Friday, June 01, 2012

The end of Mass Effect. The damn kid is us.

As late as I can be, I finally finished the game. I won't go into the marketing bullshit. It's ridiculous how they sold the game for ages about having multiple endings when it turns out they are pretty much all the same. For that, they deserve public humiliation and it's offensive that they don't apologise about the lies. 
But considering there's pretty much just one conclusion to the game, and without fiddling with details about consistency, what character does what, or why the pace or mood don't satisfy every or the majority of the customers, I'll put down my feelings about it:

I like it. I think it makes sense.

According to what we learned, organics build/built synthetics gazillions of years ago and eventually synthetics were about to wipe away all organics. That's why the "gods", or whatever is the unthinkable uber species the kid belongs to (which is probably not organic nor synthetic) had to intervene, to prevent organics from being the cause of their own extinction. Why do they care? It's beyond us and I am OK with that. Aside from organics and synthetics there could be so many entities we can't even imagine, and it's acceptable that we can not understand their motives and the likes. The opposite would be ridiculous to me. If you think about it, we might be as smart to them as an ant is to us. They simply are "a higher life form", for now.

So, since this incredibly more evolved form of life has been observing "organics" for a looooooooooooooooong time, at some point they realized that organics were about to vanish forever because something they created went out of hand: the synthetics. Since they want to preserve organics (the same way we try not to have endangered species go extinct, or maybe because they need organic to cure their swine flu, whatever) they thought of a solution, not necessary out of love. Maybe simply out of efficiency. A solution that includes meddling here and there and chopping self-destructive branches of the organic evolution in order to make sure they will keep existing while at the same time being manageable. Again, I can see parallelism in the way humanity have been making all the big decisions for EVERY other form of life on Earth. For a long time, humanity as been making life and death decisions for other humans too, based on highly debatable biological differences.

So yeah, they created their (higher life form) own synthetic mechanism that regulate organics and their (organics') rogue synthetics, their evolution, their ambitions, their self-destructive aspirations. Enter the Reapers. As evil and apocalyptic as they look, they are just following a program by "cleaning" the galaxy from what might kill it for good. They are an anti-virus. For all the billions living things the Reapers are going to kill it's obvious that there are many many more that will be untouched. "You bring this on yourself" says the kid. You can't reason by exceptions here: "oh but there's plenty of good humans/turians/ferengi that would never create a synthetic! we didn't start this!". It's irrelevant to the higher race, the same way we spray with pesticide everything that endangers our garden, or we torture every rat we need to test our new chemical products on, we don't ask questions about it. They are "lesser." Or the same way we kill cows for their meat, even though they don't endanger shit. We don't interview them first. Nor we try to see if they can communicate. They can't speak English, but I am pretty sure they can convey pretty well the feeling that they would prefer "to keep their own form" (to paraphrase Shepard's "I think we'd rather keep our own form") instead of becoming hamburgers/be ascended to Reaper form. We don't care.

So, Reapers are their tool created to make sure we organics, the cows, the pests, the mosquitos, the lesser species, will keep existing cause we are needed in the Universe-ecosystem but we won't make a mess, by killing ourselves or getting too smart maybe (and maybe one day exact revenge on them?). That's the "Chaos" he mentions and would happen if the Solution (Reapers = Reset cycle) wasn't applied.

The mass relays have been built with the Reapers and for the Reapers. The Reapers are their "format c:" solution, the reset button for their galaxy/experiment/harvestable sandbox. The mass relays are there SOLELY to help the Reapers do their job fast. The relays get used by "our" civilizations because they are space highways no matter what, but their purpose has been to be used for the final reset by the creators and just for that. Since they don't plan on resetting us anymore, the relays are not needed anymore. And it's better to destroy them anyway, and leave us to live with our own tech, no more "Higher species" tech.

Why they need these lifeforms might be connected to what Stormwaltz mentioned as one of the original ideas, these "gods", or let's just refer to them from now on as the Higher Species, have other problems and no matter how powerful or advanced they are, they can use other perspectives/angles/biological marvels that cannot just be created. The same way our advanced technology can learn stuff from micro-organisms or discovering things right when we thought we discovered pretty much all. Still, they don't even see whatever they do to us as killing us, they "help us ascend by storing our memories in Reaper form". Again, as ridiculous as it sound, that's not so different to how we treat "lesser species" in our real world, we just don't let them ascend or anything. But we certainly experiment, mutate them, torture them for what WE consider a greater good (ours).

Makes sense to me that way too. If you are experimenting with a microcellular life form in a lab, and wanted to study it and use it for different applications and needed for it to flourish and develop BUT WITHIN CERTAIN LIMITS, wouldn't you periodically make sure it's not getting out of hand, growing too much, taking over the lab and eventually destroy you or try to get revenge for a fate or an explanation they don't like? Not to mention it is not all that different to what happens to the Krogan with the genophage, or the Rachni. Good or evil are such relative concepts in the grand scheme of unthinkable races and lifeforms.

Also, I love the idea that everyone thinks the Crucible is a weapon, while it ends up acting more like a giant communicator, a thing that allows "us" to speak with the creators. And show them we can think out of the box, break the cycle, overcome expectations, surprise. So maybe, not create synthetics the next time or find ways not to obliterate ourselves. "The crucible is not firing!" - Yes, cause it's more a giant antenna to another universe than a gun. Loved it.

Think of these as if we, all the organics of the ME Universe were mosquitos, and this big huge unthinkable space race the kid belongs to were us, 21st century humans. Then one day after centuries of methodically killing them and trying to keep their numbers at bay in certain areas (but without trying to erase them from existence, cause that would be wrong), one mosquito finds a way to _speak_ to us and explains their reasons and asks for understanding... 

You know, I liked the ending of the Mass Effect saga. It's very Star Trek to me, it reminds me of some awesome sci-fi short stories from the 50s/60s, like Pohl's "Tunnel under the world" or Brown's "Sentry". And I think it's a wonderful take on the immensity of the Universe, far beyond the already mindboggling reach of one galaxy, and how irrelevant "we" humans are. While at the same time we consider exploitable anything that is a) different enough - b) weak enough - c) doesn't speak our language - d) cannot be empathised with.

Yes, the horrible, annoying god-kid is us. Humanity. 

And if you need closure to this long-winded tirade, I have a link for you.


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