Human Instrumentality Project

Evangelion ScreenshotThe Human Instrumentality Project, propelled with utmost secrecy by the SEELE-appointed Human Instrumentality Committee, attempts to control the Third Impact in an effort to induce the artificial evolution of mankind, because according to the Dead Sea Scrolls humanity has reached its evolutionary potential.

Very few details about the Human Instrumentality Project are offered, leaving it among the show's greatest mysteries. However fundamentally the effort involves the merging of the Fruit of Knowledge (Lilith-based life) with the Fruit of Life (Adam-based life), and to this end fans have observed three distinct methods by which the project can reach completion:

  • SEELE's Preferred Method

    The merging of Lilith (Fruit of Knowledge), the Lance of Longinus, and an S˛ Engine (Fruit of Life). Either Evangelion Units 05-13 or Tabris, the Seventeenth Angel could serve as the Fruit of Life.
  • SEELE's Backup Method

    Merging of Evangelion Unit-01 (Fruit of Knowledge) and the S˛ Engine-equipped Evangelion Units 05-13 (Fruit of Life).
  • Gendo Ikari's Method

    Merging of Lilith (Fruit of Knowledge), the Adam sample (Fruit of Life), and Rei Ayanami (Lilith's Soul to retain control).

The ultimate goal of the project is to break down the walls that separate humanity into individuals—the AT Fields. According to SEELE, this will supplement and evolve humanity into a single-form organism where all Souls are one, and are therefore content. This unified state is believed to be a nirvana without rejection, loneliness, pain, or suffering, where one's weaknesses are complemented by another's strengths. The project is therefore the New Genesis that the series revolves around, an effort to evolve humanity into a singular consciousness via the use of the Sephiroth System (see Tree of Life). While some perceive this as elevating humanity into a being equal to God, others see it as the indiscriminate death or genocide of mankind.

Evangelion ScreenshotNERV Commander Gendo Ikari has his own plans for the Human Instrumentality Project. The reason for his continuing involvement is to be reunited with his late wife Yui Ikari, which he believes he can accomplish by controlling the Instrumentality process. He intends to do this by implanting Lilith's Soul into an easily influenced vessel (Rei Ayanami), and eventually merging it with Lilith and Adam.

This leads to conflict between NERV and SEELE, resulting in the destruction of New Tokyo-3 and NERV Headquarters at the hands of the Strategic Self Defense Force. While Gendo successfully merges Lilith and Adam, ultimately Rei Ayanami rejects him, instead giving control of the Instrumentality process to his son, Shinji Ikari. In the end the Human Instrumentality Project follows neither Gendo's nor SEELE's scenario, as seen in The End of Evangelion.

Based on Neon Genesis Evangelion Platinum: 05 DVD Booklet


  • Varying Translations

    In some translations the Human Instrumentality Project is also referred to as the Human Complementation Project or the Human Enhancement Project. While at some point fans believed this to be a distinction between SEELE's and Gendo's versions of the project, this was not intended and was simply a variance in the translation process.
  • Influence: Childhood's End

    Hideaki Anno has stated that the concept of the Human Instrumentality Project was inspired in part by the 1953 science fiction novel Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. The story revolves around the arrival of an alien race called the Overlords whose ultimate goal is to guide humanity's evolution into an existence of pure energy, upon which humanity can unite with a great metaphysical organism called the Overmind.
  • Influence: Space Runaway Ideon

    Space Runaway Ideon is an Anime television series that aired in Japan from 1980 to 1981. It focuses on a mecha called Ideon, which is found by mankind on a remote planet in the Andromeda Galaxy. The planet is soon attacked by an alien civilization called Buff Clan, and the Ideon becomes mankind's greatest weapon and best hope for survival. The production is infamous for its apocalyptic 'kill them all' ending, which is often seen as a precursor to the Third Impact and the Human Instrumentality Project as seen in Evangelion. The series was followed by two feature films: The Ideon: A Contact and The Ideon: Be Invoked.
Spoiler Warning
This section may contain plot and/or ending details.
Last Updated
July 11, 2014
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