Profile picture
Rahul Ramchandani @Rahul_Ramc
, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
This is a great article on the NPC meme doing the rounds. There's a lot more substance here than most memes.

Courtesy @EvanPlatinum and @jacobitemag…
1/ “NPC” is an acronym for “Non-Player Character.”

As the name implies, NPCs are counterparts to the Player Characters (PCs), the protagonists controlled by most of the participants.

They exist to facilitate the narrative’s flow and give it a sense of immersion &verisimilitude.
2/ If PCs are human agents, albeit ones constricted by code, then NPCs are unthinking expressions of the code itself. Before the game even begins they are utterly predetermined. Their words and actions are not their own.
3/ To be called an NPC is to be called an automaton, superficially present yet critically absent. Moreover, it is to suggest someone is a vessel for received opinion, that they have been programmed by convention, as actual NPCs are programmed by the game designers.
4/ It is to say their thoughts and beliefs are accreted clichés absorbed through a passive, unconscious process of cultural osmosis, and not through rational deliberation or genuine seeking.
5/ The NPC meme is a response to something real, something that snarky liberals, and even leftists, increasingly fail to notice.

Aren't we all NPCs to some extent?
6/ Despite our apparent freedom, it wryly suggests, we are in fetters. It is on these grounds that the denizens of the online right find strange concordance, and even vindication, from what some would consider a most unlikely source: the critical theorists of the Frankfurt School
7/ The Frankfurt School explores how under the capitalist yoke we find ourselves in more subtle manacles.
8/ For example, consider this passage from Max Horkheimer’s Eclipse of Reason, a work that investigated the decay of rationality in industrial-capitalist culture:
9/ The majority principle has become the force to which all thought must cater.

What is the majority principle if not the “code” impressed upon and introjected by the masses?
10/ The effects of this domination do not end at an impoverished conceptual life.

Critical theory holds that it obliterates personality itself:
11/ In other words, NPCs just don’t understand. And what’s worse, any attempt to expose the hollow forms that structure our lives is itself met with suspicion – even critique is received, fair or not, as cliché.
12/ We Dialectic of Enlightenment. One of the text’s more profound theoretical insights is that the drudgery of work prefigures the drudgery of leisure (or what passes for it) and vice versa:
13/ To be entertained is to give consent. The superficiality of mass culture finds its reflection in the superficiality of social relations under the corporate gaze. “Honey, I’m home” is “welcome to Walmart.”
14/ What is the significance of this meme?

- is the freedom beyond the realm of necessity (where socially necessary work needs to be done) ?

- is the realm of freedom just an empty realm or full of possibilities unrealised?
15/ Perhaps this solves the riddle of the NPC meme. Beyond mere cynicism, beyond a bitter proclamation of estrangement, it expresses – however covertly, however unconsciously — that abiding desire for genuine freedom.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Rahul Ramchandani
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!