Serial Experiments: Lain

Quotes and commentary

I… I’m real! I’m alive! I’m here. Why is this happening? Was it something I did? I always tried to keep something like this from happening. I always tried not to say anything weird. Can it be true? I’m not supposed to have a body?1

It’s the feeling of slipping out of the physical-social world. Not knowing which way is a temptation and which is the divine impulse: the temptation of connecting with others—the seduction of reality beyond reality.2 The Wired is death, sleep, the collective unconscious and the divine hyperreality whence dreams materialize.

Or is it? In fiction no less than in this place, it’s easy to get confused. We have no need for symbols that represent other things; what we call “symbols” are their own separate entities, and they relate to other objects in complex, multifaceted ways. The Wired “is” only the Wired—nothing else. But you must allow me to use the word “is” in other ways, since otherwise I would not be able to say anything at all. Indeed, any worthwhile “interpretation” of fiction will turn out to be impossible, since in good fictions, symbols do not simply stand in for something else (then we’d be better off just looking at what they stand in for). For me, Lain, more so than most fictional works, captures the paradoxicality and confusion that is found most strongly in reality. Attempting to reduce to an allegory would be pointless at best. I have yet to see a convincing interpretation of the series presented as a single, unified theory, and yet it is clearly meaningful; this is a characteristic of good art.

  1. Episode 10, around 7 min 45 s 
  2. See also A Philosophy of Madness for more on the seductive aspect of psychosis.