Monday, 5 March 2018

The Creed and the Sanctity of Consciousness

There is a scene in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag in which the pirate Charles Vane is trying to enlist the aid of Edward Thatch (Blackbeard) in his crusade against Governor Woodes Rogers.  Thatch declines preferring to retire from the life.  Later, Edward Kenway shares his thoughts on the matter saying, “I'm not of the same mind, mate. But I won't begrudge you the state of yours”.

It seems a throwaway line, but it made an impact on me.  In fact, I would put it among in my favourite lines from the series.  So why is this statement so important?  While researching my previous essay outlining the theory of the Zoroastrian origins of the Assassin, I stumbled upon a concept that I call the sanctity of consciousness and immediately remembered that line from Kenway.

The word sanctity means holy or “set apart”.  In other words, it is something special and worthy of unique consideration.  For example, a holy mountain is considered special by those who see it as significant among mountains.  To say that consciousness is holy is to recognise that human consciousness is something unique and special to be treated with consideration.

This is not to say that every point of view is valid, or right, or not bat-shit crazy.  A person may say things or behave in a manner that seem totally insane to us.  However, to them, it is perfectly reasonable. Their consciousness is just as rational to them as yours is to you.  Observing the sanctity of consciousness is to recognise that this is someone’s personal subjective universe, formed from a lifetime of thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and we have no access to that universe.

When Edward Kenway says to Blackbeard, “I'm not of the same mind, mate. But I won't begrudge you the state of yours”, Edward is recognising the sanctity of consciousness.  He is saying that even though our subjective universes do not align, I respect your right to agency.  To deny a person their agency is say to them, “You are an object to be exploited for my purposes.”

An object possesses three aspects: purpose, form, and function.  What it lacks is agency.  The purpose of a hammer is to hammer, and it has the form necessary to perform this function without any choice in the matter.  It hammers only when a user exploits it for its purpose.  When we objectify a person we wilfully choose to perceive them as a thing devoid of agency to be exploited for our purposes.

These two terms, objectification and exploitation, are used quite a bit in modern socio-political discourse.  The word exploitation has some dark connotations, but the word itself simply means “to use”.  I exploit objects everyday: chairs, table, and coffee cups.  In this context, the words object and exploit work hand-in-hand. Objects exists to be exploited.  When we objectify a person, we impose a purpose and function on them, thus denying their agency which we then replace with our own.

Given this revelation, it would be easy for the would-be Assassin to declare objectification to be a sin, but it is not as clear cut as that.  Objectification is a normal and natural part of being human.  The recognition of the sanctity of consciousness serves as more of a gentle reminder that every stranger on the street, every Facebook poster and commentator, and every famous person is a unique consciousness existing in their own subjective reality as the star of their film just as you exist and star in yours.

The Meta-Subjective

The Creed shows us the distinction between Objective Truth and the Subjective perception of that truth.  From here it is a small step to what I call the meta-subjective.  The meta-subjective recognizes that beyond the individual perception of Objective reality and the construction of an individual’s unique Subjective reality, there are literally billions of other Subjective realities.  Here is another way to compare these concepts.

From the Objective perspective, your existence is a meaningless spec amid the billions of years and light years that constitute reality.  From the Subjective view, you are the centre of everything. Nothing occurs in your existence where you are not involved directly as either actor or observer. You are the hero of the story that is your life, from birth to inevitable decay and death when your universe ends.  The Meta-subjective recognises the consciousness in others. Your special and unique Subjective reality is just one of about 7 billion such realities existing simultaneously within the context of one objective reality. You are nothing but an extra, or at best a side character, in someone else's story.

Jean Paul Sartre illustrated the meta-subjective in what he called “The Look”.  Imagine spying on two people when you suddenly notice someone is observing you.  In a moment you have moved from being an observer judging another to the one being observed and judged. Notice that Objective reality has not changed, the Universe is indifferent, however your Subjective reality has changed.  It was one way when you were the secret observer but became something else when you realised you were discovered. In becoming aware of another consciousness, you were reduced from a state where you were the centre of the universe to one where you are a subject in someone else’s universe. 

There is one more step in this thought experiment. Suppose the people that you were spying on suddenly become aware of your presence.  Now there are three separate subjective universes all focusing on you.  How does that feel?  Now, not only are you dethroned from your divine status as the centre of your universe, the affect is multiplied by three.  Now multiply these “Others” by ten, a hundred, a thousand or a billion-fold.  Then you realise the scope of your tiny universe in a sea of other subjective realities.

