatically make these people inferior? Of course not. Like I said in my recent post, I believe a person’s actions are what count and not what kind of media they choose to watch.

    And let’s not forget the fact that there are plenty of fans out there who love moe anime, collect figures, etc., and are also in real relationships (myself and my boyfriend are perfect examples 😉

      1. I’ve always wondered why you let comments like these pass, since I don’t think I could allow trolls to comment on my blog. But I guess you do have a good point that it’s a great way of showing why we shouldn’t take the Anti-Moe/Loli/Shouta Brigade seriously.

        Although, that being said, I do think it’s possible for a person to have arguments against moe, loli, and shouta that actually are of substance and can contribute greatly to interesting discussion.

        1. When you find some Drawingirl94 be sure to let me know. Cause 99.9% of the time its this traditional “HURR DURR! MEN LIKE CUTE GIRLS SO THEY MUST BE PEDOS HURRRRR!”

          When I start to hear things like actual facts and credible statistics from scientifically literate studies then we’ll start to have a meaningful discussion. Otherwise these trolls are just stupid moral faggots who need to be hung for others to see and laugh at.

          1. I’ll be sure to do that, if there’s any way I can contact you. Personally, I’d like to hear some actual sources that would indicate all lolicons are child molesters. Since I’ve heard some people accuse loli artists of using real CP as inspiration for their art, I’d also like to see some proof of that. I’d also like to see any proof of real child molesters using loli to groom their victims. I’m pretty sure some very interesting discussions could come out of that, and maybe we could all learn something valuable and interesting. There isn’t anything interesting, original, or valuable about trolls saying, “ALL LOLICONS ARE SICK PEDOS WHO MOLEST LITTLE GIRLS, AND WE SHOULD PUT THEM TO DEATH INSTEAD OF WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS,” or some shit like that.

    1. lol nice username dude. Next time link us to meatspin through your name for the full effect so I can at least give you an eighth of a point for creativity, seeing as your actual comment contains none.

      Though creativity wouldn’t be the only thing you are scraping the bottom of the barrel of.

  6. You raise fine points, but do take into consideration that, while we are all free to do what we will so long as we do not harm each other, the obsession with fictional characters (as in, characters who do not exist, regardless of your viewpoints on reality) is unhealthy. It’s alright to enjoy them, it’s alright to love and adore them and all, but when it comes to the point where it affects one’s life to such extremes is when it is unhealthy. No judgement here, certainly, but you also have to realise that it’s not a real solution to people’s problems with regards to relationships, depression and the likes, perhaps only giving temporary respite. There are better ways to deal with these problems, ways that are more permanent. Namaste.

    1. Why is it unhealthy? Is attraction to 2D somehow inherently detrimental to a person? Or are you referring only to “obsession”–at which point you’re begging the question? It is only “unhealthy” or “abnormal” insofar that it violates social/cultural prescriptions, but consider what fiction is all about to begin with. Why do we cry when we engage in tragedy? Why do we laugh with comedy? Movies are filled with actors playing characters. Why is it okay to engage with them on every emotion but love? Or is it an issue of dimensionality? Is it because 2D characters aren’t equal to 3D characters? Nope. Characters are characters. Instead of “unhealthy” consider these: “empowering,” “spiritual,” “self-affirming,” “actualizing.” 2D /makes me happy/.

      I’ll tell you what’s unhealthy: pretending to be someone you’re not, going out, and engaging in esoteric, often manipulative, rituals of courtship in order to “get laid.” Or maybe going out, getting married, having kids, divorcing and then leaving the kids in the fallout? Do I hate 3D relationships? No. But I express realities. And maybe this is why so many people are disillusioned by the entire state of romantic human relationships. For many people, myself included, it’s a losing game. Perhaps because we’ve seen the pain or experienced it firsthand. Try telling a depressed person to go out and live an exciting life filled with fulfilling interpersonal relationships; if they could do that, they probably wouldn’t be depressed.

      Of course 2D love has it’s darker side of escapism, but so do 3D relationships with codependency, manipulation, emotional over-reliance, abuse, escapism, and whatever else. My point is that criticism of 2D love prioritizes 3D as a supposed superior “reality” when this is an arbitrary distinction. The way we engage metaphysically with the world doesn’t separate 2D from 3D, character from “real person,” or “real” and “unreal.” Chalk it up to how we process and understand information–symbolically. And moe, or fiction in general, is like symbols on steroids.

