All About JackEpstein
23Feb 09I like to think that I have grown a lot over the past year or so: never have I read or thought as much as I have this past year or so. At this stage in my life, I am just beginning to embark on the continuous process of developing my personal philosophy, my perspective, the way in which I view the human condition and existence. Nevertheless, I think it is important to assess what philosophy I have developed thus far, even if it is only in its beginning stage.
Perhaps the most existential choice that I have made in my life thus far is the choice to not believe in a supreme being, the traditional monotheistic God. While this choice has been extremely important to me, I feel like what I hold to be valuable or existential is not a function of whether one agrees with this choice. I personally believe that believers and nonbelievers are living in the "here and now" trying to get the best out of the one life we all have. Some of us decide we need God, while others decide otherwise. Some of us find traditional religion to be a tragic lie, while others do not. There are always different means to the same end.
In line with existentialism, the concept of Nothingness is important to my philosophy. I believe that there is no intrinsic meaning to the universe, no innate, preset meaning to anything. In some sense, everything means nothing--originally. Existence precedes essence in that we existence and then we create meaning. In other words, meaning in one's life is not here to be discovered (essence precedes existence). Meaning in one's life must be created.
Truth is a matter of perspective, just like anything else. It is nonsensical to claim that one knows the way to live or the truth. While the natural tendency is to do so, we must overcome this dogmatic, insecure part of the self. Such a mindset breeds division (no matter how much you claim to cover it up with so-called "love". This type of "love" isn't true love), stupidity and dogma. While it is obvious that some truths are better than others, it should also be obvious that within each of our perspectives is some sort of seed of truth. We simply need to look for it through the barriers of language.
Objective morality is dead. Its death should be more apparent now, as we start to think of ourselves as global citizens rather than citizens of a specific country. In other words, morality that says "This is right and this is wrong" is foolish; we must move beyond such a false dichotomy. Build a system of virtues and act in accordance with it. Actions based on virtues exhibit who you really are, not actions based on a nonsensical concept of morality. Plus, look what morality has produced--immoral beings. That is, morality hasn't, and doesn't, work.
Seeing the recent surge in anti-video game propaganda lately I have had enough and felt like expressing my views on this issue, despite that fact that I am just some guy on the internet who should be working, so if you don't like text you might want to skip this one.
Okay let me start off by saying I am a gamer. I have been playing video games all my life and a significant amount of those games were graphic and violent. And I can definitely say that I was not the legal age to be playing these games at their time of release.
So I was a young impressionable child/teen murdering my friends, running people over in cars and even tearing people limb from limb with my bare hands, and yet am I unbalanced? Is my sense of right and wrong so warped that I may kill the next person I bump into on the street because it might increase my score? Of course not. I am not overweight, I am not anti-social and I am most definitely not violent.
So when I see video games (and not even overly violent ones at that) yet again recieving the blame for every ill society has to offer I get angry at the fact that our beloved harmless pastime has unjustly become society's whipping boy as a medium in general.
When Halo 3 became the biggest entertainment launch in history last year it was a clear message to world that gaming is just as popular as film and TV. So with these three mediums on a relative par with eachother you would think they would be judged equally right?
Wrong, film and TV have just as much sex and violence in them as video games do (hell games have less sex in them) yet if a game is violent or sexual, regardless of the big sticker on the front of the box saying it is meant for people aged 17+ people still cry foul and proclaim the game to be the cancer that is killing our children.
So why are video games still being treated by public opinion as a misfit underdog? A distraction for the masses that wastes peoples time, makes us overweight and turns us into potential killing machines?
Personally I believe one theory is to the fact that the ignorant public and media, despite the art games can become, believe that video games are still a silly childs pastime meant solely for children. This sad public view is illustrated so well in the the now infamous Fox News discussion about Mass Effect that I'm sure you have all seen, have a listen to the so-called expert brought in to discuss the game as she laughs incredulously when asked if she has played the game. As if it was such a preposterous notion that an adult like her would lower herself to play a video game, and I'm sure this 'expert' is not the only one who shares this dim-witted ideal.
They fail to see that all those people who grew up playing video games did in fact grow up, and are still playing video games. Sure we still love our platformers and our puzzle games and such but our tastes have also grown beyond that, we enjoy games that stimulate discussion between friends and strangers, games that drag us deep into a plot's twists and turns, games that make us feel in the most complex ways as much if not more than any book, show or film can.
Yet sadly the public still sees us gamers as a bunch of nerds playing doom in our basement, and this public opinion desperately needs to change.
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