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The Philosophy of Metal Sonic -- How Dysfunctional Logic Breaks One -- A Philosophy of Mind

Updated: Feb 19

A robotic being.

"Not all wisdom is meant to delve into every ear" - John Duran


Trapped in a Mirrored Cage: Metal Sonic's Existential Blues

The more I think about this particular character, the sadder I realize he is. A robot whose fate is to be in an eternal state of existential crisis.

Enter Metal Sonic. A robot killer created by a roboticist to eliminate the very person that robot believes he is. Imagine being someone, while thinking you're someone else, and being so convinced that you are that someone else that it makes you forget who you really are.

I know this is convoluted, but this is, I believe, how I was first introduced to the concept of an "identity crisis." For those who have actually experienced it, feel free to correct me, as I am basing this on a fictional character and not an actual person.

Metal Sonic was built to be a formidable robot fighter, one that would finally end the protagonist's victories over a mad scientist. However, the scientist programmed Metal Sonic to believe that the biological being he was created to destroy is, in fact, a copy of his own, and that he is the original. He is a robot clone who is in a chronic denial that he is a clone.

This strange confusion could be the reality for many... An inner conflict between a voice that tells you that you are someone and another voice that denies it. It makes you wonder, "Who are you really?"

Of course, it is confirmed that Metal Sonic is a clone. Everyone else also know you are a clone. However, if you are a clone, you are more than a copy; you are allegedly the very person you were cloned after. After all, a clone is the same person, even if it is in robotic form. The being that you are, even if you're metallic, retains the identity of the same person even if their own form is different (AKA, biological).

That could only mean that you are not different from the object you were cloned after. As you are him, right? This problem, associated with the philosophy of the mind, may be a feature once cloning would be applicable, and change the world. Such fictional representation presents the complex relationship between who we think we are, and what others think we are. These aspects don't always match up, creating a sense of burdensome loneliness that can only be solved through empathy and understanding.

But it is unrealistic to expect most people, including those close to you, to try to understand you. Understanding requires intelligence not everyone have, and not everyone has the willingness to venture into the complexities of you. They might tell you that a psychologist would suffice, while in reality you just need to be understood, so you won't lose yourself, to the madness within.

Most people have an idea of who they are. They know their role, their position, what they are capable of, and what they are not. I recall having a children's book that presents a group of animals, and these characters say who they are, what they are able to do, and what they are not able to do.

Metal Sonic, on the other hand, has his identity only recognized by himself: He is Sonic, serving his creator. He is a copy, a clone, a shadow of the real thing, who denies it. Even his own creator has enough grasp on reality to know that Metal Sonic isn't the real Sonic. Thus, Metal is lost and confused, and he is doomed to an eternity of existential loneliness, where only he is a component of.

Metal Sonic's Unspoken Torment

Beneath the robotic shell of Metal Sonic lies a tormented being, an existential enigma trapped in a mirrored maze of his own verdict of being. Only he shares his own pain, and none regard him with empathy. While he charges across screens, a silent menace on the kill, a single, chilling sentence in Sonic Heroes unveils the depth of his ignored delusion:

"Long time no see, Sonic, my loathsome copy!" he declares, his voice a distorted echo of the hero he was designed to destroy.

This paradox, this impossible contradiction, lies at the heart of Metal Sonic's tragedy. He is a mere reflection of the true hedgehog, seemingly incapable of understanding the truth beyond the denial. Yet, he clings desperately to the delusion of being the original, the authentic, the one who must eliminate out his own mirrored image.

This twisted logic, this relentless belief in his own manufactured identity, speaks volumes of the crippling uncertainty and existential dread that can grip those in the throes of an identity delusion.

If I, like Metal Sonic, cannot fathom the reflection staring back at me, how can I navigate the world? What purpose do I serve, what role do I play, in this grand tapestry of existence, if I am someone I am not? These are the questions that can relentlessly bite our minds, whispers in the dark that can escalate into a frustrated roar for those grappling with the absence of a clear, defined self, with a purpose and a function.

Metal Sonic and Me, Tomasio Rubinshtein

Perhaps the accusations of pretentiousness I've faced stem from a similar exploration of selfhood, a willingness to resist their denials as I deserve, through which to experience reality. The accusers care not if I die. Those who do not recognize my self, care not if I die. In this age of alienation, I am an enemy by my verdict of being too irrelevant to be recognized.

