Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Low Hanging Fruit.

I realized that I could use my baby laptop for better good than I am now and so I put on a lecture series on Nietzsche because it was the first thing that finnished downloading. I doubt I will finish it as I have Linguistics to learn but still it is nice. I figgure I could alternate between listening or writing or something like that. I haven't decided yet. What I have decided is that I want to write because yesterday's lecture bore some nice low hanging fruit that I want to explore.

Moving quickly: Che as I will be calling him from now on believed that to find the answer to why people do things that a psychological answer must be sought. Not one with god or metaphysics or stuff like that. He postulates that people are terrified of being alone and thus the main thrust of their actions will be more to fit in with the group rather than in the persuit of their own happiness. There were examples given.

This was pretty much the majority of the lecture and and I found it interesting but not quite mindblowing. After all I had written something similar with my outer church/politic project. The lecture made me wanna get all that stuff out again but instead I played some video games online. That's when it hit me. That if, as Che says, we all want to be part of a group then what the hell is wrong with people who are online? As a paticularly relavent example lets take the utter n00b who doesn't know how to play the game, use his character, or what to actually do. I was in a group with three of these last night while playing city of heroes. Now COH goes pretty far out of its way to make the learning curve as flat and level as possible. Yet the nOOb thing happens and when it does it is pretty spectacular. The thing about it is that these people demonstrate no fear what so ever or shame. They are completely dependent on everyone around them to take care of them. To draw an analogy it is like being in the middle of a football game and then taking on a new player who doesn't even seem to understand the concept of tackling the other player and expects everyone to stop what they are doing and give them instruction so that they could join in. This is WEIRD. There is no apprehension of looking like an idiot in front of a group of people. Instead there is the direct opposite. It is a demand on the behalf of the idiot that he be instructed by the group. What is even stranger is that more often than not people will go out of their way to be helpful instead of telling the n00b that he should learn basic game mechanics on their own instead of holding everyone else up and putting everyone else in danger while the screw around.

More telling is that the power dynamics of the whole situation is all messed up. Che likes to define relationships in terms of power. Giving something to someone else is a way of collecting power, because you are the one doing the giving and it is your choice to do so. However, in this case the power structure flows both ways almost equally. At the start the n00b obtains the place of power. More often than not they become the center of attension as the focus changes from the task at hand to hand-holding the person who is having trouble playing the game. As a result they freeze the game until they are taught everything they need to know. In some ways it is almost like an exchange of power from nearly equivalent sources rather than one person having or maintaining it.

To put a Che spin on it the motivations of such a person are murky at best. They are also, I'm sure, quite varied. Everything from just being a needy bitch who can't be bothered to spend 10 minutes learning something on their own to people who honestly crave the attention.

I am going to have to stop at or around here. My lunch time is almost up. One thing that is very much worth pointing out is that something about the medium short circuits the social relations of the people involved. It is rare to have someone who is sharing a collective space with you to just barge in and demand to play, yet in an MMO this is a constant occurrence and it is definitely worth thinking about.

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