Monday, 18 April 2011

The Assassin’s Creed – Nothing is true; everything is permitted

Where other men blindly follow the truth,
Remember, nothing is true
Where other men are limited by morality or law,
Remember, everything is permitted.
We work in the dark to serve the light.
We are assassins.

I like criticism. Now there is a lost art. The role of the critic is to examine a piece of creation or a social phenomenon, or even a political phenomenon, and put it into a philosophical context that both the consumer/s and the creator/s may have missed. Unfortunately, the role of critic in society has devolved into two types. The academic critic is driven by ideology and the pop critic, with his thumbs up or down reviews, is usually driven by the market. The best place for reading proper old-fashioned criticism is the internet. I have written several and many folks have written some brilliant pieces.  The keen eye of the critic is most often active in the arts of painting, literature, and cinema. I know it is foolish to ever claim to be the first, but I know of no one who has ever written a proper criticism of a video game. I wonder why not. The best games have story and characters so why not unpeel the layers to reveal the hidden messages?

The frame story of the Assassin’s Creed series is actually pretty weak. The idea is that a secret society has created a machine called the Animus that allows a person to tap into the genetic memories of their ancestors. A bartender named Desmond Miles is kidnapped by this secret society, The Knights Templar no less, because they seek information known only to his ancestors, and Desmond must relive the memories of his ancestors to find the answers. In Assassin’s Creed 1, the ancestor is Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad (born 1165) a member of The Assassins, or Hashishin, during the Third Crusade. In Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood the ancestor is Ezio Auditore da Firenze (born 1459) a Florentine noble during the Italian Renaissance.  The world of Assassin’s Creed is one where two secret societies are locked in a nearly thousand year struggle for the soul of mankind. The Animus provides the narrative means of linking the past and the present to give the player a much larger picture of historical events in relation to the present.

There was a time when the Knights Templar were of little interest outside historians, but today they have become the foundation of the conspiracy theorist’s grand narrative. Their history in brief is that the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, commonly known as the Knights Templar, were a religious order formed circa 1129 who fought during the Crusades as the elite troops of Christendom. To fund their activities in the Holy Land the Knights Templar had to be able to move money from the West to the Middle-East quickly and so invented the foundations of the banking system. They not only moved wealth to the Holy Land, but also from it and thus became very rich. King Philip IV of France was in debt to the Templars, so he pressured Pope Clement V to disband the Order in 1312 and, Jacque de Molay, the Templar Grand Master, was burned at the stake and the Templars disappear from history.

The conspiracy theory goes that the Templars, though disbanded by papal decree, continued to operate behind the scenes ever since as the secret money men controlling the strings of puppet governments. Their modern decedents are the cabal of international bankers and multi-national corporations moving us towards a one world government – The New World Order. This seems to be the premise accepted in the Assassin’s Creed games.

The only opposition to the Templars in the game are the Assassins. Historically, the Assassins active during the Crusades were an order of Nizari Ismailis, part of the Shia branch of Islam, which existed from 1092 to 1265 under the leadership of the Persian Hassan-i Sabbah. The name assassin comes from the Arabic hashishin, or “users of hashish” but also carries the connotation of “outcast” or “rabble”. Sabbah’s followers were known for their athletic prowess, intelligence, and ability to blend in. Their targets were exclusively politicians and generals and during the Crusades they were known to take contracts on Crusaders and Saracens alike, whichever suited the guild’s purposes. In 1257, the Mongol warlord Hülegü destroyed Alamut, the Assassin’s mountain headquarters in northwestern Iran, including their library, so not much is known of their beliefs. Then in 1265 their strongholds in Syria fell to Baybars, the Mamluk sultan, and that was the end.

Just as conspiracy theorists postulate that the Knights Templar survived their reported demise to become the secret ruling elite, the game Assassin’s Creed resurrects the Assassins in the mold of the plucky outcasts murdering key figures to disrupt the machinations of the Templars to enslave mankind.

Now let’s take a step back from the game for a moment and look at the larger game. There is a hierarchy to the world. In every human society, no matter their claims to egalitarianism, there have been people at the top, people at the bottom, and people in-between. The gauge for determining a person’s place is power. Power is the means by which we work our will in the world. People of great power command wealth, some control armies, and some control both. This can be on a global, national, or local scale, but the principles are the same. The people at the bottom have limited power, so they learn to submit.

We acknowledge that all people have the Natural Rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness and any violation of these rights is immoral and grounds for moral retribution. This puts a check on the power of the powerful. Through the instrument of law the weak are protected from the abuses of the mighty.  But what if the law favours the powerful over the weak? What happens when the phrase becomes, “and freedom and justice for all who can afford it”? What if the very laws themselves serve the interests of the people of power and not the people?

We may read Assassin’s Creed as being subversive in that it complements the narrative given by the conspiracy theorists, particularly in these dark days when it seems that their predictions are coming to pass. Or we may view it as a metaphor. The Templars represent the powers-that-be seeking to control people and the Assassins are those willing to fight such controls, not only for themselves but for all people. These people who “work in the dark to serve the light”.

Consider this fictitious scenario. Police raid a home or place of business without announcing themselves. Perhaps they have a warrant; perhaps they do not. Either way, that is not announced upon their arrival. The occupants respond to the armed intrusion with gunfire and some of the officers are killed during the arrests. Should those who killed the policemen be accountable for murder?


I believe that the vast majority of people would say yes. We are taught through our social conditioning to obey the police and that murder is wrong. However, in a liberal society based on individual rights, the answer would be no. Such an invasion would be a violation of property rights unless the police have a search warrant issued by a judge who determines if there is reasonable cause for such an action. So regardless of the fact that these invaders are wearing uniforms, without a warrant they are, under the law, intruders, and the occupiers have the right to defend their property using reasonable force.

If we reject this interpretation, then what we are saying is that the State, meaning the people of power, can use force against the people as they choose and it is illegal for the people to oppose them. We have taken power from the law and put it in the gun. Of course the people of power have more guns, so those who choose to fight back must use force with surgical precision, meaning assassinations.

However, although I can make a moral argument for using assassination as a political tool, when we look through history we find that the most famous assassinations were not performed in the advance of liberty, but by either the insane, by the men of power themselves, or by the few acting in personal interest in the name of the people. The only exception that comes to mind is the assassination of Julius Cesar and perhaps John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. “Sic semper tyrannis”, or “thus always to tyrants” Booth shouted from the stage. In order to preserve the Union, Lincoln acted against the prescribed powers in the Constitution and impeachment was not an option given Lincoln’s popularity after the war. So though Booth may have been wrong, a case can be made that he acted morally.

