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Was Bioshock a fair critique of this trend and the philosophy of objectivism?

BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?

Bioshock made a lot of noise when it was released. One of the reasons for its popularity was the depth of the subject matter, and another reason was that the game used game media to present its great ideas in a unique and engaging way. The game incorporates many themes into its complex narrative line: such as changing identities, superhuman powers, and fountains of survival-style horror. For this reason, it is difficult to determine what the game says in response to Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism (1905-1982), a philosophy that is one of the game's main sources of inspiration.

In his novels and articles in the 1940s and 1950s, Ayn Rand developed the philosophy of "enlightened self-interest." The events of Rand's childhood in Russia had a profound effect on the formation of this philosophy. After the Russian Revolution, the Rand family business was taken away from them and they went on a hunger strike. Before Rand became an official citizen of the United States in 1931, he was so overwhelmed by the beauty of Manhattan in 1926 that he burst into tears. He described the tears as "tears of glory". It goes without saying that Andrew Ryan's biography is almost identical to Rand's's biography. There is a character in the novel named John Galt who has a mysterious and secret utopia for the world, but the novel ends before he reveals his ideal society and plans for this society to the world. Bioshock somehow offers us one of the possible possibilities for the utopia of Galt. On the one hand, it would seem unfair to interpret Bioshock as a critique of Rand's work, because the utopian Atlantis of Galt, as Ryan built it, has become a terrible dystopia.

Bioshock portrays one of the possible consequences of Rand's ideology in a very, very unfavorable way, should we take a negative view of this ideology? In fact, I do not think Bioshock used this low-cost rhetorical ploy, but before I make my argument, I need to explain what Ayn Rand's opinion is about art, emotion, and morality. We will then examine how Bioshock expresses its philosophical position on these issues through narrative and gameplay. After giving these details, we will be in a better position to consider whether Ken Levine, the creator of Bioshock, has provided a fair critique of Rand.

  • From Bioshock to Infinity; Analyzes and Philosophies (Part 1)
  • From Bioshock to Infinity; Analyzes and Philosophies (Part II)
  • Meta Bioshock Narrative; What does Bioshock learn about gaming?
( Danger of leaking the story ; if you do not know the story of Bioshock 1 from beginning to end, it is best to skip reading the rest of the article.)

Ain Rand on Art, Ethics, and Choice

If you've ever played and enjoyed BioShock, you probably know Rand's Objectivism: The Benefit of Society It lies in the fact that everyone acts on the basis of their enlightened selfishness. "Enlightenment" here means fairness and respect for others. Ryan refers to The Great Chain of Industry as a metaphor for the attainment of enlightenment through capitalism. On the other hand, Frank Fontaine is a great example of selfishness. It is non-enlightening, which Ryan does not endorse. Fantin founded Fontaine Futuristics on the ground floor of Rapture to make the most of ADAM. His move was ambitious, but not vicious. But on the other hand, Fantin pretended to be a revolutionary named Atlas, and with his identity engaged Rapture in a civil war in order to monopolize ADAM and thus conquer the world on the surface. His move was undoubtedly vicious, and none of the objectivists would argue about it.

BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?

" I do not believe in God, the invisible man in heaven. But there is something that is more powerful than any of us. That is the sum of our efforts, the great chain of industry that unites us. But this chain only leads society in the right direction when everyone strives for their own personal benefit. This chain is stronger and more mysterious than governments can control. "Anyone who says otherwise to you, either has his hand in your pocket or the barrel of his gun behind your neck." - Andrew Ryan

Rand wrote both novels and philosophical essays (such as his writings in the Romantic Manifesto). In his writings, he examines art and literature from the perspective of the objectivist philosophy to explain why humanity needs art. He valued works of art that presented difficult truths in an accessible way (Bioshock itself is a great example of this kind of work of art). He even states that the purpose of writing the story - like Atlas of the Shoulder and the Source (The Fountainhead), two novels that inspired Bioshock - is to provide an image of the ideal man in his own eyes. Rand described his philosophy through fiction, because in his view the art of selective reconstruction of reality is based on the author's worldview. In other words, the work of art is the artist's interpretation of the meaning of being human. According to Rand, in works of art, the fundamental human view of oneself and one's existence is compressed:

Basically, [art] tells man which aspects of his existence are necessary, important, and significant. In this sense, art teaches man how to use his intelligence. Art conditioned by emphasizing a particular attitude towards the existence of the human mind.

