Postmodernism: The Attack on Titan

Attack On Titan poster

As we all know, times are changing, and rapidly if that. Time, as it seems, continually slips away from us as we become busier and busier and the pace of social change in our society becomes faster and faster. In fact, the pace of social change in our society has become so fast that we cannot mentally keep up with it. Our culture is changing so rapidly that by the time we actually recognize and fully analyze the change, it has already progressed to an entirely different level, leaving us in the dust and wondering where time has gone. David Harvey calls this the “time-space” compression.

“The Information Age” has just gotten a bit more complex. We live in an era where science and technology are everything; they make the clock which we are forever racing to catch up with. Science and technology are the very things that make the knowledge we seek so easily accessible; it’s always at our fingertips. Science aims to continuously explain culture and the human condition. Through the postmodernist perspective, this need to explain is simply what makes us unable to keep up with the change. Instead, we’re constantly feeding off of knowledge always wanting more and more and more. The need to know ‘why’ is precisely what drives the change in our culture.

Science and technology have also skewed our perceptions of boundaries. As industrialization booms worldwide, multi-billion dollar companies are rapidly expanding; at the touch of a button we can instantaneously have contact with someone on the other side of the world. Talk about time and boundary perceptions. We’re losing the concept of not only geographical boundaries as well as cultural boundaries (as if they were really all that solid to begin with). According to postmodernism, this is exactly what is destroying us.

The conditions of postmodernism and the ever-changing concept of time remind me a bit of the show “Attack on Titan.” Attack on Titan (sometimes referred to by the anime-nerd culture as AOT) is a story about a city that is enclosed within walls to protect the citizens from man-eating titans that roam the land outside the walls. The idea is that the walls have protected the people of the city for over 100 years and as such they will continue to protect them from the savages outside. Everyone who lives within these walls seemingly lives with little notice to change with the exception of some individuals. One of those individuals is Eren. Eren continuously says that times are changing and that soon the walls won’t protect them anymore. No one seems to believe him. Eren has the burning desire to join the Survey Corps and strive to fight for knowledge of the outside; to learn how to protect humanity from the man-eating titans. Despite the efforts of Eren’s friends and his mother, Eren’s father gives the best advice, “Human curiosity is not something you can restrain with a lecture.”

“Human curiosity is not something you can restrain with a lecture.” This seems to be the key to understanding the ‘why’ behind not only postmodernism and science, but the continuous speed up of time. Humans are curious. We’re curious about the human condition. We’re endlessly curious as to how we can improve our lives and seemingly add to our longevity, especially in America. But all of this curiosity leads to a never-ending need for knowledge and when we run out of knowledge, we turn to technology to find a way to fulfill the addiction. “The world, in a sense, has become a moving target where knowledge is concerned,” (Moberg 2013: 301). Everything is changing so rapidly that we can’t seem to understand it, thus the never-ending series of ‘why’s.  In a sense, we are like the Eren, sensing the change, but never fully understanding it.




Moberg, Mark.

          2013      Engaging in Anthropological Theory: A Social and Political History. New York: Routledge. 

9 thoughts on “Postmodernism: The Attack on Titan

  1. This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a customer. We were talking about the “old stuff” that still works, and how technology is moving so quickly, investing in anything is pointless because it becomes obsolete within 6 months. We can’t stop trying to progress, but look at all the waste we’ve created.
    I’ve personally gone through 4 cell phones, 4 laptops, 6 iPods, and 2 tablets, yet I have a Nintendo that has worked perfectly since I was 6.
    (Moral of the story, don’t hand me electronics.)

  2. I love thinking about curiosity as an evolutionary adaptation. Innovation and curiosity have brought about the world that we live in today. It will be interesting to see if our curiosity will be sustainable or if it will be our downfall. Evolved chimpanzees may find our bones, as well as the remnants of our structures, 10,000 years from now and wonder, “What went wrong?” That, or our industrial expansion will do away with them, too. Nature explores a rainbow of different survival strategies with all the animals in her kingdom. I wonder how much longer ours will be the dominant one.

  3. It is interesting to look at and compair the AOT world and our own. For them they stoped advancements and just stuck with what works and dont rock the boat and that seemed to be their downfall. For us it seems to be the opposite, our need to keep advancing isnt giving us the most reliable stuff more so just upgrades and slight modifications. If only we would just take our time and not feel like it is a compitition to have newer models of everything every 6 months maybe things would be better. This could be our downfall, but like you said time will tell. Very cool compairing AOT to postmodernism.

  4. I really like this comparison. Society is changing ridiculously fast and it’s hard to wrap your head around it. I think the only way things will stop changing so quickly is when humans have finally answered all of their “questions.” This probably isn’t possible, so we will continue to rush ahead at break-neck speed trying to continually enhance and improve society, answering all of the questions we still have. It would be nice if we could slow down a little, but at the rate things are going, it probably won’t happen, at least for a while.

  5. This has little to do with anthro theory, buttttt Season 2 of Attack on Titan is coming out this summer. JUSTTT sayin’

  6. This is an interesting comparison but I love the AOT references and the video! So of us, it would seem, are not able to adapt so quickly to the changing of our society, moving at those “break-neck speeds” as mentioned before. As one of those people who do have difficulty staying on top of what is happening in this busy world, it definitely feels isolating and at times, overwhelming to the point where everything seems to break down and I;m paralyzed by all of the new things. Perhaps I am not as adaptive or just haven’t found the mechanism that keeps people so up to date on everything; I find there is soooo much to learn out there and, although I’d love to learn it all, it just isn’t possible and is quite overwhelming and frustrating.

  7. I really enjoyed your application of postmodernism. I myself am guilty of incessant curiosity. I recently got a smart phone and am constantly tempted to look stuff up all the time because i simply can. And when someone asks me a question to which I’m not sure of the answer, my response is always “google it”. We really can know just about anything in short time with the technology available to us. It is disconcerting in that it seems to be taking over our lives.

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