The Assassinations

The game Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is broken-up into segments with the core chapters concerned with three primary assassinations. The first is a corrupt cardinal and banker who flaunts his hedonistic lifestyle, the second is an effete French general who believes his value stems from his birth status and not his actions, and the third is a rival assassin (the Murderer) whom Ezio spares.

With each victim we have their final words and Ezios admonitions:

To the Banker:
Juan: The things I have felt, seen and tasted. I do not regret a moment of it.
Ezio: A man of power must be contemptuous of delicacies.
Juan: But...I gave the people what they wanted.
Ezio: And now you pay for it. Il piacere immeritato si consuma da sé (Pleasure unearned consumes itself). Requiescat in Pace (Rest in Peace).

To the General:
Octavian: I only wanted respect.
Ezio: Respect is earned, not inherited or purchased.
Octavian: Perhaps you are right... I need more time...
Ezio: Che tu sia parte nella morte (May you be equal in death). Requiescat in Pace (Rest in Peace).

To the Murderer:
Micheletto: I am not yet dead.
Ezio: I did not come here to kill you. He who is the cause of someone else becoming powerful is the agent of his own destruction.

In the additional story available as downloadable content, The Da Vinci Disappearance, Ezio kills the leader of cult that wants to use a hidden Pythagorean code make people more enlightened.
Ercole: You... an Assassin... the enemy of knowledge?
Ezio: One must choose to search for truth. Forcing it on others accomplishes little.
Ercole: These lost people... warring kingdoms... I would have ended their suffering.
Ezio: Che tu possa conoscere la verità nella morte. (May you know the truth in death.) Requiescat in pace. (Rest in peace.)

Each of these characters is symbolic of power in our society. The Cardinal/Banker represents pleasure. However it is not as simple as that. Why are people religious? It makes them feel good. Why do they consume? It makes them feel good. Why do they rack up consumer debt with the banks? To pay for feeling good. To all this Ezio says, “Pleasure unearned consumes itself”. All of these pleasures are of value, but they must be earned. The pleasures of faith through deeds, the pleasure of consumption through work, and such honest thrift saves us from the banker’s debts.

I find it interesting that morality here is equated with hedonism when it takes the form of self-righteousness. It is so obvious, but rarely articulated. The image of the Cardinal/Banker seems perfect to express the do-gooders supporting the power of the state to satisfy their own self-importance all in the name of righteousness.

The French general represents those born into power. From my association with the wealthy, I have found that the men who earned their wealth are good, if not great, men. However, their children are another matter. Often they have an innate sense of entitlement which is unearned and they grow to command others as their fathers had. Some are capable and others are not. To them Ezio reminds them that “Respect is earned, not inherited or purchased”.

The Murderer represents those among the people who serve as the fist of those in power. Ezio’s admonition, “He who is the cause of someone else becoming powerful is the agent of his own destruction”, reminds me of the socialist protestors who are in essence demanding a more powerful central government. They are the agents of their own future oppression.

Finally, the cult leader represents academic power and the self-proclaimed intellectual elite. Have you ever noticed that people think that everyone else is an idiot but them? Those that I might consider stupid proclaim that the world is full of idiots and apparently they are the exception. How more so must this be among the educated? These are the people who tell others how they should live if they are to be as intelligent as they are and they seek to accomplish this through the force of government in the form of laws. To this Ezio says, “One must choose to search for truth. Forcing it on others accomplishes little”.

You may have noticed someone missing from the list. The games primary antagonist and final kill. This is Cesare Borgia and he represents political power. He is the overreaching force that controls the Cardinal/Banker, the General, and the Murderer. His end comes when he is defeated by Ezio but proclaims that no man can kill him. Ezio answers that fate will decide and throws him from the castle walls. The message here is that government by its very nature will spawn new Cesare Borgias and we must remain constantly vigilant for their return.

The Assassin’s Creed

But what of the Assassin’s Creed?

“Nothing is true, everything is permitted”. There are three sources for this. The first is the 1938 novel ‘Alamut’ by the Slovene writer Vladimir Bartol which was the basis/inspiration for the first Assassin’s Creed game. Strangely, the novel was not translated into English until 2004. The game itself appeared three years later. The next source is a quote mistakenly attributed to the 1880 novel ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, "If God doesn't exist, everything is permitted". The exact phrase, “Nothing is true, Everything is permitted” appeared that same year as “Nichts ist wahr, Alles ist erlaubt”, in ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ by Friedrich Nietzsche.

In philosophy, the branch known as Ethics concerns itself with human activities. Those actions with a positive outcome are good and those with a negative outcome are bad. It is impossible to determine right action from wrong action without considering the context. That is where the first two branches come in, Metaphysics (what is reality?) and Epistemology (what is knowledge?). Together, these two branches pose the ultimate question in all of philosophy, “What is Truth?” If there is no Truth, then there are no moral limitations to action and thus is every action permitted.

Now take a moment to consider what you believe to be true. Is God in His heaven? Is global warming threatening life on planet Earth? Would the world be a better place is wealth was equally distributed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then can you prove any of it or do you just feel that it is true because everyone else says it is?

In his day, Nietzsche was questioning the commonly accepted truths of the Judeo-Christian belief system. Today, we might expand that to include all socially conditioned beliefs that people accept without question. What if none of it was true? What if nothing is true? How would that affect your actions? There would then be no limitations to your will to act, or as Nietzsche famous said, “the will to power”. What he is really addressing here is what modern psychology and self-help call “limiting beliefs”. These are ideas about the nature of reality (truth) that limit our ability to act productively for our own benefit.

To say, “Nothing is true” is not a denial of Objective Reality. It is a denial of Subjective Reality and its power over our ability to engage our free will to act. This is not only important to humanity in general but particularly to the Romantic, since individualism is built upon volition and fettered volition is not true freedom at all but a form of slavery.

When I discovered the idea of the triune nature of reality: Objective, Subjective, and Artificial, I felt incredibly empowered by this idea. Ultimately, what it says is that nothing is true except Objective Reality, but there is more to it.

As we see in Ezio’s admonitions, and as his character as it develops throughout the games, he is constantly preaching a believe system. So we cannot say that “nothing is true”. However, these beliefs he espouses can all be traced by to the idea of Natural Law derived from Objective Reality.

One of the central characters in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is the historical figure Niccolo Machiavelli, who the writers of the game recast as a member of the Assassins. The following is from a scene involving Machiavelli and Ezio Auditore in Rome.

