Everyone loves a happy story, right? Sure, but that’s not always what’s necessary.
I didn’t work much at all on Foreordained this week. I know. I slacked again. This has been my first week at my new job, so there’s been some adjusting going on. I made it a goal to wake up early so I could do an hour of writing before I went to work each day, but after this week I can assure everyone reading this article that course of action will not be taken. Waking up sucks. Until I’ve had a shower and some breakfast, I move like a zombie turtle wading through tar.
Writing will just have to come after work like it always has for me. All those Medium writers that told me I have to wake up at 4:00am are nuts.
If I’m not working on my own stories, I at least want to be engaged in some good ones. This week, I’ve been playing a game called Bioshock. I’ve never played it before, but friends have told me that it has one of the best video game stories they’ve ever experienced. When I hear of any movie/TV show/video game/book telling a truly exceptional story, I want to investigate. What about it is great? What makes it work? How do the characters and plot and conflict fit together to create an experience that delivers on several emotional fronts? I have to know. So I downloaded the game and I’ve been playing it pretty frequently over the past week.
For this good little Christian boy, Bioshock can be downright uncomfortable to play at times. It’s creepy. It’s violent. It’s dark. But just like when I watched Attack on Titan, I got pulled into the story because I felt like it was trying to tell me something. In AoT’s case, the story raised questions on what extent we should sacrifice our own humanity to protect humanity. In Bioshock‘s case, it’s a warning on objectivism left unchecked. But I’m still figuring things out.
My personal philosophy is that we should occasionally engage in stories or discourse that make us uncomfortable. To you, that might look like watching 1917 or Saving Private Ryan to remind yourself of the atrocities of war. Or maybe it means listening to understand a friend with a different political viewpoint. Most recently and importantly, it should mean waking up to the awful situation of police brutality and systemic racism in the United States. I’ll leave that to you.
The truth is that we have something to gain from stories that make us uncomfortable. I’m not saying to go out and dig up every story that makes you feel gross or invites dark feelings. No way. Be smart and use your best judgment there. But life isn’t comfortable. It’s not meant to be easy. And sometimes stepping outside of our current worldview is what we need to become just a little wiser.
But jeez, Bioshock is creepy. I’m tired of being manhandled by Big Daddys and scared half to death by Houdini Splicers. I think I’ll be done with the series after I play through this first installment, thank you very much.