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June 14, 2005



You might find this interesting.

I think that there is something interesting here about discipline which we have lost here in the West.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see The Last Samurai recently, which is a film that moved me in some way. Here you had a whole society built around being warriors and suchlike and who were extremely disciplined. they knew how to fight, yes, but that was not their real aim: their aim was to defend the emperor and to do as he commanded.

Interestingly, with most martial arts I have come across, the emphasis is on defence. The arts are designed to empower somebody when under attack, and are not for beating up people on a drunken whim.

There was an element of this in the West, once, but that died with World War One. These notions of honour seem practically nonsensical to our "free(?)" thinking minds.

Yet it is these very notions, I think, which are the key. The problem with computer game violence is it lacks context. Violence is never "good" overtly, but it is controllable.

My point is that we can teach people to control these fascinations with violence, so that it does not encourage them to be senseless in it, but deeply thoughtful of it.

if that makes any sense at all...


Regarding the comment from Ash, Hero is a great film that subversively employs a violent movie genre to make an altogether different point.


I think there may be some mileage in thinking about how this has probably in one sense been the most "protected" generations to walk our streets (that is if they are allowed out).

When I was a young kid we'd disappear all day and make our own adventures. Now many kids are hardly let out of the sight of the supervising adult. Or the environment that they get to hang around in has been so sanitised that there is no possibility for excitement. Do violent computer games thus is someway allow us to simulate our need to be adventurous and heroic (I'm including both male and female in this).

I think this is in part why there has been such an increase in extreme sports - we need to be adventurous, we need to know we are frail and "one slip and your a goner".

I think ties into this is the whole issue of rites of passage – or something that we do (apart from getting drunk and falling over) that marks the passage from childhood ( being a teenager) to adulthood. The problem is many adults I meet are busy still trying to be teenagers, so there is a lack of good role models for the kids, there is no “virtuous community” for them to join!


on one level i think there is not a lot of difference between two hours spent playing a football game on the computer and two hours watching a football game. however, after seeing hundreds of live football games I can recall a great deal of what went on in each them and describe them in creative detail, but I can't remember what went on in a computer football game a day or two later. in a similar vein 4 hours competing on a golf course seems to test my patience and character far more than the same time spent playing a computer golf game.

those are examples of computer games being harmless but poor substitutes for real activities. i wouldn't damn them, in one says they are like watching a b-grade adaptation of a great novel.

but I do wonder about the correlates for the violent games we see today. I was in my early twenties when the first castle wofenstein and doom games came out, which lead the uber-violent game genre. what I found interesting is that as these games evolved, they required ever more sophisticated skill sets to master them. this demanded more time, usually alone, and less relationality.

to me it is not just the violence that is a problem, but the violence in solitude, especially as it relates to the social functions of those in key stages of relational development.

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