Posted on: May 4th 2012 by Metal Gear
Ah…the good ol’ domination. Beating your opponent to the point where even your very avatar cannot help but ridicule them in their sad pathetic state. Feels good doesn’t it? Well sometimes there’s a far deeper meaning behind that ridicule, a deep rooted reference, kind of like when you play records backwards in an attempt to listen to Satan. Sans the Satan, Valve has placed a rather interesting reference within one of the Medic’s sound cues: “I am ze Übermensch!”
As you may know, Übermensch (in English that’s loosely translated to Superman or Overlord) is a term coined by the late German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in his book Thus Spake Zarathustra. Zarathustra is a dude who holes up on top of a mountain for a few years, has an epiphany then goes out into the world in order to create a better mankind (he doesn’t succeed).
Nietzsche never really goes into much detail regarding what exactly an Übermensch is, but here’s a loose definition: A man above all predetermined sense of morality established by society. I guess the idea is that once you’re above all morals then you’re able to truly understand the meaning of… well everything. If you’re really interested, read up on Nietzsche’s bit about Good and Evil in his first essay.
“‘Originally’ – so they decree – ‘one approved unegoisitic actions and called them good from the point of view of those to whom they were done, that is to say, those to whom they were useful; later one forgot how this approval originated and, simply because unegoisitic actions were always habitially praised as good, one also felt them to be good – as if they were something good in themselves.'” – Nietzsche, Friedrich, ‘Good and Evil’, ‘Good and Bad’, Section 2, page 25
Both Zarathustra and the Medic are ideologically the same in the respect that both see man as something to be surpassed. A being that has yet to fully awaken to it’s true potential. The only difference is their execution. Zarathustra went out into the world to teach others to create Übermensch, the Medic does so in a far more direct manner through the use of his medigun and the ubercharge.
Through the medigun, all other classes become Gods, beings above and beyond death…for the next few seconds. Remember how Medic looked 3m30sec into his “Meet the” video as he stood atop a pile of his fallen enemies? He stood above all others, the sun peeking out through the clouds as his doves commence a flyby in recognition of their master’s victory.
That brings me to my next point: Doves. Zarathustra also had a “love” for them as well. Throughout the book he mentions doves when he goes on his often strange and lofty tirades that made me stop paying attention.
“MY CHILDREN ARE NIGH, MY CHILDREN”—, then he became quite mute. His heart, however, was loosed, and from his eyes there dropped down tears and fell upon his hands. And he took no further notice of anything, but sat there motionless, without repelling the animals further. Then flew the doves to and fro, and perched on his shoulder, and caressed his white hair, and did not tire of their tenderness and joyousness. The strong lion, however, licked always the tears that fell on Zarathustra’s hands, and roared and growled shyly. Thus did these animals do.”— Nietzsche, Friedrich, Thus spake Zarathustra, Page 477
The significance of doves to the Medic is fairly obvious as they provide companionship. Archimedes in particular (you know, that bird that can’t help but crawl inside chest cavities) embodies the Medic’s curiosity. Now, given these rather significant similarities one couldn’t help but think that Valve did this on purpose. So I sent an email to Mike Ambinder of Valve Software. Why Mike? He has a B.A. from Yale and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Illinois. My guess is that out of all the Valve staff he might know a thing or two about Friedrich Nietzsche. So what was his response?
It is very unlikely that it is simply a coincidence. :-)”
I had wanted to see from him, “YES! THE MEDIC IS ZARATHUSTRA!!!”…but…instead I got this short and somewhat cryptic answer. I mean yeah it does confirm that there’s a purposely drawn relation between the two characters…But…it’s such a brief reply. I want a definitive answer but with this there’s still some room for doubt. What do you think, is the medic Zarathustra? Leave your thoughts in the comments!