Strip 27: Threat Level Two

I realize now that I’ve been talking about mantras and alluding to them throughout the story, but I’ve never actually explained what they are or how they’re relevant. Since it’s about to become kind of a thing, now is probably a good time for that explanation. A mantra, in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and beyond, is typically a word or phrase chanted repeatedly for meditation and spiritual power (usually beginning and ending with the word “om”). That symbol that appeared in Roger’s eye is a mandala, which some people use in conjunction with a mantra to focus their thoughts. Or sometimes they don’t. If that sounds incredibly vague, that’s because it is. A mantra can be anything from a philosophy to a prayer to a weaponized incantation. One reason why they’re popping up in Steel Salvation is due to Cykta’s origin as a Hindu colony, but more importantly, the literal translation of the word mantra is “instrument of thought,” and if there’s anything that perfectly embodies the duality of the human and the mechanical, it would be that. A mantra has the supernatural power to captivate a human mind, but it’s presented as a formula, or a code. The stuff that machines are made of. That might put a different spin on the strips that have come before, and it will definitely be important in the strips to come.

- J.S. Conner

July 23rd 2015