The OG+the Compilation

FFVII creator Kazushige Nojima speaks of a premise that things “won’t go well” between Cloud and Tifa:

“Episode Tifa [Case of Tifa] – First off, there’s the premise that things won’t go well between Tifa and Cloud, and that even without geostigma or Sephiroth, this might be the same.“
~Nojima; On the Way to a Smile interview; Square Enix​

Did you catch that last bit?

Even without circumstances such as geostigma and Sephiroth, things still probably wouldn’t have gone well between Cloud and Tifa. This means Cloud and Tifa’s issues likely have nothing to do with geostigma or Sephiroth.
Key word being "PREMISE." As in the setup for a story.

Tifa thinks it's because Cloud doesn't love her, but actually it's because he simply feels guilty over BOTH Aerith and Zack's deaths. The jealousy from Tifa exists NOT to show that Cloud would rather be with Aerith, but to drive a wedge between her and Cloud, which is later resolved by the end of the movie. This is how storytelling works. First you have conflict(which isn't always based on an accurate assessment of reality), stuff happens in the middle, and the conflict is resolved in the end.

Again, I know this debate is over, but I feel this one quote perfectly encapsulates the problem with BlankBeat's overall way of reasoning.
 

RhinoKart

Pro Adventurer
Not looking to debate this fact (I know this is a dangerous thing to say in here) but I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction regarding the gold saucer dates.

I often see that the Cloud x Aerith date is the canon date. Was wondering where this was specified. Is it only because it appears on the "For The One I Love" page or is there another source backing this up as well?

Similarly the HA Highwind scene, is this also only confirmed on the FTOIL page?
 

Yumelinh

Pro Adventurer
Not looking to debate this fact (I know this is a dangerous thing to say in here) but I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction regarding the gold saucer dates.

I often see that the Cloud x Aerith date is the canon date. Was wondering where this was specified. Is it only because it appears on the "For The One I Love" page or is there another source backing this up as well?

Similarly the HA Highwind scene, is this also only confirmed on the FTOIL page?
Not sure If I have all the info so please everyone corrects me if I'm wrong, but:

There was never a confirmation of which date is the canon one, but since Aerith's date is the one with the most "plot-relevant" stuff and the most used to represent this section of the game, we just assume that hers is the most likely canonical outcome.

But if you mean a confirmation like the one the HAHW scene has then no, we don't have it.

But I can be wrong, so you better wait for other answers, lol.
 

RhinoKart

Pro Adventurer
Not sure If I have all the info so please everyone corrects me if I'm wrong, but:

There was never a confirmation of which date is the canon one, but since Aerith's date is the one with the most "plot-relevant" stuff and the most used to represent this section of the game, we just assume that hers is the most likely canonical outcome.

But if you mean a confirmation like the one the HAHW scene has then no, we don't have it.

But I can be wrong, so you better wait for other answers, lol.
Okay, that was kind of why I was asking because I see it brought up a lot but I just wanted to make sure I understood everything.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
Here's what conclusions I came to about the date seven years ago:

https://thelifestream.net/reviews-a...is/what-in-life-does-not-deserve-celebrating/

Maybe something in there is helpful. Feel free to disregard.

As for the HAHW scene, that's been depicted prominently in several places. I know one of the other pages of that analysis I linked you to just now goes over it, but I honestly don't remember which off the top of my head. :wacky:

Maybe this one?:

http://thelifestream.net/reviews-an...td-analysis/a-puppet-who-can-see-the-strings/
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
None of the dates has been specified as the one that definitely happened, unlike the Highwind's high affection variant, probably because who Cloud dates doesn't impact the narrative arc of the scene (Cait Sith is a traitor and spy, ShinRa is keeping tabs on Marlene) and because each date says something about who Cloud goes with, rather than Cloud. It is a nice narrative bookend for Aerith to go on the date and Tifa to affection under the stars because it reflects their various promises. It'd also be hilarious if Cloud went on a date with everyone in one night, but that requires slight restructuring, as hilarious as it all is.
 