Ezio: Look at this city, the center of Borgia and Templar rule. Killing one man will not change things. We need to take away the source of their power.
Machiavelli: Are you suggesting we appeal to the people?
Ezio: Maybe.
Machiavelli: Relying on the people is like building on the sand.
Ezio: You are wrong. Our belief in humanity rests at the heart of the Assassin Brotherhood.

What Machiavelli is suggesting here is that the people cannot be trusted to do the right thing implying that they are fickle and will pursue short term gain or pleasure rather than long-term happiness and stability. We might go so far as to say that people are ignorant or stupid and therefore incapable of doing the right thing. A religious person might simply say that people are sinful. In all of these scenarios, the conclusion is the same. The people must be controlled, led, coerced, regulated, or nudged to do the right thing. Right being determined by someone else’s idea of truth and imposed by force on others for the good of society.

I think the majority of people would agree with Machiavelli here, but Ezio’s reply taken in conjunction with the Assassin’s Creed says different. He may be suggesting the idea of spontaneous order, or the invisible hand.

Objective Truth relies on Natural Law. There is a Sanscrit word that does not exist in its pure meaning in English; the word is Karma. It denotes the reality of Cause and Effect that lies at the heart of Natural Law and creates the spontaneous order found in Nature and in society.

Consider this scenario. You should not hit people. Why? Because they might hit you back. That is Natural Law. You avoid pain by not causing pain to others. Now suppose that you are socially conditioned not to hit people because it’s not nice, or God says so, or any other Subjective line of reasoning. You are now at the mercy of those who do not share your social conditioning. They can be violent without any fear of reprisal. They can now act without consequence and so disrupt the Natural order.

I confess that I too agree with Machiavelli, that the people cannot be trusted. However, I believe that is because they live a life where they have be sheltered or protected from the consequences of their actions, and therefore never learned how to be better -- to live up to their own potential.  The solution is not to impose rules based on Subjective Reality, but to allow Nature to take its course. This teaches responsibility and self-control through experience. Positive actions bring positive results and negative actions bring negative results.

For example, an article from Scientific America (April 2011) entitled ‘How Self-Control Works’ by Dan Ariely demonstrates the importance of self-control.
A recent study by colleagues of mine at Duke demonstrates very convincingly the role that self control plays not only in better cognitive and social outcomes in adolescence, but also in many other factors and into adulthood. In this study, the researchers followed 1,000 children for 30 years, examining the effect of early self-control on health, wealth and public safety. Controlling for socioeconomic status and IQ, they show that individuals with lower self-control experienced negative outcomes in all three areas, with greater rates of health issues like sexually transmitted infections, substance dependence, financial problems including poor credit and lack of savings, single-parent child-rearing, and even crime.

A quality like self-control is proven objectively to bring happiness, so it is up to parents to encourage this process of delayed gratification in children until they learn to do it for themselves, otherwise it is up to them to learn it on their own through experiences and hardships. The problem is that some people never learn from their mistakes and so as parents they never teach it to their children.

GK Chesterton said, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything." In other words, belief in nothing creates a vacuum without any sort of standard and all that remains is the post-modern idea of relativistic Truth. So in rejecting Subjective truth we must accept the lessons found in Objective Truth to avoid the vacuum.

Conclusion

In 1987, I studied the book, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch Jr.. Wikipedia defines cultural literacy as:
Cultural literacy is the ability to converse fluently in the idioms, allusions, and informal content that creates and constitutes a dominant culture. From being familiar with street signs to knowing historical references to understanding the most recent slang, literacy demands interaction with the culture and reflection of it. Knowledge of a canonical set of literature is not sufficient in and of itself when engaging with others in a society, as life is interwoven with art, expression, history, and experience. Cultural literacy requires familiarity with a broad range of trivia and implies the use of that trivia in the creation of a communal language and collective knowledge. Cultural literacy stresses the knowledge of those pieces of information that content creators will assume the audience already possesses.

People can play a game series like Assassin’s Creed and take little from it aside from the combat, challenges, and quests. That’s fine. However for the culturally literate there is so much more to see. That is the role of the critic. He points these things out.

As a Romantic, I recognise the deeper ideology as being more than the “assassin’s creed”. It is also the Romantic's Creed. It is not surprising that Machiavelli appears in the game as a secret leader of the assassins. He is part of the Romantic philosophical canon, and his works influenced others in the canon like Rousseau, Francis Bacon, John Milton, Adam Smith, John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

Blair Worden wrote in "Milton's Republicanism and the Tyanny of Heaven":
In the seventeenth century it was in England that Machiavelli's ideas were most substantially developed and adapted, and that republicanism came once more to life; and out of seventeenth-century English republicanism there were to emerge in the next century not only a theme of English political and historical reflection - of the writings of the Bolingbroke circle and of Gibbon and of early parliamentary radicals - but a stimulus to the Enlightenment in Scotland, on the Continent, and in America.

There is a clever scene towards the end of Brotherhood where Ezio and Machiavelli part company. Machiavelli says, “I intend to write a book about you one day”. Ezio responds, “If you do, make it short”. This is no doubt a reference to Machiavelli’s most well-known work, ‘The Prince.’

I like the idea that the assassins are “outcast” but through their nobility of spirit and their character, as embodied in Ezio, they become princes. I will note that ‘The Prince ‘itself has little bearing on Ezio or the assassins.

For those with the culturally literacy to see it, Assassin’s Creed is more than just a game. It is a call to arms encouraging us to remove the shackles of our social conditioning by recognising that “Nothing is true, everything is permitted” and thus have the strength of will and character to challenge the oppressions of our age.

73 comments:

  1. You have put much thought in the game. Bravo, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting post and i totally agree with your ideas

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey, i like your post. very well thought and written

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting. I'm very impressed.

    Pink rio PC

    ReplyDelete
  5. Almost makes me feel smart to play them... Thanks for the insights.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "The frame story of the Assassin’s Creed series is actually pretty weak."

    And this is why you devoted over 10,000 words to it. This must mean you are an idiot.

    Assassin's Creed is one of the most intricate & in-depth games ever written. The gameplay mostly sucks, but the subversive underlying story & meaning is quite prolific as you yourself have pointed out while effectively terminating your opening argument.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Perhaps I was not clear. When a story takes place within another story the outer story is called the "frame". The story involving the modern characters is the frame for Assassins Creed, but the real story and the focus of this article is the story of Ezio.

    The frame is an essential part of the overall story because it allows the stories of the various ancestors to be told, but by comparison to main stories it is weak.