This realisation can easily lead to a form of Existential anxiety not covered by the common Existential angst or crisis.  You think you are special until someone in the shop makes you realise that to them you are just some random, annoying customer in their universe. To the number cruncher you are a statistic.  To the stranger you are some random, they/them, a thing – an object.  As with any object they encounter, you will be either positive, negative, or neutral according to their judgements.

A solitary person existing within his own consciousness enjoys absolute freedom.  Once another consciousness is introduced the dynamic changes.  In the Garden of Eden story, eating the forbidden fruit granted Adam and Eve consciousness and with that came self-consciousness.  They became aware of their nakedness through the awareness and judgement of the Other.

A person in this state of hyper-awareness of the Others becomes self-conscious to a degree where they cannot function.  The psyche copes with this through the natural process of objectifying others.  We perceive people and groups of people as things and not as unique Subjective universes competing with our own.

Objectification and Exploitation

Imagine that you are walking alone upon a paved road cutting through a vast park.  It is early morning and the sun it just making itself known but not yet fully manifested casting a blue hue over the scene.  Along the road empty benches punctuate the edges where the manicured grass touched the road.   Although your senses absorb the environment, your mind is other places.  Your focus shifts in seconds through time and space in the universe of your consciousness.  You think of an event from childhood; then a scene from the film you saw last night, then the face of someone you once loved, and over it all there is the incessant chattering gibbons in your head.  In literature this is call stream of consciousness, the eternal flow of the contents of your psycho-emotional make-up.  This is your world.  It is your unique universe.  It is this thing that you call you, and you are the master of this realm.

Suddenly, your thoughts are disturbed.  Ahead of you along the road on a bench sits an old man staring into the distance at some unknown thing.  At first you are startled by the unexpected presence of another, then you wonder what he sees.  Is he looking at something physical or at an idea in his universe over which he is the master.  A universe to which you have no access and can never know.  It is at this point that he notices you.  You are no longer the silent and unseen observer but the object of another’s gaze -- another’s judgement.

The old man on the bench is a thing to us.  He is “an old man”.  However, in his universe he is Bob Jones with a lifetime of experiences, loves, hopes, fears, and dreams.  Where we see an old man, from his perspective he is the same person looking through his eyes now who did so forty years ago. There is a part of him that cannot understand why the beautiful young women who once adored him now see him as invisible.  Inside he is twenty but outside he is sixty.  He looks at the person walking towards him along the road and wonders what this person thinks of him.  Would it disturb him to know that to us he is just, “an old man”?

We choose to perceive him as an object no different from the bench on which he sits.  Should the man suddenly stand-up, we can deny his agency still and choose to perceive this as part of the function of the object.   This can be extended to include a scenario where the man speaks directly to us.  He speaks to us because that is what these objects do sometimes and not because he is an equal other consciousness.

This is referred to as solipsism, the belief that ours is the only consciousness and other people are like zombies responding to stimuli thus creating the illusion of consciousness where none exists.  Of course, if pressed, the solipsistic person would admit that other people have a consciousness too, but in practice they live their lives as if they do not.  Solipsism is closely linked to narcissism meaning a person believes that everything is about them.  I once heard a story illustrating this where a woman became frantic because a bird was aggressive pecking at her window.  She feared that for some reason it was after her.  In truth, the bird had found a seed and was using the window to crack it open. The world exists without her.

I have just presented three approaches to dealing with what Sartre called “The Other”.  One in which we acknowledge another’s consciousness through projection, one where we objectify another, and one where we deny their consciousness altogether.  The natural state is to objectify; however, it is important to occasionally take a step back and remind yourself that others have their own unique consciousness too.

This is handy in situations where someone says something cruel or stupid.  It is very easy to write them off by identifying this behaviour as being the nature of the object in question, however when we enter our universe and think of the time we said something cruel or stupid and we reexperience the shame or embarrassment of that incident, then we can better make allowances for those behaviours in others.  Perhaps this person is thinking, “God, I can’t believe I just said that.  This person probably thinks that I’m an idiot.”  Through this process we can start to develop things like compassion, respect, forgiveness, and consideration.  All these are part of recognising the sanctity of consciousness. 

