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Cultural Cognitive Dissonance and Reactions to Games like “Hatred”

One of the more interesting and, in my opinion, innovative FPS being developed at this moment is a FPS video game known as “Hatred“. The overall story-line of this game can be best summarized as..

In Hatred, a shooter video game presented in isometric perspective, the player-character is a mass-killer who hates humanity and begins a “genocide crusade” to kill civilians and police officers. He can also use these individuals as human shields.

By now, most readers must have correctly guessed that development of this game has been more than a bit controversial. Media reactions to its development and imminent release have been rather.. diverse. Some presstitutes claim that this game showcases all that is wrong with the gaming industry. Other presstitutes claim that it has crossed a “moral boundary”. Yet others want to see it banned, something they nearly succeeded at before failing miserably.

But why are so many presstitutes getting their proverbial panties in a knot about a video game that is in many ways identical to other FPS games. I mean.. games where you can kill (usually shoot) other people have been one of the most popular and financially successful category of video games. So what makes a game like “Hatred” different from a game in the Wolfenstein, Doom, Half-Life, Call of Duty or Far Cry series? Nor is the trope of an amoral killer something new. The “Hitman” game series is centered around an amoral assassin killing people for money AND you can kill any character in that game series as long as your character can survive the consequences of his actions.

So why are all these presstitutes hating on “Hatred”? Also, more curiously, why do so many gamers find the central premise of this game somewhat disturbing?

As I will show you in the rest of this post, the public reactions to that game exposes one of the central cognitive dissonances characterizing human “civilization”. So let us start our analysis of public reactions to this game with a simple question. Why does this particular game elicit such a strong negative reaction from so many tools.. I mean.. people?

As I have mentioned before, many of later titles in the “Hitman” series are not that different from “Hatred”- in overall concept and style of gameplay. While titles in the “Hitman” series have been controversial in the past- they have never elicited the large-scale public reaction that “Hatred” has managed to elicit. But why? or to be more precise- why not?

What makes an open-ended game where an emotionally stunted guy kills for money significantly less controversial than one in which a guy kills for his own personal beliefs and views on humanity?

In a previous series of posts about what I really think about human beings as a species, I had made a number of points relevant to the current post. Two points especially relevant to this post goes something like this..

Human beings seem to be actively driven a unscratchable itch to hurt, abuse, enslave and kill others even if they stand to gain very little from it.

All religions and popular ideologies are about rationalizing and sanctifying the abuse, robbery, murder and coercion of those labelled as “others”.

Put together, they provide the first reasonable explanation as to why “Hatred” elicits so much more negative social reaction than something like “Hitman: Blood Money“. Endless acquisition of money and performing a job irrespective of the consequences of your actions are important sacraments of the secular religion of capitalism. Therefore killing other people for the sole purpose of making money, regardless of the rationale behind doing so, is perfectly acceptable to a believer in the secular religion of capitalism- especially its american variant.

A game like “Hatred” on the other hand has a protagonist who kills because he personally hates what those whom he kills represent. He is not doing it for money, love, fame, honor, fame, religion or any other stupid bullshit that most people want to believe in to justify their actions. Also, he is not taking orders from anyone else nor is he working to further the career or financial aspirations of somebody else.

His actions are an overt and obvious repudiation of the central sacraments and tenets of the dominant secular religion of our era, aka modern nation-state supported corporate capitalism.

But it gets better.. or worse, depending on how you look at it. By not invoking socially acceptable reasons for killing innocent people, such as nationalism or contrived explanations based around self-defense, the character of the protagonist exposes the emptiness of those beliefs and explanations. Take nationalism as an example. What kind of moron would go and kill people on the other side of the world when he has never met them in real life or has directly suffered because of their actions. But then again.. look at human history.

Almost every single war in history was fought by people who did not have personal enmities with those they fought against to benefit those who facilitated that confrontation. Yet, human “civilization” spends a lot of time trying to glorify the sacrifices of tools who die or get crippled to further enrich a few. Now, such glorifications and exhalations rarely include worthwhile financial compensation- but that is another story.

My point is, human “civilization” is totally OK with people killing other people in the name of personally useless concepts such religion, nation or race. It is also OK with committing genocide as long as it based on taking orders from others. It is also OK with slavery and mass incarceration of certain racial groups as long it is profitable for a few. But it is not OK with a person killing others just because he personally hates them.

