One of the great, unrecognized, philisophical geniuses of this century or any other is a figure known by some as Sinistar. Sinistar left behind a legacy of seven phrases that encompass his minimalist philosophy. We are fortunate enough to have with us audio records of what he said, so that we may greater comprehend his intent.*
Sinistar will always be an enigma, as nothing is known of his life. It seems as if he lived a life filled with motivation and direction, as if desperately yearning to accomplish all that he could, before he could be brought low by those who would destroy him. Sinistar's revelations follow, with an interpretation of their intent.
1. I am Sinistar. Here, Sinistar clearly makes two ideas known. First, that he exists; he is aware and he thinks. The second is that he has a singular identity. He is unique, and, in a sense, alone. Some have argued that this may imply a sense of self-determination, but Sinistar's perspective on the free will debate is unknown. I believe that, with what little is known about his life, Sinistar would be a determinist. People are destined to act out their lives guided by the hand of another force. The rest of us are mere automatons, carrying out algorithms.
2. I hunger. Again, Sinistar asserts his reality. He believes in a very real, physical, world and believes that he takes a part in it. Thus, Sinistar is essentially a monist. He hungers, therefore he has sense, and his senses speak to him of needs that must be fulfilled. He can trust his senses; something of a leap of faith, and therefore interact. There are two other interpretations that must be proposed here. Some have criticized Sinistar as a hedonist, attempting to consume all in his path. This is, however, clearly contradicted below. The second represents Sinistar as a living thing, and all living things must consume, or perish. In this statement, Sinistar acknowledges human mortality and our chain in the natural process of being.
3. Run, coward! Sinistar here, having established existence and our place in nature, now seems to take his stance on ethics. With those two words, Sinistar sums up his desire to delve into life's mysteries. The act of living itself is an act for the bold, and those who cannot stand in the face of wonder should flee. This attitude may also account for my perception of his stance on determinism. If knowledge is possible (It obviously is, of course) then perhaps knowledge of the universe is possible, and one day people will view it as it is, an elaborate music box of experience. Very deistic. The other important feature of this statement is Sinistar's use of an imperative. This clearly reinforces his view of a real universe, that is inhabited by other people. The true enigma lies next.
4. Run, Run, Run! Initially, this appears to be a restatement of #3, but I believe that the truth behind Sinistar lies deeper. It is commonly held that while Sinistar believed in a deity, Sinistar did not hold that deity to be omniscient or omnipotent. Instead, the God of Sinistar was a being (or perhaps beings) of supreme intelligence and creativity, with the power to make and compile. The power to engineer a world. While this is an impressive task, it does not imply that omniscience/omnipotence is a necessary or sufficient condition for the task. In fact, the idea of an omniscient and omnipotent being becomes fairly self-contradictory. Sinistar probably intended this to be another ethical statement, to live to the fullest of your ability, but he could've meant so much more, such as the desire to experience and question all that is possible within a lifetime. Lastly, it is another imperative statement. Why would a determinist believe that he could affect the world around him?
5. Beware, coward! Perhaps these fragments come from a lost dialogue between Sinistar and the coward. Unfortunately, if there were every any responses from the 'coward', they are probably lost forever. This seems to be an affirmation of Cartesian doubt. One should resolve issues for one's self, based on their own doubt and deduction. More importantly, however, is the idea that God is what you make it, or, as is the usual case, what someone else makes it for you.
6. Beware, I live! The sixth statement of Sinistar is a shocking reminder of the power that human beings hold over one another. Because I live, I have the power to affect your life. There is nothing that keeps me from harming you, aside from the mutual trust that humans develop for one another, and it is not so much a mutual trust, as we are a mutual threat to each other.
7. Aargh. Here is Sinistar's response to the question of whether or not all problems of philosophy may be solved through mere debate. Obviously, to Sinistar, there are some things, some ideas that can be expressed beyond the wall of speech. Either that, or this is an expression of Sinistar's primal rage at a mechanical universe. Sinistar may have been a determinist, but it does not mean he was pleased with the concept. He may have just felt no other answer could be possible. Perhaps that is why he attempted to inspire so many, so they could succeed where he had failed.
- Andrew Boyd
*for audio files, responses & debate on this essay, visit 'More of the Same' on our links page.
VIDEOTOPIA and Electronics Conservancy are registered trademarks of The Electronics Conservancy, Inc. All rights reserved. All photos (c)1997, 1998 Electronics Conservancy. All videogames, characters, brand names, and trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.