Games are evil


Games Are Evil? Escapism and Capitalism

Definitely. As with other forms of media in a capitalist world. The alignment of interest here is that they want to keep you invested as much as possible. Be it a movie, a book, a game, a piece of Doritos, social media stream, etc. And you want to be entertained. Being entertained feels good and is an excellent escapism element (in human nature, not only in society), being "occupied" in the percentage that fits how much you need to "not handle" right now.

So if we agree that escapism is bad, then video games are a dangerous beast that needs to be slain, but as we can probably agree, escapism is not that much of a binarical zero. In fact, it is a system we have developed for a reason, with all our immense power as humans we still need many tools to help us deal with situations. I see it as "rationing" the interaction with the subject matter (which in this example can be the death of a loved one or something) our brains automatically want to find a way to occupy a certain percentage of our brain so that only a small one would have to deal with the pain and thoughts. Now, in nature the percentages are pretty well-balanced, there is a limit to how much stimulation you can get and how much you can "ration" the pain. Which then leads to a healthy way for the brain to wrap itself around this new horrible thing slowly (but not too slow) which then leads us to the real problem, in the modern world (societal and technical knowledge evolution), that developed magnitudes faster than our brains (classic genetic evolution) we have a world that doesn't fit against the tools we worked so hard to make, a world where it is extremely easy to "engage" "escape" "connect" "disconnect" at any moment and at a very low price (low friction).

This leads us to need to expend a lot of energy (willpower in this case) to stop us from reaching to the bottle when it's so accessible, stop us from binging Netflix for 48 hours straight, stop us from overeating (incredibly well) engineered food and, yes, stop us from stuffing our brains full of mining diamonds and building dynamic tree farms with TNT and stone generators in Minecraft. This thing, is not simple, this is why addiction numbers are higher than ever in many sectors, this is (partially) why obesity is a thing and is why kids are stuck on their phones all day. Low friction, high reward - a combination you don't find a lot in nature (the world our brains developed to handle).

So yes, video games are dangerous especially with the amount of money big companies are pushing into predatory strategies (another interesting conversation) and if we aren't vigilant, they can consume us, help us ignore feelings, people, situations, the world. And that reality is true for any element that prays on our natural brain systems (which is not as evil as it sounds and also a lot more evil)

All of those media elements have other aspects to them of course other than the dangers. Books, movies, food, social media, porn, music, video games all have incredible shit to give you (in varying degrees).

Make sure you eat, but eat healthy food, make sure you don't over eat that healthy food. And make sure to enjoy it.

If we went to balance the way we engage elements while maximizing "reward" and minimizing "price (friction)" (abstract titles)
There are two elements here we need to master : system to govern ourselves (friction theory). System to understand how external elements want to govern us (alignment of interest theory)

Change my mind!