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Aging's Biggest Flaw: Obstinacy And Voluntary Delusion

One of the many human weaknesses that becomes more evident with every passing year of an individual's life is the childish response to discovering a misjudgment. In simpler terms, we get pissed when we find out we're wrong. Sadly, as we grow older, this seems to become part of our very chemical makeup; it's the reason why we all have grandparents that might still be considered a touch racist, and why parents and anti-gaming activists have become very, very bitter as of late.

It really is the office of the aged: obstinacy and voluntary self-delusion, all due to the fact that one doesn't wish to admit a personal failing. This weakness can manifest itself in a variety of ways; it can be shown in an increase in egotism and condescension (i.e., "I've lived long enough to know what's right, and I'm right"), or it can be portrayed in desperate attempts to cling to - and even defend - their old-fashioned belief that has since been proven incorrect many times over. Those who are younger may not notice it, but having been around gaming for a very long time, and having interacted with those who frown upon it for almost all that time, I've noticed that those very much against gaming have become more and more angry and defensive...and as a direct result, more and more sad. Many of us who grew up defending what we love would see it as a triumph; a blissfully realized dream we used to dream, lying in our beds at night, still smarting from the sting of a not-so-subtle jab from friends or family; "Maybe you should grow up and try something new," or "if he doesn't stop, he won't get anywhere."

But this triumph feels as if a wet cloth has been tossed over it, thereby greatly diminishing its brightness and intensity. Rather than acting like so-called "adults" who would criticize us for not being mature, they give way to the aforementioned human frailty and refuse to admit their mistake. In the face of all evidence to the contrary, they become even more adamant in their sorely misguided theories. They have so little left in the way of ammunition, they actually resort to invented nonsense and outright personal attacks; they won't condescend to admit to us that gaming now has intelligent stories and well-defined characters, they won't hold their scathing tongue long enough to listen to examples of wonderful artistry, choreography, acting performances, musical orchestrations, and unique advancements in the industry, and above all else, they will find a way to claim that nothing has changed. That gaming is still all about death, all about "getting away from other people," all about "addiction."

And as the world continues to turn and more people come to recognize the legitimacy and ever-increasing benefits of interactive entertainment, those same old criticizers and naysayers from decades ago persist in their deluded - and still highly offensive - attacks. They're all the more vocal when they realize they're being drowned out in a sea of those who are aware of the truth; I'd say it's probably very similar to those who defended the Church's assertion that the world was flat, in defiant albeit pathetic opposition to the newly established rule. The point is, no matter how big gaming gets, and no matter how many strides it takes, it will only continue to rile the unbelievers all the worse, and their words will become more inflated with hot air as time goes on.

The truly depressing part about this is, we gamers are certainly not immune. We are human, after all. If, in the next 25 years, it is somehow confirmed and accepted by the vast majority that gaming has always been harmful, that it can only have a negative impact on someone in the long term, we will all defend it madly, likely until our deaths. "None of us were hurt by it," we'll loudly proclaim, failing to understand how much it had indeed hurt us because we've turned a blind eye to that state of affairs. Now, I don't foresee this happening but if we can't admit we're made of the same stuff as those who continue to taunt, mock and deride, we're no better, now are we?

6/3/2010 2:54:02 PM Ben Dutka

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