    I hope this clarifies.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Can this be considered an academic frame of reference?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I suppose understanding the function of a frame in a narrative could be considered an academic frame of reference. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent critique and analysis of a well thought up game. It seems much like the game, this paper touches on a broad range of topics and many subversive layers of intellect and history that most people would not get. I appreciate you views on this, and enjoyed reading this take on the games surface and deeper meanings. All and all, the game is a fantastic piece, and definitely a tool to learn from. good job on recognizing and explaining some of the underlying principles, or at least, your interpretation of them. Bravo indeed

    ReplyDelete
  11. this text changed my way of thinking :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. amazing article!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just one remark: Have you considered a more pessimistic view on the scene with Machiavelli and Ezio? It could well be understood as a hint that Ezio will become what he fights in the game.
    Of course this doesn't go along with the game as obvious as your interpretation but it would be a little more self-critical which might be a good thing if you "like the idea that the assassins who are “outcast” but through their nobility of spirit and their character, as embodied in Ezio, become princes." The main character in this game is a killer, not a saint.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent article. And in regards to the last post, I believe this world needs more killers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. excellent post, well written.

    but don't you think the game (i only played the first), was informally simplifying wars of cultures into religious wars, of how the assassins were trying to free the holy land for the people and the templars trying to free it from faith? how in every city you visit the soldiers of the majority culture there are abusing the citizens of the minority? as well as the various insults thrown at you in different languages, with all the religious reference?

    or am i being a religious nut? xD

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have been meaning to respond to the last few comments but have not had the time. My apologies.

    First, I would like to address the comment "The main character in this game is a killer, not a saint." and the follow-up from someone else, "I believe this world needs more killers.

    This is a tricky ethical question. It has become a sort of trope that if you had a time machine you would go back and kill Hitler. Most people might agree with this. But who is to say who is a hitler to be killed? I do not think it would be difficult to find people who would have supported the assassination of the last three American Presidents as necessary for the good of the country, while the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK are commonly seen as robbing the people of positive opportunities. As the film Wanted states, the assassin has the means of controlling destiny by killing key individuals. That is incredible power for one man to wield.

    So the ethical question is simply "who deserves to die for the good of society and who decides this?" If the assassin answers the question correctly then he is a saint and if not then he is a killer. Unfortunately, the world is not always so black and white and even then when Ezio is called a murderer he answers, something like, "You speak of things you do not understand" in other words, there is more to this than appears.

    I am by no means advocating assassination, but I do not discount it as an important tool in politics. When the people in power make decisions that affect the lives of million in back rooms dealings it is easy for them to believe that they do so with impunity and for those outside these rooms to feel powerless to choose their own destinies. The concept of assassination reminds the leaders that they are not beyond accountability and it provides the common man with a voice – the ultimate voice, admittedly.

    This brings me to the third and previous comment,

    I get the impression that the game presents both the Assassins and the Templars as what we might called Atheists, though probably in the Aristotelian sense rather than the modern one. Religion is presented as a tool for controlling the people and thus acquiring power. The Assassins reject this tool as a lie, while the Templars embrace it as a means to an end.

    Historically speaking, I take the view that the Crusades were a counter-attack to stop Muslim expansion, but quickly became a war of attrition and occupation that created cultural conflicts that had not been as pronounced before. Religion, culture, and, historically, race are all wrapped-up in the same package of group identification and serve as fodder for insulting or even attacking someone from another group. I find it interesting how many racial slurs are based on food, Frogs, Limeys, Krauts, and Beaners come immediately to mind. Whether it is religion, culture, ethnicity, or even food, groups will find some way to single out another group.

    Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. excellent post. This game is incredible, its so deep on so many levels. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Just for the record, lots of people write thoughtful critiques of video games. They are just not very well published or distributed in academic circles.

    That said I wouldn't call this a critique - more like an allusory primer for people who may be unfamiliar with some of the ideas Assassin's Creed draws off of.

    I'd also argue your point that the frame story about Templars and Assassins is relative weak, for they have embedded just as much meaning (if not more) into these framing narratives as within the actual gameplay. At its best the game points out the weaknesses and similarities of two conflicting ideologies that are anything but black and white.

    ReplyDelete
  19. But what if the assassin actually killed those whom the world actually agreed was doing wrong? People like terrorists, drug dealers, crime bosses. What if the assassin took great care not to harm any innocents, and if confronted by guards, to slay as many as required. I'm not talking about being peaceful toward foes, but if the assassin killed but for the most part tried to avoid killing. If the assassin burned down factories of drugs after hours, or burned down fields of cocaine? Wouldn't that be just? Now, if we go into politics, if the assassin killed those who most of the world agreed to be a dictator, would that be such a crime? Especially if the assassin were anonymous the entire time. I probably have more to say, but I forget, so I'll post again when I remember.

    ReplyDelete
  20. -Democracy, communism, anarchy, others forms of gov't (except Catholic monarchy and Thereocracy) are corrupted.
    -Democracy is not based on God's rule but the rule of the masons(if your are a scpetic of that then lets say "people" define rules which stil it would not be God's rule but our own rule of morals.
    Communism we all know the errors even stalin himself said that he would sell his soul to the sword of the enemy of God.
    -People are being brainwashed that all Monarchy(which opposes the masonic ideas) and Rhereocracy is corrupted because it is not convienient to learn the truth.
    the media, government, and other 'sources' including protestant and [conventional catholics(which they try to agree with all religions)] try to show that the crusades were a mistake. that the pope was evils which is not true.
    the crusaders(in particular the Templar did lots of injustices) but what the schools teach you that it is the fault of the pope. the pope and Templar where two separate things after the third crusade. the Templar secretly made all the massacres by their own selves(not by the priest, nor pope, nor any clergy member) the pope back then publicly stated that they excommunicated themselves from the church because of the massacres and other things they did. Members that are of the templar order and want to do things right can join the church and serve as priests(because the templars swear an oath of eternal celibacy.) so lots of them left the order, but the leaders of the order (except its founder which died during the second crusade) some of them created other churches since they did not agreed with Rome. others started the masons group.
    assassins creed teaches you that religion is a mistake. assassin's creed is not factual history. even though there are accurate places where the war happened it is not history.
    an assassin was in real life an MUSLIM order trained in Iran their main mission was to stop Christianity from spreading at all costs.
    In Europe the word assassin did not exist back then. The word murder existed but was not an order the definition back them of murder was the same as the definition of now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course you are welcome to your views, and I agree with you that the Crusades are misrepresented as they can be more rightly called a counter-attack in response to Muslim conquest over Christian lands, such as North Africa, Spain, Palestine, and Eastern Europe. The point I will differ with you on, as mentioned in the article, the hashishin are known to have target both Christians and Muslims, so it would be incorrect to presume that their mission was specifically anti-Christian and pro-Islam. Yes, they were from Iran, but remember that Persia was also a conquered country. The native faith being Zoroastrianism.