The negative is when we completely deny the consciousness of the Other.  We see this in narrative fiction where someone is abducted, and another character seeks to humanise the victim to the victimizer.  This is done in the hope that if the criminal will acknowledge the consciousness in the victim, then he may let the victim go free and unharmed.  We see this everyday on a smaller and less dramatic scale.  How often does a cruel comment get posted on Facebook or Twitter with no regard for the consciousness that will be hurt by this cruelty?  This is played for laughs on a TV show where celebrities are asked to read aloud mean tweets about them.  In a sense it humanises the celebrity as a real person with real feelings.

Despite objectification being a normal part of our perception and our experience of reality, we can choose to remind ourselves of the sanctity of consciousness or we can choose to deny it. Likewise, exploitation of objects is also normal. Objects exist to be used and this sometimes includes people we objectify.

Part of the human experience is that we choose to objectify ourselves in exchange for money to be exploited by others.  This is commonly referred to as “a job”.  The man who drives the city bus is a unique consciousness living in his own subjective universe within which he is the centre, the main character in his story, but to the passengers on the bus he is objectified as simply “the driver” to be exploited for the purpose of reaching their destination.  At any point the driver can exert his agency, pull the bus to the side of the road, get out, and walk away, however he chooses to play the role of the driver and be exploited by others for the sake of money that he will use to better his universe when he is not playing the driver.  We expect taxi drivers to behave like taxi drivers, salespeople to be salespeople, and waiters to be waiters. 

At any point the individuals playing these roles can exert their agency and behave like people rather than an object.  That is the difference between normal objects with no agency, like a hammer, and objectified people who ultimately have agency whether this is acknowledged or not.

In our mass media age there is a type of objectification that largely goes unnoticed.  As an example, let’s look at the difference between Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones.  Harrison Ford, a unique consciousness, surrendered his agency to become the object Harrison Ford the actor in exchange for money.  He was exploited by directors and photographers for the purpose of creating a character known as Indiana Jones.  While Harrison Ford has agency, Indiana Jones does not.  He is a fictional character like any other object with purpose, form, and function but without agency.  Indiana Jones does not choose what to say or how to act.  He cannot choose not to find the Ark of the Covenant in the way our bus driver can choose not to drive his bus.  This is decided for him by writers exploiting the character like they would any other object. 

Likewise, a model takes part in the creation of a photograph.  The model is a person and the photograph is an object, in the same way that Harrison Ford is not Indiana Jones.  One is an objectified person and the other is an object. Harrison Ford does not own the copyright to Indiana Jones in the same way that the copyright of the photograph belongs to the photographer and not the model. 

It may seem silly to have to point this out because it is so self-evident.  No one confuses a picture of a Pamela Anderson with the actual person Pamela Anderson, and yet in practice they might look at the picture and say, “That’s Pamela Anderson”.  So here is a question.  If someone is being naughty to a picture of Pamela Anderson, then who or what is being exploited?  Pamela Anderson or the picture of Pamela Anderson?   The answer is the object, the picture, and not the person.  This picture may be twenty years old and the model no longer looks like picture.  Perhaps the picture has been photoshopped in which case the picture is fictional, and the model is merely the starting point in its creation, like the model who posed for the Mona Lisa.

Yet it is common to hear that the media and advertising objectifies and exploits women.  The irony is that this statement is itself objectifying and exploitative to women.  The essential argument is that the creation of objects derived from certain women leads to the objectification and exploitation of all women.  Some women may not like the fact that other women choose to participate in the creation of an object, a sexy photograph, that other women might find intimidating.  However, this does not constitute exploitation beyond the exploitation inherent in having any other job. However, perceiving the world in terms of group identity denies individual agency, and therefore consciousness, which then leads to objectification and exploitation. 

This is the third type of objectification and exploitation.  The first is self-objectification; the job we chose.  The second is the creation of media objects, like fictional film characters or pictures.  The third is group objectification. 

It is natural for people to form groups and it is again natural for people to objectify and judge these groups.  The important points to consider are which groups are formed through agency and which are not.  I may choose an ideology to believe in or a political movement to be a part, however I did not choose my race, gender, social status at birth, or nationality. 

Suppose someone says that not enough women are enrolled in the sciences in university and they want to address this imbalance.  Okay, first look at how many women requested to be enrolled in the sciences, how many were denied, and why.  If it turns out that only a few women as compared with men chose the sciences, then the problem is that women were exercising their agency in a manner that did not suit someone else’s purposes.  At this point is becomes clear that individual women are being objectified as a universal idea of womanhood to be used for someone’s socio-political purpose, in other words, exploited.

