Absolute Terror Fields from Neon Genesis Evangelion

[Last Updated: 28/08/19]

[Note: This post discusses symbolism and psychological concepts. It requires you to have an open mind.]

The AT Fields (Absolute Terror) from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion – they are real.

Let me explain…

Two competing AT fields from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The monster (angel) is on the left, our hero (Shinji Ikari) is in the giant robot EVA Unit 01 on the right. Between them is a plane consisting of concentric octagons. This is the point at which two AT Fields are pressed up against each other.

Some of the very best stories resonate with us so much because they tell us something very real about our reality. Jordan Peterson has taught me that.

For example, The Lion King. It may look on the surface like a trivial kid’s story. But in reality, it tells us many deeply profound lessons about life. I think it’s a similar case with Harry Potter.

When I first watched Evangelion way back in the ’90s, it absolutely captivated me. It was so dark, so cool, so profound-seeming. And there was tonnes of it which I simply didn’t understand. But it’s always been one of my favourite anime series.

Now, over twenty years later, I understand it much better. It’s packed with symbolism – ideas which on the surface may seem merely very imaginative. But at a deeper level, they actually tell us profound things about who we are.

Today, I’ve worked out what the AT Field from Evangelion represents.

Now, I’m not saying that everything from Evangelion is true. Lots of it is pure fiction and there’s not much you can really read into those fictional parts. But there are some useful nuggets contained in the show which can prove insightful.

First, the name: why Absolute Terror? How can Terror be a force for good in real life?

Well, the AT Field keeps terror at bay. It keeps terror away from the core of our being. Within the AT field, there is a beautiful space where there is no terror, allowing the possibility of a deep sense of love to grow. [NOTE: This is purely my own intuition about AT Fields. I don’t think their exact nature is discussed in the anime, though it’s been a long time since I watched the series in its entirety]

It is your attention and awareness inside the AT Field which push fear outside and away.

AT Fields represent our attention. We have different types of attention too. In the anime, these types are colour-coded (red, blue etc). I believe in real life that our attention fields can have different strengths and shapes.

Here are two types of attention field which feel very real to me (and I suspect, to everyone).

  1. A kind of loose, gentle, soft attention awareness. It operates in a wide sphere around us. It also penetrates into the depths of our unconscious. I’m wondering if this is the type of attention you have when you’re in a state of flow.

    It’s the type of attention you get in the shower when you’re relaxed and feeling creative. Creative possibilities seem to bubble up from the unconscious. Your mind is very open and awaiting possibilities.

    If I had to assign a colour to this kind of AT field, I’d say it’s a gentle blue/green, and it’s not very bright, maybe even translucent.

  2. A very hard, strong, narrow attention. It’s almost indestructible. I see it projected as a thin wedge in front of us. When we focus our attention this narrowly, we exclude everything outside the AT field from entering our conscious awareness.

    This is the kind of attention you have when you are sharply focussed on a task, e.g. reading an engrossing book. It can also be used in combat, like UNIT 01 and the angels do.

    If I had to assign a colour to this AT field, I’d say it’s red/orange. It’s very much a bright colour and it feels very solid. You can see it (or at least the front edge of it) in the screenshot at the top of this page.

    And at the point where this AT field hits another AT field, that’s where we see that sheet of glass that seems to be made of concentric octagons. I don’t yet understand why it’s an octagon. Is that purely a part of the fiction of the anime series, or does the number 8 have something important to do with attention and conflict?

    [UPDATE: A friend has pointed out that the symbol for the number 8 is very close to the symbol for infinity, just rotated 90 degrees. This could be relevant in some way.]

    [UPDATE 28/08/2019: I now believe that infinity is the combination of Truth, Love and Courage. This idea comes from the videogame Ultima IV.
    I’ve also included infinity in my graphic for Tidy Your Room.]

If you’re reading the above and it sounds like nonsense to you, that’s fine. Ignore it and move on. But if these ideas resonate with you, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m especially interested in other aspects of the Evangelion anime which represent something real though perhaps unconscious about real life.


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