They say reality is stranger than fiction. Well in this case, I think I can agree…
As I previously mentioned, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Penang, Malaysia in order to attend and participate in one of my best friend’s wedding. His wife, originally from Malaysia, was interested in doing a traditional Indian wedding for her family; and as such, I actually had a chance to watch a Hindu ceremony front and center with her family.
It was something I never would’ve thought that I would see. Not to say that I never saw myself traveling. It’s just that I didn’t consider Malaysia before knowing of my friend and his wife. But while over there getting a chance to learn about Indian traditions and travel the country, I had an interesting thought seeing the Hindu temples and architecture…
Where does our fiction begin and our reality end?
Think about it. Religion is a vastly personal attachment to a core set of principles and beliefs that guide you towards a path of hopefully better development. Across the board, regardless of which one you ascribe to, this is usually the case; and sometimes, depending on which, it can come with different characteristics such as important central figures that may defy normal circumstances. Beings that can do the impossible and serve a greater purpose in their overall mythology and pantheon; and even though I encountered a mixture of Chinese, Islamic, and Hindu images overseas, I’m not singling one particular system of belief out over the others.
Think about the crossover with some of contemporary society’s favorite stories. In Star Wars, the Jedi and Sith hold a connection with a mysterious power that is a fundamental building block of the galaxy. Maybe even the universe. It is the Force. Depending on the story, there are theories on whether or not it is sentient, aware of how it is being wielded by those who have the gift for it.
Role-playing games for decades now have invoked extensive histories detailing powerful beings that interconnect with the lives of the people who worship them, harness their power, or even live blissfully unaware. Situations like these remind me of Squall from Final Fantasy 8 and him summoning Shiva to do battle with him.
Sprawling book series such as The Lord of the Rings which featured mortal characters caught between the balance of good and evil with a pivotal purpose to play, even if they were horrible outclassed. Mass Effect and The Elder Scrolls series both provided examples of how no one person was better than the sum of everyone they came across who aided in their quest. Neither titular character would be able to survive their adventures without the myriad of good fortune and counsel they receive along the way.
So what does any of this mean? No, I’m not trying to trivialize one’s religion with popular video games and literature. Instead, after coming back to America, I’m even more open to the possibilities of just how vast the world is as well as the number of cultures and ideas and viewpoints depending on the person. Even more so, I see how so many of these themes have bled into the things we read, the games we play, and the media we consume.
You never know where the inspiration will come from.