There is a cognitive fallacy known as “No true Scotsman”.  It goes like this. 

Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge."
Person A: "Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

In this illustration, Person A is making a statement of fact which Person B refutes with an example. Person A then modifies the original statement in a way that will refute the example.  This also applies to group objectification when the illustration can be taken more literally.

So, someone might say that all Black Americans are Democrats.  Someone else might respond saying that there is an entire group of Black Republicans.  Yes, but they are Uncle Tom’s, in other words, “they are kissing up to the white man at the expense of their own people”.  This is like saying that they are not true African-Americans because they do not conform to my idea of reality or to my expectations.  This becomes another example of objectification based on group association and then exploiting the very group that they propose to be protecting.

There is no such thing as a group consciousness. There are individuals who choose to be part of a group, other groups we are born into, but either way humans are not a hive mind like the Borg in Star Trek.  Every person possesses their own special and unique consciousness.  Honouring the sanctity of consciousness means reminding ourselves of this fact particularly in this era of identity politics.

The sanctity of conscious is not a great discovery by any stretch.  People recognise it every day, but not by name.  I have always thought that being inconsiderate is the worse bad behaviour.  Not because it causes more harm than something like anger or envy, but because it is insidious.  An inconsiderate person does not know that they are inconsiderate because they do not consider the consciousness of others.   Acknowledging the sanctity of consciousness simply underlines the point.

Therefore, it is important to remember the words of Edward Kenway when dealing with the Subjective universes of The Others.  “I'm not of the same mind, mate. But I won't begrudge you the state of yours”.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Whose Assassin's Creed? -- Looking at AC Origins

Having completed the main story in the new Assassin’s Creed Origins, I felt obliged to post my general impressions.  Please bear in mind that this is not a review so much as a collection of thoughts -- -- complete with spoilers.

The latest instalment of the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise has hit market and the consensus has been a positive one. I confess that I approached this game with some reservations.  I have written my own theory regarding the origins of the Assassins based on both the real-life history of the Assassin’s Creed and clues in the game, both of which consistently point to an origin in ancient Persia, not Egypt.  If I was expecting disappointment, then I was not let down.  From a gameplay standpoint the game was a very good game, but from a narrative and philosophical perspective the it failed.

One of the first essays written for this blog page looked at the idea of ritualising philosophy.  The Assassin’s Creed video game franchise was able to take an existing philosophy and create ritual, history, mythology, and symbolism around it.  For example, the phrase, “Nothing is true, Everything is permitted” first entered the English language in the 1960’s, French in the 1930’s, and German in 1818 where it was referred to as “the secret doctrine” of the Assassins.  The video game series gave this phrase a proper name, the Assassin’s Creed.  It is extremely likely that any future proper academic study of this phrase will refer to it as the Assassin’s Creed.  That is quite a contribution for a video game series.

I believe that Assassin’s Creed Origins in an attempt to provide an origin story undermined all that the series has accomplished thus far in creating this Existentialist lore.  The most obvious sins are the break from canon, the origin of the symbol, the devaluation of the Creed, and even a misrepresentation of the Templars.

Storytelling has been a means of illustrating philosophy since the beginning of both disciplines, but video games are not a storyteller’s medium.  A video game is first and foremost a game.  As I understand the process of video game production, the game is pretty much complete before the writers start and the writing must accommodate the game play.  This is in stark contrast with traditional storytelling where there is no film or play without a script.  These writers begin with a blank page, whereas video game writers have to work within an obstacle course to tell their story.  This is even more difficult with historical fiction where the story has to weave through established historical events.

Another obstacle for the writer is canon.  Remember the children’s game where everyone in a circle tells part of a story?  Now imagine the same game except this time the players are writers each telling their piece of the greater story over many years.  On the one hand they want to tell their own story, but on the other they are bound by the parameters established by previous writers.  

Maintaining a consistent canon has become important to fans in our age of franchise storytelling.  The Star Trek, Star Wars, and Marvel comics (not cinema) have all rubbed fans the wrong way this past year by releasing materials that contradict either canon or an individual's idea of how fictional characters and worlds should be portrayed.

