Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cosmic joke

Saw a guy on the subway yesterday morning (pre dawn) playing a fighting game on some kind of hand held gaming contraption. And though I couldn't hear the sound effects, piped as they were to his head, the graqhics were so, well, graphic that the blood apeared nearly to fly off the screen. I supposed he was imagining some surly coworker to pummel in the game. And I had to wonder about a man who spent his free time dismembering others, however virtual.

I thought about it all day. Where does this desire come from, the zeal for aggression, the goal of absolute power over others? Is it instinct? It's not my instinct, but I wonder if I'm more the exception than the rule. If it is instinct, which we could substantiate with innumerable instances from history, then "being civilized" goes against our root nature. Civility would mean stamping down these instincts, or perhaps keeping them while masking them on the outside. It does seem that the most successful in our society are aggressive and attain power over others while appearing to be on the "up and up". Survival of the fittest comes to mind.

If males crave battle and power while women yearn for companionship, the whole setup is really a big joke. I hope (insert creator label here) is laughing, because it really is quite funny. If we look at the behaviour of children whose instinct is to grab and hoard, I think you'll find that adults' don't lose this instinct, they simply hide it and "control themselves". Maybe if we accepted that as a species, we are both selfish and violent, we would better be able to understand tragic events as "natural".

And in the end, we may just be fucked. So enjoy today while it lasts.

21 comments:

Spider said...

Is it maybe a way to get back at the world they feel is treating them so poorly or unfairly? Is it displace aggression against others - they don't have the social skills, business savy to say what they need to say to their spouse or boss or co-workers so they beat the shit out of an imiginary "foe" to release that tension and aggression and bring homeostasis back to their lifes?

The Lone Rangers said...

There are actually a few similar videos I'll play too. Not fighting per say but definately agressive. But I do it in the privacy of my own home, as it should be..lol

nongirlfriend said...

I spend my time doing that. It's my boyfriend's fault. He got me hooked on WOW.

Anonymous said...

Some of the earliest drawings from prehistoric man depict hunts and sacrifices. Like it or not we have a certain aggression in the species. It's how we channel that agression that makes us unique.

Kevin said...

Make love, not war.

And yes, I am a tease, but sometimes there's a slight payoff.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the violent video games and the need to play them. Now, I'm going to think about it all day! It probably stems from not having to kill your own food though.
/four sips of coffee does not a good commenter make.

Timmy said...

I dont understand people that play video games. I think they must use it as a means of escaping reality. I prefer reality to fantasy, anyday.

Anonymous said...

Well said

Ed said...

I believe the very act of subduing our worst tendencies of greed and hate is what consititutes civilization. That is one reason I never watched Fear Factor or any show like that. Bringing out the worst in us is not a pretty sight. Neither is watching a guy eat worms our watching a girl screaming her head off as rats crawl over her. I know several guys who seem to enjoy violent Video games, and most of them are gentle souls in real life. But the more we subdue the worst human traits and work on caring about each other the longer the human race will last.

Timmy said...

((golf clap))

dirk.mancuso said...

I, too, am an exception to the rule. I've never understood things like boxing or war. I have no interest, need or drive to get aggresive with anyone or assert my power over others at work.

When I am feeling all testoterone-y, I just go color for a bit and then I feel better.

GayProf said...

Hold up -- You're not going all Hillary Clinton on us and blaming video games for the fall of civilization, are you?

_Psycho said...

Hey you just resumed 25 years of video games !

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I've been slogging through a book by a theologian who has several degrees in philosophy of science. She holds that the "sin" spoken of in the biblical creation story is that humanity has limited capacity for cooperation. Hence the emphasis in the text on aggression and competition.
And don't think that you can get away without coming up with some shearing pics.
You can't titillate my interest and then just change the subject and glide away smoothly. I want to see hirsute crows.

Patricia said...

i agree that god (my label) most definitely has a sense of humor. think dressing room mirrors, the word "upchuck" and rush limbaugh, for starters.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I think men are more gentle than we give them credit for and women are more greator predators than we give them credit for.

I also believe violence and greed aren't always bad things, which is the humanist view. We've all got a bit of both in us, as you observe.

Jason said...

I love reading/watching Desmond Morris's work on human behavior. Really fascinating to see how much "animal" behavior we really do exhibit, sometimes without even knowing it.

dawn said...

Well, then I feel very bright and cheery after reading your thoughts. Makes me want to embrace a new day and all that.

Hopefully the desire to dismember on a video game does not directly correlate with the desire to dismember in real life. It's not so much the people playing the games that worry me, it's the ones that sit around and make up the games...they are the ones that are a little off. "More blood!!! More guts!!! And lets kill a prostitute!!!"

God bless us everyone.

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Here, here Torn- you sum up this mad world so well

Anonymous said...

Interesting post because just yesterday a co-worker and I were discussing the rash of violence that has been occurring at local sporting events here - how it seems to have become accepted as "normative".

David said...

Try to take a woman's child away and see her crave battle and power. Give a man a fishing rod and see him drave companionship. I think all humans possess a violent inner nature that expresses itself in different ways. I have no interest in bloody video games, but the violent fantasies that spin in my mind when I see irritating poeple on the subway would probably rival those games.