Monday, February 15, 2010

Guest Post: Lunar's Incoherent Cosmology

My brother wrote this. It will be complete gibberish if you're not familiar with Lunar and Lunar 2.

Don't get me wrong, I love the game, but . . . I suppose the problem is that it's really humanistic to the core, but they haven't remotely thought through the ins and outs of this message and how it's presented. First, we learn that the goddess Althena no longer exists: The explanation that her Luna-hologram gives is that she decided that people had just gotten too dependent on her, and that this was preventing them from seeing their own true potential. I might stop here and note that if this was her reasoning, she seems to have failed pretty badly. The people of Lunar don't seem to have gotten the memo that she no longer exists and Althena worship is still as strong as ever supported, no doubt, by the fact that priestly magic never stopped working (a priestly placebo effect?) nor did the healing goddess statues.

The first thing we have to wonder is, how did this self-annihilation (celestial suicide?) take place? She says that she assumed human form "as I had many times before" in the form of Luna. And indeed, we recall from the first game that her human incarnations were nothing new (there may have been something slightly different about that one; for one thing she doesn't know that she's the goddess, and Dyne seems to have had a hand in her incarnation-- recall the confrontation between him and Ghaleon; Dyne: "I see a bright future for humanity and stuff." Ghaleon: "I see only despair.") But I digress. The point is that this was solidly Luna's decision. And why did she do it again? Because she fell in love with Alex and decided to remain human, she explains. Wait a minute, that has nothing to do with humanity becoming too dependent. And since Althena had incarnated as a human many times before, I still don't understand why she couldn't have both: stay human to marry Alex and all that good stuff, and then revert to her goddess-hood at the end.

Shut Up Shut Up I'm not listening! Look, she decided to stay human for Alex and then sometime during their marriage she decided that people were too dependent. Okay (I guess) but even then, the consequences of this are pretty murky at best. Maybe we can try to make sense of this by pointing out that there seems to be a definite dichotomy drawn between being immortal (like a goddess) and embracing all the wonderful human love and potential etc. etc. After all Luna left the whole goddess thing for love of Alex, and Lucia tells Nall in the first ending that she's going to follow the same path that Althena did (trade her immortality for humanity) since she sees how great humanity is (a blatant bald-faced lie, but never mind that). But this dichotomy seems immediately contradicted by the fact that A) the dragons (Nall and Ruby) seem to do just fine balancing immortality with the whole warmth, love and friendship thing, and B) when Lucia returns to the blue star she has learned all about the greatness of humanity, and even experienced it herself (she tearfully tells Hiro that she loves him, and has gained the self-proclaimed faith in humanity to turn the Blue Star over to them when it's ready), but she is clearly still the immortal Princess Of The Blue Star as is evidenced by the fact that she's returning to wait maybe centuries more for it to be habitable. So this is really a false dichotomy.

The other elephant in the room here is the question of an afterlife: is there or isn't there? While in most cosmologies that postulate a mythological goddess like Althena the answer is yes, here it would seem to be an unequivocal no. At first glance. There are three possibilities. In the first scenario there used to be an afterlife, but it was dependent upon Althena's existence, and since she has ceased to exist (in her words) there's no more afterlife. The thing is that this would make her own choice to blink out of existence so unspeakably selfish and dickish that I think we have to rule it out. A second possibility is that there is no afterlife for people and never was, even when Althena was around. This seems like the most likely choice, but let's look at option 3. In this scenario there IS an afterlife for people, but Althena just personally chose to blink out of existence due to the whole people+hyper dependence thing (I suppose it's theoretically possible that Althena/Luna just chose to opt for the mundane human afterlife, but not very likely; "I no longer exist" seems pretty conclusive). This doesn't seem very likely, but it is solidly supported by Ghaleon's shuffling off of the mortal coil: He looks up toward the light of the sun that is streaming into his face and seeming to engulf him, a near universal bit of symbolism for being drawn into the other world, and he says, "Are you watching in secret Dyne? These children shine with your light." Then he does the whole disappear into thin air as his empty clothes fall to the ground thing. So it's tough to say, but I still wonder about the Althena faithful (Ronfar and Lucia) not finding this revelation unspeakably traumatizing (As it happens, they take more of a "Well this kind of sucks, what do we do now?" attitude).


Post a Comment

<< Home