If you’ve never heard of a real-life non-playable character (or NPC), here is a video that explains it quite well:
The NPC meme is pretty hilarious at first. But it actually becomes ominous and disquieting when we read this passage from near the end of Ayn Rand’s 1943 novel The Fountainhead. In it, the villainous Ellsworth M. Toohey finally reveals himself to a hapless average named Peter Keating. He explains exactly how he breaks people down until they lose their sense of personal identity and get lost in a sea of mediocre homogeneity. See if Toohey’s words on pages 637-638 sound familiar after watching the video above:
Can you rule a thinking man? We don’t want any thinking men… The world of the future. The world I want. A world of obedience and of unity. A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought of the brain of his neighbor who’ll have no thought of his own but an attempt to guess the thought of the next neighbor who’ll have no thought—and so on, Peter, around the globe. Since all must agree with all. A world where no man will hold a desire for himself, but will direct all his efforts to satisfy the desires of his neighbor who’ll have no desires except to satisfy the desires of the next neighbor who’ll have no desires—around the globe, Peter. Since all must serve all. A world in which man will not work for so innocent an incentive as money, but for that headless monster—prestige. The approval of his fellows—their good opinion—the opinion of men who’ll be allowed to hold no opinion. An octopus, all tentacles and no brain. Judgment, Peter! Not judgment, but public polls. An average drawn upon zeroes—since no individuality will be permitted. A world with its motor cut off and a single heart, pumped by hand. My hand—and the hands of a few, a very few other men like me. Those who know what makes you tick—you great, wonderful average, you who have not risen in fury when we called you the average, the little, the common, you who’ve liked and accepted those names. You’ll sit enthroned and enshrined, you, the little people, the absolute ruler to make all past rulers squirm with envy, the absolute, the unlimited, God and Prophet and King combined. Vox populi. The average, the common, the general. Do you know the proper antonym for Ego? Bromide, Peter. The rule of the bromide. But even the trite has to be originated by someone at some time. We’ll do the originating. Vox dei. We’ll enjoy unlimited submission—from men who’ve learned nothing except to submit. We’ll call it ‘to serve.’ We’ll give out medals for service. You’ll fall over one another in a scramble to see who can submit better and more. There will be no other distinction to seek. No other form of personal achievement. (Emphasis added)
Eerie, isn’t it? I’ve talked about Ayn Rand’s works before, and they continue to offer useful insights into modern life. As you can see, she predicted the NPC meme perfectly 75 years ago. Mindless people who have failed to learn critical thinking and simply recite messages they have received from teachers, leaders, comedians, and news anchors are so ubiquitous they have become a meme.
This website is predicated on the idea of using one’s own judgment to consider new ideas and buck the mundane. I encourage everyone to think for themselves. I don’t mean to say anything political, but simply to request that we take a close look at anyone who tells us how we should think and ask what their motive is. I never intend to tell my readers how they should think about films. I’ll just continue to share my own fun ways of looking at them and invite people to look from an unconventional perspective.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
The video clip is the copyright of Black Pigeon Speaks.
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Not just the NPC meme, but the entire “doin’ it 4 the lulz” in online culture. Also fitting for the “cool kids” culture on the playground and elsewhere. Sadly, she was only projecting the essence of collectivism and its proponants into a fictonal character.
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