Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sadly, This Is A Great Deal More Than Just Better Graphics

What we have here is the unintended laying out of a different life path. We used to say career path in the old days, which hardly cuts it any more, but that's precisely the point. A life path is something that is a great deal more comprehensive in its ability to allow you to get into, and deeply involved in something meaningful. People who have taken on "simplicity" and "DIY" as a lifestyle know this. And people who get deeply into gaming know it as well, different though these two lifestyles are.

What does not allow one to get into, and deeply involved in, these days, however, is most of us do for work in this country. There are exceptions of course, first responders, medical people in general, some of the sciences at least, the arts, etc. For the most part, though, work is an abstraction of living; interacting with others, and performing tasks, that produce little of real importance to the individual, moment to moment, day after work day; as the widget gets made, or the thing gets delivered, or the machine gets fixed, or a space gets cleaned up, or somebody is helped with a purchase. You do this time out from your personal life so that counters will be given to you, so that you can, supposedly, have a personal life (or whatever it is one can get these days via the limited process of purchasing, and consuming things); where somehow you can then, in whatever spare time left you, you can become deeply involved in something more personally rewarding.

The trouble with gaming, however, no matter how much fun it is (or high fidelity now that VR is coming into the mainstream), and how much more, relatively speaking, involving it is than "real life" anymore, is that it is obviously so totally disengaged in real, face to face, interaction with others (and I mean interaction that is more than the commercialized, working example we have now as a part of being employed), as well as being so totally not involved with the things going on in the community that people really do need to be involved in. Because choices are being made every day in every community, and in the nation as a whole, that you are a fool of the first order, if you do not have some of your own involvement in as well.

And in case you haven't noticed, we are splintering, and getting more insular precisely because we do not interact generally as co-dependant members of a community; constantly working out how to talk to each other constructively so that cooperation can have a chance to work at all, let alone to achieve community consensus. A skill that takes practice, and constant refinement. And whether you are locked away in some business do a specific task, day after day, or locked into your favorite gaming chair, tensely focused with your clan mates, or faction mates, or whatever, you are not getting this much needed practice. and more's the pity.

Don't get me wrong here. I personally love gaming. I do a lot of simulation stuff, turn based, and real time strategy gaming. It can be very relaxing; especially when you spend as much time as I do trying to troll about for what's going on in the infosphere. Doing gaming to the exclusion of everything else, though, is another matter altogether. And deep down most of you know this. But instead of ask the obvious "what's wrong with this picture" question, you just shrug your shoulders and think that it's either "not my problem," or "there's just nothing I can do about it."

Well, there is something you can do about it. You can start by understanding that this way of living cannot continue indefinitely. And you can then make the effort, in all of the places you do your online interactions, to get the need for an alternative to Capitalism into general public debate. It is out of date. And there is an alternative. We just need to start talking about all of this now.


In some ways, the increase in video game time for men makes sense: Median wages for men have been stagnant for decades. Over the same period, the quality of video games has grown significantly.