Wednesday, 4 June 2014

two views of death


  1. Check out the video game Planecape: Torment. It has very good writing:

    Example of dialogue (not the best but good):

    You see a man, standing stock still. He isn't moving a muscle. On closer examination, it appears that he isn't even breathing -- just standing. His eye sockets are empty holes in his face. Contained within their bounds is a flat gray light that seems to dance with possibility. Looking into the sockets, the eerie, empty feeling of a limitless void shivers through you, as if you had gazed into a sliver of eternity. The head slowly swivels toward you (you notice that no muscles appeared to move under his skin as he turns), and he speaks in a pure, bell-like tone: "Well met, wanderer. You have forgotten again, haven't you?"

    "Do you know me, stranger?"

    As he opens his mouth, you get that feeling of eternity again -- inside his mouth, you see no tongue, no teeth. It's almost as if this man were a shell surrounding an illimitable expanse. "I have spoken with you before, and always you forget. Your endless quest to discover yourself ends always in your amnesia. You draw close to the truth and recoil. Let us hope that you have the strength to endure your existence."

    "What do you know of me? How do you know this?"

    "I know that you, like a fly, rise up from the wreckage of your old shell, buzz about for a time, and curl up and die at the window of truth. You bumble about the pane, seeking the light without any plan to your actions, and fall exhausted when you fail. You alight on others to feed from them for a time, and move on with no regard to them. I have watched you come here and listened to your words, and watched you move away no wiser. Will you learn from your mistakes, seeker?"

    "Who are you?"

    "I am O." For some reason, when he speaks his name, it sounds like he's speaking of much more than a single letter -- as if the speaking of his name contained untold possibilities and nuances. No human tongue could ever create such a sound.

    "What sort of a name is that?"

    "It is my name. It is the name of a portion of eternity. I am a letter in the divine alphabet. Understanding me leads to understanding existence. I am writ in the true names of half of everything. My being encompasses truth. I am mathematic, organic, metaphysic."

    "So what does that mean?"

    "The divine alphabet is writ in the name of everything that exists, from the seed at the hearts of the elemental planes to the core of the Great Beyond. My brothers/sisters" (a single word translates into the two in your mind) "and I reach across all that is, was, or ever shall be. We are thought, and reality, and concept, and the unimaginable."

    "Tell me about the Great Beyond."

    "You would not understand. No mortal possibly could. It is beyond the powers of comprehension of all but the most powerful of powers, and once they understand, they move beyond the veil of mortal comprehension. I can explain it no more than that. Perhaps, sometime, you will understand."

    "So what are you doing here?"

    "Why, I am watching the ebb and flow of mortality."

    "And what do you see?"

    "You mortals are like wasps. You build your lives/nests from the slimmest of branches, and when the wind shakes your home/life free, you seek to sting the wind to death. Instead of realizing your foolish mistakes, attempting to repair the damage you have caused yourselves, and learning from your experience, you bring harm to any who have the misfortune to blunder near you in your time of pain and distress. My advice to you -- and to all mortals: Stop acting like an insect and start acting sentient."

    1. would you remove that rubbish please. I you just dump a pile of not your own shit in my lap, now get it off !

      and completely anonymous ! :o(

      who are you?

  2. It's Sepehr. google asked me to get a new Username. I chose Zephyr because it's a cool word I recently learned about, and it sounds similar to people's mispronunciation of my name.

    Btw, what do you think of Ivan Titor's artwork. It's awesome

    I'm reading Gorgeous Nothings by E. Dickinson while replaying Planescape: Torment.

    I can't believe you find Trier's shit "Zen" whereas you're unwilling to "expand" your horizons to include interactive art-forms like video games. It's pretty limiting.

    Not all video games are the same. Planescape: Torment has A LOT of writing in it.

    1. iIvan titor is quite interesting !

      melancholia is imo the greatest film ever made, it took me along while to get it !

      computer games are commercially driven and are necessarily fake and not real art because the audience reacts so strongly to anything that adversely tugs their sense of identity

      it's a hard switch away from entertainment to the real work of reading for example sa'di, I don't think it really happens until one gets very thoroughly disillusioned with the direction one's life is taking ! :o)(

    2. Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2, ICO, Shadow of Colossus, Earthbound, Mother 3, and Deus Ex are a bit different though. Few older games arguably had good stories before they became more mainstream and consumer-driven.

      I have a friend who is extremely well-read and he does a better job defending the medium. He's going to become a game developer himself.

      What's your opinion on Weird Fiction such as Lord Dunsany, HP Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, and Thomas Ligotti? I like how it attempts the "impossible" or "outer boundaries of human perception".

    3. the problem is not that you like this stuff, but you project quality into it that isn't there !

      you are just playing and can't accept there is a higher step you will not take and pretend to knowledge and experience you don't have !

      I don't have any issues with what you do, but the necessity you have of continuing to fool yourself is tiresome !

  3. You haven't even checked out the stuff I recommended whereas I checked out your recommendations and more.

    You can limit yourself, I don't care.

    One can read Sa'di, Bukowski, and Emily Dickinson while also seeing artistic value in video games like Planescape: Torment. I mean, you haven't even played the video game! All video games are not the same thing. Are you like Roger Ebert who believes the medium is inherently limited?

    I've written essays on the thematic depth of Earthbound (Mother 2), Shadow of the Colossus, Planescape:Torment, Deus Ex, and etc. I was reading stuff like Dostoevsky, Hafiz, J. Krishnamurti, and etc. and watching Ingmar Bergman's films when I was 14, and I also saw artistic merit in Planescape: Torment. I'm not an idiot.

    Saying I "project quality" is an insult to my intelligence.