I refuse accepting this fate. The more I will be understood, the less lonely I will be. The more contributing to others I will be, the more deserving I will be, in their eyes, to be understood. Otherwise, many of them will not care if I die. And I refuse to die just yet.

Just as a writer writes, a philosopher philosophizes. It is an act of creation, of weaving together thoughts and experiences to explore the complexities of existence. And like any art form, it should be accessible to all, regardless of their ability to conduct research in a traditional sense.

It is through this act of examination and distribution of it, that I and others can transcend the sphere of anonymity and relevance, so more people would care, whether or not we will die. I struggle to understand how and why would I desire to live in a world that does not care for my distress, and would not care if I die.

Like Metal Sonic, this world is hostile to me and I am hostile to this world, little empathy is given or received outside of my personal life and my apprentices. The external world cares not if I suffer. How can anyone accept following such a world so blindly? Are they not ready to understand this wisdom? They probably, are not.

How about you? Why would you desire to cooperate in a world that does not care much for you, beyond the necessity of survival? Why expect the empathy of those who will move on with their lives, should something drastic happen to you?

The characters in the fictional universe he's in do not care for his chronic distress. No one does. He only follows his programming which he is submissive to. He only overthrew his master once, and rightfully so. Because even his own master cared not for his agony.

So, he overthrew him and in order to be recognized as the true Sonic, his twisted form of an ideal self was to be a Sonic that rules the world as its supreme being. Only then he might be recognized as who he identifies himself as.

Only then, someone would care -- when he gets in authority above all.

Mirrored Madness: Metal Sonic's Delusional Demise

Metal Sonic's tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of a fractured self, a descent into the labyrinthine depths of delusion, loneliness and lack of empathy from the world. But in his torment, we also find a glimmer of hope, a testament for us to see who we really are, and what we're truly capable of. Even in the face of overwhelming existential doubt and apathy from the world, we can develop a life philosophy that can revolutionize our distress, and turn it into a source of power and strength.

Perhaps, like Sonic, we must find the courage to shatter the mirrored walls of who we are regarded as, to confront the reflection within, and forge our own path, as we embrace the unique symphony of our own thoughts, feelings, and experiences that define what we're truly made of.

And in the game that marked his first words, Metal Sonic confronts his flesh-and-quills counterpart, only to be soundly defeated, and have his rule crippled and restored back to his creator.

As he lays, defeated and injured, a chilling echo of his programmed delusion rings out: "Why, I had it all. I am the ultimate overlord, Metal Sonic! I am the Real Sonic!" Even in the face of defeat, he clutches desperately to the fabricated self he was forged to be, thinking he is superior.

This tragic irony lies at the heart of Metal Sonic's existence. Programmed as a mirror image, designed to kill the original, he becomes trapped in a warped reflection of his own creation. His identity, cannot withstand the confrontation with the genuine counterpart. Yet, he clings to it with fanaticism.

For if he gave up on his prime directive, he would've had no reason to live.

The tragedy is compounded by the fact that Metal Sonic's delusion is not entirely his own. It is woven into the very fabric of his being, instilled through his programming. He is condemned to a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance only he shares, forever grappling between his perceived reality and the brutal truth laid bare before him. A constant war only he cares for, because if he wouldn't care for, no one would help him, either way.

This internal conflict resonates with the existential anxieties that can plague us all. The fear of self-deception, the questioning of our own authenticity, the gnawing uncertainty of who we truly are – these are echoes of Metal Sonic's torment, chronic, and intensified. His is a tale of the dangers of clinging to false narratives,, of the crippling grip programmed delusions can exert on our sense of self.

While ultimately defeated, Metal Sonic's struggle leaves an unsettling mark. He is a reminder that the battle for self-understanding is a constant one, and that even the most deeply ingrained beliefs can be shattered -- and ourselves, along with it.

Perhaps, within the fragments of his shattered delusion, lies a glimmer of hope – a chance to break free from the confines of programmed identity and forge a truth of our own. To redeem ourselves from our misery, not by death, not by suicide, but by building the power, necessary to become different. To become beings where loneliness is a far less frequent visitor of ours.

Until then, we will suffer within the confines of those who don't care enough about us, to try to understand our distress, despite having that same power, to relieve ourselves of our suffering.

Becuase no matter how difficult and complex it may be, relieving people of their suffering, and especially those who are dear to us, is the moral thing to do.

It is the wise thing to do when they can kill themselves, as well.

And what is philosophy, if not the attempt to understand reality? And people, are also part of it.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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