Philosophy and My Thoughts on the Game - What Remains of Edith Finch

The imagination is as real as the body.

Just as What Remains of Edith Finch is a diary, so too will this blog be like a diary, in which I will try to show my vision of the plot and metaphors of this game. I will briefly run through the plot and discuss the key ideas of each chapter. A chapter is a personal or not so personal story of a person in the Finch family. These stories are little parables or tales that carry a strong philosophical message and reveal the characters. Within each story is an accomplished thought. In this paper, we will raise philosophical themes such as:

  • The problem of remembering a person
  • The problem of death
  • The problem of the family
  • The problem of the real and the ideal
  • The problem of the real and the virtual
  • The problem of extremes

Before reading this article, I recommend that you go through the game. Especially since the game is quite short (about 2-3 hours). This will immerse you in the story and help you get a better feel for the ideas I want to discuss with you. Alarm! It may seem like I'm going to suck some of the ideas out of my hand, but I'm going to do it in order to think together with you about the timeless themes that the game has manifested. Reading the developer interviews, I realized that the authors' main paradigm for the game is the idea that we shouldn't be afraid of death, we'll all die someday. In fact, I see that the game has outgrown this theme and showed me equally important ideas that I would like to discuss with you. Some of the stories I skipped over because they repeated past thoughts and didn't have any important additional issues.

Finch Family Tree

The main character, Edith, arrives at an old family home that has been empty for some time. It turns out that the house is alive and it begins to tell the story of her family through the everyday life and internal arrangement. Each former inhabitant of the house had his own room, which was sealed after death. The room is a monument to the person.

By the way everything is arranged in it, you can tell a lot about the person who lived in it. In this way you can try to preserve the memory of a person, because as long as he is remembered, he is still in this world. That is the great power of memory.

Chapter 1: Molly's Problem of Death.

It begins with a very opaque chapter where the message is not quite on the surface. From which a huge variety of interpretations of this part can arise.

The "tale" is narrated in the person of Molly, her mother put her to bed and did not feed her. The girl woke up in the night from a wild hunger and began to eat everything in a row. After that, she turned into a cat. A cat eats a bird, an owl eats a rabbit, a shark eats a seal, and a snake eats a human. The authors wanted to show that the strong defeats the weak-it is a law of nature. In this chapter, the main paradigm of the whole game is seen as well as possible. Death is natural, we will all die someday, there is no need to fear it. Let us also talk about this important and inevitable event for everyone - about death. The authors adhere to the idea of Stoicism that all things in the world have an end, and it is so natural that it is unreasonable to fear death. Plato believed that death is the separation of the soul from the body, releasing it from the "prison" where it stays in its earthly life. But both the Stoics and Plato were convinced that after death our soul will separate and we will be reborn in another body. In fact, there are two opposing camps-idealism and materialism

. Idealists believe that the soul (consciousness) is primary in man and that after the death of the body, it will go to another world or be reborn. Materialists believe that matter is primary, so the soul will die together with the body, because it cannot exist without it. I hope I explained clearly, because this information will be important in the course of the article.

That's how we derived such a serious and very important topic from a little girl's tale.

Chapter 2: One is a flight from death.

Odin is the head of the family. After the death of his wife and newborn child, he decided that the family was cursed and was going to move to another place along with the house and families (Indeed, in another place the curse would stop working), but during a storm their house sank along with Odin. Running away from death he brought himself closer to it. The event took place in 1937 and the topic of curses and spoilages was quite a working one at the time, but these days I think most realize that there are no witches and wizards (Thanks to "Battle of the Psychics"). We need to clearly understand that there are things that we can't affect, like notorious death, and things that we can affect

, like taking care of our health, so it's worth focusing on those kinds of things. We can extend our lives, but we can't escape death.

If Odin had read my article on, he would have stopped being afraid of death and wouldn't have drowned with the house (Probably).

Chapter 3: Calvin's Escape to Death.

An important theme is revealed here-the theme of extremes

. One was so afraid of death that it was detrimental to his life. Kelvin, on the other hand, had absolutely no fear of death, which led to the same outcome. It is important to keep a balance in everything, in any subject. It doesn't matter if it's death or talking about politics in 8th grade. The truth is somewhere in the middle, in a certain balance of opposites. In most cultures and religions throughout history, people have created dualities (yin and yang, matter and emptiness, reason and feeling). This is the specificity of human perception, we are very fond of dividing everything into "white and black. All our world is stitched by this connection of opposites and only together, not separately, they can normally exist. After all, without evil, how would we understand what is good?

As for Kelvin, he decided that he could fly, like any child he is not quite familiar with our world, he is dreamy, he believes in miracles. So of course he swung on a swing and flew off a cliff. I'd like to go back to materialism and idealism again. The boy is an idealist, he believes in ideas, in the soul. Perhaps Calvin could be called a solipsist. Solipsism is

an idealism that recognizes only his own consciousness as the only reality and denies the existence of the outside world. That is, he thought that just by thinking he could fly, the laws of physics would change. Alas, no, but the slap on the water will be real. Like I said, sticking to any extreme is a one-way ticket. Here's what my brother says about him:This is how I want to remember my brother. Like the day he decided to take off and fly.

