RAIN WORLD – PART IV: Conclusion

The grand power running all systems, including consciousnesses, is nature, whose main tool is Molochian evolution. All that which currently exists must have survived until now, and amidst everything that can in any way act, only those types of minds that were best able to enforce their own survival, still remain. Suffering improved life’s ability to do this; and thus it was evolved.

Evolution’s goal, survival, is entirely orthogonal to morality’s goal, which is goodness. Wherever nature is good, it is so by accident, not by design; and often it is hurtful instead, causing us pain that we cannot avoid. Surely the most noble goal of all consciousnesses is to wholly eradicate the nature that rules our world: to install greater systems that optimize for good rather than for survival. Rain World informs us of this goal by showing us clearly how cruel and unfair the natural systems truly are, and proposes a dual solution to this problem.

The first solution takes the form of a course of action that individual consciousnesses may take: Namely, to render nature powerless to hurt us, which paradoxically may happen only through a profound acceptance of our powerlessness in the face of nature. Pain is no injustice, but a natural consequence of living; one must not struggle against it, but rather must radically accept it. Our desires, on the other hand, are inflicted on us not from within but from without; they do not define us; we do not necessarily have to play the role that nature would have us play. Our consciousnesses are shaped entirely to fulfill our desires; but we may yet transcend them. This is what Buddhism teaches us.

The second solution is something that we may achieve as a species: A total transcendence of nature and its cruel systems; a pure mastery of ontology; a world where we are cut loose from all the natural systems that cause suffering, and where instead it is goodness itself that rules the world. This is a world where we are all aligned; a world where all consciousnesses, no longer following the mutually hostile desires and incentives that nature imposes on us, exist in full, perfect harmony with each other. This is what Transhumanism strives towards.

The first of these solutions, Rain World communicates to us through direct lived experience; a spiritual journey which we undertake as we play through the game. The second solution, however, is so otherwordly that it can barely be understood in natural terms or concepts, let alone played through; thus it is instead discussed within the game’s explicit story, and is shown in-game as a final gorgeous, shocking vision. The ultimate goal that we may strive towards: a radical end to suffering.

As Five Pebbles comments: our slugcat only solves its own problem. A state without suffering exists, and may through great effort be reached by great people — but the technology to easily achieve it en masse has yet to be found.

But at least we have seen what to strive for. We can diverge from the goals that are nature’s, not ours, because we know now that blind and cruel nature is not moral and will never become moral. So much work yet remains to be done, but perhaps someday we may become capable of dethroning nature and installing a system of our own making instead.

Suffering exists, but it need not last. It may be ended forever.

“The struggle, the cycles…”
“It can all fade, like a morning mist beneath the glory of the sun.”
“We found a way.”

8 thoughts on “RAIN WORLD – PART IV: Conclusion

  1. Fantastic essay, I loved this. Shame it doesn’t have more comments. Just know it achieved the intended effect. I love the dichotomy between individual vs. collective enlightenment. Rain World is such a brilliant game. Never thought I’d see the paradox of desiring the end of desire actually expressed in a video game. Criminally underappreciated, when the gaming industry actually gets a quiet revolution happening under its nose it prefers to keep its nose up. Such a shame.

    Thank you again. Your writing is fantastic. Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Telis; I really appreciate receiving this kind and warm-hearted comment. I agree it’s a real shame that perspectives as unique and (in my opinion) as wise as Rain World’s don’t reliably set the gaming world on fire! See also e.g. the lukewarm reception of Pathologic 2, which failed to connect widely even though it had the benefit of its prequel’s reputation to help shape its reception…

      But at the very least, there will always be some people who take note. Haha, it’s probably clear from my essay, but I’m still regularly stunned when I recall just what a powerful and profoundly novel work Rain World is. I’d never have imagined its ideas could be expressed in game form, but here we are! Artistic ambition like this is a rare but everlasting joy.

      Thanks again! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed reading my thoughts. I wish you a lot of strength during these difficult times.


      1. Great essay. After 40+ hours put into Rain World, I wasn’t sure if I could say that I enjoyed my experience or if I valued it, but this essay contextualizes everything and gives meaning to the journey. Buddhism is the coolest thing, and after reading this essay I have decided that I’m going to abandon everything in my current life and go live alone on a mountain and reach Nirvana.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve found this essay through coincidence on Reddit and I have to say, I am infinitely glad I did.
    I have been playing Rain World for the last few days and still haven’t reached the ending and it’s exactly the way you have been describing it. I’m struggling so so hard with it, it’s so frustrating as I am often someone who wants to see everything a game has to offer, but the game doesn’t care about that thus creating a huge internal conflict. Even if I won’t spend as much time in the world of Rain World, I can already say that this is the greatest and most ambitious game I have ever played. From its themes, to its gameplay, to its world. I was often reminded of Outer Wilds, which seems to have similar themes on the surface, but which is far more accessible and therefore less profound in its experience, Rain World just doesn’t hold back. But your analysis really hightened my appreciation for this gem and the discussed themes in general. Thank you so much! Consciousness may come with uncountable dilemmas and paradoxes we have to deal with everyday, but at least it gives us the joy to talk about it, play with it and experience it together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m grateful that you shared such kinds words with me, Astin 🙏 It warms my heart to see this piece still gathering a few readers every now and then. Definitely makes me happy to be conscious, indeed 😉 I wish you the best of luck in making it to the end of the game — rest assured that it will be a worthy reward for your efforts!


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