So. I chose the Destroy ending because, frankly, it was the only one I could stomach. I built this thing to destroy the Reapers, and goddammit, that's what I did. Even fully aware that I was dooming EDI and the Geth as well. Control is fundamentally sound, but too unclear as to its consequences. As for Synthesis, which I had access to due to scanning lots of shit, it sounded like a pretty sweet deal at first, when the Starchild explained it to me. But as I paused the game and went to the kitchen to make a sandwich, I became increasingly disturbed by its implications, both literally and thematically, and baffled as to why Bioware would position Synthesis as the "best" ending.
Literally speaking, reasons for my discomfort should be obvious - I can't say I'm comfortable with fundamentally altering every living organism in the galaxy at their most basic level, without their consent. Nor was I reassured by the general vagueness of Starchild's whole proposition. Combine organic and synthetic DNA, you say, Starchild? What does that even mean? You can't just throw that out there on its own, as if it makes sense. How would the galaxy be changed by this decision? Does Starchild mean "merge" in the literal sense, as in two beings become one, Dragon Ball Z style? Does the Crucible literally combine my organic body with whatever Geth Trooper was lying around nearby? When you say "there will be peace", does that mean just between organics and synthetics, or does this eliminate the possibility of any war, for any reason?
I can write this stuff off as Bioware failing to see the trees for the forest, or however that goes. They wanted to convey whatever themes they had in mind with a high-concept Deus Ex choice at the end of the game, and didn't really bother with the specifics so long as their original goal was met. I can buy that. I guess the problem for me, then, is that Synthesis is even more problematic thematically than it is literally.
The meaning of Synthesis, as I see it, is that the only way to ensure lasting peace is to force homogeneity on a galactic scale. Frankly, I find this idea terrifying. The Starchild's claim is that synthetics and organics absolutely cannot coexist, so the only sure recourse is to make them the same. Similar arguments have been used throughout history to justify atrocities based on perceived differences. We're lucky he decides to only kill most of us. In addition to that, Synthesis requires Shepard to fundamentally alter every living being in the galaxy against their consent, and in so doing, negate the current cycle's greatest asset: its diversity.
Mass Effect has, from the outset, been about the unification of vastly disparate peoples for a common goal. In ME1, Shepard assembled a multi-species team to hunt down Saren, often against the advice of his superiors. ME2 is similar but that Shepard's crew is even more diverse - and somewhat amusingly, working for Cerberus, an avowed human supremacy group. ME3 extrapolates this idea to the entire galaxy, as Shepard rallies a coalition of species, many of them sworn enemies, to defeat the Reapers. This diversity has always been positioned as a boon. Even Javik the Prothean states that his cycle was wiped out because they were too homogenous, and once the Reapers figured them out, they were unable to adapt quickly enough to survive.
It seems bizarre, in light of the thematic direction of the games preceding it, the "best" ending of ME3 - the one that you have to jump through the most hoops to get - goes in the complete opposite direction.
For whatever it's worth, I don’t think Bioware intended to send this particular message; rather this was a result of hackneyed writing conveying a message they did not foresee. Still, the message is there, and in my opinion it's a pretty ugly one.
What do you guys think? How do you feel about the message Synthesis sends? Which of you chose that ending, and what were your reasons for doing so?
EDIT: Wait, synethesis? Ugh. For shame.