Artists reproduce human features that they consider to be an integral part of humanity. According to Rand, this is the objective value of art. Logical man needs art to "transmit human concepts to his conscious conscience and to be able to receive them directly," as if they were intelligible phenomena. We need art to thrive, not just for fun.

In the face of a world that does not care about them, human beings need a comprehensive understanding of the concept of existence in order to live right; To set values, to set goals, to maintain the coherence and harmony of their lives, to save the Little Sisters or to harvest them. Through situations that require our judgment (such as the issue of the little sisters), we find answers that ultimately affect every single moment of our lives and every single thing we do. The use of artwork (movies, novels, video games, dance) goes far beyond entertainment. According to Rand, thinking about works of art teaches us how to find our values in life and realize the place of human beings in the universe. Bioshock is exactly the kind of work of art that Rand likes, even The fact is that if Rand were alive, he would have strongly objected to the game's claims about his own philosophy. For Rand, Atlas shrugged his shoulders at "portraying the ideal human being as the ultimate goal." He meant the ideal man, the main character in his stories, a character like John Galt; The inventor and philosopher who believes that society falls victim to collectivist and socialist ideals by admiring mediocre and baseless things and enforcing self-destructive policies by setting bureaucratic and restrictive rules. This sentence may sound familiar to you. Repeat with me.

A man sitting in Washington says, "No, it belongs to the poor." A man sitting in the Vatican says, "No, it belongs to God."

a man sitting in Moscow says, "No, it belongs to everyone." Discovers Rearden Metal and brings it to the production stage, a stronger and lighter metal than any other known alloy. The government is trying to stop the production of spilled metal, as other artisans worry that the new metal could damage them. But when the government fails to stop the leak, it asks it to sell the metal to the government at a low price so that the government can use it. Disgusted by the hypocrisy of society, John Galt invites the best and most intelligent scientists, craftsmen, and artists to join him in secret societies that are disconnected from the rest of the world, where they can exploit their genius without interference. You might imagine that Galt is building a city where artists are not censored, scientists's hands are not tied to useless ethics, and the lowly can not restrict the great. Without these "atlases" that have kept the world on their shoulders, economic growth will stop, the progress of science will stall, and the "parasites" of the world will not be able to fill the big gap left by the greats of the world when they left. Rand's message is clear: When Atlas shrugs, the world falls. So let the great human beings remain great, because in the long run everyone will benefit from their greatness.

BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?

" The New York skyline is such a great monument to grandeur that no pyramid or palace can match or approach it. " It is clear from this quote that Ayn Rand had a strong desire to paint a romantic picture of the America of his time, without having to resort to this romantic image to the distant past or future. In his view, the United States was a symbol of individual progress and freedom, and the United States should have continued this process without apologizing to anyone, and even highlighted this aspect of its culture. His reflection of this view can also be seen in the person of Andrew Ryan and the city of Rapture, because Rapture is in some way an attempt to create greatness in the present moment; Without dependence on any external factor beyond the rapper himself and his inhabitants.

Rapture is the equivalent of John Galt's superficial and scientifist capitalist utopia a decade after its founding. Rand wrote in his notes that he expected John Galt not to have "personality development" and "internal conflict" in his novels, because he was an "immutable and perfect" person. In this sense, Andrew Ryan is the Galt's best representative in Bioshock. As Ken Levine explains:

I wanted Andrew Ryan to be a person that people could empathize with a little bit. He had become a monster, but at first he was a man who was sincerely looking for something, and his passion for life was so great that he could not satisfy it anywhere in the world.

Ryan, unlike Galt, A man full of flaws and personality flaws. Although his will is strong and his philosophy is clear, he ultimately decides to destroy himself, because he "changes", is full of inner conflicts, and is ultimately human, and when he learns to accept these facts, it is too late. Has been. As it is written on the entrance cloth of the rapper, "there is neither a kingdom nor a god; Only human.

One of the reasons Bioshock was innovative was that it defined its story in a way that could only be defined in the form of a video game. The game uses video game features to convey concepts that go beyond what the characters in the story say and do. This game teaches the audience facts about human nature by engaging the audience on an emotional level. For Rand, that was the goal of great art. The point is that Bioshock does not teach these "when" to play; Rather, it does so by "playing". If Bioshock was merely a work that you should have read or watched instead of playing, it would have lost much of its emotional impact. If we want to set a goal for Bioshock 1, it is to draw the role of emotions in our logical decisions. Levin bases his critique of Rand and the heart and soul of the Bioshock series on this goal. In his own words:

It is interesting that people value things that have no special value in the real world. But here's an amazing aspect of the story: People set values in their minds for things that do not actually exist externally; Considering emotional value for things that do not exist externally is one of the pleasures of art.

BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?

The metaphor of the title of the novel "Atlas shrugged" is that if society restricts the great human beings and constantly tries to suppress their genius and ambition so that their greatness does not hurt the pride of smaller people. Slowly, they will take pity on society, and society will suffer for being deprived of their talent and ability. These great people are like Atlas in Greek mythology; The burden of the world is on them. If one day Atlas shrugs, will the world not fall? And it was unnecessary), but Levin has expressed regret over this. Shortly after the game was released, he said in an interview:

[The two endings of the game] were added to the game in the final stages of development, and the addition was a request from one of my superiors. One of the reasons I disagreed with the idea of the game being multiplayer was that I personally never want to do things that have multiple distinct digital outcomes. I want the end of the game to be like a weapon system in the Bioshock combat section. You can do millions of different things in each fight. You can run the game in millions of different ways.

From this quote we can see that Levin had the idea of making Bioshock Infinite from the very beginning (the clue is in the title of the game), but still All that remains to be said about Bioshock is to say. To transfer. It was enough for the characters to talk about these issues (this is what Ats did with a shrug), but instead Bioshock goes a step further and instead of presenting a superhuman image of Ryan (as Rand did with John Galt ), Focuses on the human emotions that make Ryan a human figure. When we are dealing with a rich work like Bioshock, we can easily be overwhelmed by its interpretation, but next to it we can easily forget that when we are experiencing the game, most of the time we spend in the rapper is dominated by feelings of anxiety, caution and panic. , While desperately trying to survive (at least until the player finds more powerful weapons and upgrades them). The sense of horror is one of the unique aspects of the Bioshock experience that can only be achieved by "playing" it, so let's clear up the general concept of horror and explain why horror works scare us and why when we succeed in doing so. They work, we entertain.

The horror genre includes a large number of books, movies, plays, paintings, music, and of course videos. Art philosopher Noel Carroll, in his book The philosophy of Horror: or Paradoxes of the Heart, tries to respond to the emotional response that horror fiction creates in the audience (as its name implies). "Art-Horror" to define the style of horror. For example, thinking about the Holocaust in its standard form frightens us, while being attacked by splicers makes us "art-horror." This distinction works because it explains why when a player enters a room and sees splicers attacking him, he rarely leaves the room. When we think of the characters in horror movies, we become art-horrified for them.

BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?

From this chart it may seem that Noel Carroll's art-horror theory is very complex, but if we want to put it simply, it is a combination of artistic horror or enjoyable horror. From the sense of empathy, the awkward appearance and the sense of danger and threat are in the mind. Splicers have all of these features, which is why interacting with them creates "art-horror." In fact, it can be argued that video games are the ultimate in horror, as they give the audience the power to react to the terrifying element; The possibility of reacting gives the impression that the splicers are not just a series of crazy and killer people who want to kill Jack; They are a series of crazy and murderous people who want to "kill you in the role of Jack"! It is the player's job to kill the horror elements himself, and the best survival-style horror titles place a lot of emphasis on the "survival" aspect. Health bar and limited ammunition, murmuring or tormenting music and environments that convey the feeling of destruction and death are the features of games of this genre. This is one of the reasons why BioShock's rhetorical success: Levin and his teammates managed to best incorporate elements of the survival-oriented horror style into the narrative of the game and critique of this narrative from an extremist ideology.

Play the audience, just as Fantin plays the emotions of the people. In fact, the reason why the survival-themed horror games answer is the same reason why the rapper failed: Emotional reactions are an integral part of human nature; These reactions are an evolutionary privilege and unfortunately make us vulnerable to deception (whether we are aware of it or not). The game uses rhetorical and sentimental techniques to make the player feel bad about reaping the little sisters. Fantin understood this better than Ryan (his secondary identity as an atlas and his slogan of "a home for the poor" to deceive the rapper's humble people testify to this). Ryan realized the importance of emotion late, and it was too late for him to decide his tragic fate: to be killed by a boy he did not know he had, because he was not ready to kill someone who was "his own flesh and blood." Andrew Ryan, the great objectivist, is destroyed by his own emotions. : .

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BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?

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BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?

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BingMag.com Was <b>Bioshock</b> a <b>fair</b> <b>critique</b> of this <b>trend</b> and the <b>philosophy</b> of objectivism?


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Source: Bioshock and Philosophy: Irrational Game, Rational Book <// a>

Tags: bioshock, fair, critique, trend, philosophy, objectivism?

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