The toxicity of gaming culture

Many people will think this post is some man hating rant about how male toxicity is ruining the gaming industry. This simplistic idea is shared by a bunch of people who don’t understand biology nor how our environment affects us.

Take a human being, someone who is already introverted and shy, stick them in a room alone, barely interacting with other humans face to face, not learning proper social cues and emotional control, make them play something aggressive with other people who they cannot see or hear or touch, and we wonder why gamers can be assholes.

Twitter, facebook and instagram are another perfect example of what happens when you remove people socializing face to face, let them remain relatively ambiguous and free from consequences, and the shit will fly.

There are aspects of male biology that make men fall into this trap more often, higher testosterone levels can really play havoc on aggression, especially considering many gamers are young teens who are already have very little control of their emotions.

But it has nothing to do with male toxicity, and everything to do with the toxicity of online gaming culture. In the same way that the toxicity on social media has to do with its culture.

Social interaction online can be a great thing, people can connect from all around the world. But we have to be realistic about the fact that most humans in the world get zero training on how to take care of themselves emotionally, physically and intellectually. They sit around in front of screens banging away, feeling like shit, cut off from the real world, and it all goes to hell.

Gaming in and of itself is great, regardless of the type of game. What we need is a paradigm shift in how we raise our children, we need to focus less on math skills and more on life skills.

We need to teach ourselves how to behave, with empathy, with courage and most especially with a higher level of understanding of how our brains are primitive and need our higher consciousness to rein them in constantly.

This takes training, lots of it.

Let’s begin, shall we?

What defines us?

What does it mean to be an individual?

Are we to be judged on the color of our skin? the misdeeds of our ancestors? hair? style of dress?

How about the foods we eat or the music we listen to?

What defines us truly?

Most of us go through life merely reacting to whatever our lizard brains throw at us. Consciously attempting to express who we are should be viewed in a positive light as it is our attempt to self reflect and figure out the world around us and who we wish to be within it.

To explore ideas, disassemble them, and come up with new and exciting ways of viewing the world is paramount to a society that wishes to progress and grow. We need to embrace complexity, refrain from putting things and people into little boxes.

But to do all this all of us requires us to be patient. We need to allow people to stumble, to say the wrong thing, to ask uncomfortable questions, to push ourselves to see the person behind the question and not just violently react whenever someone says something we disapprove of.

Social media has created a culture where its cool to start attacking whomever you disagree with without taking a single moment to attempt to understand why a person is saying what they are saying.

We can do better people.

Being kind vs nice

There is an epidemic of nice people raging through the world at this moment, and I don’t mean it in a good way.

Everywhere I turn I see people who have no backbone, who are so afraid to have a personality that they just smile and nod to everything everyone around them says, they stand for nothing and accomplish nothing.

These same people will get caught up in the internet wars, becoming little social justice warriors, but they have put zero effort into actually researching and understanding any of the topics they are raging about.

They are just putting on this nice person act.

Kindness is a different thing.

A kind person does something out of genuine empathy, they are the kind of people who radiate a kind of warmth whenever you’re around them, they bring a sense of calm to whatever situation they are involved in because they are compassionate people.

That is because truly kind people are strong. They know who they are and what they stand for and are not afraid to get their hands dirty. They don’t waste their time moaning and complaining on twitter and facebook, they are out there in the trenches, whether it’s in their own cities or out in the world, they are melding thought with action.

I have met very few genuinely kind people in my life. When I do, they make me feel guilty simply by existing and being who they are.  They inspire and make me want to be a better person.

We desperately need more people like that in our lives, and I wish that social media platforms would highlight more of these people, instead of popularizing this fake let me be nice to the homeless person so I can get a million likes on my page kind of people.

We can do better folks, there are beautiful people all around us.

Morality is not simple

Morality, when broken down to its most basic definition, is a conscious choice to respect anothers  right to safety of body and mind. After all, right and wrong only have meaning when one human is talking about something that affects themselves, other humans or living creatures.

Yet this must be tempered with the knowledge that life is not black and white, the system of values that drives us forward as a species is not simple.

Determining the best possible joy for all humans is difficult, especially when including other forms of life such as plants, mammals and even insects.

People make grandiose statements every day on social media, basking in the adulation of others as they simplify immensely complex issues into memes and soundbites.

Right and wrong are shifting paradigms that evolve daily depending on context and those of us who make them out to be just you’re either on my side of the fence or the other are just children refusing to accept the reality of life.

Don’t be a child, deepen your perspective of how life really works, then you can truly join the conversation about how to better the world that we live in.

 

Take a walk

There are a multitude of stressors in our modern society.

Work, friends, family, traffic, there never seems to be an end to the swarm of little irritations that can pile up on you daily.

Many people escape this chronic stress by distracting themselves with social media, tv shows, alcohol, drugs, and fawning over their dogs.

I would argue that a much better way to relieve that stress is taking a simple walk, preferably in nature. Our brains have developed to expect the calm of a forest or plain, it wants us to walk in silence and just be in the moment, to revel in the solitude of our minds.

It’s when we take some time without constant inputs of information and just let the mind empty that our subconscious can really work out problems and grow. This is how creativity blossoms, not during a never ending stream of instagram videos and netflix binges.

I think the world would be a little bit better to live in if we all just took some more walks.

Try it, you just might like it.

The veil of civilization

There are certain moments in life which shed light on the madness that is the human existence in our technology based life.

We have had no electricity in large parts of the province for the last 2 days, and it is looking like it will be another 2 days before it all gets put back online. Luckily enough for me I happen to live 5 minutes from my work and so have spent considerable time sitting in our bistro plugged in and warm, burning through the time with reading and writing.

Outside is another matter. The disaster on the streets as people attempt to navigate without the aid of street lights, fire trucks and police going by at all times.

Technology has aided us immensely over the years,  but our reliance on it has rendered us helpless without it. Thousands of people have been left without a way to eat and stay warm inside their homes as the snow accumulates outside.

The most interesting facet is realizing the existential crisis as people deal with the loss of access to laptops, phones and televisions to entertain them at all moments of the day.

We have lost the ability to be silent within ourselves and allow our thoughts to run free, an extremely important skill to develop if you are someone looking to do creative work.

People are also unable to go a few hours without seeing a text, tweet or snap, this constant need to be in communication with the world and our friends is a trap that social media companies have ensnared us in.

The deeper realization is knowing that if these 4 days turned into 4 weeks or 4 months, that this veil of civilization that we have all built up would crumble to dust and the savagery of our species would be on full display for all to see.

We are all playing this game called “be nice”, and it would be swept away in an instant without access to food, water and shelter. It’s a sobering thought, and one that more people should be conscious of, it might lead us to actually be a bit more careful with the way we walk through life.

Don’t take things for granted. Be prepared, mentally and physically. Don’t be reliant on technology for your survival, because you never know how long it will be around for.