In iai News, Edward McDougall on Miyazaki
Heidegger does not take the western monotheistic view of God as a supreme being. But he does hope to recover a religious sense of wonder in dwelling on the earth. The gods for Heidegger are part of nature, and nature is mysterious. The connection between humans and earth is therefore our connection with the gods. Hence, gods are lost when nature is seen as merely a resource. So, to Heidegger, only when we turn away from viewing the earth as a resource can we renew the human relationship with the gods.
Heidegger’s linking of the gods to mystery and earthly wonder parallels Folk-Shinto, an Ancient Japanese religion, which focuses on the sacred within nature. This is a key influence in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, where Shinto imagery is explicit, and, to a certain extent, in Princess Mononoke.
The future of the relationship between humans and nature is left open in Naussicaä, but for both Heidegger and Miyazaki this renewed relationship is sacred because it allows for the gods to reappear. In Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, we get an alternative world, in which, through gods, people see nature as sacred again.