Effects of Video Games on the Dead #12

Wednesday, September 16, 1998:

What is the big deal about “having the double view of being both the character and the player”?

It must be a big deal. I think I used the phrase about a dozen times in the previous article.

Well, tis simple. By holding these two opposing views a reconciling element is created. This element can act as a corrosive to erode the tendency toward identification.

Identification is not the problem. It’s an obsessive tendency toward identification that is the problem. Heck-darn without a little identification we couldn’t be having this conversation. How could you take on the able-ness of a primate homo-sappy-an without a modicum of identification. Identification is your friend. It is a tool. But like any crescent wrench if you super-glue the sucker to your hand and can’t put it down when the needs of the job change then you is in big trouble. How are you going to hold a screwdriver when you need one if you have an irreversible grip on a monkey wrench?

This is where the way of the shaman comes in handy. A shaman learns to identify with many different animals, plants, attitudes, moods, and morphologies in general.

And what does this have to do with video games?

Well, video games can be used as a deliberate tool to develop the shamanic ability to shapeshift into different morphologies.

Consider three widely different games:

  1. The game of being a Madison Avenue marketing wiz.
  2. The game of being a rock and roll musician
  3. The game of being a computer nerd Quake player

Very different characters. Well, by playing each of these games you can widen your repertoire and strengthen the psychic muscles needed to identify and dis-identify.