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

Updated: Mar 10

A city at night.


Introduction


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 an inspiration of a concept I call "Entako"—a simulation-applied childhood vision of a planet-wide, metropolitan dictatorship, inspired by certain sci-fi media. Within the famous game "Cities: Skylines" I experimented with its application.


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



A Dystopian Paradise Built on Sacrifice and Apathy


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. Regardless of these deaths, new citizens came to make a living for themselves by the hundreds each day.


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


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 turn from lush green to a pinky-ish red. Abandoned skyscrapers are being demolished for more alleys to be created for more buildings while there is much space to be used in the suburbs.


Reflections of an E-Dictator


Truly, Entako is a dystopia where no one cares enough to consider it as a dystopia. Instead they voluntarily choose to see it as the exact opposite, with little resistance, nor 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.


I often ask myself, why even bother succumbing to this herd mentality in the first place, when this mentality costs me more? I'm talking about real life, of course.



This raises the question: why should one choose a decision that goes against their own benefit? Is it because others make it as well?


There is no force keeping you in or out of the corrupting force of Entako, and yet many went in by desire. That's 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? I do not regret abandoning the metropolitian area when I had the chance.


My experience of building Entako was bittersweet. By doing so, I entailed the deaths of plenty. It wasn't 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 bothered to build. The larger your authority is, the more weight is at stake to be lost.


Living with Power and the Burden of Choice


There is something quite frightening at being such a big authority, because your every move can lead to far greater consequences. 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, when your power grows to such scales. 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. Thus, when electing, elect for the greater good. It can save lives, including your own. However, lives may be taken anyways, intentionally or otherwise. That is my criticism to my own militaristic point of view.


When Virtual City Planning Gets Existential


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 you can fail countless times in your career. That fault is on your conscience, even if most will not care, and continue moving in to your area of governance. Your conscience can be tained even if you yourself don't care, and especially if you refuse to care.


I am aware that it might sound a bit eccentric to care about the lives of fictional people, who are no more than ant-sized pixels. However, consider this an analogy to real-life situations, where one has so much power, 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, for morality, you shoud be able to have enough strength to apologize for misdeeds, even if forgiving you will be difficult.


As the piles of your choices gather up, it will become more and more difficult to ignore the suffering that you have caused, by the mere fact that you have a large-scale level of power. The irony of it all is not even the United States, the world's most powerful country in February 2024, has reached a type 1 power scale. And yet, it is capable of so much.


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. They will try limiting your power, should you refuse to do it yourself. Power of such collective scale, such as on a city, deserves to be treated not hedonistically but responsibly. Otherwise, many will suffer. And with opposition at potential, you, the power holder, can also become a victim.


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, because of apathy. After all, not caring is easier than the dedication of thought, emotion, and concern. Apathy is only a strength when it reinforces endurance. It isn't a strength when it breeds the opposition of those who want to bring you down for your misdeeds.


When your apathy can build up an opposition stronger than your own power, your apathy becomes the enemy within your mentality. Satisfy the wants and needs of others, and they will not be likely to oppose you, especially when they are not as oblivious as a preprogrammed pixel unit.

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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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