A Shin Megami Tensei Post: Philosophical Compatibility

This post is about the compatibility of philosophical alignments with other philosophical conclusions you may draw. Call me crazy for taking a video game as important to your philosophy, but it is, and I’ve been trying to bring the Chaos philosophy into real life. But it may be simpler, and more flexible, than I thought. I’m thinking the individual alignments are kind of simple.

  • Law: Promotes order, harmony, peace, and safety as the highest ideals, and seeks to create the Thousand Year Kingdom ruled by God. But it’s a world without freedom, individuality, or passion, and only those who believe in God get to live there while everyone else is destroyed by God (does that sound familiar to you?). Another ideal common in Law is that everyone should work together for the greater good.
  • Chaos: Promotes freedom, personal choice, and power as the highest ideals, and want defeat the forces that are aligned with God and then establish a world free from God’s tyranny, often alongside Lucifer and the demons, and in the form of a kind of anarchy (state without government or authority, not a generic word for disorder). But some believe it’ll be a dog-eat-dog world with that much freedom (I don’t believe that). You’ll probably have to fend for yourself, though. Another ideal common in Chaos is that people should take what they have by their own hands.
  • Neutral: Supports neither side and favours restoring the status quo, which is often disguised as “restoring the balance of order and chaos” (which Neutrality is usually not really about, although sometimes Neutral will display obsession with keeping a perfect balance which you know will eventually break). It is also claimed to be about individuality. But at it’s core, Neutral is about defeating both Law and Chaos to restore the status quo, which often leads to problems in sequels (I am of course referring to Shin Megami Tensei II), and losing most if not all your friends by having to kill them, so it seems like you have no answer and just kill everyone who opposes you or points out your shortcomings.

So picking the alignments is actually quite simple. Too bad I had to squabble with myself and flip flop over it for two or so years (between when I was 16 and when I was 18).  Did I really think it was that hard?

So here’s the thought process. I pick sides based primarily on moral/philosophical leanings and personal outlook, as well as demon preferences, rather than gameplay effects. I pick Chaos for the following reasons.

  1. I personally oppose Christianity, and Abrahamism in general.
  2. I value freedom
  3. The gods and demons associated with the Chaos alignment are interesting to me (read: they rock hard), and I’m interested in their mythologies
  4. The Chaos factions are the only thing fighting for lasting freedom, whereas Neutrality won’t do anything for it, given it’s prime interest is the status quo.
  5. My video game alter ego in this scenario fights and destroys tyrants, despots, and dictators as a rule. I wouldn’t stop in MegaTen even for the sake of social order.

Kali, an example of a Chaos-aligned entity in the series.

So thinking about balance or balancing things doesn’t interfere with being Chaos aligned, nor does believing in any kind of balance (such as a balance of light and darkness, or good and evil) hinder it, because alignments are really about who’s side your on or what you support, but your values tend to come into it. As long as any ideas I have don’t directly contradict the values which are in line with Chaos, or as long as I still value the fundamental Chaos values, then I’m fine.

Because this, I think I can now feel a sense of comfort knowing I don’t have to do much to stay Chaos-aligned. And hey, it’s a game, albeit a game that is very influential on me.

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