So what does all of this say about the true nature of human “civilization”, “culture” or any of the other pretenses most human beings cling to? Think about it.. I have, and it is not flattering- to put it mildly. Such an analysis also exposes the complete moral relativism underlying belief systems that pretend (and advertise themselves) to be based in real or absolute truths.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. Skratchinator
    March 23, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Good read, but Hatred isn’t a first person shooter(FPS) you seen the game play? Its more of Platformer but it looks like it gives the player multiple perspectives

    Since “Hatred” uses Unreal Engine 4 as its game engine, a developer could easily add the more traditional POV perspective to gameplay options.

  2. Webe
    March 23, 2015 at 5:36 am

    One of the other things civilization is not OK with is “fraternization”. Strangely enough, in wars, revolts, and civil strife, one of the most difficult, perennial, and important concerns is to forbid and actively sanction any signs of fraternization, people going out and discovering there is nothing to hate about the individual members of the enemy.

  3. will
    March 23, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Absolutely spot on man. I wish I could have put it as eloquently or intelligently as you did.

  4. Shavot
    March 23, 2015 at 11:15 am

    You cloudn’t be more right about this man.

  5. March 23, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    well put sir.

    I would also tackle the fact, that his motivation is so sane, that frightens every regular joe, who never took 2 steps deeper in his own – inherited values.
    Of course, I love ignorant, animalistic people on whom the impact might be destructive, they are the ones who make the world turn, but all in all, is an artform and also higher education.

    look at porn and rape. Rape is continuously decreasing. theres some good fucking porn out there. its hard to rape a scrowny old lady when you have quality material .. plus infinite less effort.

  6. March 23, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    The breakdown of the Golden Rule?

  7. P Ray
    March 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Hatred is scary to many people because they figure the only motivation someone should want to go on a violent spree is for material, religious, ideological or psychiatric reasons.

    They have no answers for the idea that someone should do that just because that person finds human beings to be annoying, troublesome, or worthy of … hatred.

    That inability to process reality is similar to the idea that beautiful women cannot conceive of the time that their beauty deteriorates, and that people are nice to them so that they can access dat pussy.

    • joesantus
      March 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

      “Hatred is scary to many people because they figure the only motivation someone should want to go on a violent spree is for material, religious, ideological or psychiatric reasons”

      …agreed, and also that those “good” reasons are merely “good” in the eyes of the beholder. One person’s “just cause” is in another’s eyes “inhumane terrorism”, etcetera. Plus, see my following comment…

  8. joesantus
    March 24, 2015 at 7:54 am

    People typically sit up and notice something when it’s unfamiliar, because the unfamiliar and “unknown” elicits the human reaction of feeling threatened.

    But, after the novelty wears off, and, when the “terrible new development” produces no significant detrimental effects on individuals nor societies, then people cease worrying and quit pointing at it. Corporate advertisers and, especially, governments introducing novel or unpopular policies have always known this about humans and utilize it to implement agendas.
    At age 59, I’ve observed this pattern continuously — heck, for one example, I recall the huge public outcry against the violence and “hatefulness” in the crop of then-new Saturday morning kids’ TV shows in the mid-1960s. Once everyone got over it, only the few inevitable alarmists continued to care or even notice them.

    • P Ray
      March 25, 2015 at 12:33 am

      I actually like entertainment with “terrible new development”, because it has to prove itself.
      e.g. in EVERY season of The Walking Dead, kids get killed:
      – the little girl in episode 1 season 1,
      – sophia in season 2,
      – the kid with glasses in season 3,
      – lizzie murdering her sister in season 4 (and she got killed by Carol)
      – I haven’t caught up enough to season 5 to find out whether another kid gets killed.

      but all in all, that’s what struck me as very ballsy about the series.
      I’m hoping a show comes on with child soldiers next, what can I say, I like seeing young people doing things faster than their elders. Kids grow up so fast nowadays 🙂

      • joesantus
        March 25, 2015 at 9:06 am

        Heh…”Walking Dead” is one of the two or three current series which have sustained my interest from the first episode. While I’m not (well, heheh, not consciously anyway) into it for the violence per se, I like it because it’s managed so far to keep being what you gave an example of — being unpredictable about how characters behave, react, cope, and survive(or not!)

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