essay, playing

Of violence and the unbroken circle (BioShock Infinite)

[Warning: Spoilers for BioShock Infinite. Lots of them. All the spoilers. Stop now.]

Jan20--1-2

It was just a few lines, but it was enough to get me singing along.

It had been years since I had heard the song, even more still since I had sung it myself.
Yet, all it took was some guitar strumming and I was right there in an old church again.
The sun was streaming through glass, a blinding array of dazzling colors.
Everyone was singing along.
They all knew the words.
We all did.

        Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, by and by?
       Is a better home awaiting
In the sky, in the sky?

Jan20--1--3

What is one more death?

That is what I was thinking. Here was one of dozens, probably hundreds of bodies.
Not killed by my own hand, sure, but yet another corpse and a few more drops in an ocean of red.

Why this one? What innocence is mourned here?
Why cry over the gunsmith?

Jan20--1--2

Why have her kill?

I admit, this surprised me.
I knew something would happen, sure.
There would come a time when Elizabeth would be affected
by all the death around her,
all the killing she saw first hand.
It was coming.
Some sacrifice would be required in this simulacrum of sanity, I knew.

Still, this I did not expect.
Perhaps I wanted the lamb without blemish?

Jan20--1--4

I smiled. I did.

If only for a few moments, it was nice to see a familiar place.
To stomp around under the sea once again.

I enjoyed walking through the old grounds in a new way.
Like a tourist who has seen the sights so many times,
I was still taken in by the grandeur of those times
and its ever spectacular presence.

Ridiculous indeed.

Jan20--1--5

The promise of redemption, of a clean slate, is powerful.
So many of us want that second chance,
just one more time to get it right.

That the chance might,
as it had before,
go wrong again never enters our minds.

In our hubris, we pretend the choice itself
matters more than who we had been, are, or will be.

It is never that simple.

Jan20--1--6

The water is a symbol.
It stands for a decision.
An outcome already picked.

This is the rite:
Drops or dunking;
the demonstration of commitment.

The choice itself was already made
in the deep past and long ago,
this is just its momentum
acted out in the present.