      Delete
  21. Holy mother of god (said only in the exclamatory sense), the critique is well written to say the least. Guaranteed, it would eclipse even my best efforts to delve into and explain (or even understand) the nature of 'Assassins Creed' and it's themes of power and humanity. I understand that this was written mostly objectively, though I suppose as with any topic with which we hold enthusiastically; it must also contain personal opinion, I very much agree with your take on the games story and also your expansion of the ideas of assassination, especially as being the voice of the people (who have no voice) and the concepts of the creed. The point-of-view that you have created in your criticism is a very persuasive one I must admit. It feels mostly without exaggeration or glamour, simply well founded on the facts of the game from which you have built you arguments.

    I am of the opinion that this game is aptly constructed and I am glad to be able to find a well written criticism to do it some justice. Thankyou for the time and effort that you have poured into this, as well as the research. You writing is refreshingly observant and perceptive of Assassins Creed's underlying themes, and I have very much enjoyed reading it. If only I could write like you. (But I suppose I can, nothing is true, everything is permitted. Therefore, to say I cannot is to lie and so with practice, I can). Ha! Look what you have done to me, I'm on top of the world. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thank you for your kind words. The theme of the articles here is the Philosophy of the Romantic and most subjects are chosen according to whatever is on my mind. By far the Assassin's Creed article has been the most popular. After finishing Brotherhood for probably the sixth or seventh time I kept thinking that I should write about all the Romantic ideas I found in the game and this was the result. Romanticism is all about the "Yes, You Can" kind of attitude so I am very pleased that you have been inspired in that direction. Please check out the article on Rudyard Kipling's poem "IF". I think you might like it.

      Delete
  22. you pretty much put into words what came to my mind while reading the books and playing the games..in terms of literature, the story has quite a number of flaws..but i loved the way it endeavoured to uphold certain virtues..and the way it portrayed some leaders who "lead from the front" no matter what, till death..

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well that was a long read. And well done my friend i thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I've never been so sure in my life that this is fact.

    Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  24. darrion hess, facebook message me?12 June 2012 at 08:14

    i personaly dont know what to say about this now i will say now i am only 16 and i appologise for the spelling errors but i disagree with some thoughts on the comments but agree almost compleatly with this article on the point of ezio being a killer not a saint. personaly i find that repulsive. i beliving very highley of social darwinism i believe that there is no fault in killing someone who diserves it(not the greatest choice of words given the fact that that could be looked at differently given point of views) i do not see anything wrong with ending a corrupt ruller,dictator,gangbanger,rapist i belive ezio was a saint amongst saints even if he had some personal gain from it did what he thought to be best for humanity, and for those who have played the game youd know in 2 ezios father and two brothers wore hung one of them being around the age of about 10-i would personaly assassanate someone who dared touch my little brother-aswell as any time you might have killed a civillian the game told you "warning:ezio did not kill the innocent" i beilieve the assassins creed games were very well thought out and have brought me alot of inlightenment, as well as this article. i thank you for puting your time in constructing this.(PERSONALY I WOULD LOVE TO BE IN EZIOS POSTION, I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM KILLING THE CORUPT AND HAVE HONESTLY CONSIDERD DOING IT IN MONDERN DAY-the only problem is guns were made and uh yeah bullets hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for the great information. i really really enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  26. No the meaning of nothing is true means we are our own construction workers of our own reality
    The meaning everything is permitted means that we should have our freedom man life reality is not limited

    ReplyDelete
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I once met a man in Portland, Oregon who was on a mission to have media studies added to the state school curriculum. It was this man who convinced me of the evils of Sesame Street. You see, a child’s natural inclination is to explore their world and make discoveries. This process is thwarted when parents dump their child in front of the television where truth is not discovered but pre-packaged and handed to them in an entertaining format. It is a recipe for lazy thinking and lays the foundation for a life where whatever the media says is truth to be accepted dogmatically and without question.

    A fine example of this comes from the previous comment. This article was written in April of 2011, six months before the third instalment of the Ezio trilogy was released in which there is a scene of Ezio explaining the creed in the words quoted by the above commenter. Oh how simple life becomes when we can smugly declare ourselves to be in the right and others to be wrong by simply quoting a passage of scripture, or in this case a script.

    Here is the full quote: “To say that nothing is true is to realise that the foundations of society are fragile and that we must the shepherds of our own civilization. To say that everything is permitted is to understand that we are the architects of our actions and that we must live with our consequences, whether glorious or tragic.”

    Unfortunately, this does both myself and the writers of Assassin’s Creed Revelations no service. I had intended to write a follow-up piece incorporating the passage from Revelations where Ezio explains the creed with an analysis of the character’s interpretation and comparing how it relates to the concept put forward by Nietzsche and my views here. I see no contradiction and believe that they work nicely together.

    In the meantime, suffice to say that being able to quote scripture, philosophers, writers, or characters in narrative fiction is not the same as truly understanding their meaning. It’s like the difference between definition and meaning. Definition is cold and objective fact. Meaning is personal, subjective, and experiential. It’s like the difference between knowing what death is and experiencing the death of your mother or father.

    We live in an age of mass cultural consumption and everyone has their own tastes. Take something like Star Trek. Imagine two fans of Star Trek. One of them collects everything that they can find, attends to conventions, and basically consumes all the cultural commodities on offer in the marketplace. The other is inspired to become a pilot, physicist, or an engineer who maybe invents the next Star Trek inspired gadget. Of these two people, which do you think really get’s it? The dogmatic and definition bound consumer or the inspired creator/producer? Likewise with Assassins Creed.

    I’m not interested in the dogmatic consumption of the fan-base, though that is very enjoyable. The real meaning is something very deep and very profound. I would rather see a collection of men and women dedicated to these ideals than a pack of consumers fat on the merchandise and quoting dialogue.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I liked this post, I was searching just for the exact quote Ezio said (the one that goes "Where other men..." etc.), but i continued reading. I agree with the thoughts you put here. I have lots of friends who play the game but they all fail to see the deeper meaning that it has. Another thing worth noting is how the game portrays the history different from what we know; For example how the human race was created, how Moses "parted" the red sea, Joan of Arc used a "Piece of Eden", Nicolas Tesla had an "Apple of Eden" which was stolen by Edison (who was a Templar) and used it to drive Nicolas insane... the list goes on, you can find more details of this and more in the Assassins Creed wiki.
    Also, nevermind my grammar mistakes, for english is not my first language.