      Criticisms against moe, 2D love, loli, whatever, are usually backed by a profound ignorance of circumstances, contexts, the nature of narratives/fictions, and the nature of the human experience itself. If you see the pieces that constitute the phenomenon (or “”””””problem””””””) you would understand that it’s much more complicated than “You like 2D girls, how weird lol go get laid” or the less blatantly offensive (but still insensitive) “that’s not normal.” Fuck normal. “Normal” only exists to legitimize the current social paradigms of power and dominance. And the same culture that makes people sick also seeks to vilify and denigrate them by labels like “abnormal,” “obsessed,” “creepy,” “unhealthy.”

      So be it. I can’t stop loving who I love. If they knew anything about “love,” they would at least know that.

      1. “it’s not a real solution to people’s problems with regards to relationships, depression and the likes, perhaps only giving temporary respite. There are better ways to deal with these problems, ways that are more permanent.”

        Forgot this and had to address it. This is a real oversimplification of the issue. Many psychological and existential problems stem from the society these people are in. Read some of the comments above for a better picture. Modernization brings with it alienation and contradiction. The bushmen in Africa live happier lives than we do in developed societies despite how “advanced” we are. It’s something to say that the guy that makes you sick is the same guy telling you what medicine to take.

        I’m not saying to avoid getting help, but you should also realize that medication is usually only temporary, as is many forms of psychotherapy. What is needed is a change in the person, either thinking, behavior, or what have you. If 2D relationships help them get there, then that’s the medicine they need to take. It’s unfair of you, or anyone, to write-off 2D as “not a real solution.” Once again, we break it down to “real” which translates to “normal” which translates further to nothing of substance (well, in this case, whatever benefits the health/pharmaceutical-industrial complex).

        It’s worked for me, and it’s worked for others; that should be “real” enough.

        1. Do not play the fool. It’s not a real solution because it will not work in every circumstance and situation. I would have you conduct an experiment: remove this “moe” or what have you from your life for a whole year, and report how you can cope. If you constantly need to depend on it, it’s not a solution, only temporary respite.

          Again, you put words into my mouth and make assumptions about my position. I never mentioned medicine or psychology. What people truly need is what they have inside that they refuse to cultivate in their race for materialism. The inner-self of a person is a much greater temple of peace for the human being. The material is ephemeral, the non-existent unreliable. One must follow the middle path and cultivate a rich inner-self. Reliance on the self for happiness, balancing the material and the spiritual, not being excessive with one’s desires or having too little of them, these are the ways to end all suffering. These are the actual permanent ways. If you keep relying on external things, they will only let you down eventually, and they are never permanent.

          I hope you do not take offence to my statements, as they are merely what I think. Namaste.

          1. “I hope you do not take offence to my statements, as they are merely what I think.”

            Hardly. Rather, I was being unfair since I was basically using your comment as a platform to address an amalgam of criticisms that have bothered me over the past however many years regarding the topic. These boil down to the same things repeated over and over and over–abnormal, weird, creepy, unhealthy, “harmful” escapism, whatever. Anubis has pointed some of them out already. That said, I’ll address your rebuttals.

            “What is important, however, is something you touch upon: escapism. That is what unhealthy means. Every now and then, we might need a bit of escapism (which is why I condone loving fiction and such)”

            Completely arbitrary. Who dictates when escapism turns from harmless to harmful? Hell, when does engagement with fiction become “escapism”? In my experience, fiction becomes “escapism” when the detractor doesn’t like it and it becomes “harmful” when it doesn’t align with equally arbitrary notions of what is “healthy.” Do nothing but watch movies by yourself and you’re a “loner” obsessed with movies, trying to escape reality; write about the movies and you become a “critic” or a “film connoisseur.” Give me a break.

            “Your views on reality put aside, this is where we exist and where we must develop our foothold, and interacting with real people is a great part of it.”

            I never said people shouldn’t interact with other “real” people. Or is this some needless truism you felt you had to drop? It’s not even worth mentioning. My beef was with your notion of “unhealthy” and how ambiguous that actually is.

            And I won’t set aside my views of “reality,” since it’s a fundamental part of the issue (i.e. real vs nonreal relationships). I know next to nothing about this shit, but here goes. From a semiotic standpoint “real” is arbitrary and largely irrelevant. Meaning is communicated signally. To assume and prioritize a “reality” ignores how we process information. You will never know the “real” person; you will only know the image the person presents. This is most evident in how we may see ourselves differently from how others see us. And consider how fiction elicits such strong emotional responses. On some base, irrational level, we don’t know the difference between the real and fictive–our physiological response is the same.