  4. I want you to read from "I nodded and turned to leave when I spied a young Dustman..." to "That is all I ask... live, grow old, and learn. Farewell." Use ctrl+f to go to beginning.

    Let me give quick background info: in the game you are an immortal and cannot die. Whenever you lose all your health points, you wake up in the mortuary ('reborn') with no memory of who you are. You have lived for a long time throughout the plane, with no memory of what your past incarnations have done, and you will encounter people who hold grudges towards you (due to some of your past incarnations' corruption) or hold high esteem towards you. The point of the game is try to understand why you chose to become immortal in the first place, since it is more like a curse, and along the way you confront many people with diverse philosophies and viewpoints, such as the Dustman faction.

    After you read the section I referenced you, I want your opinion on the writing. I spent a lot of time looking into what you recommend, so could you show me some courtesy too and give me the benefit of the doubt? Interactive media are not a limited field, and they have strengths other artforms lack too.

  5. sa'di, charles bukowski, and emily dickinson wrote for love and not money !

    the problem with computer games is the same as the problem with making films, they are very expensive to make and need to sell a lot of tickets or product to make a profit, so they have to have mass appeal and the masses are stupid turds !

    andrei tarkovsky was always complaining about this problem and I think lars von trier includes pornography in some of his films to help sell them while still being able to impart artistic thematics !

    in actual fact this message and answer we are doing is quality interactive media, games are not for the reasons I have mentioned !

    any art in computer games is in writing the software and not the operation of the product !

    the mass of humans are just dull stupid morons and that's just the way it is ! :o(

    also I think games are too discrete, that don't have the fuzziness necessary for the contemplative mode !

    my advice is always to completely ditch game playing , if you like fighting there's always reddit zen which develops real life skills and not the crippling of mentality that games do !

  6. It depends on the game.

    You're definitely wrong.

    Do you have much experience with video games? 98% of them are shit, but there are a few games that were made not for money. For example, Xenogears was definitely not made for money and lots of planning went into its story. It has very strong criticisms against the Abrahamic faiths and shows how destructive war is. It's main message is how god should be sought within oneself and not in the seeking of power or an external idol. Older Black Isle games were also made at a time where games were not popular, and they had a high quality newer games lack. For example, Planescape: Torment and Fallout 2 dealt with sophisticated themes. Fallout 2 dealt with the moral ambiguity inherent in one's actions and so. The dialogue in Planescape is also splendid.

    Earthbound (Mother 2) and Mother 3 dealt with many sophisticated themes too.

    It dealt with themes such as the importance of childhood, anti-establishmentism, definition and substance of humanity, subjectivity is the only weapon against objective evil, Buddhist themes of self discovery and edification, plays on American pop-culture, extreme hatred of capitalism, technological man vs spiritual man, and aesthetic decisions. Overall, Earthbound is the deepest game I have ever played.

    Anyways, I'm not going to respond here anymore, Andrew. You have never once agreed with anything I've said. I've read all of your posts and have read deeply into many things you've recommended. Not once have you given me the benefit of the doubt. There are about 2% or even less games that have substantially meaningful stories.

    I will agree that recent games are pretty shitty and made for emotional entertainment... Before video games went mainstream, there were some hidden gems. They are however VERY niche.

    Also, stop defending Lars von Trier. I liked Tarkovsky's The Mirror, Stalker, and Offret (haven't Ivan or his other stuff yet), but Lars von Trier is a piece of shit. Just watch Antichrist and come back saying "he's okay". Sometimes we can be fooled by a piece of artwork... Lars von Trier's mind resembles the red light districts of Denmark, and they are blatantly in view.

  7. what sa'di and the 7th patriarch write about is the real process of "spiritual enquiry" which involves in being objective, seeing things how they are and moving forward on the very difficult and slow freight train !

    if I make criticisms, they are all mistakes I made when younger and took way too many years to rectify !

    real works of art are done by an individual, a writer or director or painter or whatever................... games are intrinsically a communal product like say a tv sitcom and they have an inherent low ceiling................

    I do think you will have to completely give up games as you get too involved and prone to substitute them for reality and I am sure I won't be the only one telling you this!

    I have made similar mistakes, one can go for ten years before the problem is perceived, will it take that long ?

    you have an exceptional intelligence, why be stuck in the mediocre all your life ?

  8. "games are intrinsically a communal product"

    MOST video games are communal but there are exceptions. However, video games with sophisticated stories generally come from the artistic vision of ONE person. In the case of Planescape: Torment it was from Chris Avellone, Earthbound was from Shigesato Itoi, and in the case of ICO it was Fumito Ueda. There are only ~10 games with good stories because the medium is relatively young unlike film. The rest of 1000000+ games have atrocious stories, so it's only .2% of games that really push the envelope. The medium has potential, but it has recently shifted to Indie side because they generally work for more than just money.

    For example, this is an Indie game based off a story by Oscar Wilde called Salome: (watch all parts)

    Unlike film or poetry, it's harder to find games with artistic depth because the medium is so young, like I've said. The production costs also tend to be high. However, with the Indie side being more progressive and growing, it's possible we may get games on the level of Bresson's films like Au Hasard Balthazar or good poetry. It's not quite there yet, but it shows promise and there are a few games that reach that level occasionally... The thing with video games is each moment or scene is variable and sometimes the game may reach depth, but they then revert back to a shallow state of grinding for experience points or whatever.

    If I possess exception intelligence, then watch all of the Fatale, the Youtube link I gave in this post, and then tell me what you think of it. Give yourself some doubt.

    I agree that playing video games without watching great film or reading poetry will degenerate the mind. However, I think if you read good poetry and watch great film, and supplement games with it, it can actually heighten creativity a bit more.

    1. all this is just more compression, without some daily mediation/ contemplation what I say will remain meaningless to you !