As part of my ongoing quest to ruin everything, I’d like to discuss a game that has a very special place in my heart and regularly reappears in my dreams: Final Fantasy 3. Thematically, FF3 is about religion, the age of Rationalism, German Idealism, and the ascension of a class of nihilistic eloi. Aesthetically, it’s about WWII and is broken into two major parts to represent before and after. In the first part, the world is threatened by fascist imperialism.
The ancient War of the Magi… When its flames at last receded, only the charred husk of a world remained. Even the power of magic was lost… In thousand years that followed, iron, gunpowder, and steam engines took the place of magic, and life slowly returned to the barren land… Yet there now stands one who would reawaken the magic of ages past, and use its dread power as a means by which to conquer all the world… Could anyone truly be foolish enough to repeat that mistake?
Intro to Final Fantasy 3
Wouldn’t be much drama if there weren’t! As it turns out, there’s a war-mongering Hitler stand-in named Gestahl (“gestalt”: something that is made of many parts and yet is somehow more than or different from the combination of its parts) who’s looking for every weapon he can find, and he’s heard some stories about the old gods (Espers).
A thousand years ago three gods, known as the Warring Triad, descended upon the world and warred for dominance. During the War of the Magi the gods transformed humans and animals into creatures called espers, giving them magical powers. The gods realized the war was destroying the world and petrified themselves, their final wish being that the espers prevent their power from being abused. The espers took the gods’ statues and fashioned a new dimension where they could live peacefully away from humans, and to hide away the gods.
In the present, the world has experienced a technological revolution while magic has faded into legend.
Translation: A trinitarian god of libido/chaos falls to earth (see also: Jenova = Jehovah) and invents Hell. The Aryan pantheon remove it and themselves from the world, ushering in an age of secularism.
TFW your pagan counterculture is the plot of every movie since 1960. So here’s your cipher so far:
Statues = Yahweh
Espers = Pagan gods
Magic = Religion
Technology = Rationalism
Gestahl wants the old gods back…for less than pious reasons.
In the present, the world has experienced a technological revolution while magic has faded into legend. To the south, the Gestahlian Empire led by Emperor Gestahl discovered the entrance to the Esper World and kidnapped several of the creatures. The Empire discovered a way to drain the espers of magical energy and imbue humans and machines with this power; this technology is known as Magitek. Overpowering the armies of other nations, the Gestahlian Empire conquered the southern continent and began to push into the north with the aim of world conquest.
The Idealists confronted this paradox head-on, determining that the moral thing must be for rational elites to deceive individuals for their own good into forming tight-knit identity classes by appealing to the individuals’ primitive emotions, insecurities, narcissism, and repressed religious drive. Thus was born Marxism, the logical conclusion of classical liberalism. This ideology weaponized the fundamental moral impulse, charity, effectively removing all capacity for empathy in populations which practice it. The behavioral science of propaganda/marketing soon followed, to appeal to more solipsistic instincts since all capacity for human connection had been extracted and crushed, as if by a psychotic neurosurgeon.
This clip from the old cartoon movie “Wizards” shows how the Nazis actually felt about religion.
What use is all that empty ritualism to ruthless, will-to-power strivers? What esoteric Hitlerism was actually looking for was something more like this:
Step aside, weaksauce desert djinns, that’s REAL power right there!