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Deus Ex: Human Revolution

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The Deus Ex series has always tried to be philosophical, and has had a particular focus on politics. The newest entry has really put the concept of transhumanism, and how it relates to political philosophy, at the forefront. Although the game's story features absurd (haha, I hope) conspiracies, these function fairly well as metaphors for the distribution of power in society.

I have started this thread not to make a specific point, but rather to start a conversation about this game and how it relates to Objectivism.


This game, like the others in the series, have multiple possible ending narratives. One of them involves allowing society to continue down the path of human augmentation. It features a frankly beautiful exposition on progress.

This beautfiul ending is contrasted with other alternatives by holding that with human augmentation many humans would simply get left behind, almost becoming a sub-race or sub-species. It is also implied that this reality would have to be covered-up so that the majority of humanity would accept transhumanism despite the inequal distribution of its benefits.

I see this as a metaphor for capitalism in general. In order to explain, I must review my beliefs regarding transhumanism. For the most part, I find the concept of 'human augmentation' to be repulsive. Why? Well, I think that technology itself can serve man and allow him to become a 'transhuman' without him having to modify his body. Medical science, environmental control, computer science - these all allow man to render negligible the constraints of his biology. Nevertheless, man's identity as a rational animal provide him with the core moral alternative of life vs. death - and specifically, assuming death might be conquered, a moral 'pivot point', an identity as a decision making agent. Someday, man might become 'post-human'. He might exist as a disembodied intelligence. He might craft biological, or robotic entities entirely non-human. But mere 'augments' I see a little more than magical tokens. Integrating technology into the human body is just a way to give the illusion of some other identity, as if reaching for some alternate reality. This is different from technology that legitimately restores malfunctioning biology.

My point is that technology and progress itself, even when man remains biologically identical to his nature form, is essentially 'human augmentation'.

This, finally, begs the questions: who does Capitalism leave behind? How does this unravel? How is power and sociology affected.

Essentially I am asking: how does a society transition from Lockean Republicanism to pure Objectivist Capitalism without or before destroying itself with Kantian Socialism? What might allow a society that has made room for some fantasy to embrace only reality?

Of course, I also liked the combat system of ducking behind cover, and the hyper-dense Hengsha Island.


Edited by ZSorenson
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Oh, fyi, the other endings kind of stink.

But that speaks to what I like about the game. There is no required moral outlook. You just sort of act according to what you feel is the moral way to progress, without reward or punishment. Even the endings are volitional. You choose at the last minute, based on how you reacted to the game. It's not like choices earlier on force you to accept one ending or another.

A neat way to handle narrative I think. Let the game speak to you, and then you can freely speak back. No pipelined consequences.

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