disappoint ment

ceding the object is..the founding act of subjectivity and the first free act. Every subsequent effort by authority to give the subject what it lacks will come lip short — or, more correctly, will go too far, because only nothing can fill the gap within the subject. For this reason, dissatisfaction and disappoint ment are correlative with freedom: when we experience the authority’s failure to give us what we want, at that moment we also experience our distante from the authority and our radical freedom as subjects.

One of the sadder parts of Bioshock 1, in my opinion, is Ryan’s line

      “Even in a book of lies sometimes you find truth. There is
       indeed a season for all things and now that I see you flesh-
       to-flesh and blood-to-blood I know I cannot raise my hand
       against you. But know this, you are my greatest disappoint-
       ment. Does your master hear me? Atlas! You can kill me,
       but you will never have my city. My strength is not in steel
       and fire, that is what the parasites will never understand. A
       season for all things! A time to live and a time to die, a time
       to build… and a time to destroy!“

He’s quoting the bible, specifically the old testament, when he says “there is a season for all things.” Here is a man about to reach the end of his life– who knows it– and he’s turning to scripture for solace. The Andrew Ryan of ten years ago would have disdained this man. That’s the extent to which Ryan has broken by the end of Rapture. He’s drawing justification from a religion he even now condemned.

“A season for all things,” and yet he cannot kill Jack. He can destroy the city, he can let his ideals fall to dust, but he “cannot raise his hand against you.”

This isn’t a villain. This is a father. He’s not angry at Jack, he’s disappointed. I could write a lot more about the religious parallels here, but I think that’s meant for another time. The point is, Andrew Ryan had made his peace with his own death. He had been hoping that Jack would be better, that Jack could save them both. If he was trying to go out on his own terms, it wasn’t by ordering Jack to kill him, it was through the total destruction of everything he’d ever created.

The old Andrew Ryan would have seen this man as a coward, a weakling. And had it not been for Jack, he no doubt would have fought a lot harder. But Jack compromised him. Just as his strength, Andrew Ryan’s crisis at the end of Bioshock was not in fire and steel– but in his intellect and will.