Cave "Mengele" Johnson

| Monday, August 12, 2013
The other day I wrote about how we as players may casually commit what would in real life be genocide, war crimes, or some other varied form of evil. This led me back to an idea that has been floating around in my head for some time, though I only recently understood it fully: GLaDOS is not the villain of Portal. Nor is Weatley. Instead, the true is evil The Old One, a being who was so profoundly evil that it still permeates all aspects of the institutions and structures that he created. GLaDOS is merely a tool, as is Weatley, and the player. They are also all the victims of this evil.

Think of GLaDOS and her compulsive need to test. She couldn't not test. Yet, what was testing? It was about as scientific as shooting the floor while ordering someone to dance.
This first test involves something the lab-boys call repulsion gel. You're not part of the control group by the way - you get the gel. Last poor son of a gun got blue paint, ha ha ha! All joking aside, that did happen. Broke every bone in his legs - tragic. But informative! Or so I'm told.
This isn't reckless pursuit of knowledge. This isn't a man driven to know, regardless of the consequences. He is instead a man driven by the consequences.
Just a heads up, we're gonna have a super conductor turned up full blast and pointed at you for the duration of this next test. I'll be honest, we're throwing science at the walls here to see what sticks. No idea what it'll do.
Science isn't about why, it's about why not. You ask: why is so much of our science dangerous? I say: why not marry safe science if you love it so much. In fact, why not invent a special safety door that won't hit you in the butt on the way out, because you are fired.
There is nothing to learn here. There is nothing to learn from substitution repulsion gel for blue paint. There is nothing to learn from creating AI that are tortured if they are not torturing.

What we see here is a man creating an institution of evil. He fired all who dissented, who even hinted at the concept of human rights. He created the AI. He forced employees to be both torturers and victims thereof.
Ha! I like your style, you make up your own rules just like me.
No one said that the √úbermensch would be a moral person by any measure that we can comprehend. Yet he is clearly an immoral person by many measures that we can comprehend.

When I stop and think about it, Portal is a profoundly disturbing game series. It feels so light-hearted in its presentation. It is silly. Yet it is a game set in a world with a horribly twisted history. We can set aside the part where Portal takes place in the same alien-occupied world as Half Life; Aperture is terrible enough. I suppose it's true what they say, that comedy is tragedy plus time.


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