Stiggie

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Stiggie
I am writing a potential video and I remember there being some quote or other talking about how the Aerith we see in AC is not her spirit or ghost or whatever you want to call it, but basically just a representation of Clouds memories, or just in general that it's supposed to be less concrete. Signifying how those we care about never really leave because they live on in us and all that.

Anyone know what the quote was?

Or am I simply mistaken? Is the Aerith we see in AC a visualization of the external soulpattern of Aerith that is still present within the lifestream and is directly talking to Cloud, or is it a visualization of the soulpattern that exists of Aerith inside his own head talking to himself.
Or is it one in some scenes, the other in others, or is it a combination of both?
 
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Stiggie

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Stiggie
What is a soulpattern?
How is it different from a soul?
Well, that's the thing, that's basically the subject of what I am writing. What is the difference between a memory and a soul in the world of FFVII?


To summarize it very quickly, I argue that there really isn't any.

What makes up a person, their soul, their memories, emotions, fantasies, etc. Are all made from lifestream. They are all very similar in FFVII, which is why when someone dies and "lives on in the memories", that is to some extent literal. Which is why Sephiroth can never die. Cloud is constantly running a simulation of who Sephiroth is in his mind by remembering him so strongly.

The argument is that those memories, especially when combined with something like Jenova cells, which can read memories and adjust you based on them, are so fundamentally similar to actual complete souls that they can serve as a basis for them.

The difference between souls, memories, and fantasies in FFVII isn't as clear cut as in most stories.

So Aeriths can be defined as some sort of compositions/pattern within the lifestream. A similar pattern to that exists within Clouds mind, within his lifestream as it were, as a memory.

What I want to know is, was Cloud talking to the ORIGINAL Aerith, whose pattern is still present within the lifestream. Or is he talking to himself, with the Aerith we see just being mostly an embodiment of the Aerith that lives on in his memories, "what would Aerith have said about this?"


I know Aeriths voice actress mentions that Aerith appears to Cloud "as he remembers" her, but that could mean several thing or nothing. I thought I remembered it being more explicitly mentioned somewhere that it's not actually Aerith but more akin to a memory, but I don't remember where I read it or who said it.


My intuition tells me that when Cloud thinks "but I let you die", that that is not really Aerith responding to him, however I do think it's the real Aerith when he's almost dead, and who for instance sends the healing rain.
 
Is it possible that there can be a distinction between a person's soul and their spirit energy?

My original understanding of the planetology of FFVII is that living organism is made of a combination of two things: its organic body, which breaks down after death into its constituent chemical parts, and its spirit energy, which animates the temporary combination of molecules called an organism, thus essentially giving it life. Without spirit energy, an organism would just be some kind of rock. This spirit energy also returns to the planet when the organism dies, loses its individuality, merges with the Lifestream, and is recycled into one or more new organisms. There's no after life per se, though some organisms seem able to cling on to their consciousness for a little while after death, until their spirit energy finally disperses into the Lifestream.

This basic explanation leaves a lot of questions unanswered:
- what is materia? We know that it is crystalised Lifestream, but why does the Lifestream crystalise? That doesn't seem to tie in well with its natural function. Crystalised Lifestream is Lifestream than cannot be recycled as spirit energy. What is the catalyst for the crystalisation, and why do all these crystals seem to fall into the same fairly limited number of categories? What purpose, from the Planet's point of view, does materia serve, if any?
- Yuffie, among others, suggested materia is crystalised memory. I am partial to the headcanon that every now and then the spirit energy returning to the planet carries a memory so strong that the Lifestream cannot dissolve it. Materia crystalises around these shards of memory the way a pearl crystalises around a piece of grit in an oyster shell. This then raises the question of how Shinra manufactures its materia. Do they seed mako with memories? Whose memories? Where do they get these memories from, and how do they extract them?
- the Planet seems to have encased some shards of its own will or purpose inside materia, e.g. Chaos.