Yes, I agree that sometimes we want to dream, to imagine some miracle, but we must always remember that if you jump off a cliff, you are bound to crash, and no amount of thinking about flying will save you from the big and quite unpleasant rocks at the bottom.

Chapter 4. Barbara's Modern Problem.

Barbara's problem is really unique to this game, unless you take the theme of death again. The girl was wildly popular as a child for her resounding scream, but as she grew older her scream began to change due to human biology and growth. And Barbara became a nobody, thrown overboard. I would call it the problem of easy popularity

. There are a huge number of examples in our life, when people who became stars either when they were children, easily and without much effort - disappeared. Such a person very quickly after the decline of popularity fell into depression, or began to abuse alcohol and other more terrible things. Alas, if popularity doesn't have hard work, professionalism and clear goals behind it, popularity can easily break a person. It's especially pathetic for children, who in general just haven't lived long enough and haven't had time to learn many things to control the limelight. How many artists these days die at a young age because of bad habits and depression who couldn't survive the abrupt and great popularity. I think you've all heard of at least a couple of such cases. Alas, it's hard to solve this problem in any way these days, as the crowd is a scary force, but at the very least, understanding that you have to work very hard to be popular is a fact. And all that's left of Barbara is her ear. Ear-wanted...

Chapter 5. Walter is a modern-day escape from death.

Why is Walter's story a modern-day escape from death? Let's try to figure it out.

After Barbara died, he was so terrified that he went underground and lived alone in a bunker for 30 years. He decided that by walling himself off from anything that could kill him, he would live a long and happy life. Walter did everything on a schedule, ate the same food, at the same time. This concept can be transferred to the life of the modern office man who is afraid of life. He lives on a "home-office-home" schedule, does the same monotonous job, does not risk taking on new tasks and is not looking for interesting work. He leads a maximally conformist lifestyle, when there is food and shelter, there is nothing else he needs. I wonder how the sense of time changed when Walter realized after 30 years that he was tired of being afraid. The next monotonous week was torture for him and dragged on forever. He went out into the world, began to breathe full throttle, but too late. Walter was already an old man, but even in that state, he wanted to live at least one day without fear.

"Maintaining" life, trying to get away from problems, shutting himself in - all this, alas, will not help a man to exist well and happily in our world.

Chapter 6. Sam is a living happy man.

Sam was one of those who was not afraid to live. With that, he was the only one of the siblings to carry on the family tree, having 3 children. Even the authors themselves showed sympathy for him through the words of the main character, Edith.

Of all the stories, this is the one I would most like to hear from my mother.

And really, the man lived, was passionate about something, brought up his children, taught them. He even died with dignity, on the hunt, teaching his daughter to shoot. I see a direct message from the authors who say, "Look, the man was not afraid and lived a beautiful life."

Chapter 7 and 8. Milton and Lewis - the problem of the real and the viral.

We have already resigned ourselves to the fact that the problem of death is in every chapter. But it is in the chapters in Milton and Lewis that the insanely important problem in our time rises to the surface, which is directly related to games and imaginary (virtual) reality.

Let's start with Milton. The boy was given paints for his birthday and fell in love with drawing. He honed his skills so much that at one point "the man in the picture" came to life. One can only envy the imagination of children. In general, he had a drawn friend. At some moment, Milton felt so good with this character that he understood that he liked the drawn imaginary world better than our real one - gray and sad. He simply drew a door on a huge canvas and walked through it, saying goodbye to the real world forever. In the age of technology, fictional worlds have become so attractive that some people prefer them to the real world.

Alas, with the development of virtual reality and games, escapes from our world have increased. I've met a lot of guys who spend all their free time playing games like Lineage 2. They have kids, a job, a wife, but they don't care about it at all. Real life goes into the background, it becomes a betrayal, because in it he is an ordinary engineer. While in the game he is an insanely cool warrior in the best equipment, everyone respects and appreciates him. The same thing happened with the second character, Lewis. His fictional world, where he was a prince, turned out to be much more interesting than the real one, in which he worked in a fish factory and cut the heads off fish. The imaginary world took more and more space in Lewis's life every day until it completely replaced the real one. The result of this substitution was the death of the character, because life in the real world depreciated as much as possible for him, it weighed him down and was absolutely unnecessary, because there was so little good and so much sad in it.

The moral of this fable is this: we have a real world in which, if you want, try and work hard, everything is possible, there is no need to look for false easy ways, all this fear of real life, fear of not being realized, but you should not run away from it, you need to fight it. There's only one world, the real world, and it has certain laws that make you happy. Everyone defines these laws in their own way, but one thing is common to all - don't stop


Two more important messages of the game. Family and MemoryI think

you noticed that family and memory issues were one of the most important. Grandma Edie and Edith understood this, which is why they kept a journal, keeping memories of their ancestors. Even if we die, we will live on in the memory of those who remember us. As long as we are remembered, we are immortal. It's a very simple thought, but it's no less important. And it is the family that will remember you, and new generations will try to become like you when they are told stories about their wonderful grandfather <подставьте любое имя>. I understand that not always relatives are something positive, but very often you can find something good in them and tell your children and grandchildren about it, so they will be proud of their family and want to live the same real and happy life as their grandparents and other relatives. Take care of each other.

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