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Morality In The Dark

September 13, 2015

I have a confession to make: I really can’t be the bad guy in video games. At least not without a lot of effort. I just don’t have it in me that when given a moral choice, to do something totally amoral. It started with Knights of The Old Republic and kinda worked its way over to other video games like Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, Fallout, and even recently: Mad Max. And the funny thing is that these are fake people and I still can’t do it–especially in dystopian games. I figure that these people have it rough enough, why make it harder for them? The weird part is that I have no such compulsion to be good in a GTA game. Sure, I won’t be an evil prick and I’ll even return someone’s stolen money. But most of the time I just get a minigun and mow down a lot of people.

Maybe the context matters like in GTA you’re supposed to be the criminal and can never diverge from that. However, in a straight RPG I’ll always play the hero no matter what. Sure, I may not make as much money and sure, I might have a lot of enemies, but damnit, I’ll keep my soul! I think that’s when you know you’ve made a successful game like that when the moral choices affect you on some level and these games have. I just don’t get a thrill out of treating people horribly and never have. Even in a virtual world where I can. Now, I do have some friends that love playing the renegade and seeing NPC’s suffer. Me, not so much. Even when I was fighting with someone I don’t like it. It’s emotionally draining, it wears me down physically, and at the end you’ve hurt someone.

I also don’t have it in me to throw a punch, to kick someone, or to hurt them physically. Oh, sure, I’ll think about it. I’ve thought about how to physically hurt someone thousands of times. That’s just human nature, but I’d never actually do it unless pressed. I get no thrill from violence or needless arguing. I will, however, fight for relationships with someone. If they fuck up or hurt me, I will speak up and let it be known. But as my previous entry said: I’ve learned which battles to pick. I just wish I’d realized that at the time with H-bomb. Truthfully I don’t think we were ever really fighting about anything in particular. She did fuck up numerous times and she’ll never admit it, but so did I. I guess the open wounds got to be too much for us both.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. As much fun as it would be to be a total asshole I just don’t have it in me to do it. I used to. I used to fight all of the time, to intentionally hurt people with my words. I don’t even really know why. Things seemed so much more important than they do now. Being right was a much better feeling then than whatever they were going through. As much as I hate fighting and arguing I seemed to do a lot of it. I still fight somewhat, but I know when to walk away now. I guess that’s part of getting older: experience trumps feelings for me now. I feel like yelling at someone, but in my experience it would do neither of us any good. So I won’t.

I guess that’s why I’ll never be a good asshole in a video game. I take no joy in making someone’s life miserable and I never have–even in the real world. Too much empathy, I guess, even for non-existent people. I don’t know if I should consider myself very pathetic or not for being that way, but when you’re given moral choices in video games, I think that’s what their intention is. You can go for your gut and the quickest most satisfactory response which usually involves a fist or a gun. Or you can fight your battles without losing yourself to your own inner-horrible person.

I think I finally have my answer. See, Jung speculated on the shadow that the less it manifested itself in your day to day activities the darker your shadow may be. My therapist saw it differently: he believes that yeah, your shadow can be directed into positive activities and positive outlooks rather than giving in to the darker impulses. And that’s true morality anyway, to me, at least. Realizing that, yeah, you wanna smash this son of a bitch with a baseball bat or run them off the road, but realizing that and not doing it. At least that’s how I see it. And holy shit, I managed to make a long assed entry on this topic.

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