    ReplyDelete
  30. wow this is a well researched i was looking for the assassin's creed/code and i found the whole ideology behind this code or "creed" thanks

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wow, I never realised how deeply rooted this game was in ideologies. This my favourite analysis written of any game. I know this is 17 months old but, thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I know I am very late on posting my reply but I honestly just found this today. What I have to say is I agree with a lot of points made by everyone but the one thing I really wish to say is ponder upon this. Who is to say what is real, right, normal or wrong? To one person they might be doing something completely strange, but yet to him it is right. No one knows what is the correct way to act, or what is real, due to the fact of everyone having many different views and natures. No one will ever be able to prove what is right, or wrong due to each and every mind being different, so once again as many of you have said "everything is permitted." feel free to criticize my post for I know I have left out much to be explained.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Kyle, I assume that you have played Assassin's Creed, so you know what it is like to be climbing all over the place looking for that collectable and some on-looker calls you crazy. From your point of you, climbing that building has a rational purpose, but to the casual observer unaware of this purpose you seem mad. This applies to what you have said about different perspectives. What seems reasonable to one person seems mad to another. The difference is point of view, but that does not mean that one person is not wrong.

    Often times people who do not have all the facts are quickest to declare their opinion and when challenged they usually voice their right to their opinion or assert that both parties just have different points of view, while completely disregarding the fact that their opinion is not backed by any facts, but rather their immediate perception of events.

    In other articles I go into my metaphysical theory which applies here. That there exists three "realities": the Objective, the Subjective, and the Artificial.

    Objective reality is the world that is governed by physical laws of nature. That is truth. However, in our observation of Objective reality we filter this through our unique perception. We exist not in this real world, but in our own Subjective Realities. Often people presume that their perception is truth. This is where "Nothing is True" comes in. There is Objective truth, but we are limited in our ability to understand it. This is why the final conclusion in science is that something is "most likely true" but can change should new evidence present itself. The final reality, Artificial Reality is the man-made world of material and social things that only exist because human time, energy, and skill conceive, produce, and maintain them. So it is true that I have electricity lighting my home, but this can only exist because someone somewhere else is producing it and I have the means to pay for it.

    It is important to have a belief structure rooted in Objective Reality, because the Subjective can exist completely apart from the facts of reality and fuelled by wishful thinking. The danger comes when people seek to impose their subjective idea of truth on others.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Logan, I thank you for the enlightenment and showing what I missed within my question I am grateful for your page here and comments

    ReplyDelete
  35. Stryker Valkyrie2 November 2012 at 01:36

    What language is "Laa shay'a waqui'n moutlaq bale kouloun mounkine" in?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's Arabic for, "Nothing is true, everything is permitted."

      Delete
  36. Great post, I've been looking for a while for something like this. Main points of the game condensed in one place. I came to most of the conclusions myself, but had no chance in putting them together as eloquently as you have.
    There are still some things that bother me though. The templars' intentions were in fact just as noble as those of assassins. They wanted the world to prosper in peace. The "wrong" part is, they (just as Machiavelli) believed people are stupid, ignorant, immoral, pleasure-seeking and selfish lot who wont prosper on their own. Thus, someone needs to steer them. Well who better then themselves? They thought themselves better than others and that gave them the right for power. It is obvious to me that the belief someone's life is worth more than another's is false, but you cannot deny some are better than others (again, I don't believe their lives are therefore worth more/less). I don't mean that as a predisposition like race, sex, ... I mean that some people make more of themselves, they see their own potential and reach for it and eventually get closer to the truth. I don't want to be mean but here's an example: You have a fat greassy-looking guy, slouching in his seat at the computer, staring mindlessly at the screen, eating stale pizza from 2 days ago, .. you get the picture. And then you have someone who is dedicated to a cause, constantly improving himself, training, learning, growing.
    How is templars control of people any worse than Altair killing for peace (see the contradiction? )? Ezio's standpoint is a bit better since he's killing for truth or better he's killing the templars to remove an illusion they've cast. The assassins want people to learn the truth for themselves and then be able to prosper on their own, without someone controlling them (or at least that's how i get it). That here is an ideal. I'd say I'm very idealistic myself, but I can see why people say "Idealism" with a certain you-mean-unrealistic kind of tone. I don't think the fact people would ever learn or even want to learn the truth is an objective truth as you call it. It's Ezio's belief. So he's acting on his belief in the humanity (just as templars are acting in their belief of their own supremacy). Both are subjective truths.
    So I don't see how his small evil (killing) is any smaller than templar's (deceiving). And I can't even come to terms whether a small evil for greater good is justified. I mean what is ethics? Do we judge our actions according to the actions themselves or to their consequences? Ghandi said be the change you wish to see in the world. Well an idealistic world is made of moral people doing moral (directly, not in consequences) things. There would be no need for small evils. I prefer the idea that the only real good is the absolute good. Doing no small evil for whatever purpose. If everyone did the same, ... Instead of fighting the wrong, do right. Be the example.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Still me :)
    One more thought on morality: Is it something universal, absolute, or are we taught what is wrong/right? I would very much like to believe it is universal as the other option would very much undermine my beliefs of what is true at all, but I just can't find a proof. Little help?
    I saw some posts earlier about how Hitler and Stalin and whoever they've brought up were bad. That kinnda bothers me. Most people are just taught they were evil men and than go in the public and start saying all this things you heard in school or god knows where and say how they'd kill them without hesitation if they could go back. What do you really know of this men? What if all you know of them is a "templar" fabrication to instill fear or serve any other selfish purpose? I'm going for Lenin here, the first guy to actually try out communism in practice. He was an idealist, just as Ezio was. His intentions were great, just as those of templars or assassins. But then in US, communnism is shown as the biggest evil that humanity has ever seen. "Don't think too much about what it is, just know it's really bad for you, look, they are poor and their leaders have a ton of money, damn, we should probably start a war right? I mean they speak of global communnism, they want to make us poor too? Yeah, lets build a nuke, what do you think?" They put fear into people to make them see their own government a..... ok Im loosing track here. You get the idea. Think for yourselves, dont just be told something and take it as truth. It could just as well be someone elses subjective or it would serve his purposes to make it yours. Buddha said not to believe a single word someone tells you until you've came to that same conclusion. I just cant stand good old american republicans saying "Obama's a Communnist" and when asked what communnism is they mock you for not knowing. !!! We did this in 3rd grade!
    I know I'm long, one last thing, i thought of an allegory for the main theme of the game. Templars and assassins can be compared to parents and the people are their children. The templars will tell their children what to do, they won't tell them why and explain. And those kids would live just fine (until some day for whatever reason there would no loinger be control). Assassins would let their kids decide on their own, make their own mistakes but also expect them to take responsibility for those actions. These children would learn not to obey, but to decide.

