Lesson III - Akira [Discussion]



July 24th is our watch party for Akira (1988) and July 27th is our next Zoom class. Share your initial thoughts, reflections, and questions about the film here.


(Note: video may contain spoilers)


Some observations/memorable quotes as we watched together. Please see the Class Portal for the chapter excerpt on Akira (from Seeing Through the World: Jean Gebser and Integral Consciousness).

Watch Party Notes

  • Amoeba / Human analogy… What if the consciousness and power of a human awakened in an amoeba?

  • What if the consciousness and power of the time-free, ego-free integral awakened in the ego-bound mental world?

  • “Akira’s power exists within everyone… But when that power is awakened, you must choose how to use it… even if you weren’t prepared for it.”

  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man

  • Tetsuo loses control: becomes a giant baby. “My power is acting on its own!”

  • Transparent Akira: Christ and the diaphainon? The Anthropos? The aperspectival human?

  • Singularity, Big Bang… “The birth of a universe.”

  • “I am… Tetsuo.”


And for the curious about Virilio, who I keep mentioning. :upside_down_face:

And, incidentally as I was searching for articles to share with the class, I stumbled across this abstract on Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis read through Virilio’s concepts. The themes here resonate with the escalating tensions exhibited in Akira’s Neo-Tokyo. DeLillo’s novel takes place in New York City, but its themes overlap with ours. He writes,

“In the past decade … [t]he dramatic climb of the Dow and the speed of the Internet summoned us all to live permanently in the future, in the utopian glow of cyber-capital, because there is no memory there and this is where markets are uncontrolled and investment potential has no limit”

As I mention in the chapter excerpt, Neo-Tokyo is a mythopoeic image of our own world and the tensions between speed and intensification, between limitless expansion of capital and technological innovation and the crisis-inducing state that limitless opening proves for us–it is an artistic mirror for our planetary crisis. Like Tetsuo, though, I hope that this crisis is also an initiation!


Good afternoon! I read the bits from your book that you posted and felt like it was time that I write down some of my thoughts “post-watch party”.

The bit on dromology /speed was quite interesting especially when complemented with Gebser’s “frenzied-rush”, this aswell as the symbolic mirroring of the motorcycle being the technological speeding toward a moment, which would be the mutational irruption of time. Funny enough, even though I also interpreted the collision of Tetsuo, the bike and the kid to be a moment of mutation, I did not however, put enough thought into the kid being the catalyst, until now. Takashi being what he was actually makes me think of him as “Proto-integrality” as everything that he was, showed what Gebser would mention as possible hints toward the concretion of time and the prevailing emergence of integrality. Another way I’ve interpreted the collision is as sharing kinship with Petrarch’s confrontation with the landscape(spatiality). On that note, the Petrarch-Mont Ventoux-Spatiality and Tetsuo-Takashi-Akira/Integrality similarities ,in my opinion and assuming I am interpreting Petrarch appropriately, is further emboldened when you consider that Petrarch’s confrontation was not just unprepared and overwhelming as was Tetsuo with his own confrontation but Petrarch felt shame which lead him to confess, which I could interpret as an over extension of the Living structure Petrarch lived in as he was “going through” what could be considered the liminality of the mutational process.


The comment here on both the micro aswell as the macrocosm going through it is something I definitely resonate with. Lately I’ve been contemplating this relationship and mirroring of Society and the Individual, I’ve thought about how temporality presents itself “differently” in regards to these two from what I’ve intuited. Things like “speed” in relation to leaping through that liminality into the new dimensionality/a-dimension, yet the presence of mutation is present in both in the present. On that note and with regards to “time”, there is a podcast known as “Mindscape” hosted by Sean Carroll, in the episode on why a “thing” exists, he speaks on time and how time is present in different forms throughout the macrocosm yet mentions this concept of time as a Super Position that occupies all time forms. If I am interpreting his comments correctly, this is reminiscent of Origin itself and would consider this to be a possible hint toward time concretion. With that in mind, I do like Jeremy’s comments on the 4th dimension having more intensification for consciousness present than just “time forms”/time.


”as Virilio notes, speed is a signature note of the machine’s power, but when we invented the automobile we also invented the crash.”

”an animating and speeding force- Virilio’s dromology. The new consciousness, when not consciously integrated, manifests as an increasing intensity upon the old.”

The concept of “the crash” being an integral aspect of the automobile is quite resonating to me aswell especially with what I believe to be a complimentary in the next passage commenting on the increasing intensification imposed on the “old” for failing to consciously integrate the present. This “old” ,in my opinion, could perhaps share kinship with consciousness itself which conveys a few things for me. If this is the case and if I am properly interpreting Gebser appropriately, aswell as to the point about “the crash”, increasing intensification is something necessary for concretizing the whole/present thus, this struggle, this crash as it were is not to necessarily to be viewed/rendered “inappropriately”, Tetsuo’s failure and the increased intensification from this is perhaps a constituent in the rendering and should be rendered with reverence in respects to the whole.