What makes a person great? Their actions or impact?
Why am I asking this? I just finished a game that I mentioned earlier called Red Dead Redemption 2. It is one of the best games I have ever played. Even though I finished it a few days ago, its impact is still resonating with me.
One of the interesting things in the game is how you choose to play the main character. You can play him and minimize the harm he does, or you can play him and not care about the harm he does. However, you will still do harm with him because certain things are done and you can’t avoid being a criminal.
For each choice I had in the game, I tried to balance the complex factors that were involved. Are you a bad person because you kill people who are racist, sexist, or who are trying to kill you or others? Morality is not so clear when the value of life is low as it was in the old west. Most of the time the game only gave you 30 seconds to make a choice, so you didn’t have time to consider all of the factors involved in a decision. If you didn’t make a choice, the game make a choice for you.
Now it is natural that when someone plays a game where they assume the identity of the main character they will feel defensive about their choices. I am not looking to defend my choices. I made plenty of mistakes. Just like in life, we don’t have all the facts and we often have to do the best with what we have.
Our actions are critical, but just as critical is the impact of our actions. One of the actions was to get involved in a feud. That could have destroyed that feud since it destroyed the economic base on which it relied on. I would argue that impact is just as important as actions, and those are harder to understand.
I would not defend hurting others, but playing this game helps you understand a great deal of life is not black/white.