rant 3: remembrance


Well-known member
Junior Administrator
Oct 25, 2020
rant 3: remembrance
By: Guess and Check, Editor-in-Chief

Soooo recently I just watched an anime titled “Frieren: Beyond Journey's End”. Honestly, even if you don’t like anime, I’d recommend watching it. Though as a note, I’ll probably reference some broader points of the anime a bit, albeit I will avoid spoiling details. But nonetheless, keep that in mind in case you don’t like any kind of spoiler before you watch something. You’ve been warned.

In any case, Frieren is basically about an adventure a legendary elf mage, Frieren, is undertaking approximately 80 years after she and a band of heroes slew the Demon King. The thing that’s so cool about the show is that it pays a lot of attention in juxtaposing her journey in slaying the Demon King with her present adventure, and you’re able to see how it changed her as a person even 80 years later.

One important theme that’s kinda blunt and one that you’re hit on the head at least once every two episodes is the idea of being remembered. And it’s an interesting thought because despite being such a strong desire in people that it’s a cliche motive for many heroes, you don’t often see it as a focus of a show. But it is in Frieren, a lot. It’s a show about remembering ones we’ve lost or even ones we’ve never known - ones who we’ve only ever known as legends in the first place.

Something that the anime always ties into that remembrance is that the people who often seek it the most often want to change the world. To change the world, it seems, is often correlated (though not always) with wanting to be remembered. To be remembered, you’ll have to change something substantial in whatever community you’re trying to be remembered by. To change something substantial often means people will rely on your changes and/or speak of them - i.e. remember them, and you - beyond your time in the community. And I guess the simultaneous urge to make a change and be remembered through that change is a primitive thing about humanity - our earliest paintings are dyes on cave walls, afterall. And one could argue the tombs of many rulers serve as a desperate plea for people to not forget them after the first honeymoon decade or two when reverence for them hasn’t faded yet.

I think to have an impact, and from that (or if you flip it, coming from) being remembered is a very very strong urge. I also think that interestingly, it may not necessarily show itself as an urge to cause change or be famous, but also includes people who create things. Because often (though surely not always, but often), people who create things want to share their creations with others. To have others enjoy and, for some, even be inspired - to have an impact on others. Maybe so for having a child, even.

All this is to say, humans have a wish to leave a legacy of some kind on others, small or big, - and implicitly to be remembered in some way, even if they deny it - probably because that’s just who we are as a species.

So I guess it’s interesting to see that for something so nominally inconsequential as a NationStates game, you’ll often see that same desire expressed throughout the game in some way. In political campaigns hoping to lead some lasting change in a region. In people hoping to be commended/condemned by the Security Council, because implicitly it means they’ve done so much that people actually care about what they’ve done playing this game. In people making regions, hoping to create community spaces both they themselves and others will enjoy - and hopefully cherish long after those communities are gone. Hell, you even see it in recruitment telegrams like ours - smaller communities using their diminutive size to their advantage, assuring you that you’ll have more of a voice - an impact - than in the much larger, faster, crowded out Game-Created Regions.

Watching Frieren reminded me of this facet of human life. It also reminded me of me, obviously, as I think it would anyone. I, too, want to leave something of a legacy on this game. Which, yes, is a tad bit sad since it’s a niche 2003 internet browser game, but nonetheless it’s one I’ve spent many hours on, almost daily in many stretches, for six+ years at this point. I’ve also spent what’s probably accumulated to many hours ego-searching myself in Discords, looking at statements when I was awarded medals in this game. Wondering if I’ve changed things for the better in the NS communities I’m in. If I’ve changed people, at least as much as you can on an internet game. I’ve even had some thoughts recently about how different things would be in my NS communities if I hadn’t joined. It’s an interesting thought experiment, even if ultimately futile.

But nonetheless, it is also a reason I’ve spent so long tryna do stuff for you guys, even if it’s just small, inconsistent things like “Weekly” Executive Updates once a month :)p). Hell, it’s even why I wrote my first Everyday News rant a year and then some, ago. While doing these things themselves isn’t necessarily the funnest thing, it is fun to see everyone enjoying it quite a bit - and even asking for it back (though I promise that is not why SoTW stopped, xD). It’s nice to know that the stuff I’m doing in an internet game is making people happy in some way, and that perhaps in 30 years it’d have enough of an impact for them to spare a thought every year or so to remember that little white-eagle green flagged internet community they used to romp around in for an hour or so daily as a school or university kid. In a way, it’s me being remembered. Even if not directly.

Now, I also have been starting to wonder if my time in this game is starting to draw to a close. That’s kinda melodramatic to say for a browser game, but I have no life so… In any case, it still holds true. I still have the urge to do things, to change things to make them better… only now my changes themselves are no longer really “changes” but often just norms. I’m not really changing much anymore in the areas I’m currently in, and unlike the past I don’t think I feel much of a urge to change my focus in NS anymore. Something in me feels done, and while I don’t think I’m over yet (writing a 2 page rant in NS isn’t a sign of quitting :y), I wouldn’t be surprised if the next year or two is my last on NS. Which is fine, I guess. Most people don’t play nearly as long as I do, though most notable players will. But everyone has their time, and I’ve never been exceptional in most things.

The only thing I often wonder though is what I mentioned earlier - what impact have I had? On the East Pacific? On the Union? (I’d include Refugia but tbh I dont think i’ve done much there anyways :Y) Of all the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met in this game? Did I change them for the better as characters in this game? As people behind the screen? If I left for 10 years and came back, would anyone remember me? The answer I think to all those questions in general is yes, albeit probably in small ways.

But, I think that’s the interesting thing. The end of it is that we’re all going to be forgotten at some time, with most of us never even being notable in our lives - whether in this game or the real world (I certainly will never be so noted). But the butterfly effect truly is a thing - for example, I’ve had two people - highly notable in their respective NS communities - tell me straight up they would’ve left their communities early on if not for me. Who knows what would’ve happened then? But even more than the butterfly effect, I also think it’s impossible for us to know our real, total impact on the world. Sure, you’ll be able to learn when specific people tell you what some of your impact on them was. But truly, will we ever know? Hell, it’s possible some early proto-human prevented a humanity-ending slip-up and made the difference between you reading this and some elephant sentient species reading this instead.

Point is, as the message I want to attach in this rant of a 20 year old dude still finding his way, is that we’ll never truly know our impact on others, and conversely, how much we matter to others. It can be hard to see how people feel about us and our actions unless they tell us, and people are really horrible at sharing deep things. But everytime we chat and talk with someone, even just that, I firmly believe we leave a little mark on them. And for many people in your life - even if it’s just your parents or your best friend - you truly matter in some way. You will never know how much of an impact your life has had on the people around you. Maybe you are the reason why someone is on a better path today, or why someone fell in love with the person they did, or why they finally smiled on a day they were feeling sad. It’s hard to tell our own values, so when you’re feeling down on yourself - do your best to remember those you matter to. All of us are bound to be forgotten, but the small impacts we’ve made will add up and ripple through time. We will not be remembered by name or face, but by the effects our actions have down the line, no matter big or small. That’s beautiful, and perhaps that’s enough to be remembered by.
  • Like
Reactions: Kade