Metal Sonic -- How Dysfunctional Logic Breaks One
Updated: May 2
I know it may seem strange to bring up a fictional character from a children's franchise, but the more I think about this particular character, the sadder I realize he is. 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 that you are, in essence, the someone you are, without the second.
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 actually programmed the robot to believe that the biological being he was created to destroy is, in fact, a copy of his own, and that he is the real being, the one he is supposed to destroy.
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 tells you that you are someone else. It makes you wonder, "Who are you really? A robot clone, or the very one you were cloned after?"
Of course, it is all settled, that you are a clone. However, if you are a clone, you are more than a copy; you are allegedly the person you were cloned after.
After all, a clone is the same person, even if it is in robotic form. That could only mean that you are not different from the object you were cloned after, as you are him, right?
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 set of characters, 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, does not have an identity of his own. He is a copy, a clone, a shadow of the real thing. He is not sure who he is or what he is capable of. He is lost and confused, and he is doomed to an eternity of existential crisis.
If you think about it, children's books are very deep. They are a simplified way of introducing ourselves to a fictional world, even if that world is only a set of characters.
They give us a sense of reality, a sense of size, and a sense of power. They make us feel like we are something greater than ourselves, while we are still within that world, having a role like everyone else in the book.
They give us the logic that if other beings act in a certain way and avoid other things, then that same sense of priority also applies to us as a part of what is perceived as reality.
Metal Sonic is a psychological mess whose depth is not really explored in any of the video games he appears in. Most of the time he is silent, but in one game, he actually speaks. It is in that game where his delusion is revealed.
As a robot clone, he actually thinks that he is the real Sonic, while the true Sonic is the fake Sonic. Later, he tells Sonic that he was created to destroy him. Do you see the paradox?
How could an original being be created to destroy the original being it was cloned after? There cannot be two originals if one is a clone of the other. That is the fallacy that leads to Metal Sonic's delusional sense that he is the true hedgehog, even though it is clear to people like you and me that he is not.
This could create a great sense of uneasiness, right? If I don't know who I am in relation to the world, how can I act? What should I do?
What should I think? Who are other beings to me? Who am I to them? These are very basic questions, but they could be problematic for some people who might suffer from an identity crisis.
Again, correct me if I'm wrong; if you will do so nicely, I won't mind. Please humor me for now.
While I don't think I've ever had an identity crisis myself, I think I can at least relate to how it feels to be in the midst of one.
Some people accused me of being pretentious because I tend toward subjectivity in my content, even though I do so because I genuinely think that subjectivity doesn't always transcend reality or exist outside of it.
Anyway, the accusations compelled me to ask a question that any honest philosopher would eventually ask: Am I a true philosopher?
In Hebrew, my native language, a philosopher is freely translated as a "creator of ideas" or a "creator of opinions." In Hebrew, the word "idea" or "opinion" is also connected to "intelligence," "sapience," "intellect," and so on.
I defy the "tyranny" of objectivity in philosophy because the words in Hebrew that are concretely connected to "idea," such as the ones I've just shown, are not mutually exclusive with subjectivity, like an opinion is.
As a native Hebrew speaker, I believe that I am philosophizing when I express my thoughts, as long as the "nature" or the "background" of my words are philosophical.
When Socrates said, "A life without examination is unworthy of living," no one seemed to challenge his subjectivity, and yet, he is defined as the father of Western philosophy, and the philosophers before him, are considered "pre-Socratic."
If so, why is an opinion such as Socrates' accepted as philosophical, while few consider mine pretentious?
Why is it so important to present research with the premises you give when you are, essentially, researching yourself, someone who is a part of the world? Why is research so sacred that it defies, in the eyes of many, the value of human intelligence?
Yes, I am a rationalist, not an empiricist. I value logical reasoning over research, because a philosopher is first and foremost a thinker, and not a scientist.
Philosophizing is an art, not a science, which is why philosophy is considered a part of the humanities and not a part of modern-day science. I know from my years at university that philosophy used to combine science, but that is no longer a feature in contemporary days.
I don't need to cite sources for everything I say when the entire internet is at our fingertips and I am too fatigued to do the research myself!
You can do it better than me because, unlike me, you can read this article properly, while I have to sit and listen to an automatic reader while trying to proofread my articles.
I can be a philosopher without doing something that forces me to suffer because of a disability! It's like the Olympics for disabled people. It shouldn't be difficult to realize that some disabilities are beyond one's current awareness, and that not every disability is physical or intellectual.
That is why I don't have an identity crisis, because I know that previous philosophers had to rely on rationalist thinking rather than research.
I am aware that research is important, but people should understand that not everyone has the capacity to conduct research. I'm not here to bring you actual facts; I'm here to be philosophical, and like a writer writes, a philosopher philosophizes.
With this logic, I managed to surpass the pitfall of the Metal Sonic case, of not being sure for certain who I am, who I am not, what I am capable of, and what I am not capable of. Anyone can be philosophical, in theory, just like anyone can write.
It's just that some people are better at it than others, that's all. Anyone who is capable of writing can become a writer, but that alone doesn't make one a writer by profession.
You can write comments on social media, but that doesn't mean that your role is that of a writer. It's an example I'm using to compare with philosophizing, and if you are a reader of philosophy blogs, then I am confident that you understand, no doubt about it.
To end it all, in the game where Metal's first speaking role was given, when he confronted the real Sonic, he was defeated in battle, saying something like the following:
"No, it can't be. I am the supreme ruler, the real Sonic."
Even when he is defeated and proven a faker, he still holds to his belief. A belief created by the way he was programmed -- to be just like someone he isn't, no exception in identity.
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