Shin Megami Tensei – It’s Influence on Me


It’s time I finally talked about video games. I’ve been a gamer for 11-13 years of my life, but it was only about 2 and a half years ago when I discovered the Megami Tensei series. There I fell in love the series, adopted some of its ideas, looked into the demons/mons I liked a little more, looked into religion and mythology more, and took inspiration from it. Oh, and its spin-offs are cool too, but remember who the star is guys.

Try not to think of the next paragraph as too much of an advertisement.

The general idea of the games is that you summon demons, usually through an arm-based computer device, usually in modern post-apocalyptic Japan, and the story has a high emphasis on personal choice and the effect your actions and choices have on the world and its fate. Sounds like a great recipe if you ask me. Usually you have three different paths to choose from. Fans of the series, like myself, usually recognize them as Law, Chaos, and Neutral. Law offers eternal peace and security in them form of the Thousand Year Kingdom with God’s at the cost of all freedom and those who aren’t fit to live there all die (sound familiar?) Chaos is all about power and freedom and is mainly out to oppose the Law faction with Lucifer’s help, but you are without protection as well as control and have to fend for yourself, and in a world where demons now live. Neutral is about rejecting both factions and serving only yourself and following your own path (usually).

My favourite so far is Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (though I think Digital Devil Saga improved some gameplay aspects). Simply put, it is an amazing experience that gives many sensations and emotional experiences, as well as immersing you in a world that is both empty and vibrant.

A screenshot from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
A screenshot from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.

But I’ve always wanted to play Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II, the games that had the most influence on me when I found them. Unfortunately, they were only released for the Super Famicom in Japan and I have no idea how to patch them. Incidentally, does anyone know how? Regardless, I am reminded of what I’m missing all the time.

Shin Megami Tensei 1, with the Law-aligned hero berating us for going against his faction
Shin Megami Tensei 1, with the Law-aligned hero berating us for going against his faction
Something big happening in Shin Megami Tensei II
Something big happening in Shin Megami Tensei II

By the way, I am excited about Shin Megami Tensei IV coming next year.

Objectifying women?

Looking at women through sexual eyes seems to be taboo to most, even vile. But I don’t see it that way. When I see women, I anything but a doll. I see beauty, but I don’t see an object. Surely sexual attractiveness is a part of beauty, is it not? And for me, all parts of the beauty I see are important. Therefore, I find that the sexual attractiveness of a women, however one defines it, is just as important as personal characteristics. In acknowledging her attractiveness, I am not objectifying her, but rather respecting an important part of her beauty, and I try to my best to be honest about it when I get the chance.

Let’s be clear, when you objectify someone, you view them as unimportant, expendable, valuable only in shallow ways, not having any rights, and not even having a soul. Who’s to say the men sending soldiers to their deaths aren’t objectifying them? Who’s to say company bosses aren’t objectifying their workers by treating them as nothing but expendable slaves? Who’s to say religious leaders don’t objectify their followers as mere sheep? Who’s to say we aren’t objectifying our children by treating them like we would our pets, or at worst abusing them? That is not how I view women at all. I do not view women as mere playthings or fodder without souls or rights. And why should I be lumped in with such people just because I look for sexual attractiveness in women? Of course sexual attractiveness isn’t all there is to women, but it is one the things that completes female beauty.

To be fair, if there is one part of society that actually does objectify women, it’s advertising. Advertising, usually, does not respect female beauty, but rather views women and their sexual attractiveness as just tools to sell products. Oh, and what about fashion? Fashion only sees one part of female beauty, and tries to impose whatever it sees as beautiful on both women and girls.

To conclude an unusually long post, we all have different ideas of beauty and sexual attractiveness, but it is important to respect one as important to the other.

False Gods

DISCLAIMER: This is not a religious rant. I have already stated my view of God in an earlier post.

Even though society is becoming less religious in the modern world, we still behave like we are religious. There are still “Gods” in our society. Celebrities. Pop stars. Economics. Politicians. Scientific intellectuals. Philosophers. Sports personalities. People representing causes. Television personalities. Really anyone who we can take as role models for our children and dump all responsibility on so that we can degenerate into apathy and laziness. Or anything that we just bow down to unquestioningly. The desire for these false Gods is the ghastly placenta from which celebrity culture and a culture centered around role models are both born and from which they continue to plague mankind.

Gangnam Style now has the highest views of any YouTube video, and it is without any quality whatsoever. In fact, it’s an embarassment. And now Psy is becoming a household name of 2012. Anyone else wondering why?

How does this happen? How do people continue to find something to worship pointlessly? How do people continue to find something to crown a role model to funnel all their responsbility to? Seriously. I am actually wondering why. Are we really that stupid? And what will it take to go without worshipping any of these false gods? Will we think for ourselves?

Why not be an objective self?

Reality is not objective, or at least not as simple or objective as you think. But let’s not focus on emulating reality. Instead, let’s be objective about ourselves and refuse to go with the flow. We are all unique individuals. We all have different tastes, traits and things that define us as individuals, I suspect most often in different combinations of tastes. And there’s so many voices telling to conform out there, so many messages. If you have the strength, then refuse it. Be yourself absolutely. Refuse to bow to someone else’s vision just for its own sake. Refuse to worship any god but your own. Refuse to die for someone else’s dreams. Don’t kill your dreams, vision, and inspirations. And don’t run away. Make your eyes as fierce as flames. Make yourself free. Know what you want. Be strong. I myself am just another person trying to be objective in the face of the world and slowly walking that path of fire, and have yet to reach the goal What about you?

