Psycho-Pass 09 – Self-Destructive Society


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While a significant chunk of this week’s Psycho-Pass was given over to our cyborg hunter and his sophistry, the most interesting element was the self-destructive nature of the Sibyl system and its impact upon society. Psycho-Pass presents a fascinating world, a vision of a dystopian society within which your every thought can be tracked and quantified. It presents us with a highly stratified and controlled society where simple test scores can determine where you work and what your life will be like. A world where your thoughts, attitudes and abilities can be measure and quantified, thus determining your entire life, will create a highly stratified and structured society. In doing so, such a society would arguably create distinct and destructive social divisions, and with no ability to move and change your life, what might be dissatisfaction in another society can become dangerous and destructive. To be reliant on technology is one thing, but to let the technology control your life is something very different. Senguji Toyohisa makes an interesting point in his interview when he asks what the difference between a human who relies upon technology such as the costume devices or Ai secretaries and automatons and those who are full cyborg’s. At the most basic level there is little difference, with both wholly reliant on the technology to allow them to function in one way or another. On the other hand, those who have full cybernetic bodies have become utterly reliant upon their technology. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 08 – Shoot First, Ask Questions Later


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As the series progresses, the more dangerous, flawed and downright stupid the Sibyl system becomes, and although there have been certain elements that try to portray the system in a positive light, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see this way of working as good. At first there was the suggestion that the Sibyl system was a positive force that helped to control and maintain society, and through its use society was ordered with everything running smoothly and ‘properly’. However, as is becoming ever clearer, the Sibyl system is fatally and intrinsically flawed, forcing people down the path of self-destruction and causing far more damage to society than it may ever prevent. It is a system that forces people down the path of no return, while creating the perfect conditions for those with the ability to exploit its flaws, thus allowing for crime and criminals to almost function with impunity. Through its use we have seen characters lose their lives for no real reason, while other are forced into one job because their Psycho-Pass readings are too high for them to left alone. The Sibyl system has created and maintains a highly stratified society where aptitude scores and Psycho-Pass levels dictate where you work and what kind of lifestyle you have. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 07 – A Stress Free Society, Apparently


The idea that the Psycho-Pass system was a way of lowering stress levels in society is an intriguing notion, and while it doesn’t really stand up to the evidence that recent episodes has provided it is nevertheless fascinating. The reasoning within the series is that Psycho-Pass eliminates stress, and yet, as we have seen, the system itself doesn’t eliminate anything, but instead controls it though a series is tight checks and regulations. No system can truly eliminate stress within society, and anyone that claims otherwise probably doesn’t understand society or even the system. What the Psycho-Pass system does do is control society wide stress levels through a series of (arguably) arbitrary checks and levels in order to make it more manageable. This is rather similar to every society at the moment, with various different activities used to relieve stress so that you do not allow it to build up to exploding point. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 06 – Behind closed doors


Someone who can play the system, find the loopholes, the blind spots and the flaws will always remain anonymous. They are the kind of person who can work from the shadows, or if they are particularly good, in plain sight of those who are supposed to be keeping the peace. In particular, when you are presented with a system such Sibyl or even the Psycho-Pass system, there are numerous ways with which to use and manipulate it for your own ends. That the system is heavily and perhaps inherently flawed may be obvious to many, but it is the faith that inspectors like Ginoza place upon such a system, which may ultimately lead to its and their own downfall. There are simply too many ways with which it can be manipulated and used for other purposes, and in reality, the system is restricting the ability of those who wish to catch the criminals. In particular, this and episode three help to demonstrate how the system is not all encompassing and how the state has created numerous areas free from the influence of the internet and therefore not connected to the Sibyl system. These areas are created for a specific purpose, and the government appears to perceive them as neutral areas, or at least those that they can easily control. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 05 – Illusions and Reality


Over the past couple of episodes Psycho-Pass has introduced numerous new concepts dealing with the overlap between the virtual and real worlds. For many the virtual world is an extension of who they are, with highly crafted virtual personalities evident across the Internet. For some these avatars are merely a way of communicating to a wider audience, while for others they can become an escape, a new start, carrying with them an element of anonymity and the promise of creating a new self, different from the real world. In this respect the boundaries between the virtual and real worlds become blurred, with many seeing the virtual world as more real than others. What Psycho-Pass has been dealing with though is the issues surrounding the theft of virtual identities and the idea that given the right information anyone can take your space. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 04 – The Overlap Between the Virtual and the Real


The Sibyl system has created a supposedly perfect surveillance state, with very few ways of going about your daily lives unnoticed. The idea that simple things such as leaving your house or apartment can leave an electronic signature thus leaving a virtual diary of when you go out and when you come home is shocking. Such a system arguably exists in some respects today, with the increased usage of CCTV and other controls, but the system evident in Psycho-Pass takes state surveillance to somewhere altogether more scary and dangerous. In such a system it is hardly surprising that there would be those who rebelled, deciding that they are fed up with having their every move watched, to the point that something simple like a broken toilet can be tracked. The Psycho-Pass system is supposed to control the population, thus making it easy to determine who may be a criminal, and where your place in society is. However, we are beginning to see how easily abused such a system can be, and how something as supposedly infallible as the Dominator or Sibyl systems can be avoided and used for other, more nefarious purposes. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 03 – Self-fulfilling prophecies


Sibyl is a system that is supposed to scan and check every citizen in society, and through the psycho-pass system law and order is maintained, while every element of society works together in harmony. At least, that is the apparent aim behind this system, however, the name ‘Sibyl’ can also be seen as a link back to the Sibyl’s of ancient Greece. They were oracles or prophetesses, who were seen as possessing the lips of god, with the ability to see the future and through their rituals divine the will of god. As Heraclitus (c. 535- c. 475 BCE) a Greek writer and philosopher suggests: ‘The Sibyl, with frenzied mouth uttering things not to be laughed at, unadorned and unperformed, yet reaches to a thousand years with her voice by aid of the god’. They are beings that are viewed to be the human voices of god, and while they may provide positive prophecies, they are not entirely to be trusted. In other legends the Sibyls and other oracles are seen as dangerous, corrupt, or destructive, taking bribes in order to invoke a positive prophecy from god, but to cross them would mean certain doom. Read more of this post