The world invests 3 billion hours per week playing internet games. The 2-minute video below suggests that the reason for spending so much time on games is that too many people are inadequately stressed in our daily lives. I.e., our daily lives have become so organized and “tame” that they’ve become meaningless, so we’re seeking more “action” in an imaginary world of hi-tech, internet games.
This thesis is a little hard to believe. Not enough stress? For myself, I seem to have plenty–thank you very much.
But if the thesis were true, it would imply that our societies may have become so safe, efficient and tame that they’re no longer able to provide a “life” for men and women that is truly compatible with human nature. If this implication were valid, it would suggest that much of the world may be secretly spoiling for a brawl–just to escape the overwhelming, inhuman boredom, repression and meaninglessness of everyday “existence” in our “economies”.
That’s a scary thought. Especially for politicians.
If it were true that the people of world were increasingly bored into playing games where they were not repressed, it might follow that those same people (conditioned to fight and struggle in an imaginary game world) might suddenly decide to take their urge to “compete” (and escape their socially-conditioned state of “repression”) out into the streets to smite a few evil giants–like corporations and government.
The current riots and potential revolutions in North Africa are allegedly motivated less by Muslims than by young men and women described as “over-educated” and “under-employed”. It seems to me that the descriptors “over-educated” and “under-employed” should be common to those “gamers” who are most dedicated to playing internet games on their computers.
If you’re over-educated and under-employed, you’ve got lots of time on your hands. Lots of anger. Lots of grudges. Lots of energy that, in the games, is no longer “repressed”.
What do you do with all that extra time and energy? Expend it on something “cheap” like internet games.
In the process, maybe you get hooked on your own adrenalin. Maybe the competition in the games creates an escape from repression that becomes so satisfying, so addictive, that the idea of engaging in a similar but real, unrepressed conflict in real life becomes irresistible.
Could it be that the current North African riots are, to some extent, being motivated by “gamers” who’ve finally become bored with even internet games? Have they decided to “take their game” out into the “streets”?
Might governments one day ban the internet not to prevent political communications, but to prevent internet games that might condition or inspire people to shake off their social repression and engage in revolution?
At first glance, that question seems absurd. But how many people who are currently “wearing a cape” during their imaginary internet games don’t also secretly dream of “wearing a cape” in their real lives? How many people who pretend to be a “superman” on the internet aren’t secretly eager to play a “real” superman in reality?
The truth is that internet games inspire us to compete, to engage in violence and war and live an unrepressed life. Should it be surprising for an taste of unbridled competition in imaginary conflicts to develop an appetite for unrepressed conflict in reality? And if our would-be supermen couldn’t find sufficient good-vs-evil conflicts in reality, could they be predisposed to seek out and even create such conflicts?
Internet games typically have “levels” of difficulty. What does a dedicated gamer do when he’s mastered the highest level of an internet game? Is the ultimately “highest” level of play off the internet and out on the streets?
Of course it is.
We live in interest times, no?