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The Philosophy of "Entako" -- Insights From a Dictator of a Fictional City

The following picture you see above is not a picture of a real city, even if it has gone through a filter. This is in fact a screenshot of "Entako"—a simulation-applied childhood vision of mine, of a planet-wide, metropolitan dictatorship, inspired by certain sci-fi media, within the famous game "Cities: Skylines", where you get to build your own city.

In this article, I will express a certain feeling I've been experiencing while building Entako; a feeling I don't yet know how to name: the feeling of developing a powerhouse on the sacrifice of countless lives—the feeling of seeing human life as but a unit of resource—of but a brick in a great Chinese wall.

Many have sacrificed their lives while living and serving the City State of Entako. Many died by disease, crime, and other reasons treated as minor by everyone—because regardless of these deaths, new citizens came to make a living for themselves by the hundreds each in-game day.

I've seen the countless notifications of people dying in their apartments, and their corpses are awaiting transportation to graveyards and crematoriums, sometimes for days or months, because navigating Entako is no joke; so many roads, and yet so little space to move and breathe in, as even though there are dozens of hospitals, it is yet difficult to reach the average person in need of medical emergency.

The irony in all of this is that no one in Entako is too sad while witnessing all the deaths, the noise and air pollution, large sections of the soil turning from lush green to a pinky-ish red, and abandoned skyscrapers being demolished for more alleys to be created for more buildings while there is much space to be used in the suburbs. Truly, Entako is a dystopia where no one cares enough to consider it as a dystopia, and instead they voluntarily choose to see it as the exact opposite, with little resistance, little to no desire to rebel.

Building Entako was a strange experience for me because I am not really used to playing large-scale management games like this one. It was strange because I know that if I was a citizen of that city, I would not hesitate to go away where I can live more peacefully, healthily, and safely. I mean, anyone with a desire for a better (and cheaper) quality of life would choose another city, right? And still, after each in-game day, hundreds of new residents move in, as if they choose to become another sacrifice for the Entakoan industrial machine, literally.

This raises the question: why should one choose a decision that goes against their own benefit? There is no force keeping you in or out of the corrupting force of Entako, and yet many went in by desire, even though the negative effects of the metropolitan life are mortally intensified here. Maybe it is the skyscrapers, or the countless businesses making it their HQ, the 3-4 airports, and so on.

But still—my experience of building Entako was bittersweet, because by doing so, I entail the deaths of plenty, not because I am a genocidal dictator, but because their virtual lives couldn't be saved no matter how many hospitals, clinics, parks, cemeteries, and so on I will build. The larger your authority is, the more weight is at stake to be lost.

There is something quite frightening at being such a big authority, because your every move can lead to far greater consequences, and it's not like you can always prevent them from happening once they are executed. Remember Trump's incitement that almost made a political revolution in the capitol; an incitement so big that led Twitter to remove his account?

That's exactly what I'm talking about. Even if you are a decent driver, it's enough to make one mistake on the road that will lead to inevitable, permanent impact to all involved. And since things are not always under your control, your decisions can lead to results you did not even expect to happen, like the deaths of many in my fictional Entako.

It feels strange to manage a metropolis because it's not just an industrial and financial powerhouse; it's a place where people go by will and die, not always by elder age. It is you who is responsible, for the very fact that you could've somehow saved their lives, if you built enough roads and enough facilities, but even though you tried, you failed, and that fault is on your conscience, even if most will not care, and continue moving in to your area of governance.

I am aware that it might sound a bit eccentric to care about the lives of fictional people, who are no more than pixels that are ant-sized. However, consider this an analogy to real-life situations, where one has so much power (not necessarily for the worst), that they have a significant effect on the lives and deaths of some, if not many.

The only way to determine whether or not you care is to consider the strength of your conscience and your ability to regret your actions. If you have the strength to be apathetic by will, it will be much easier to ignore the consequences of your choices, and to live under the sun without guilt. However, as the piles of your choices gather up, it will become more and more difficult to ignore the suffering that you have caused. Eventually, you may find yourself facing resistance from those who are too "weak" to not care, such as an opposition party, a group of protesters, an armed militia, or a court of justice.

In all, I think it can be all described like this: not caring, even if it is relieving, may be more dangerous than we may think. There are so many issues in life that don't get the attention they deserve, and they will only get worse; get worse because not caring is easier than the dedication of thought, emotion, and worrying.

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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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