I feel better now that it is over, or a review of the anime Neon Genisis Evangelion

After watching 26 episodes and a full length movie, I am feeling a little tripped out right now; what a better way to explore the realms of the psyche than with writing. For those of you who are into anime cartoons, you have probably seen NGO. For those of you who aren’t into anime, this series review is for you. This is probably the darkest review I have done yet, as the subject matter is the darkest too. Yet.

The purple one with the big horn on its head, in the middle, is unironically the best one.

For the past couple of weeks I have been watching a show about a bunch of cartoon characters struggling with severe bouts of depression, loneliness, generational trauma after a cataclysmic event called “The Second Impact”, and coming of age. These cartoon characters are tasked with battling “Angels” with their android units called Evangelions. All of this is to stop the end of the world. So that’s the story in a nut shell.

In having now watched that story, I can see that there were many times that I found myself completely enthralled with the writers and illustrators and their courage to explore the dark realms of horror, abandonment, trauma, joy, family, escapism, and many other themes. More importantly though, I was impressed that a show was able to illicit feelings of triumph to the point of tears and keep me on the edge of my seat with intrigue. But in the same breath, there were parts that had me absolutely bored to abysmal state.

But that’s only the surface. Diving into what this show made me experience I would like to start off my saying that this world that we live in has many experiences that are ultimately beyond what any one of us are able to control, take COVID for instance. Many of these experiences (suicide, murder, betrayal to name a few), while felt by many, are experienced on a individual level, as in they are felt by you and they are felt by me. This seems pretty elementary at this point, but lets go further and see if this ties back into Evangelion. 

You see, there is something ultimately mysterious about the experiences that those around us have. The kind of lived experience that you have will never be truly understood by me. You can talk about your experience, you can make art about your experience and you can even inflict pleasures and pains on others, but those experiences are your own and expecting anyone to “get you” is a far cry. 

So what does this have to do with Evangelion? Throughout the show we watch characters express and experience their reality. We, the audience, watch their reality. To the best of our ability, we can only make a guess at what the characters are experiencing. Shoot, they have no idea what we experience and that’s the point of where I am going with all of this: even though I am here writing out my thoughts as best as I am able and you are reading them as much as you are interested, neither you nor I understand each other any better just as the characters on screen don’t understand their audience any better than we understand them. 

Okay, so what does this have to do with Evangelion? You see, the larger problem that this show exposes is that even if you and I were able to perfectly understand each other, if there was no barrier between the characters on screen, you and I or us and them, then reality would become a unified experience devoid of differentiation, specificity, or (dare I say it) originality. It is by this fact of individuality, or the barrier of understand-ability, that warrants our yearning and desire to see love expressed towards others. It is for the fact that we are all left alone inside our own bodies, to live and die as we will, that garners the possibility of empathy for another’s life. Even if that life is a cartoon character. 

Now I’ll ask this one last time, what does any of this have to do with Neon Genesis Evangelion? Well, this show evinces the terrible realities that we all must overcome, the angels we must battle within our world in order for us to remain who we are becoming, and to protect those around us whom we suspect are as lost, lonely, frustrated and traumatized by an existence they perceptively didn’t ask for, nor can they change. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a really weird show that uses anime tropes like monsters, mechanized war machines and child pilots to explore the complexities of human experience in an array of visual drama, plot driven character development, and an emotional arrangement of music. Aside from the immense feelings of despair and haunting sadness, this show explicitly captures the imaginations of each subsequent generation with its ability to say the words that we all seemed to feel growing up as prepubescent children and even as existentially drifting adults.  

Alright, I am done tripping. I am going to go for a walk or something. It is way better than being locked down by these thoughts. Afterwards I will probably listen to my self play the guitar (been learning a great song lately). Then I am going to get closer to finishing my next book I’d like to report on and then cook dinner.  

The Way of The Wolf, or Improve Your Freedom of Speech

I wanted to start off today by saying that I am grateful, first of all, for the men and women that have fought for my country. I am grateful to live in a country where I can exercise my first amendment, the right to free speech, and I thought today would be a great day to exercise that right that others have fought for. We have talked about the right to the freedom of speech once before on this blog, and now I want to cover a book that explores some of the ramifications of the freedom.

Before I go into today’s book report, I want to thank my very good friend for giving me this book. He has been an incredible friend for over a decade and there is no one who I have spent more time face to face discussing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with; other than my wife. My friend Taylor (I am not paid in anyway to share this link) shared this book with me on one of our many walks around Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, and I am very excited to give my thoughts on the matter.