It's not impossible that humans and other sentient creatures have an identity or essence or consciousness which is separate from their spirit energy and which survives death. We don't have much evidence of that aside from Zack's death scene in Crisis Core when he seems to fly off with Angeal into the sky, and that might just have been a hallucination of his dying mind. Ghosts are an established thing in FFVII. However, it's unclear whether they are formed from a dead person's spirit energy that for some reason has failed to return to the Lifestream, or whether they are something else.

It seems pretty clear both from the Compilation and the Remake that even though Aerith is dead, she exists as a consciousness with agency in the Lifestream. She isn't merely the sum of Cloud's memories of her.

I think the makers of ACC deliberately left Aerith's exact nature open to interpretation. In any given scene, you can either read it as Aerith being a real person communicating with Cloud from the beyond, or Cloud's vivid hallucinations and/or wishful thinking, based on his memories. Most of us know what it feels like to have conversations in our head with dead loved ones. Maybe that's all he's doing. Or maybe she really is reaching out to him from the other side of death. The one scene which more than any other strongly suggests the latter is the scene where his cell phone falls to the bottom of the lake, and she can be heard talking on it. He can't be imagining that. (Unless he can).
 

Stiggie

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Stiggie
Is it possible that there can be a distinction between a person's soul and their spirit energy?

My original understanding of the planetology of FFVII is that living organism is made of a combination of two things: its organic body, which breaks down after death into its constituent chemical parts, and its spirit energy, which animates the temporary combination of molecules called an organism, thus essentially giving it life. Without spirit energy, an organism would just be some kind of rock. This spirit energy also returns to the planet when the organism dies, loses its individuality, merges with the Lifestream, and is recycled into one or more new organisms. There's no after life per se, though some organisms seem able to cling on to their consciousness for a little while after death, until their spirit energy finally disperses into the Lifestream.

This basic explanation leaves a lot of questions unanswered:
- what is materia? We know that it is crystalised Lifestream, but why does the Lifestream crystalise? That doesn't seem to tie in well with its natural function. Crystalised Lifestream is Lifestream than cannot be recycled as spirit energy. What is the catalyst for the crystalisation, and why do all these crystals seem to fall into the same fairly limited number of categories? What purpose, from the Planet's point of view, does materia serve, if any?
- Yuffie, among others, suggested materia is crystalised memory. I am partial to the headcanon that every now and then the spirit energy returning to the planet carries a memory so strong that the Lifestream cannot dissolve it. Materia crystalises around these shards of memory the way a pearl crystalises around a piece of grit in an oyster shell. This then raises the question of how Shinra manufactures its materia. Do they seed mako with memories? Whose memories? Where do they get these memories from, and how do they extract them?
- the Planet seems to have encased some shards of its own will or purpose inside materia, e.g. Chaos.

It's not impossible that humans and other sentient creatures have an identity or essence or consciousness which is separate from their spirit energy and which survives death. We don't have much evidence of that aside from Zack's death scene in Crisis Core when he seems to fly off with Angeal into the sky, and that might just have been a hallucination of his dying mind. Ghosts are an established thing in FFVII. However, it's unclear whether they are formed from a dead person's spirit energy that for some reason has failed to return to the Lifestream, or whether they are something else.

It seems pretty clear both from the Compilation and the Remake that even though Aerith is dead, she exists as a consciousness with agency in the Lifestream. She isn't merely the sum of Cloud's memories of her.

