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LONG BLOG

Bioshock and Objectivism: Philosophy with Plasmids

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**Warning: Possible Spoilers. This is my understanding of the world of Rapture from what I've seen and read. If you haven't played the demo, there are a few solid spoilers.**

I doubt anyone was made to read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in school. Its political views are very libertarian, and considering the incredibly liberal view of the Teacher's Union and universities, these people would more likely burn the book than read it.

I read it though. I was a staunch conservative until about 2005 when I realized the whole system was a sham and became a libertarian. I believe people should be allowed to do what they want, so long as they don't hurt anyone else.

Objectivism goes one further. Objectivism tosses out the notions of morality or honor and simply focuses on bettering oneself. Rand's concept was essentially that man's greatest duty is to better himself regardless of the consequences of those around him, and the true goal is to reach the pinnacle of humanity.

I know, sounds like a philosophy paper so far. Here's how it ties in with Bioshock.

As I'm sure everyone knows, Bioshock takes a lot of concepts from Objectivism and looks at them practically. Andrew Ryan, the game's assumed antagonist (can't tell yet, I just played the demo), is the personification of Objectivism. As every who's seen the opening sequence knows, he tosses out the notions of God and Country, and focuses on self-improvement.

That's where the whole thing is flawed, and why Rapture went to hell.

The concept consists of Moochers and Looters. In Atlas Shrugged, Rand defines the Moochers and Looters as those who depend on the invention and creativity of the enlightened people of the time to live good lives, but simultaneously despise them for being better or smarter or richer. I figure along with the scientists and engineers Andrew Ryan brought with him to Rapture, he had to bring some janitors, chefs, waiters, and all the other people who were essential to the basic running of Rapture. These people became the Moochers, who benefited from the creations, but despised the creators. Thus the whole fight over Adam, those signs near the bathysphere of people begging to be let out, and the constant struggle in the city. They revolted, seemingly tired of being looked down upon by the elite. They wanted the power they were assumedly not entitled to, i.e. the Plasmids.

Andrew Ryan seems to have invented the Plasmids, since his name's on all the ads. Naturally he'd want compensation for his creation. But the Moochers, the workers, they wanted it for themselves. But they didn't have the scientific know-how nor the presence of mind to understand the consequences of genetic restructuring. So everyone Ryan brought down to offer freedom to create were killed by the jealous working class. It's very French Revolution in that way. Or Russian Revolution, or damn near any revolution where the working class was being repressed. See the flaws inherent in the system!

I think that, once more people start getting their hands on the game, there is going to be a lot of political discussions revolving around who's right in the game, and how the metaphor of the Big Daddies and Little Sisters take part in the larger scheme.

Personally, I can see the Little Sisters being the poor people of a society taking Adam as their equivalent to welfare as literally sucked out of the bodies of those with Adam aka the rich. The Big Daddies are the government protecting them, and anyone who gets in their way will have hell to pay. Of course, as stated above, I'm a libertarian, so that's just my view.

Damn, this game is gonna rock out loud.
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About Farktoidone of us since 8:27 PM on 01.06.2007

I've been working in the game industry for a number of years. I have no other knowledge of myself I wish to divulge, so Google me if you really have nothing left in your life.
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