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caljitsu

The Essence of Aether

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Today I want to pose you all a question. To you, what is the boiled down, purest emotion/feeling/theme of the Aether storyline?

 

For me, it's the idea of history repeating itself. Not literally, as we see with the cycle, but more metaphorically - in the sense of history and how we act towards others now.

 

I was recently reading through various timelines and ciphers for a video which touched on the pre-history that was the early days of the Keepers, back when they themselves were still figuring things out. You see, just as Marlton says, "Magic is just science that hasn't been explained yet", and that very much represents these early Keepers. 

 

They first started by creating Agartha - the place where they could freely exist and "experiment" (this word is specifically used) with the Aether. First they, under Dr. Monty  make progress on Teleportation, but then a small sect under the being who would later become known as the Shadowman, or Mr. Rapt, would begin pushing the boundaries,  experimenting with far darker methods and eventually creating the Aether Pyramid - leading not only to their corruption, but a complete schism between the two groups - where one could lie equal blame upon both. Sound Familiar

 

It's interesting then that one chooses Richtofen to be his pawn (MPD, so on, you all know this well enough), and the other - Maxis (as we learn in Classified, Maxis seemingly credits the initial inception of the Teleporter prototype to "M").

 

The same paths are taken until we change our ways - to me, this is the Essence of Aether.

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One of the most salient ideas Aether has represented to me, especially as of late, is the dichotomy in all of us. There are two sides to all of us, the Keepers and the Apothicons, Dr. Monty and the Shadowman, Primis and Ultimis, etc. There is the part of us we consider true and moral, and the part of us deep inside with our darkest thoughts and anxieties. Compared to Primis, Ultimis are the living incarnations of that darker side. Richtofen is the ego run amok, Dempsey is the lust for violence and bravado, Nikolai is the mask that hides self-destructive tendencies, and Takeo is the blindly faithful need to follow others. Yet, Primis are not perfect, and in many ways they contradict of these negative characteristics in an opposite extreme. Richtofen is the best example, with his Primis counterpart being self-loathing, feeling no pity as he murders mirrors of himself, yet this indifference does not last, and he feels that part of his soul being torn away every time he does it. Within the cycle, Ultimis tears apart the universe, while Primis seemingly mends it, forever and ever. But the conflict never truly ends, not until they can come together. Not until they can learn to accept each other's co-existence will they be able to live in peace. At the end of the day, they are the same people.

 

The game Celeste handles a similar idea, with a physical manifestation of the main character's anxiety following her around, tormenting her as she tries to climb a mountain. Over time, she learns to accept her shadow, and the two become one. This, to me, was why Primis and Ultimis coming together was so exciting to me. Anxiety is a constant struggle that can never truly be eradicated. The only solution is acceptance, and turning that anxiety into something more positive to better yourself.  

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I don’t know about you guys, but I always seem to be able to look at Zombies and find pure bleakness.

 

I mean, just the overbearing reality of the cosmos and universe - what the world means in the story. We’re just ants messing with forces above us, forces beyond comprehension, and these poultry gods above us are without compassion to our plight. We’re just a means to an end. Notwithstanding all the other things that make it bleak: The horrors of Alcatraz, the futility of Dimension 63 and the SOE crew, the whole point of the sacrifice in TDT. It’s why I can appreciate the atmosphere of BOTD and the TDT ending - they nail the bleakness of the situation to a tee. I wish and hope for more in the future.

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Think for me, personally, I am with @The Meh with this one. I remember I started to become interested in the story of the game mode after seeing the Shangri La loading screen for the first time: the imposant inhuman-looking pyramids ascending from the surface, combined with the bombastic music of Paraphony certainly gave me the chills. Ironically, how the map Shangri La is merely a glimp of the total Lost City and it's history and secrets, can in my opinion be seen as a metaphore for the general story as a whole: The actions of Primis, Ultimis and Victis, the events we see, it is merely a tiny glimp of what lays beyond. What happened before, after and at the meantime. There are forces moving of which we have only seen a small part, forces we can barely comprehend. The idea that mankind, and everything we know, was merely seeded by these forces. Ancient aliens. Higher dimensions. Mankind having discovered just the very basics of this, or not even that. It seems the only application of it we do is reanimating the deceased, a very humane thing in my opinion.

 

Combined with this theme, the idea that typical human personalities and characterisms can lead to such catastrophic outcomes. Most 'science gone wrong' moments we've had so far were a result of greed, anger, arrogance or fear. No matter how rational science is, the one who is behind it, is, and stays, a human being

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To me, the main theme of aether is the significance and also the insignificance of human will. There are some things that are completely out of our reach. No matter how hard we try we can't change or even comprehend them. Whereas, being capable of rational and reflexive thinking, human beings have the power to determine their place in this grand scheme of all things. In other words, we all live in an enormous cycle and it might be impossible for us to break out of it. However, we can always choose where we will be in this perfect sphere.

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Good to see you again @habazabaza!

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13 hours ago, habazabaza said:

To me, the main theme of aether is the significance and also the insignificance of human will. There are some things that are completely out of our reach. No matter how hard we try we can't change or even comprehend them. Whereas, being capable of rational and reflexive thinking, human beings have the power to determine their place in this grand scheme of all things. In other words, we all live in an enormous cycle and it might be impossible for us to break out of it. However, we can always choose where we will be in this perfect sphere.

I really like this! We all have this illusion that we are in complete control of our lives, and Primis Richtofen especially does with all his resources. Yet, he failed to see he really had no choice in saving the universe. He even says that he knows, one day, he will save the world. He's a Doctor, he can help. He believes there is an end to all this where no one has to truly die. He was raised to believe that Doctors can save lives, no matter how bad the odds are. As it turns out, he's wrong. We all die someday, and as a soldier bred to follow orders and give up his own free will, Nikolai knows that sometimes sacrifice is necessary for the greater good.

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8 hours ago, anonymous said:

Good to see you again @habazabaza!

Hey anonymous, it's really good to be back. I was extremely busy with some real life issues so I wasn't able to be active in the forum. But my heart was always there with all of you. Even though I didn't participate in discussions, I was always checking out your ideas and stuff. I hope from now on, I can be an active member of this beautiful community.

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