I think the makers of ACC deliberately left Aerith's exact nature open to interpretation. In any given scene, you can either read it as Aerith being a real person communicating with Cloud from the beyond, or Cloud's vivid hallucinations and/or wishful thinking, based on his memories. Most of us know what it feels like to have conversations in our head with dead loved ones. Maybe that's all he's doing. Or maybe she really is reaching out to him from the other side of death. The one scene which more than any other strongly suggests the latter is the scene where his cell phone falls to the bottom of the lake, and she can be heard talking on it. He can't be imagining that. (Unless he can).
I think the concept that souls are made from lifestream is pretty concrete, even if it's just implied, I think it's heavily implied. Aerith's consciousness in IN the lifestream, she talks with the lifestream, Materia has the knowledge of the ancients. People "return to the planet", Biggs says mako is the essence of life and hope.
I think it's pretty clear that like Oil comes from living matter (plants etc), lifestream comes from consciousness, which is to say, souls. I doubt spirit energy would be distinct from that. Do you simply mean the power a soul has? To for instance cast spells or exert it's will? In that case I'd say that like with alcoholic beverages, the type of beverage determines what kind of alcohol it is, and it's alcohol percentage, and the amount of the liquid you have determines how drunk you can actually get someone.
So your identity is made from the ingredients and the ratio, and your spiritual strength is determined by the amount of "stuff".

I don't think a very explicit explanation of where mako and materia come from is required, like water can exist as gas, liquid, or matter, I don't see why condensed lifestream would be any different. I can even envision there being a slight difference in how mako is a physical manifestation of the lifestream that apart from a simple change of "state", but it would still mostly be the same in execution.
The reason that the "knowledge of the ancients" that is contained in materia seems to consistently be stuff like "how can I cast fire" instead of "how do I fill in tax returns" is I think mostly just a result of this being a game :P But if you want you can headcanon it into something like "it's memories that were too important to be forgotten, and therefore, over time crystalized" or something.

But I still wonder how much of it was external and how much of it was internal, in regards to Cloud. I honestly don't think I've ever noticed Aerith speaking through the phone, or at the very least I've forgotten it. Seems weird for her to do so any way, since it's sinking to the bottom of a lake XD
 
Why would mako need to be in a different physical state from the Lifestream? We see the Lifestream bubbling up in various parts of the planet. It appears to be an actual, physical thing, not an invisible flow of pure energy.

Lifetream doesn't come from consciousness, nor consciousness from lifestream. The lifestreams flows into and animates all living things, sentient or otherwise, e.g. trees. Of course, this raises the question of whether or not we believe cats, trees, amoeba, behemoths etc... have souls and/or consciousness. It's also begging the question of whether soul = consciousness. These are questions the individual must answer for themselves. But just because an organism is animated by spirit energy, it doesn't necessarily follow that it has a consciousness. At least, not as far as I know. There may be an ultimania somewhere that says differently.

In other words, every single living thing on the planet contains spirit energy. Does this mean that every single living thing has consciousness and/or a soul?
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
I am writing a potential video and I remember there being some quote or other talking about how the Aerith we see in AC is not her spirit or ghost or whatever you want to call it, but basically just a representation of Clouds memories, or just in general that it's supposed to be less concrete. Signifying how those we care about never really leave because they live on in us and all that.

Anyone know what the quote was?

Or am I simply mistaken? Is the Aerith we see in AC a visualization of the external soulpattern of Aerith that is still present within the lifestream and is directly talking to Cloud, or is it a visualization of the soulpattern that exists of Aerith inside his own head talking to himself.
Or is it one in some scenes, the other in others, or is it a combination of both?
So... it depends – but the answer is really "yes"

According to Lifestream Black & White, it is actually Aerith not yet allowing her consciousness to become one with the Lifestream, so from that perspective, this is a literal thing within the post-death mechanics that Final Fantasy VII has. That being said, this ability is also something that's specific to the Ancients & Sephiroth, so the post-death-residual-conscious-intellect-self isn't something that most people achieve. For most people, they return to the Planet, and the Lifestream just exhibits the emotional consciousness of everyone who's ever lived & died as "the cries of the Planet" since the Lifestream is a literal physical energy source inside the Planet, and not just a metaphorical spiritual energy. Mako reactors just refine it into a fuel source that also strips away the bits of natural purity, in the same way that fossil fuels harm the planet in their extraction & use.

