Okay, so SELF is an otherworldly being that can control humans. Great, but how did Satoru come to discover it?
The chronology says he became acquainted with the idea of a Transcendental Will in 2006 and he considers it to be the true culprit behind Sayaka’s murder. Up until that point, SELF’s only interaction with the world was once in 2001 when it killed Sayaka. To our knowledge, it did nothing after that until 2011.
And yet, Satoru made great advances and furthered his theory.
The Ultimate Delusion
If you take SELF out of the equation, what are we left with? A boy killed his sister and felt intense guilt about it. That’s it.
Satoru didn’t discover SELF because he’s a genius. He created it out of desperation. SELF is nothing more than an attempt to distance himself from his guilt, to dissociate from his own actions.
Satoru hates SELF. In other words, Satoru hates himself.
He is self-absorbed, self-loathing, and self-destructive. He spent years creating an elaborate plan to self-harm, self-torture, and self-kill by proxy.
Borderline Personality Disorder
If we look at Satoru through the lens of a mentally unstable individual, then he clearly meets the definitions of Borderline Personality Disorder provided in the TIPS:
For a patient to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, they must display symptoms matching five or more of the following criteria. 1) A sense of abandonment in reality or imagination. 2) A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships. 3) Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. 4) Feelings of disconnection from reality. 5) Self-abusive thoughts of suicide, self-injury, and so on. 6) Chronic feelings of emptiness. 7) Emotional instability due to pronounced mood reactivity. 8) Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger. 9) Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms. 10) Desperate behavior and self-loathing at that behavior.
Something to note is that 4) and 10) do not exist in the real DSM IV. These were added by the game’s authors to make a point.
A Syndrome with no Cure
The idea presented here is tied to one of the central concepts in the Infinity series.
Satoru’s intense desire manifested itself in the world and SELF was born as a result. Does that mean SELF exists in the real world? Or is everything just a delusion within Satoru’s mind? It’s not clear one way or the other. However, for all intents and purposes, SELF “exists” in the world of Remember11.
This is speculative, but I suspect that’s also the secret behind the space-time transfer phenomenon. Maybe teleportation can work naturally in some constrained environment (e.g. with quantum particles), but Satoru’s desire for it to work outside those constraints allows him to construct the events of the game. Perhaps this also explains why some personalities linger. Again, take this with a grain of salt.
It is an Infinity Loop!
But what about the events that happened on 2011 and 2012? Surely SELF was involved, right? We spent an entire post talking about its abilities and nature, and it aligned with what the player experienced. Was that a waste of time?
No, those ideas are still consistent with what the game presents.
So SELF created Satoru? He’s just the representation of self-loathing.
Or did Satoru create SELF? It’s just the result of his desires.
These two ideas feed into each other.
It is an infinity loop!