    Thanks again for your post and reply. I really liked how well you express yourself. You could probably write this coment in about half the lenght I did. 

    Now... Homework :/

    ReplyDelete
  38. My response became so lengthy that I posted it as a separate article. You can find it here. http://evildandy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/response-to-reader-of-my-assassins.html

    ReplyDelete
  39. My friend..... I have long sought to find someone who has actually taken the time to observe the knowledge stored in this game. It has completely restructured my thought process. And you put my thoughts to words. I wish I was as skilled a writer as you, because what you have written was what i realized after playing the Assassin's Creed series. You have done a service to many people, and I hope you can continue to impact others. Peace and Safety brother.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Do I should say: THANK YOU VERY F*CKING MUCH!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Just spent the last few hours reading everything concerning this post, including comments, references, and personal researching into various topics presented in this eloquent piece of work.

    Logan, I must applaud you on your very open mindedness and that which encompasses the ability to review and reevaluate our own views and opinions based on new input and new data. Please know that what you do, and how you present your intellect is very much appreciated by one more individual.

    To give a brief background, I was born and raised with the roman catholic views. I am currently an educated computer scientist and I am very much fascinated with the virtual reality, which to my understanding of what I could gather from your posts happens to fit nicely within both the Subjective and Abstract realities. I have my reasons to believe in a greater God, but as a great mind once told me: "That which cannot be proven to exist may just as easily be subject to being proven to not exist."

    With that in mind I simply just wanted to express what kind of a person that you've attracted to liking your skills and opinions.

    Oh and as "Uncle" would promptly say "One more ting!", Merry Christmas from myself to you, and wishing you all the best in the new year.

    A.Glei.G.

    ReplyDelete
  42. i was frankly amazed ...I got to know few things i dint know myself and my friend i =the thirst is even more now

    ReplyDelete
  43. I didn't mean to find this but wow! I barely know what to say! It brought me into a new perspective. You are a really good writer and I am thankful for what you and other people in the comments gave to me. It changed my view of thinking and yes... I don't really know what to say but it was really interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I realy liked the review. You just didn't cover on thing: He who seeketh knowledge seeketh sorrow. I will try to explain the best way I can but can you tell me your view too? Thanks.

    The person who seeks knowledge (otherwise truth) also seeks sorrow (albiet not knowing) ( for sorrow is grief) because they come to see that nothing is true. Knowledge is how much one knows but how do they know that they're being tuaght the truth? Sorry if Iwas confusing, my first language is italian.

    ReplyDelete
  45. It's a bit of a coincidence that you should mention this as its been on my mind lately. The passage "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." is from Ecclesiastes 1:18. The book is believed to have been written by King Solomon, however as I recall my theology courses there were probably three different authors. Nonetheless the theme of the book is pretty consistent. It is this passage being quoted by Al Mualim in the first Assassins Creed and I seem to recall Achilles mentioning it or something similar in Assassins Creed 3.

    In this section of Ecclesiastes, Solomon is pondering what is the best way to live. He starts with another famous passage, "Vanity of vanities all is vanity". To put this in the vernacular he is saying "It's all bullshit". He goes through a check list of things people pursue and demonstrates why they are bullshit. Eventually he comes to the idea of wisdom and concludes that it brings sorrow.

    My interpretation of this is that the more you know, the more you envy the care free lifestyle of the foolish. Similar to the quote by Thomas Gray, "It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss". This is also apparent in the Garden of Eden story where Adam and Eve are in paradise until they eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and attain consciousness. With awareness comes responsibility. As an emotion, sorrow is the loss of a value and what is lost is innocent ignorance.

    However, at the root I think that you are correct in your assessment. We can take the view that the realisation that nothing is true leads to the kind of cynicism Solomon expresses when he says it is all pointless. However, in Assassins Creed Revelations we see Ezio rejects Sophia's observation that "Nothing is true" as being cynical by acknowledging that "It would be if it were doctrine, it is merely an observation on the nature of reality". I read this as saying our attitude must be one of passive acceptance rather than allowing this observation to demoralise us into inaction.

    There is a theme touched on in Assassin's Creed Revelations and more fully explored in Assassins Creed 3 depicting the life of an assassins as one of pain and sorrow as expressed by old Ezio and by Achilles. both men have accepted what is, but Achilles is more forceful in attempting to steer Connor from the path by punctuating the pain he would face.

    ReplyDelete
  46. excellent post but I 've been wondering what's the relation between the story of the Assassin’s Creed and the ( hashshashin ) ?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassins

    ReplyDelete
  47. I think the answer to the question was covered in the article. Basically, there is very little if any connection between the story of the Assassins and the hashashin. If it was a film, they might say "inspired by historical events" rather than "based on historical events". The difference is that inspired by historical events means there was a great deal more artistic licence taken than you would see in a dramatised factual retelling of the events.

    More important is the concept of moving art into life. The game presents a secret society that holds particular beliefs. If you in the real world agree with those beliefs and (as much as legally possible) live by them, then you have essentially made the fiction a reality.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi there, is this exact blog is your one and only portal or you also have some more?

    ReplyDelete
  49. is our governments all controlled by another higher source? Illuminati? if so can people who seek the truth form a creed such as the assasins creed to opose this evil. We work in the dark to serve the light.

    ReplyDelete
  50. the nizari ismali had a very good philosophy about what is now nothing is true everything is permitted
    they created the call to arms in my eyes i believe it is put to new life as altair said in the game the creed cannot be killed even if al assassins are dead poeple will reinvent it and hear the call to arms and i think the call to arms WILL be heard by poeple poeple with power drive us in to crisis the poeple who hear the call to amrs get us out in my eyes i think this is what assassins creed is we should open our eyes not believe in blind fate you know we are not waiting for the next jesus r something that would be absurd I SAY THE CALL TO AMRS SHALL BE HEARD soon because we are in crisis if you want to contact me about this send me an email robbylongin@msn.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. In reference to the last two comments, I am working on an article on that subject. It is about how the Assassins and Templars in the game are metaphors for two opposing ideologies and how over the centuries many real life organisations have existed to promote or defend those ideologies. As Robby touched-on, these are two poles that people have gathered around and thus reinvented whatever group had been there before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. where is that article that is in your comment i want to read it is it already finished?

      Delete
    2. Indeed. All finished now. I know it took ages, but I was distracted by other ideas and research, but it's all posted.

