~ There is a relatively small cutscene in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that sticks with me…
Prepping for a big fight in the next room against a small army, veteran soldier-spy Solid Snake offers to share ammunition with Raiden, the rookie. When Raiden asks if he has enough himself for such generosity, Snake just points to his head and declares — “Absolutely. Infinite ammo.”
Snake’s metaphorical declaration to his partner signifies him as the consummate action man. An agent of guile in the heat of conflict. ‘My mind has infinite ammo’, or infinite ideas. Snake, as we understand it playing through the Metal Gear games, always has an idea on what to do next, on how to win absolutely, with or without the advantage of weaponry. He carries novel strategies to employ in any situation, with or without ammo. The creative and limitlessly resourceful special operator, Snake is better without bullets. If there is anything the Metal Gear games have taught you up to this point, as the thinking man’s tactical espionage experience, it is this.
Of course, as the truest hero of the Metal Gear Solid saga (sorry Raiden), there is also a degree of mythic unreality sown into Solid Snake’s course. He always has a way out — deus ex machina-style — because it is through his eyes and agency that we experience the story. His infinite ideas come as necessary to service and continue the narrative. Alternatively, this head-pointing maneuver from Snake can be interpreted as a self-aware meta-reference back to the original Metal Gear Solid game on the Playstation 1 — wherein there is a secret bandana you can find and wear while playing as Solid Snake, which literally gives him infinite ammo with all of his guns… Might Snake just be telling Raiden here in MGS2 that he’s wearing that old bandana that unlocks the cheat so that he doesn’t have to worry about running out of bullets anymore? Considering the type of game MGS2 is, this interpretation is not only plausible, it seems more than likely.
Nevertheless, these words metaphorically positing our mind as an infinite source of ammunition intrigues me.
‘Infinite’ anything humbles us into an abject kind of unreality. Even the universe is not truly infinite, for it is known to be expanding. Certainly, nothing relating to Man — decidedly, wretchedly mortal — is close to infinity.
Not infinite in fact, but in potential then? Human beings cannot live forever. But they can imagine what such a life might be like. And we do. We cannot do everything that we wish to in this short life, but we can harbor such desires. Adaptable to the multiplicity of potential circumstances in life, Man used his conscious and unconscious mind to theorize and strategize his coming courses of action throughout evolutionary history. Philosopher, and infinitely sad boy, Søren Kierkegaard depicts Mankind as uniquely positioned as a ‘synthesis of the infinite and the finite’:
“A human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity.”
On the instinct toward survival, we are resourceful to the point of madness. Willing to go to practically any lengths to persist in this life, the action hero and the imprisoned scoundrel both carry infinity inside of them. In their mind, if not in their bodies and decisions, Men are bound only by the confines of their imagination, walled only temporarily by experience, to be overcome in dreams, ascended past out of necessary adaptation…
Inspiring and terrifying, a swirling infinity houses itself inside us all, individually and collectively. Within, we hold infinite seeds for an infinite forest. Infinite criticism and cynicism and potential cruelty; infinite kindness and benevolence and goodwill. Infinite opportunities. Infinite possibilities for success or failure. Infinite options to try. Infinite hope/infinite despair. A potential infinity for anything and everything. We need only pause and consider this fact for the revelations upon our totality to settle in and add to that infinity yet…
While our bodies have finite years within them, our mind has infinite ammo. The writer and the painter come to realize this within the working of their chaotic crafts. But so too can anyone, out of their free pursuit or from the presses of necessity.
Whether we realize it or not, there is something special about our variability. It is because of his consciousness that Man is an endless repository in thought and action, turtles all the way down. Might it be that this inner infinity is borne because of our impermanence?
Most important to remember in all this infinite musing — we have infinite things to share. Ammo, ideas, love, all myriad. ~