On the other side of things, Advent Children is also an emotional exploration of Cloud learning to come to terms with his own survival in a world where people who he loves are no longer among the living. He has to come to terms with things in his own mind, and find the strength within himself to keep going. Those come together because – Sephiroth is refusing to just be a memory & coming back from the Lifestream through Reunion with Jenova's head. This is meant to be both a literal & a metaphorical examination of that concept, in order to provide Cloud a way of both literally & emotionally coming to terms with those things.

Like all of the spiritual & emotional concepts in Final Fantasy VII that focus on the struggles of life & death, it's designed in a way that allows you to appreciate both of those things. This is pretty much laid out in Sephiroth's vs. Cloud's dialogue in the original game when Aerith dies:

Sephiroth:
"Do not worry. Soon the girl will become part of the Planet's energy. All that is left is to go North. The 'Promised Land' waits for me over the snowy fields. There, I will become a new being by uniting with the planet. As will this girl...."

Cloud:
"...Shut up. The cycle of nature and your stupid plan don't mean a thing. Aerith is gone. Aerith will no longer talk, no longer laugh, cry... or get angry.... What about us... What are WE supposed to do? What about my pain? My fingers are tingling. My mouth is dry. My eyes are burning!"

There's a lot more specifics that you could get into that are dependent on things about Cloud & Aerith's relationship in the game, and what Aerith can do as a Cetra, but it doesn't really change the underlying point that those moments are meant to be equally literal & metaphorical, such that the interpretation of either is a valid way to understand the story, since it's meant to be an analogous way for us to think about the losses and pain that we experience outside of the game world as well.




X:neo:
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
In other words, every single living thing on the planet contains spirit energy. Does this mean that every single living thing has consciousness and/or a soul?
That's correct. And on the subject of consciousness turning into Lifestream, there's probably more utility in thinking of it in terms of what a consciousness is at the most basic level: layered memories or clumps of experience.

These things are literally the stuff life is made from. The more of them a planet's creatures have, the more Lifestream that planet gains.
 

Stiggie

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Stiggie
That's correct. And on the subject of consciousness turning into Lifestream, there's probably more utility in thinking of it in terms of what a consciousness is at the most basic level: layered memories or clumps of experience.

These things are literally the stuff life is made from. The more of them a planet's creatures have, the more Lifestream that planet gains.
There is a reason Aerith literally talks to flowers.
 
I wonder if Aerith has trouble eating vegetables. It's difficult to kill and eat things that you can talk to.

But on a more serious note, Tres, how do you know for a canonical fact that the experiences of a conscious being are what generates lifestream? I mean, it makes logical sense - that after a life rich in experiences, all organisms return to the planet more lifestream than they were given when they first generated - but is it explicitly confirmed anywhere that it is through the process of living that organisms create more lifestream for the planet?

I always assumed that when Aerith said she was talking to the flowers, it was because she chose to present herself as a slightly kooky girl who thought plants could hear her, as a cover for her real identity as an "abnormal, one of a kind freak' who could commune with the Planet. In other words, it's not the flowers she's listening to, it's the voices of the Lifestream.
 
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Thanks!

"After death, a life will circle the planet and be born again as a new life. Lives enrich the planet and make it grow”. That seems pretty uncontrovertible.

It then follows, I think, that it would actually be possible for humans to extract and process a certain limited amount of mako without harming the planet, as long they took care to live in such a way that they returned an enriched spirit energy to the planet, giving back at least as much as they extracted. One has to balance the books.

Do the experiences that enrich spirit energy have to be positive ones? Intense ones? Extreme ones? Or does every living thing simply by living enrich its allotment of spirit energy and return more than it started with?
 
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