NOTE : This post contains spoilers.
We're always taught to be good. Starting with our parents, to teachers, relatives, sometimes friends and especially by the religious authorities. Everybody knows they should be good, but hardly anyone knows how. Or even what "good" is. So we start with imitation. As a child, you're thrown into this cruel ugly game where you're expected to behave a certain way. You're told stories about Kings, warriors, Gods and hermits. Pointing out their good deeds to you, they tell you to be like them. To grow up to be a good man/woman. And this behaviour, this urge, this need to be good is further hammered down into us by establishing a set of rules and then conditioning us using the reward and punishment system.
"Good vs Evil"
As a child, you don't wonder 'which' side to pick but 'why' pick a side. "Why be good?" "Because if you don't be good, you'll be sent to hell." (basically, God will smite your cheeky ass down if you don't do as he says). But that's not even the best part. To make the game further shitty, this is what we're told - "Now listen. You are a good person. And you must do good deeds because that's what good people do. Not because they're told to, but because they are a good person deep down."
So, you're required to behave a certain way which would only be acceptable if done voluntarily. See the paradox?
Of course, as a child you have no way of criticising that statement. So you grow up, cultivating this ideal of good inside you. An image, of how you should act and of who you ought to be. But then reality steps in. And you witness acts of evil first-hand. If they don't concern you, then you simply dismiss them as "the evil of the world" (because you were told there is evil in this world). But when it happens to you, that whole concept (the ego) you have cultivated in your head, starts to tear you apart from the inside out. "Why me?", "What did I do wrong?", "Why is this happening to me? I don't deserve this!" "The circumstances make no sense! It's ridiculous! What is wrong with this world?", "Why do bad things happen to good people?" And you just keep falling deeper and deeper into despair. Thinking that nothing is right in this world, nothing is fair. That it's not worth it. After all, you didn't ask for this in the first place.
And to make things worse, you see that the very people who taught you that discipline, aren't holy saints themselves. And you don't know what is what anymore. You don't know what to do, or how to deal with this feeling of betrayal, anger and frustration. "How can a person be like this?", "Why is he/she being that way?", "How can someone enjoy doing that to a person?", "This is just sad and pathetic!"
So. Now that that 'idol of who you ought to be' is shattered, nothing is left. The dreams, fantasies and scenarios you imagined yourself in, acting that way and getting what you wanted, are gone. And you're empty. What do you do?
I think Hanabi's turmoil over what she is experiencing resonates with this. Except, instead of the idea of "being a (good) person", her ideals of "love" and "morals" are 'shattered', tearing her apart (I think it starts from that chat with her classmates about "love interests" and "specs"). Of course there are other factors involved - especially her father leaving and the guilt that was shoved onto her by her relatives. And this 'breakdown' never happens in that straightforward linear fashion as I mentioned. But it feels similar to it.
And I like how it is presented. How she didn't just go bat-shit insane after the teacher's "remark" (like you'd normally see in most anime). But she's still 'sane' and knows she's going down that path of self-destruction but she just doesn't know what to do or how to deal with the situation. Yes, the obvious and simple answer of "just rip the band-aid off" is there but she doesn't want to go there. The child 'self' who she talks to, knows all too well that this is not the path to take and her monologues affirm that. And that is interesting.
I wonder which way they will take it from here. On one hand her realisation that "everyone is sad and lonely" (i.e., in a way, suffering) is a step that can lead her out of this mess, but at the same time she can just keep falling deeper and deeper into the spiral if she keeps holding on. I'm excited to see which way this goes.
I don't want a forced happy ending for this, but an ending with scarred characters.
Now, one last thing.
Do any of you feel that way? I don't mean just the show but about being frustrated and angry growing up as a teenager because of all that shit "they" shoved into our heads. I don't mean they in a way that is like pointing and blaming 'them'. It's not their fault, they were brought up that way too. That paradox was handed down to them. They couldn't help it.
I was pretty naive growing up, so that whole "good" thing screwed me up when someone took advantage of my nature (and it happened again and again). Thankfully, I pulled myself out of it by adapting to a broader perspective on my life (there are a lot more 'demons' left to fight though).
Have you experienced something similar?