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On the Path to Purity -- The Philosophy of "Peret em Heru" (a Survival Horror Game)

Updated: May 24

An important question should be asked to anyone who wishes to become morally pure, whether for their own sake, for a religious reason, or for any other motive: If you are to be tested for your purity, would you accept the embrace of death as punishment, or should you be judged not to be pure?

What does it mean to be morally pure? It means that regardless of what you've endured in life, you have committed no moral impurities in the world. It means that, you've done no evil, but not only evil, necessarily, but also anything else that opposes the moral extreme that is to be pure.

After all, even good people can lie, and even good people can harass and shame, even if they have no ill will in their hearts. Some will not reach purity simply because they have imposed their impure beliefs on the world.

For example, it was common to beat children for the sake of their discipline. While the intention was "good", the mere act of violence on a helpless being, wasn't, and therefore the abuser was bad, and thus became impure.

Even people who are good in mind and heart, will not necessarily be considered pure, simply because of the "sins" they have committed. Why? Allow me to introduce you to an obscure Japanese game from the 1990s called Peret Em Heru, or, in English, "For the Prisoners".

While it is a horror game, it has a very deep philosophical premise. As long as the characters have done, absolutely no wrong whatsoever, including lying, they will not be killed. However, should you fail to save these characters, 11 in number, you'll be left with the bare minimum of 2.

Imagine that you find yourself on a "tourist exploration" in a cursed pyramid in Egypt. A building ruled by supernatural forces beyond your recognition. These forces will try to kill you and the rest of the group you're exploring with, not because they (the dark forces) are murderous in nature. It's because they believe in a very extreme form of moral purity.

How can we infer that? The first victim of the game can be a 9 year old girl, whose only "sin" in the pyramid was lying. I will spare you the details of her death.

In the tourist group, there are different people, all with different sins. However, unless you, the player, save them, they will die horribly, regardless of what their sins were.

In other words, in that cursed pyramid, lying is as severe as stealing, killing, and other horrendous acts. Why? Because what is purity, in the end? Purity means having absolutely no moral faults whatsoever. It's like generalizing. One exception, and purity will not be achieved.

This is why I agree with the premise behind the game's dark forces, even though you won't find me killing people because of it. Being pure of any moral flaw is something that is very, very hard to achieve in life, and even if you are to compensate for it and atone for it, you will remain, in the end, impure.

Think of it like blank paper. If you put a dot on it using a pencil, it will no longer be completely blank paper. That's because it would be stained with the addition of the pencil's mark.

In that game, there is only one exception, aside from yourself. There's another follower, who needs to be saved by you twice. Not from the pyramid ruins but from herself, as she is suicidal. It is not confirmed, whether or not she was pure, like you, or like another plot-protected follower. She's the only character in the game who is potentially a pure individual, but not much is known about her.

In this survival-horror game of severe moral punishment, there are two judges who can decide the fate of the game and how it will end. It's you and the forces that dwell within the pyramid itself. You can be "pure" yourself, so to speak, by saving everyone from the tourists. However, not all of them deserve your mercy.

One of the tourists is a journalist, who uses his cover to blackmail people for sexual interactions. Even if you are to save them, they will ignore the fact that they have survived, and will continue, because of you, to try and perform hideous acts. Because of that, I must mention that this game isn't for kids, especially those who understand either Japanese or English. Perhaps I should've said that earlier?

Ultimately, if you want to be pure, in the absolute sense of being pure, you need to live life without committing any immoral flaws. In a video-game analogy, it's like completing a game without getting hit by the enemy.

It's harder than you think, no matter how good you are. Therefore, only a few people can actually be called pure. One of these people is not me. While I didn't do anything wrong, I did lie, I did curse others, and I was rude at times. However, I didn't know any better, as I did those mostly when I was a kid. Being called a Tom, or a pure being in Hebrew, is false. Thus, I am Tomasio.

That's what I've learned thus far from watching on Youtube the game of "Peret em Heru", or "For the Prisoners". Like in that game, once you make an impure decision in real life, there is no return. Unlike that game, you cannot load to an earlier save file. So, even if you're not pure in the extreme sense of the word, you can at least try to be as near-to-pure as you can.

Of course, morality is not entirely an objective feature. When rock n' roll became popular, some folk believed it is the path to hell, and when coffee was introduced to the Christian world, one of the Popes called it "the drink of the Devil".

Nonetheless, we can still avoid acts which are evil or harmful in nature. We shouldn't bully, because we could lead some people to suicide. We shouldn't harass, because it could severe the mental state of your victim. You shouldn't fight physically unless it is for self-defence, because it could lead to murder, arrest or severe injuries.

While no "dark mystic force" will necessarily punish us, as long as we have a moral compass, and we're not ungrateful bastards and A-holes, the pain of regret is something not all of us can endure for long.

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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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