(Code Geass R1, R2 spoilers)
On foot against the crowd. Lelouch’s immunity to other’s emotions.
R2 episode 03
In the first part, we’ve set our minds on a key aspect of Lelouch’s character: that he resists to other’s emotions and provocations. Example after example, we’ve seen that not only is he not bothered by stressful situations, but exactly the opposite — he seeks these types of scenarios out himself.
However before we take this evidence as a ‘recipe’ to apply in our lives to help harden ourselves, we have to determine what here is an ‘egg’ and what is a ‘chicken’. In other words, is it the large amount of conflicts that caused Lelouch to obtain immunity to them, or is it his immunity that allows him to make due with any situation?
Part 2. How Shirley understood Lelouch
An easier way to understand Lelouch’s motivation, barging into any dangerous event while the others simply pass by, is revealed to us by Shirley. She tells us the story of yet another road accident.
A moment of truth, that Shirley saw
Shirley tells about a strange accident.
Episode 7, R1
In this instance, a young Britannian and an old Japanese couple got into an accident, with the Britannian at fault. However, the couple is left unprotected. The court will never admit their rightness over a Britannian citizen. In the middle of a loud crash and a scream from the gathering crowd, Lelouch stops Rivalz’ motorbike and ties up the Britannian’s car to the moving truck. He returns at his seat while everyone is laughing, and heads once again to gamble.
This was the moment that leaves Shirley’s mind stricken. It wasn’t the trick that Lelouch used -putting the guilty party back into their place. Rather, something was strangely moving about the boring expression on Lelouch’s face. It was as if Lelouch wasn’t at all standing among the raging crowd in the middle of the mass-hysteria, but merely sitting at the most boring math lecture. This fact melted Shirley’s heart once and for all.
Lelouch’s bored face. By the way, this time he’s reading “Macbeth”, by Shakespeare. Episode 7, R1
Here we have to note a detail: that Lelouch is entering a place that’s raging with emotions, and the situation is as intense as ever. He also gets a fair dose, a huge one, of those emotions projected onto himself. No matter if that’s a laugh, a joyous cheer or a scream of pure rage. Lelouch’s upbringing and his perception of life allow him to stay completely calm and even bored in the heat of a scandal. Why?
Joseph Fenette was a wise and observant man, even though he didn’t get enough screen-time. Episode 13, R1
The nature of boredom
Only Shirley’s unconscious mind seems to know the answer, since she grew up as the daughter of a high-ranked military man. Her father was a kind man in his nature, knowledgeable in the art of warfare, while his rank indicates that he was smart and had a high social status. It’s not without reason we see his daughter studying in the most prestigious British school in 11th area, together with a prince, some other young nobles and also the Ashford family’s daughter.
Having a father like him, Shirley couldn’t help but notice that, the smarter a man is, the more boring life appears to him. Understanding of most situations and knowledge of human nature dooms them to the inevitable atrophy of surprise and emotional reaction. Those people might still be amused by some event that catches them off guard, however this sensation doesn’t last long either. They learn fast and make something out of the surprise of each life lesson. These revealed conclusions doom them to be forever bored in analogous situations, regardless of time or place.
A man just like her father
As a child, Lelouch was surprised by many things — by the decisions the Emperor was making, when he was kicked out of the palace, or even by Geass, that was given to him. Fighting his first battle, Lelouch was amused by the fact that the “real battle is different from a chess one”. Meeting C.C or Mao for the first time, Lelouch was perplexed. However in the second season we see that such events don’t surprise him anymore at all. Moreover, Lelouch is completely capable of foreseeing their unexpected appearance and development.
Episode 13, R1
Collecting a huge amount of experience leads to such deep level of boredom that Shirley notices. While the guy was also bored at school, she didn’t pay him any mind, because a majority of the students look bored at the lessons as well. However in the moment of the massive shock increased by the collective agitation, the power of which cannot be underestimated, Shirley sees a flashing image of her father in Lelouch, who also “saw it all”, finding no event to be anything extraordinary.
This is how self-growth and constant education function; a desire to evolve is the key to emotional immunity that becomes a much-wanted blessing, but also an unexpected curse.
Now we can understand that Lelouch didn’t “sharpen himself” by attending too many emotionally exhausting events. Considering it, every living person is dealing with stress on an everyday basis, but few learn how to overcome it. Therefore it’s not the amount of conflicts that matters, but what a man takes out of it and how he handles the results.
In Lelouch’s case, it was long ago that he understood the heart of a human, which is more complicated than the waving motion of a crowd without a consciousness. Having mastered that knowledge, his immunity becomes a tool to manipulate, allowing him to interfere with the situations whenever he wants.
With this, one question is left unanswered: “Why Lelouch is so attracted to these emotionally intense events?”
That’s the question to be answered in the next part. To be continued in Part 3. “How should a man live, that despises his own country?”