Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When Willful Suspension Becomes Psychotic Self Confidence

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.04/genX.html

I hear it everywhere.  Whether they have just hiked up a mountain in Skyrim and slain a dragon or taken down a whole squad of S.A.S. in Medal of Honour, young people who play these games retell their actions as though they actually did them.

I can recall us doing the same thing with Dungeons & Dragons back in the day.  There is something about interactive gaming that puts people so deeply into their game that they live the experience.  It's a wonderful thing, like getting lost in the pages of the book, but you aren't a passive viewer, you're an active participant in the outcome.

The other day my son was telling me how he was throwing mud pies at dinosaurs in a game.  He wasn't actually throwing anything, he was clicking on buttons.  The game is a deceit, designed to entertain.  If that entertainment becomes a perceived memory, and the actions in it something you believe you actually did, then what is the difference between you and someone with an associative disorder who thinks that they are Stalin?  Both are fabricated on beliefs founded on false memory.  Both are a kind of insanity.