      Delete
  52. so good, i think the same, but you did a better work showing it

    ReplyDelete
  53. Damn... I just spent over an hour writing something and then my wifi crashed damn mobile. your views are very interesting maybe we can converse about such views I too think in a similar manner and what I was writing you would have noticed as well. I will attempt to re type it altho now I can remember exactly what it is I wrote and this time around siplified and such it wouldn't make the same input. But I will attempt it again.. Hopefully wifi doesn't bug out

    ReplyDelete
  54. I almost entirely agree to this critique, which if I may add, is rare with me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  55. I find it very interesting that you see so much philosophy in a rather weak story such as is the one of assassins creed 2. Actually it is the first game in the series that introduces the creed and all the nietzschan/dostoyevskian problematic. In the first series the templars are not just generic bad guys bent on world domination as in the second game, but the entire story revolves around the protagonist(Altair) discovering the secret motives of the templars. He discovers that the true reason of the foundation of their society is because they discovered a magical artifact under the temple of Solomon (the apple of Eden attributed to von Daniken-type aliens in the second game,sic!) which they believe is the artifact used by Christ, Moses and every great prophet in history to perform miracles. Consequently they conclude that God doesn’t exist and each deal with the new found atheism in a different way. Altair kills them one by one, each one of them representing one human response to atheism: a Mengele-like doctor who performs medical experiments on patients to improve the human race, a fat hedonist merchant, a paranoid soldier who sees death around every corner , a town-governor tyrannizing his town (Acre) with the aim of forming of the people of Acre(communism) a realm independent either of Saladin or of the crusaders and so on. All the templars have in common, however, the fact that they all believe that when theirs atheist society comes to power, the world will be a better place. On the contrary there is the head of the Hashishin (Al Mualim, a historical figure) who charges the protagonist with killing the templars. The protagonist becomes aware that the assassin’s creed "niente e reale, tutto e lecito" actually corresponds very well to the templars way of thinking. He confronts Al Mualim almost after every killing about the real reason of the contrast between the Assassins and the templars, however Al Mulaim doesn't offer him any answer except a very weak argument that the templars want to change the world for the better by force, while the assassins want the retain the freedom of choice for the people. In the end the protagonist is faced first with Richard the LionHeart who represents the religious party in the game and who explains to protagonist that he also seeks peace with Saladin and a better world, however as a religious person he is also aware that it is in human nature to seek conflict (Richard: We come into the world kicking and screaming, violent and unstable. It is what we are.) and that it is not possible for us to make a kingdom of God without God on this earth like the templars are trying.

    ReplyDelete
  56. The protagonist goes of to face Al-Mualim who turns out secretly to be a renegade templar. Before he kills him they have a talk which is the key to understaning the whole game story and the creed. Al-Mualim explains the assassins creed in a purely selfish manner: if God doesn’t exist everything is permitted, so I can chose to seek my own desires without any regards for others. Altair tries to convince Al-Mulaim that his philosophy is wrong but Al-Mualim manages to use logic to refute all of Altairs arguments. In the end when Altair runs out of arguments and says “What you are doing isn’t right” Al-Mualim just responds: “Ahh. And now logic has left you. In its place you embrace emotion. I am disappointed.” In other words atheism leads to decadence and hedonism if we try to deal with the non-existance of God just by logical reasoning. If God doesn’t exist there is no logical reason to act morally, morality is purely in the emotional(romanticism?). Altair goes on to kill Al-Mulaim and to reform the assassins on a more humanistic principle. Actually I was hoping to see in Assassins creed 2 the further development of the story, however it seems that the game designers decided to abandon all the philosophy in the storyline, to add a silly von-Daniken type plot(which you rightfully called weak) and to keep the creed from the first game just as a cool thing to say before jumping of a tower. This is reasonable since the first game was clearly designed with 20+ year market, while it turned out to be most popular in the 10-15 year market with kids who liked the killings and the jumping around but didn’t really understand the story.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Sometimes I think of this article as one that has gotten out of hand. Since beginning this page I have had over 50,000 views and over half of those were for this one article written largely on a whim. Given its popularity, I have found myself delving deeper into the story for more source material, especially considering I have begun expanding this article into a book. Assassin's Creed 1 did not strike a chord with me as strongly as Brotherhood, which is why this article is largely centred on AC 2.2, however in reading your analysis of AC1, I see that there is a great deal more to it than I had immediately noticed. Thank you very much for your comment as it will no doubt prove helpful in my endeavours. On a minor point, the Ones Who Came Before are not so much drawn from von-Daniken as Zacharia Sitchin, but again it is a minor distinction.

    ReplyDelete
  58. thank you for the post,m y search ends with this post.
    "A man of power must be contemptuous of delicacies."
    "Respect is. earned, not inherited or purchased."
    "One must choose to search for truth. Forcing it on others accomplishes little."
    "He who is the cause of someone else becoming powerful is the agent of his own destruction."
    morals learnt from a game.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Thank you for the incite, I am currently writing a term paper on how AC uses the middle ages to address modern tropes and issues. Got lots of good ideas from this, anyway you could provide me with some info on how i might be able to cite you?

    ReplyDelete
  60. Assassin's creed is is one of the top interactive videogames ever. Hell I'm getting all of them because I think there's more to it then this. If I read this when only the first assassin's creed was out I might of agreed with you but assassin's creed liberation is out and I've gotten all but that one so far. Nothing is true, Everything is permitted.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Amazing article!, I also read your article on Assassins Creed 3, and that too was well written. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Logan, I've been spending the past few weeks admiring your blog only to find that you've not posted anything since last October. If you've moved to a different blog or if you write anywhere else, I'd like to be notified as I am mesmerized by your articulacy and psyche.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Do not care how old this is. I love your analysis, and I wholeheartedly agree.
    HOWEVER. I am quite dissappointed that there has been no mention of all the hidden coded messages in the glyphs. I spent a lot of time figuring those out, and I have no one "crazy" enough to discuss them with me on an intelectual and un-biased level. Though I very well may have a little bit of cognitive bias toward the subject, I'm a conspiracy nut I guess, but some of them really struck chords with me, regardless. My guts are pretty spot on quite often, thank you meditation.

    ReplyDelete
  64. nice analysis
    also ezio tells sophia the meaning of it in revelations (sequence 8) but i forgot it (sorry)
    neiro e vero tutto e permesso niamo assassini (italian for nothing is true everything is permitted we are assassins)
    kapumzika kwa amani (this time it's swahili for rest in peace)
    yeah i know a bit of italian for the game and it also made me learn famous quotes in different languages such as french
    most of it is foul like f**k which is c***o.

    ReplyDelete