Month: February 2015

The problem with World of Warcraft in one anecdote

They introduced profession daily quests, I think with Cataclysm. One of the fishing daily quests required you to swim in the waters of Stormwind Harbor and collect crawfish from traps on the sea floor.
And there were sharks. Highlevel sharks, so if you weren’t level-maxed, their aggro range was especially high.
And this was so much fun. Few things get your blood pumping in that way. (Another example would be covert enemy city infiltration.) Because there was an actual risk, requiring you to pay attention. The sharks had that habit of approaching just when you weren’t looking, from the somewhat murky water. It was a constant sense of danger and you’d look around nervously all the time, trying to not stay at one spot for too long or getting cornered. And this was OK, since you had been given a buff that increases swim speed and gives water breathing. So the challenge was just to stay away from the sharks.

And apparently some OCD babies whined that this hassle interfers with their mindnumbing daily quest routine. And Blizzard does what they always do … cave to them. Probably based on the business dictate to appeal to the lowest common denominator, for profit maximization.

So the sharks got nerfed to level 15 … which of course felt pathetic, disheartening.

Sharks should never be the target of pity. It’s just wrong.

And the water there is also crystal-clear now.
Oh and did I mention the comfort of the water breathing buff that you automatically get when accepting the quest so that you don’t even have to buy potions if you want to be lazy? How this further takes the appeal out of alchemy? Well, the potions AND the buff are pretty much pointless now, since at this point, breath time of characters has been increased to an insane THREE minutes! Unmodified by whether you swim or fight or get hit or anything. As long as you don’t stay submerged for more than 3 minutes, you’re fine. And then, if you still don’t catch a breath and let that extremely long timer run out, you get ANOTHER warning in the form of health loss every two seconds, so that it takes another 12 seconds of health loss before you actually die.

As mentioned in the title, this is just one of many possible exemplary cases that show what kind of mindset ruins the sprit, the magic, of World of Warcraft.

Proud Christians

On Youtube someone commented:

“I am a Christian and I am damn proud of it.”

This was such an obvious setup for a concise response:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Pride
“In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others.””

Add to that the fact that he even added “damn” to it, thus rightfully bringing damnation into the mix, while unaware of how much this damnation had slipped into his mind.

His response, as could have been expected, based on avoidance of cognitive dissonance:

“That’s not the pride I’m talking about. There is both good and bad pride.”

After which I replied:

“That’s what Satan whispered in people’s ears.
It is troubling, yet natural, that Christians would so casually use the name of a deadly sin without humble self-reflection.”

I did that reflection. I wanted to find out whether I live pride. I read about the modern, supposedly different, positive definition of pride, and realized that I am not living that either. I can do what I do without the need to be proud of it. I look at my actions/accomplishments, reflect on their effects on the world and my life, draw conclusions and move on. Any form of pride is self-gratification of the ego. It doesn’t matter what outcome it produces. And it shouldn’t, because what is a beneficial outcome for one person, thus being defined as “good pride” by them, can be someone else’s suffering.
For example, altruism is good, but when you are proud of your altruism, you lose sight. It becomes a self-deception, a fake.
Very common.

In sheep’s clothes is how the wolf gains power over those who pride themselves with being smart enough to know what a wolf looks like.

– UPDATE –
The convo continues:

“If I was boasting, that would be a sin. Simply stating I am happy to be one isn’t a sin.”

See the rhetorical haggling? Simply. Innocently. Happiness. Is that the vibe you get from his initial statement?
Thus, my response:

“You keep deluding yourself. You talked about pride, not happiness. What you said was very much boasting. Even if there might be even clearer rhetorics for how to do that, what’s really relevant is the driving mindset behind saying such things. Thought shapes words and words shape thought.
The devil has his foot in your mind’s door. Tendendies can begin moderate and grow slowly, thus remaining undetected until it is too late.
It’s the same problem as when a Christian commits murder but then claims it’s not a sin because they didn’t kill a human being (just a negro, terrorist, infidel, criminal, etc.)
Trying to trick God with fine print and semantics is maybe the greatest of all heresies.”

Beware of imagined people-power

There’s that saying that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Well, with all the activism growing in the world, of the people’s voice being heard and all that, a new challenge arises.

Because those movements are challenging powerful interest groups, those groups will try various approaches for securing their power. And one really clever method that is likely applied from the very top is along the lines of the saying:

The most hopelessly enslaved are those who falsely believe to be free.

What I call “worldsaving bread&circuses” would be one example of this, and another one could be, and I will mention it for elaboration of my point:

Net neutrality.

I read an article about it, talking about it being likely to be preserved in the USA, and the article itself, unaware of its implications, contained some warning signs: It mentioned that net neutrality has the support of president Obama, some democratic allies in politics as well as various big telecommunications corporations. So apparently there are some in the business who believe that, after weighing possible pros and cons, net neutrality is their preferrable way.

So if net neutrality ends up being preserved … How do we know the popular activism had any say in that?
Tricky one, isn’t it? All you can do is believe it did, unless you have damn well documented every chain of cause and effect. A decision being made that happens to match the preferences of the people isn’t evidence of causation.

Studies have been made about US politics that draw a picture of the people ultimately having virtually no say at all on what decisions are being made, so that’s certainly cause for heightened vigilance and scrutiny.