Insecurity is the root of the desire for collectivity

Ever wondered what man’s greatest folly is? Is it his greed? No. Is it his lust? No. Is it his pride? No. It is his insecurity. Man deludes himself with emptiness, with insignificance, and with loneliness, and it depresses and toxifies his mind. It’s why we flee to oneness and sameness. The insecurity is Man’s mind is the originator of cliches, a mentality centered around the group or collective, and an aversion to the notion of self. The insecurity itself spawns from people looking at life and the world around you with their eyes only, only looking for objective meaning to reality and finding none, and so losing hope. We even take individuality and thinking for ourselves as the sin that spawned our morality, thanks to our religious thought. Have we overcome this authoritarian, depressing, toxifiying insecurity yet? I don’t know, but I can assume not, since even our democracy is tainted by it. How in thousands of years of human history are we still not strong enough?

Music is the best drug ever made

Music, in my opinion, is the greatest drug ever made by human beings, and unique in its power to both unite and diversify people. Music intoxicates the mind and the soul and provides an infintely wide array of emotions, how you feel depends on you and whatever tastes you have or nurture, it is powerful, it can be addictive at times, and best of all, to my knowledge, it kills no one. Why even do we have other drugs? Well, to each his own I guess.

God and Deity

No, this is not God, and I do not worship a galaxy.

This post is actually about my idea of God as in a force of the universe, and my idea of deities from religion and mythology as personalize deities.

As I mentioned in my post about religion, my idea of God is an impersonal force that runs through the universe, existence, and beyond. I think it’s basically like Pantheism, and I hear it’s like the concept of the Nirguna Brahman in Hindu thought. But would I worship that? No, I wouldn’t. Why would I worship an impersonal force? In fact, a God that requires worship, let alone needs humans or any other creature so greatly, logically cannot be the true God, but rather just an entity created for social control.

Deities ascribed in mythology seem more like personal, anthropic, and emotional deities, personifications of our power and our human qualities. These deities represent us.

Ganesha, an example of a personal and mythological deity and one of the most popular and widely-recognized deities in Hinduism.

In our mind, we create deities out of ourselves that represent our personal qualities. We may even have the power to make them real, at least to us. I still wouldn’t advise worshipping them, but rather take them as representational, or make our own to represent our unique individual selves.

Why a single answer to the Great Question tailored for everyone is a bad idea.

The Great Question. It has no answer, except for how you answer it. But everyone wants a concrete answer to that question so they can lazily run their lives by it, and possibly other people’s. But is one answer to the Great Question for all people really such a great idea? Think about it: if there was one single answer to the Great Question for all to follow and comprehend, would we really be on a golden age and advance as a species? I doubt it. Instead, I think we’d degenerate into a lazy and empty race convinced that we don’t have to do jack because we think we know everything. There is no meaning of life for everyone, only what each person thinks. If that wasn’t the case, imagine how horrible the world would be.

You can’t trust anyone on religious matters

It’s missing some religions but it’ll do, I guess.

I personally am agnostic, with elements of spiritual agnosticism, some parts of secular humanism, the belief that if God exists then it is an impersonal force that runs through all existence and beyond (I guess that would be pantheism), along with elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions, and I feel this complements my opinions, values, and self. But I’ll discuss my full views on God later.

The point I am actually trying to make is that I doubt you can trust anyone on religion. I can ask many questions on religion, and often I came across something. Every answer can never be said to be objectively true or a fact. It’s all opinions. Everything about religion and spirituality seems to be a matter of opinion, nothing seems true or false, and you have to rely on your own instincts, values, and opinions. That’s all you can trust. Sure, you can listen to others and question them, and if it connects with you, you can accept things as your own, but it’s your own judgement and instincts that you must use to decide what your opinion is in the end.

Hypocrisy and Political Correctness has set South Park on a road to ruination

Anyone here like South Park? I do, but I don’t like South Park’s creators or its broadcaster very much. Matt Stone and Trey Parker were visionaries back when South Park started, with its cute but definitely not cuddly third-grade ensemble, its vicious mockery of the hypocrisy of the adults around them, its attacking of politics and religion in general, and, most importantly, its disregard for political correctness to the point that it deconstructs the very idea behind it: the idea that if you act or don’t act a certain way, or say certain things, then you are a horrible person. That mantra secretly upheld in so-called liberal thought was always treated as bullcroc in South Park, right? Well, not quite. In fact, Comedy Central, and the creators of South Park to an extent, has been cowtowing to threats from both Muslim extremists and, of all people, Tom Cruise. The same guys who stood for fredom of speech constantly had put a black eye on their own values and can never go back. Made worse when Isaac Hayes decided to choose his faith in Scientology over his meaningful role in South Park. After that, it seemed the show could only go one way: down. Ironically, they made a two-part episode called Cartoon Wars, which talks about censorship and its follies, after personally doing the same with Super Best Friends, Trapped in the Closet, 200, and 201. Doesn’t that seem kinda pathetic to you, especially when after that they still haven’t decided to stand up for themselves and re-syndicate those episodes?