I for one do not envy these creators.  Their work is judged by fans with strong feeling for these stories.  The feelings fans have for fictional characters, and to degree fictional realities, stem from what are known as parasocial relationships, where the relationship is one sided.  The fan knows all about Han Solo, but Han Solo does not know the fan exists. Or, to make it a bit more grounded, the person writing Han Solo does not know the individual fan exists.  The stories unfold independent of the fan and he has no power as to where it will go.  Captain America can be written to say, “Hail Hydra” and fans are powerless to stop it because they do not own these franchises, the corporations do.  As a result, fans feel betrayed.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has a very poor track record when it comes to maintaining a consistent canon, and fans are often forced to do all sorts of mental gymnastics to keep the greater story consistent.  Assassin’s Creed Origins is no different.

Here’s an example of these gymnastics in action. In Assassin's Creed II there are seven statues of previous Assassins in the Sanctuary beneath Monteriggioni.  For those who pre-date the setting for Origins, the Assassin’s Creed Wiki has updated their status from Assassins to “proto-Assassins” to keep the canon consistent.  One might point out that these statues bear the Assassin symbol on their clothing thus making them true Assassins.  To fix this we now must call this artistic license on the part of the sculptor because according to the new story the symbol was not created until 44 BCE.  Fans should not have to work this hard to keep a story straight.

Before AC Origins, the oldest known Assassin in the canon (to my knowledge) was Darius, who killed King Xerxes I in 465 BCE in Persia.  According to the established lore, he was the first to use the hidden blade.  It has been speculated that this is the blade given to Aya by Cleopatra who in turn gives it to Bayek in AC Origins.  The path of the blade is easily speculated.  Alexander the Great found it in Persia and gave it to his general Ptolemy where it remained in his family until the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra, passed it on.  So, we can say that some effort was made to maintain canon.  Another connection to canon is the revelation that the assassin Amunet, depicted among the statues in Monteriggioni, is a pseudonym used by Aya.  Despite these attempts, I still believe that AC Origins should have been set in 6th century BCE Persia, perhaps with Darius as the protagonist, but this is not the story the game makers wanted to tell.  They wanted the Egyptian setting and the story was forced into the existing mould even if it broke the mould in the process.

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag was accused of being a pirate game masquerading as an Assassin’s Creed game.  I found this not to be the case and consider it to be one of the best in terms of mythology.  Origins however really is just an Egyptian setting posing as an Assassin’s Creed game.  We see no progress of the ideological underpinnings of the Assassins Brotherhood.  There is no great change of character or discovery of purpose like we see in Edward Kenway. The game is played as Bayek the medjay until the very end when Aya, his wife, basically lays out the Assassin’s Brotherhood in full. It has been pointed out by fans that it is Aya who acquires the hidden blade, creates the Assassin’s symbol, and establishes the brotherhood, and yet she is not the central protagonist.  Bayak essentially just follows her lead.

Regarding the Assassin’s symbol, I have argued that it is likely a negative space image of a flame rising from an oil lamp called a diwali.  The flame representing enlightenment and the pursuit of wisdom, a common theme among the Assassins throughout the series.  While researching this I came upon another theory suggesting that the symbol is a representation of the palate bone of an eagle.  I dismissed this as nonsense and never added it to my essay on the subject, but lo and behold this is now the canonical meaning.  

In AC Origins, Bayek wears an eagle skull around his neck.  When he rejects his position as medjay he throws it onto a beach. To this point in the story we are not told why he wears this skull.  It is certainly not shown to be the symbol of his position as medjay.  Then Aya, for some unknown reason, lifts the skull to find the Assassin’s symbol imprinted on the sand and adopts this imprint as the symbol for “the Hidden Ones”.  We the audience are being told that this is its origin.

When people unfamiliar with Assassin’s Creed see this “logo”, some assume it to be the Masonic compass. Other’s simply ask me what it means.  People expect symbols to have meaning.  I was comfortable to tell them it represented the flame of enlightenment rather than something so trivial as a video game logo.  With the first interpretation I was identifying myself as someone committed to the idea of enlightenment, but the second meaning trivialises it saying that I am a fan of a corporate product.  

According to the new official meaning the symbol does not mean enlightenment.  It is not symbolic of a flame or even an eagle.  It is the representation of an eagle’s skull.  Now it is simply a mark that refers to the Brotherhood of Assassins.  It is effectively now just a logo that means nothing.

