For all the answers given (and questions brought up) in episode 10 of Shinsekai Yori, perhaps the most intriguing thing to me was the juxtaposition involving Shun. He, the most powerful of the main characters, has now become powerless to do anything about his fate.
It’s an interesting plot point that Shun must now suffer because he’s unable to control his immense power. I may not be able to mutate creatures or split the earth in two with my cantus, but my like Shun, I sometimes can’t help but lose control. In fact, my nature (or else the person I’ve become over the years) is one lacking in self-control.
Without Christ in my life, I would be mired in my self-destructive nature.
Shun is of course dealing with his subconscious thoughts crawling out through his ability. He tells Saki that our problems as humans is our inability to control our emotions. We are able to stop those emotions from becoming actions most of the time, unless you have telekinetic powers, in which case your innermost feelings are realized.
The characters of Shinsekai Yori try to control their cantus through hypnosis and mantras. We try to control our evil thoughts and desires in other ways. Either way, we can’t control our sinful nature perfectly.
For Shun and the others, failure to control these emotions leads to exile and ultimately death.
For us real folk, the end result, from a spiritual perspective, is the same.
Jesus takes it one step further for us. In addition to the outpouring of our sinful thoughts, He declared that having the thoughts themselves constituted sin:
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sisterwill be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, “Raca,“ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.
– Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV)
Shun provides a strong symbol of the bridging between evil thoughts and evil actions. For me at least, it’s easy to consider a sinful action as sin, but I often think or say things that are unloving without taking Jesus’ words to heart. For Shun, there’s no confusing the two, since even his subconscious thoughts become reality.
Whatever the sin, from within or without, we can only do so much for our situations. Realizing this, Saki exclaims to Shun, “I can’t save you. I can’t do anything!”
Here’s the thing – here, you might expect me to say, “Well, Jesus can!” I won’t say that, even if He has the power to. The truth of the matter is, even for those that come to Christ will continue to struggle with sin.
Luckily, Christ offers forgiveness and freedom from the bondage of sin. The gift of grace is significant, because it is Christ telling us that although He knows all about our faults, more intimately than anyone, He still loves us.
Where mantras and hypnosis fail; where our own willpower fails; where the strength of others fails, grace has power.