Wow, epic topic, and definitely one of the most interesting discussions I've ever seen =).
The essay was absolutely splendid Samu-kun.
Although I must re-read it later to do it justice and fire up my own thoughts, my brain is currently 60% C++ and 30% TIP ( and who knows about the last 10% ).
Of course man shall say that moe is superior to love - but in at the end of the day, it is fundamentally impossible for moe love to be superior to real life love. People love moe because they have such high expectations for romance in real life. They seek for the ideal of love and not for love itself - and in the end they are disappointed by what they find. That is why they turn to moe instead - a world where such an idealized romance is possible. However, for these same men, the appeal of moe is nothing compared to the appeal of true, real life love. So they may claim that moe is superior to real life love, but in fact, had it not been for their desire for real life love, then moe would not exist at all. Moe is completely dependent, subservient to the desire of men to want such a true romance in real life. Offer any man even a shimmer of unlikely hope that such a true romance is possible in real life and he will drop moe in an instant and chase after it.
I've heard that iconic moe is only treasured so because most otakus never really found love, or at least a stable relationship in which to express it. Even for those who have established themselves in a relationship, whether short or long term, it's often arguable if they actually found true love, or simply a form of short term attraction that turned into enjoyable and convenient companionship. I certainly don't ever remember falling in love myself, and thus moe still retains every essence of its appeal to me =).
Be it idealism or virtual reality, moe is, at least in my belief, an escape from the often distasteful MMORPG we all know as 'IRL' or 'Outside', or possible a fallback one retreats to after failing to meet expectations or achieve results in a real life relationship. The fake is obviously... never as good as the real thing.
But then, like most other dreams moe still does intersect with real life, sometimes in significant amounts. This is when moe stops being just an 'icon' and really becomes what I classify it as - just another trait, an archetype, an adjective used in part to describe another. Who ever said moe must exist in its full glory and absolute perfection to be considered 'moe'? If one finds moe traits in a real live relationship ( which I definitely believe it doable ), than all the better for them.
In the end, I simply think moe is simply a means to describe something we've ALL discussed amongst friends ( and family in some cases ): "What are the traits you find most attractive in another person, in an irresistible way?" or "How would you describe the traits of what you imagine your soul-mate would be like?". Basically, if something is required to cause one to fall in love at first sight/encounter, then those are the traits that is defined as that person's "moe". It need not be iconic or exist only in fiction and dreams, but it's definitely far MORE likely to do so.
Information after all, is often classified as the most expensive resource in the world. If we could all find our soul-mates, moe-specialist anime producers would go out of business =P.
This is also the same reason I believe 'moe' exists just as much for women as it does for men. I've had to sit through more than my fair-share of sessions where a group of girls next to me are chitchatting about whom they think is hot and whatever. The only difference here is simply the terminology used... as far as my opinion goes.
Besides, moe as a term is used quite often in shoujo manga...
The argument traditionally goes something like "Moé is a demeaning objectification of women," with the implication that "Moé is a demeaning objectification of women by insecure weak men, who want to be dominating ubermensch! (forgive lack of umlauts)." This is followed by the ritual stoning of the ubermensch (joke).
That's ridiculous in my opinion. Well, either way I think sexism and racism will never die out, and simply cannot
be stamped out. It's nature. It's reality. I can only classify those who cannot accept this truth as idealists. In the developed world of today, sexism and racism has already been toned down to as low as it could possible be for now. The only thing that can further improve the situation now is time... duration of acceptance and coexistence. But this is going off-topic...
One of the first questions asked in any job interview is to pick X adjectives that would "best describe yourself". Well, is that objectification now? What's the difference with moe? (I'll use my argument above as support =P). Arguing that "moe is demeaning objectification" is as absurd as saying "adjectives are sexism" in my view.