            I’m rambling, but my point is essentially this: People need to stop trying to dictate what’s “real” and using that as some sort of meaningful qualifier. It isn’t. I don’t care about the “real” person across the world that I’ll never meet or know; I do care about the fictional girl on my computer screen. Meaning and significance doesn’t care about “reality.”

            “It’s not a real solution because it will not work in every circumstance and situation.”

            If that’s what constitutes a “real” solution, then no real solutions exist. Not only do you rely on this arbitrary, absolute standard, but you beg the question with your proposed solution. Real-world problems, especially interpersonal ones, are incredibly complex–there’s no magic tool for whatever issues you might have.

            Your “experiment” doesn’t follow proper experimental design. Moe and I do not exist in vacuums. Your plan is so riddled with confounds that it is pointless to even pursue. Furthermore, I can’t “undo” the effect that moe, anime, or anything has had in my life since it becomes part of my experience. Does that make any sense? But I haven’t watched moe anime in months now just because I have no time. I’m fine. Did you expect withdrawals or something?

            At this point, you can say my “2D helps” argument is anecdotal and also confounded. It’s not scientific. But it’s still personally profound to me and to others. Maybe 2D didn’t save me, but the fact that my life improved significantly would suggest that it didn’t do harm. At worst, I would say it’s neutral. At least in my case, not “unhealthy.” If you drop everything in your life to hole yourself away and do nothing but watch anime without eating or something, yeah, maybe you have a bit of a problem. Most people aren’t like that.

            “I never mentioned medicine or psychology. What people truly need is what they have inside that they refuse to cultivate in their race for materialism. ”

            The two solutions I mentioned are the ones that pop up most frequently when it comes to notions of “fixing” “abnormal behavior” (in this case, being obsessed with cartoon characters). Forgive me if I threw that on you unduly.

            What I don’t understand is why you propose an alternative solution that eschews materialism when love of idealistic characters is itself removed from materia (merchandise and the physical media aside, obviously). At least for me, the essence of the characters I connect with become internalized–a part of my self. She represents in many ways the ideals I want to strive for and she possesses qualities of humanity I want to preserve. Moe/2D love/whatever is not mutually exclusive with your existential solution.

            “If you keep relying on external things, they will only let you down eventually, and they are never permanent.”

            And you’re relying on a very outdated notion of dualism between “inner” and “outer” worlds (self/not-self, mind/body). You are nothing without your body–the external, the material. You are matter; “self” is an illusion created by neuronal firing. I shouldn’t even have to explain this.

            Your arguments would probably be more interesting if you did borrow some of my words actually. As I can see, you’re doing two things, neither of which help your argument: 1) relying on truisms that don’t need to be stated, 2) begging the question with these little standards, rules, and supposed truisms by which you judge others’ behavior and health. Before you conclude to me and yourself that your worldview, your methods, and ways are best, you should back it up with some evidence and logic.

            My points that you’ve conveniently written off detail the other side of the debate: that something like 2D love is not necessarily detrimental to one’s health, that people play stupid games with words in order to circularly justify their criticisms (e.g. not a “real” relationship). Read the end of Anubis’ post. Moe is a beautiful thing.

      2. Namaste. I shall reply to each of your replies separately. First, I’d like to mention that you are making too many assumptions about my position and second, that you’re putting words in my mouth. Never do you see me mention that deriving happiness, empowerment and the likes from fiction is a bad thing; myself, I have derived many of these things from fiction and seek to have my fiction deliver the very same to people around the world. Never, again, did you see me deny that actual relationships (I refuse to use 3D to refer to them, it feels artificial and degrading) can also get unhealthy. Never, did I mention that it’s not “normal” to love fictional characters. You seem to be realising that I never said any of these things and make your points anyway, but I will disregard that, it’s not important.

        What is important, however, is something you touch upon: escapism. That is what unhealthy means. Every now and then, we might need a bit of escapism (which is why I condone loving fiction and such), but if a person is going so deep into a fictional world, fictional characters and the likes, then you know they have deeper problems that need to be addressed. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way. What you have to realise is that humans are social creatures. This is science, not abstract philosophy. We have evolved and developed complex means of communicating socially, and if nothing else is proof of our need for social interaction, then our emptiness and loneliness in its absence is. Your views on reality put aside, this is where we exist and where we must develop our foothold, and interacting with real people is a great part of it.

        It is a shame society has to be so unforgiving, but regardless, these are things we must strive for. As for your next point…

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