Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted

This is the Assassin’s Creed. 

(If you’re going to play this game someday, read no further.  This is full of spoilers)

Assassin’s Creed is a popular video game series avaliable on XBox 360.  I recently completed the second game in the series, and I must say that it is very good.  It takes place in 15th century Italy, and follows the journey of a young man who quickly unravels an incredible conspiracy.  In short, humans are the byproduct of an advanced alien race that made us by manipulating ape DNA.  We were originally made to serve them, but there was a revolt and “Adam and Eve” stole a piece of technology called a “Piece of Eden”.  This technology, resembling a golden apple, has the power to manipulate people and basically rule the world.  Powerful Christians have used the technology to convince the world to believe in Jesus Christ  as a means of controlling the masses.  A group of freedom fighters, an Order of Assassins who know the truth, have stood against them for centuries.  The main character in the game actually kills the Pope, who is portrayed as the most evil and power hungry villain in the entire story.  That’s the story in a nutshell. 

Believe it or not, I’m not going to talk about how offensive that story is to the name of Jesus Christ, or the men and women throughout history who have sacrificed everything in the name of their faith in Him.  No, I’m not. 

 This is what I’m going to talk about. 

That disclaimer appears at the beginning of the game.  It is meant to put you at ease since the game could offend your beliefs.  The point is to assure you that no one group of people or religion is behind what you’re about to experience.  Everyone believes something different, so don’t you fret about what’s coming.  In a sense, they are capturing the essence of the Assassin’s Creed itself, which reads “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted.”  Since we are not holding to one truth (we all believe different truths) we are allowed to say and do whatever we want.  Isn’t that interesting? 

Here’s the problem. 

Any project or creative work of any significance is governed by something beyond those who work on it.  There is an overarching purpose, or a core philosophy binding the work together.  For instance, George Orwell had something in mind about human nature and politics when he wrote Animal Farm.  The workers in a condom factory may not believe in birth control, but they are helping to create an end-product with the purpose of preventing pregnancy.   A liberal actor may play a part in a movie that expresses conservative values.  No matter who works on something like a movie or a video game, they are getting behind a certain type of worldview.  Purpose is needed to bring various random purposes together, or else the creative product would have no significant value.  Even if the point was to express that there were no truths, that is a work governed by a particular purpose, and an expression of a greater truth.  There’s no escaping it.  It is not legitimate to say that people of different faiths worked on this project, so it doesn’t mean anything.  It simply means that those behind the creation aren’t being honest about what governs their creative processes. 

Artists interpret the world and shape their work, which in turn shapes the world.  Never let anyone tell you that art isn’t important.  Art is of supreme importance because it has the power to reveal and skew the truth of our reality. 

Don’t be fooled by the lie of relativism.

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Posted on August 28, 2011, in Everything Else, Popular Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. There is a huge difference between creating something, and helping to produce the creation. You mention George Orwell, that was all him. You’re right he knew what he wanted and just did it. He wasn’t governed by something beyond him, that book was him. It was his view of the world made easy to swallow with animals. Everyone likes animals, except maybe future serial killers.

    As far as Assassins Creed (loved both games as well) goes, a guy or maybe a couple guys created the game. They came up with the story, the conspiracy and all the fun juicy stuff. There was a team of guys who worked on it that had nothing to do with the creation of it. They didn’t sit down and do the story boards, or write the outline of what was going to happen. They sat down and coded a wire-frame person to climb up walls and stab people from tremendous heights. They were doing their jobs, just like the guys in the condom factory. The disclaimer at the beginning of the game is not unnecessary nor is it a lie about the people who worked on it. It is simply a statement, in essence its saying: ” This is a video game, grow up and just enjoy it.” The same goes for the conservative actor in the liberal movie, its probably not his movie. He has nothing to do with the creative process behind its story. He is just acting a part. If it really does offend him, he wont do it (Chef from South Park anyone?).

    “Purpose is needed to bring various random purposes together, or else the creative product would have no significant value.” Please tell me what that means, because I don’t get that at all. No significant value? Art has no value, value is placed on it by the observer. I can scribble a man touching himself on a napkin, you can take that napkin and sell it for anywhere from 1- 10 X 10^100 dollars if you wanted. There will be someone who says damn, that’s nice and gives your $30. Art is subjective, you say this yourself. This also makes it essentially pointless to say anything about it. You are just pointing out the obvious.

    In closing it is completely legitimate to say people of various faiths and backgrounds worked on this game. It is making a statement, this is a form or entertainment. Put your silly prejudices aside and enjoy the game, just as the people who helped produce the game did. And guess what, you did.

  2. “Purpose is needed to bring various random purposes together, or else the creative product would have no significant value.” What I mean is, there needs to be cohesion in a piece, or it will be random and pointless. I’m sure many people who worked on the game don’t believe in religious conspiracies and said, like you, it’s just for fun. But even so, they were brought together by an artistic vision which portrayed Christian authorities as corrupt and presented a world in which most of what we believe is a lie. And these things were brought together by the core statement, Noithing is true, Everything is Permitted. Even though it is fiction, it still affects the thoughts and perceptions of those who experience it. Art, though it is largely subjective, communicates something about the world. It is not purely subjective. Any artist who creates is motivated by some knowable passion, experience, or belief. There is a truth about their work that is imparted to the observer. Consider what happened with The Da Vinci Code. Even though it was fiction, it got people questioning the truth about Christianity and hordes of uninformed observers bought into the corrupt portrayal of early Christianity without knowning the real history. Though it was “just fiction” it communicated a deep skepticism about the Christian faith and authority in general.
    I had a great professor who loved to ask us this strange question after we read a piece of fiction. He would ask, “Do you believe it’s true?” And our first reaction was, “It’s fiction! It didn’t happen.” But then he would talk about how there are still truths which the work is based on. Otherwise it would be the incoherent and valueless rantings of a mental patient. Any work of art communicates something. It’s irresponsible to present something that causes you to question the foundations of “truth” in the world and then say that it’s not true so don’t be concerned about it.
    It is fiction, but it has real world implications.

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