Observation is a concept in Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse.
- "As described by Stephen, "observation" (sometimes described as "understanding") is the ability humans possess to give structure to the formless. In this instance, "observation" has nothing to do with sight, but rather human perception. It is an extension of the philosophical concept of "qualia," or individual, subjective experiences. For example, the sensation of seeing color is not easily communicated, yet something humanity possess a shared understanding of. Likewise, YHVH only exists because of this shared observation.
Of course, forms of communication are necessary in order for humans to share their observations with one another. But once framed by language, these concepts change in nature. In effect, they become bound by language, much like the shared understanding of YHVH. What Dagda and the Divine Powers seek to do is free themselves from the limiting existence forced upon them by language. Because YHVH never revealed himself to humanity, he is not bound by language the same way they are."
- —Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse Notes, entry - "Observation"
YHVH's Covenant was created by the Creator to bind humanity as slaves to God. This covenant makes humans too weak to not rely on his law or others, as well as making it difficult for people to make the concepts of gods be properly interpreted into words. This results in gods being distorted or easily reinterpreted into multiple faiths, such as Brigid becoming Saint Brigid, being demonized into forms like Beelzebub, or new gods born from the same concept such as Odin born from Dagda or Danu from Inanna.
The Divine Powers' goal for the new universe and humanity's souls is to create a great singularity with Krishna, becoming a Mini-Axiom who then distributes the souls equally amongst the gods. Their goal is to make a world where the gods are all worshiped equally. Krishna's personal goal, in doing this, is to eventually teach humanity to become part of a Great Singularity -- possibly a reference to the Hindu version of Enlightenment, in which humans surpass the three worlds (heaven, hell, and earth) to become one with the all-pervading existence.
Dagda and the Anarchy-Neutral route's ultimate goal is to make Observation redundant by transforming humanity into gods with an inherent understanding of the world so that they will never rely on others as a crutch and be more individualistic and free. Gods would then remain as their original form as part of the Axiom and nature, never properly returning, though it does not stop demons of other universes from appearing. Due to the fundamental changes brought to humanity under their Creator Nanashi and their mother Goddess, this strongly advocates transhumanism.
In the final battle with YHVH in YHVH's Universe he is degraded via Observation by denying his truths, demonizing him into a mere demon who reveals that he seeks nothing more than worship and praise, the real truth behind all his actions.
- The concept of Observation and Understanding was once brought up in an interview for Shin Megami Tensei II to explain how the Expanse inspired Jewish Mysticism and the Kabbalah.
- Though it is stated to be a specific ability only Humans have, the three insane Cardinal Archangels from Shin Megami Tensei II observe Fake YHVH into existence through their collective madness. The Final Bosses of DemiKids Dark Version, Light Version, and Devil Children Fire/Ice Book were born from feeding off the collective suffering of humans and demons alike and sought to fuel their existence by spreading more suffering to both species.
- Like Magnetite, Observation has a real-world equivalent, in the of quantum mechanics, where observing something changes it, such as with , where the act of observation causes reality to "choose" between several possibilities which all existed simultaneously prior to being observed.
- The Persona series possesses an equivalent to Observation - "Cognition," which is a term and major plot point in Persona 5, where mental perceptions can warp one's desires and create the dungeons known as Palaces.