Jason's Blog

Archive for March 23rd, 2005

Additional thoughts on my introspection…

by on Mar.23, 2005, under General

I wanted to make one last note about why playing as a dark side character bothered me so much. It’s because in playing I made evil choices. And it bothers me that I made those choices. It bothers me down to the very essence of what I am. For me, any major decision I make, I have to go over and over, often thinking back to past decisions and mistakes, to look for what is the truth, to see what is right. And, with that introspection I eventually decide what is right, and do my best to either make things right somehow, or to find a way to make up for that decision. Somehow, someway, I do my best to make things right in any situation where I feel I’ve made a mistake. I look at past situations, where I had someone’s car towed and I remember worrying about whether I made the right decision. In that instance for example, I doubted my decision for a while, but eventually decided I did make the right decision, that I did follow my sense of justice and what was right. For me, this introspection comes in nearly every decision I make. That’s why I’ve been thinking so much the last few days, struggling with that sense of self and of what is right or not. Because even the simple choice of how to act in a video game is a sign or a part of doing the right thing. A person could argue that it’s just a simple video game, that it isn’t real. But that’s the problem – the choices we make in every situation are part of who and what we are. If you can make the wrong choice or an evil choice in something as simple as a video game, that’s still making a wrong or evil choice, and in itself is wrong.

Another thought on this is the nature of being decent to neighbors, things like that. One of the things I realized a while back – it’s not where you’re at or how you’re raise – it’s who the you are on the inside. Every person can be a good or bad person. Being in the city or being in the country makes no difference on this. I’ve seen bad people in every area of life. The romanticism of a country person versus city person is nonsense. Stereotypes don’t apply – it’s a matter of doing what’s right in any situation. Interestingly enough, some people who act tough and crude are often better people than the ones who act nice and seem honorable. It’s what’s on the inside that matters most – and that’s something a person can’t see without looking deeply. I’d take a person who makes rude jokes, who laughs at politically incorrect commentary, who shoots guns, who likes fighting, but still upholds the concepts of honor, justice, and such principles over someone who abhors violence, but treats others with contempt, who keeps hatred in their hearts. Condemning a person for being “bad” or drinking or partying or such things is rot – condemning a person for being evil, or for making choices that harms others – that’s where I have problems with people. I remember once discussing this, talking about a “line” to be crossed or that people cross. The thing is, there is no line. It’s not a line, it’s who and what you are that is the restriction – if a person is good and truly cares, a line doesn’t exist, because that person in their very nature does try and do what’s right. Making jokes or teasing or being crude doesn’t change the goodness that can be found inside. Not all who are crude are good, and not all who are good are bad – appearances are deceiving. It’s the heart of a person that makes a person good or bad, and finding or knowing that a person is good is a hard thing to know.

I know I’m rambling a bit on this, but it’s a hard thing to explain, but also an important thing to explain – it’s just hard for me to see how many people can be so evil in so many ways, because I can’t help but feel that goodness, that truth, that honor is so important. It’s why I’m able to accept people and love still those who sometimes are crude, or seem insensitive, because at heart, they’re still good people. Maybe this makes no sense, but maybe it does. I guess in the end what I’m saying is that I respect someone who is in their hearts good, regardless of what they act like – because a good person can’t in the end help but be good, and that’s a hard thing to find – someone who truly believes in doing what’s right, who looks to do what’s right.

In the end, part of this is that I just wish that I had better luck with some of this, both in showing that aspect of myself, and in finding people who respect that sense of right and wrong. That I knew more people who respect that intensity of honor that I hold so dear, that that intensity wouldn’t scare or bother people so much….

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Introspection on making evil choices

by on Mar.23, 2005, under General

I’ve been up late here thinking, and haven’t been able to stop thinking. Everyone has those days I’d guess, but it happens to me a lot. With that is thinking about who and what I am, the nature of life, etc. Now, to explain what started this process, first I have to discuss a video game.

The video game in question is a Star Wars game, of course. Specifically, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. This game is the second of a series. The big thing with this game is the ability to play as a light side or dark side character. What side you play is based entirely upon the choices you make and interactions with the characters in the game. I’ve played the light side character, and beaten the game. Well, I decided to try going back to see what the dark side is like. This is where the problem comes in. The game is in some ways extraordinarily life like. But, not even so much life like, it’s more than that. Trying to play as a dark side requires you to make selections which can have a negative or positive impact on characters in the game. This is where the problem comes in and the moral dilemma.

My old roommate, Dan Poth, gave me some grief once because I had such a hard time playing as a dark side character, while he loved the dark side. I’ve never been able to play as a dark side character. The reason for this is simple – because I believe in doing what’s right, in every aspect of my life. It’s a sense of honor, of justice, of believing that the right thing is something you should do in every aspect of life. Even in something as simple as a video game which isn’t real, it’s there for me. It’s something that is so a part of me it’s hard to describe. I don’t have the capacity to do something that isn’t right.

What got me started on all of this was something simple really. It was the simple matter of a quest to save some plans for a droid. Well, plans for a special shield that the droid wanted for his owners shop. When playing as a light side character, you rescue the droid that has the plans (buy buying the droid), return the droid to the shop, and help out the owner of the shop. Playing as a dark side character, the way it works is instead of rescuing the droid, you just take it’s memory core out. Then, when you return the core, you threaten to take a copy of the plans to the shops competitors. Unless the droid gives something to you. What you can ask for is part of the droid, which is what the problem is. Watching what happens to the droid afterwards, seeing the damage that one simple decision makes. The result, just watching a droid be hurt is in some ways the most direct viewing of the consequences of an action. And that is what the problem is.

EVERY action has consequences. Every single action that a person makes has consequences that affect other people, whether they see it or not. This is where the problem comes in. Most people in life never see the direct consequences of their actions, because those consequences often only are seen indirectly at best. When fully faced with the consequences, and particularly the choice to see what would happen if you made a different set of choices, that’s when you realize how dangerous your choices can be. What’s bad is that so few ever take the time to consider this. And this is why I can’t make an evil choice, even in a video game. I can sometimes if it’s not something I see in a video game, and of course, no choice in life is ever simple. Others may have the ability to play an evil character and enjoy it. I can accept that others think that’s entertaining. But, the result of all of this thinking is this simple fact.

The person that I am, that is at the very core of my being cannot betray my sense of honor and justice, cannot do something in any aspect of my life that is “wrong” or that betrays or goes against my sense of honor and justice. Even something as small as a animal to something inanimate, doing what’s right in every situation, following my code of honor is integral to who and what I am. I will not betray that honor in an way, not even with something as simple as making the “wrong” or “evil” choice in a video game, where a game characeter who doesn’t exist, even more, a droid who shouldn’t have feelings, is harmed by that choice. It’s the part of me that prays for the evil to be vanquished, for hate to be erradicated, for love to truly exist. Every choice I make, now and always, in every single aspect of my life, simple or good has to follow my personal code of honor, of justice. To do otherwise for me is impossible.

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