This is an urge for more activism, but not the blind kind. You gotta be smart and not hastily jump on any feeling of triumph or power. It is a character weakness based in your ego that will be exploited in order to deceive you. Just like people’s lack of purpose in life and falling-out with traditional religion made them vulnerable to aforementioned tales of being heroes and saviors in the context of the modern armageddon prophecy of global warming. Too many people put more importance on believing they are making a difference than on knowing for sure they actually do. It’s egoistical, really. Personal convenience. Soothing your conscience. Selling of indulgences. And when your self-deception is challenged, you will condemn those who actually care about the result as pessimists or call them much worse, revealing that the whole time you’ve really just cared about yourself.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can be an activist for social justice and still be a mere pawn of big business, in ignorance or outright denial of the massive human suffering you might be causing.

One example of the ego’s control games

The following thread in the World of Warcraft forums is several years old, but it is valuable as exposition of the frequent mind games that happen especially on internet forums when ‘help’ is involved, when people fuel their desire for control by exploiting those in need, since their intentions aren’t really altruistic and they try to derive relevance for their own existence that way. It’s all due to a lack of empathy, and the mechanisms that lead to it would be complex to explain here, but if you’re interested in psychology and have heard of things like Milgram experiment or Asch comformity test, it’s quite likely you will grasp what’s going on.
This severe egotism, among various other mental disturbances, is one of the major things that put me off while playing the game. Just because it’s MMO doesn’t mean it’s social. It very much encourages what I described in a previous blog entry: https://dowlphinblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/alliance-of-convenience-vs-working-together-for-the-result/

Alright, no further introduction necessary, since the thread itself is quite self-explanatory.

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3312962096

The Mutual Fools Game

I’ve read an article about Malcolm X and realized how similar my experience/perception is to his.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/malcolm_x_was_right_about_america_20150201

The article mentioned that he talked about a game of “You fool me and I fool you”. I tend to refer to this as the wearing of masks, but in more detail, I recently gained an even stronger awareness of how this game works. (I understood long ago; I’m just talking about renewed awareness here.)

‘Weak’ people have emotional attachments – they strive for comfort and convenience; they shun discomfort. Others know how to exploit that for their own gain. It’s basically some egoists exploiting other egoists as well as altruists. And the game ‘works’ with those that decide to join it. It’s a deadly game, but within its parameters it works. The real threat is when someone doesn’t play along. You attack one node and others will compensate.

One good example of this mutual fooling is censorship of vulgarity on TV – the bleeping. By now everybody knows the word that is being bleeped, they probably even hear it in their head when they hear a bleep, yet they keep this idiocy up, because acting realistically would cause too much discomfort in a lot of egocentric TV viewers and thus in the entertainment businesses, too.

Oh wow, I just realized a perfect, classical analogy for this problem: The Emperor’s New Clothes.
You might think these days everybody would point out he is not wearing clothes, but that would be foolish, too. The Emperor is an authority figure. Today there are similar situations, often similarly ridiculous, and the number of people willing to point out the obvious truth is small. Naturally, in the story, it is a child’s untainted perception that does it. It hasn’t learned about the things it is supposed to be afraid of yet. A free mind. Sometimes people accept this in children because they secretly envy their purity, but when problems are growing as they are now, they start to become afraid of their children and try to corrupt them as soon as possible to prevent them from being an uncomfortable reminder of what is healthy.

Another good exemplary case is Obama. Hyped by a psychologically optimized marketing campaign as the champion of black people, the giver of hope. (The word “hope” is really starting to bother me, because it is often a tool for personal disempowerment and rejection of responsibility.) Rock star Obama. This created such a powerful emotional attachment, people projecting their personal ideas of what he supposedly embodies, that you now, still, have many millions of people in a severe state of denial, busy finding excuses and justifications for the things Obama does that don’t fit into their ideas. They are trying to avoid mental-emotional discomfort, which is a very selfish motivation, and based in fear.

Then there’s the related case of Obama having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – in advance! Which is ludicrous. They said that they hope this will give an impulse/incentive/inspiration for him to actually live up to it. This is extreme denial based on an equally extreme attachment. With this, the Nobel prize committee is serving their own egoistical desires of avoiding discomfort. They, too, are signaling Obama that he got them in his pocket. His mental slaves. Enslaved by the mere fear of some discomfort. So much for fighting the enslavement of the black people, hah. You say “Who’d have thought a black man would become president one day?”. I say: “Who’d have thought a black man would become a mass enslaver one day?” … Well, I’d have. Because why not? I don’t delude myself. I don’t fuel the bitter irony of judging by skin color.

There are so many other cases of the same control games. Sometimes it can seem difficult to find an oasis of health in that environment. Especially if people are put to the test, once the mutual fools game of telling each other and yourself lies is broken and actions drown out words.

I tell you, it’s not at all a pleasant feeling to repeatedly see your cynicism being confirmed as realism. But this is a discomfort I prefer over sacrificing the truth. No matter how bad the situation is, you gotta act based on it, and if you don’t, it will only get worse.
Sadly, when things go down that road, it’s usually the knowing ones who become the first victims. Because at that point, people will be so much in the grasp of fear that they will passionately feed their inner demons.

Those who kick downwards in the power structure are the problem. Those who punch upwards are the solution.
People are deluding themselves into believing they found a comfortable way of being courageous.

They are fools.

Courage is – by definition – uncomfortable.

Like Malcolm X, I want to be remembered as sincere.
(Although – and this SHOULD go without saying – more important to me than being remembered as sincere is to actually be sincere.)

UPDATE:
Another important thing to point out is that this popular system of wearing masks is also what makes it possible for sociopaths to succeed. They’re merely gaming the system. When you cannot or don’t want to see past a mask, then you cannot know what’s under it, if anything at all.