Book Review: Jordan Belfort's Way of The Wolf. | by Aldric Chen | Medium

Now, if you don’t know who Jordan Belfort is, well… do a search for the full details. But the long skinny is the guy is a power house of a salesperson who built a tremendous business for himself and others, and he did it by teaching others his methodology: The Straight Line. I am not going to get into the ethics, or the controversies that surround Belfort, but I am going to get to the real material that is incredibly beneficial to know.

When you approach this book, you have to understand that Belfort is a natural story teller and also a natural salesperson. So as you go through his story of how the Straight Line Persuasion method came to be, you also get to take a peek into the psychologies that play into the mechanics of his method. For a very quick rundown of what SLP is, it is intentional and goal oriented selling. It is not about manipulation, it is not about tricking people, Straight Line Persuasion is about knowing all the words that the customer needs you to say and in the way they want you to say it to them. Basically, this sales book is really about customer service.

Okay, that sounds like a broad claim. You are probably asking, ‘how is knowing what to say and how to say it doing a customer any service?’ Well, if you so happen to be dealing with an absolute novice in a company and you are about to spend your money, you want to make sure that you are receiving the best treatment possible along the way. Having a methodology for how to talk to people, having a model to work from, can radically improve your results of providing service to others.

So now my guess is that you are incredible confused. Okay, let’s put it like this, on one end you have the start of a conversation, and on the other end you have the customer satisfaction you are looking to achieve:


Your goal as a human being is to gather intelligence from the person you are talking with, selling or serving or just chatting, and you need to be developing rapport on the way to the close of the engagement. The most difficult thing that most people have, regardless of whether they are in a profession or not, is being able to communicate with others effectively enough to effect the change that they want to see happen. You want to get a raise, you want to close a sale, you want to go on a date, you want to get the service personnel you have been talking to for over an hour to refund you your money you felt swindled out of, you want your loved one to get their dang feet off the couch and go do the dishes? What you need to know is that along the way to getting everything you want out of the conversation, you are going to need to know what you are going to say (each step you are going to take on your conversational journey) and you are going to need know how you say it (the speed and pacing you take the conversational journey).

That should make things a little bit more clear to you, and admittedly, Belfort does an incredible job of taking you through the stages of any uncertainty that you may be feeling as a speaker and communicator, and he is able to help you gain confidence in your self in a massive way. And if you are lacking confidence in getting your way, don’t worry about it, aside from Belfort systematically demonstrating how you can build massive confidence in your self by learning a skill called state control, you can learn from this guy we wrote about too.

State control is really the bread and butter to the Straight Line Persuasion methodology. If you aren’t able to get yourself in an empowered state, confidence being one of them, how are you to help someone else become empowered in seeing your way through? The simple answer is you won’t, that is unless you put a gun to someone’s head and that entirely eliminates people’s freedoms. Don’t do that. But seriously though, you have inside of you this ability to harness your emotional energy in such a way that it can be channeled into your words, into your communication, which leads to conveying tremendous power into your communication the likes of which you have never seen, or have but only in an unconscious way.

But if all this hyperbole sounds like utter baloney to you, ask your self the following questions:

  • Have I ever felt on my A-game?
  • When I was on my A-game, did it feel like things went my way?
  • Did I feel that there was an energy and charisma about myself that lead to saying and doing things that empowered me like a dynamo of energy?

If you have felt any of these to be true, then you have, on some unconscious level, be persuading the world into your empowered state. Having a model for how to communicate leads to an empowered state, that’s what the Straight Line Method does. And that empowered state leads to effectively communicating emotions to others who have an interest in being in an empowered state like you. And so by practicing and fine tuning your skills as a communicator you naturally grow in confidence of your abilities to communicate, which leads to a more perfect expression of your right to free speech. (You were wondering when I was going to tie that back in, weren’t you?)

You see, as a person that has a right to bear arms, or to exercise the second amendment right, if you lack the skill to do so because you haven’t practiced, you put your self and others at risk when you willy-nilly exercise that right. Likewise, when you implement your first amendment right in a manner that is sloppy, lazy or hap-hazardous, you put your self and others at risk of you disempowered state.

And so I implore you, if you care about the rights that Veterans of this Great Country have defended, and you have an interest in bettering your self and exercising your rights to the most optimal state, consider learning how to become a more effective communicator. And one of the best ways that you can do that is by learning from one of the most successful teachers in effective communication the twenty first century has ever known: Jordan Belfort.