There is another scene that bothered me where a member of the Order of Ancients says that Julius Caesar is the Father of Understanding.  Before Origins, the Templars would refer to the Father of Understanding as a sort of vague higher power.  This is in keeping with the conspiracy theory stating that the Masons are the modern Knights Templar.  To be a Mason, the only religious requirement is a belief in a higher power no matter how vague.  This being is sometimes referred to as the Supreme Architect, or creator.  Ultimately, the Father of Understanding is a god of order. It is right that the Templars refer to themselves as an order with the word’s double meaning as both a group of individuals and the concept of order itself, as opposition to the chaos bred by freedom.  Now Origins would have us believe that their “god” is Julius Caesar, a great general but not a great philosopher and hardly a father of understanding.

This trivialisation continues with the Creed itself.  For a series that calls itself Assassin’s Creed, it is amazing how inconsistent the series is regarding the Creed.  As mentioned in previous posts of mine, the series presents us with two versions and again the fans have to bend over backwards to make it consistent.  One version I call the Assassin’s Code for clarification.  A code is a standard of behaviour whereas a creed is a belief.  The Assassin’s Code is described in the three tenets: hide in plain sight, do not harm the innocent, and do not betray the brotherhood.  What I see as the Creed is, “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”

As with many games before, the characters in AC Origin refer to the Creed, but never actually speak it, so it is never clear whether they are referring to the Code or the Creed.  The games seem to indicate that the original Creed was the Code, but after the reformation of the Brotherhood by Altair it was changed to the Creed, but this is never confirmed in the games.  This leaves us wondering because some games say the one, some games say the other, and some say nothing at all. In AC Origins we have a scene with Bayek declaring his commitment to his new creed, but he never actually says what this new creed is.  In another scene, Bayek and Aya speak of protecting the people and remaining hidden, so it seems their new creed is the Assassin’s Code. This seems to be consistent with the canon, but we are never told what this creed is.

As for the Assassin’s Creed, this is mentioned in two side missions. In one, Bayek helps a stutterer who later has no stutter.  When Bayek asks about this he is told that the speaker only stutters when he is nervous.  Bayek responds by saying, “I suppose nothing is true”.  The other scene involves a storyteller who tells a highly embellished story which he claimed to be true.  When Bayek questions this he is told that when telling a story “everything is permitted”.  These two scenes felt like being struck in face by a contrived Easter egg that trivialised the philosophical importance of the Creed.

With what I have written thus far it may seem that I did not like the game.  I did like it, but only as video game.  I felt that not only did it fail to contribute any meaning to the lore, it completed disregarded or trivialised it.  It highlighted the divide between the Assassin’s Creed franchise and the philosophy that once supported it.  Ubisoft owns the rights to Assassin’s Creed and they are the ones to decide the story and the meanings.  

The human soul is essentially made of story.  Stories are the language of consciousness.  Our past and future are nothing more than stories we tell ourselves.  The same holds true for our hopes, dreams, and fears.  Therefore, we form an affinity for the stories that resonate with us, but sometimes that we forget that they are not our stories and we are left disappointed when the storytellers remind us of that fact.

The stories of King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Sherlock Holmes are part of our collective culture.  Sure, King Arthur and Robin Hood are from legends, but a character like Sherlock Holmes only entered the public domain in 2014.  If not for countless court cases, characters like Superman, Batman, Mickey Mouse, and Bugs Bunny would all be public domain characters by now.  Star Trek just turned 50 and traditionally copyrights expired after 35-70 years, but I doubt very much that the Enterprise crew will become public domain after 2037.

So, we find ourselves in an interesting position.  On the one hand we psychologically bond with these stories, but on the other, they are not our stories with which to bond.  It is kind of like renting your home instead of buying it.  You have an emotional attachment to the place, but ultimately it is not yours.  

Ubisoft is a games company and they are in the business of making entertaining video games.  If the trend means having the Assassins wear pink tutus they will do it.  It just so happens that at present they are aligning their stories to existent history and philosophy that forms a core belief system that transcends into the real world, and yet I feel Origins took a major step backward in that regard.  In other words, it was a great game but not a great story from the lore perspective.  

I was reminded that Assassin’s Creed may be owned by Ubisoft and as the owners and caretakers of that lore they decide its origins, however, before there was Assassin’s Creed, there was the Assassin’s Creed and that belongs to us all.