Alright, so a few people who know me quite well, know that for the past 4 or so Years I suppose [somewhere in there] I’ve been playing WoW. It started back in December of the first year of college when my Buddy Josh let me goof around at the character creation screen and run around as a Blood Elf Hunter. I immediately remember that I enjoyed a lot of the aspects of the game including the incredibly intuitive and easy to make use of controls, the basic and general Fantasy storyline that was just decent enough to get into, and the really nifty looking armor that the guards happened to be wearing. From there, I got an account in December, and have pretty much run with it since. Last Tuesday I posted in /r/happy over at Reddit about how happy I was to be quitting WoW like it was some kind of addiction and that I was finally free. The problem is, that for as long as I can remember I’ve been an advocate of not doing exactly what I did. I would argue that ultimately because the monkey sphere we all live in now houses well over 6 billion individual monkeys, that at this point, our society has abstracted to a point of almost atrophy. The real issue is that because we don’t fight to survive anymore, we really have become this truly boring race in terms of self management and survival instinct. Not only are we the apex predator in our own food chain, but we are such an apex predator that we have secured our position from everything but an outside influence and disease, and even the disease section we work day and night to eliminate.
The real problem is that there is no single threat to humanity, except perhaps humanity itself, and honestly you’ve got to realize that we have put dozens, if not hundreds of individual barriers to ensure we don’t just up and destroy our selves. You hear about “Oh they could get a nuke and set it of in a such and such a location”, but the truth of the matter is, that really isn’t a threat to the overall monkey sphere; We as a society have developed and put safeties in place to ensure that we don’t just blow the fuck out of each other. It really is one of the greatest benefits of the modern world and to live in a first world country, is that for 99% of all occasions your fellow-man is also not a threat to your survival. As such, we have become a lazy and dormant race which has had to invent distractions just so we don’t blow our own brains out. It’s really quite the interesting thing, and I’m willing to be nature’s last throw at trying to keep us from abusing our minds [ITT sentient nature theory, I know, bullshit etc. but lets pretend shall we?]. The point is, that the only really great threat to a human these days is them killing themselves, and society has even gone out of its way to start to prevent that. We have tried to make things as safe as humanly possible, even to the extent of working against our own minds who have for strange reasons decided that the only way to combat this situation is simply to kill ourselves.
I’d really like to stress this point, we are the only species on the planet that will willingly end our own lives. I mean, we are such a unique species, that we will willingly go against every single shred of self-preservation because we have literally been driven to an emotional edge by our own minds. And it’s not even to further the tribe in any way, most of the time its to escape the reality in which we live. It’s really a fascinating part of our culture, that we are self-aware enough to just be willing to go against every single thing that nature has taught us about self-preservation and the weaker being picked off by the stronger, in this case we have the stronger willingly giving up and removing themselves from the chain. Honestly I can’t fathom how truly remarkable this is.
but less on how humans are suicidal monkeys and more about the idea of social escapism and abstraction. The truth is, that our abstraction is personified through World of Warcraft and games like it, in which we are willing to trade actual resources for resources in a game that does not exist, for a realm that simply isn’t real. I’m talking of course of the gold trade for real money. Its things like that which I think truly shine through as an example of why it is that we get so involved with these games. It’s more a shining instance of really why human society is so truly fucked up, that we use escapism to get out of reality.
Honestly I think it has a lot to do with knowing what we could do, but lack the technology to do so. It’s like being so close to the ability to become virtual gods in our own light, but being denied as such by restrictions that thus far we are clearly aware of, but can’t jump across. As such we simply simulate that “god like” immortality, and the ability to challenge dragons knowing that you can never die. It’s not so much about the end game as it is about the ability to really escape from our own world. And it’s that case which I had always argued, and I think it’s strange that I was so willing to speak out against it.
I’ve always said that my personal motto is to question everything, my decision to pick up WoW, and even my decision to quit. It probably doesn’t help that I was well aware that Blizzard has no intention of letting a long-term customer go, and they generally keep backups of some kind lying around. Honestly I had become bored with WoW, and that’s really a good thing, because for the past week I have been doing silly stuff like working on this blog. But in the long run, that really is no or less productive than what I was doing. I had stated that I was failing a class, and I had blamed it on World of Warcraft, the truth was I was doing badly in a class because of poor time management skills. And that is something I have always been weak on was the ability not only to manage my own time, but to not procrastinate. I think it’s really just part of who I am, if I’m not under pressure [and this class up until that point had given me NO pressure to work with], than there was no reason to be concerned about it, I had underperformed because I know I can get away with under performing. Just as someone who has never been burned by the stove, I’ve made it 21 years in the world of Academia with the personality I have, and as of yet I’ve not been to badly damaged by it. Generally WoW, No WoW, I’ve always performed at about the same level. In the 3 months I spent not playing WoW back in July of this year, honestly I can’t help but be reminded that I still was the same person, just slightly more bored.
And really that’s the problem with assigning escapism a social stigma, is that exercise, dating loose women, watching TV, Blogging, Playing on Twitter, and reading a book are no more or less advantageous to you. That isn’t to say they don’t have advantages, but I am willing to say that there are some things people just do not enjoy, and in a world where there is no reason to fill pain, why does one so willingly place himself to the needle? Is it to remind himself that the world around him is real? Because the truth of the matter is it is not, you live in a concrete jungle protected on all sides from any kind of danger, you don’t face any true adversaries and the only true drama that occurs is that which you are willing to let occur. There are few things that are truly out of human control, and they include the realm of the laws of physics, the laws of nature, and generally the nature of other human beings. But when it comes to controlling one self, there is only one person to blame for any action you take.
Is it an addiction? Probably, has it kept me from doing things? Not likely, even while playing WoW I still went to social events and gatherings, and for the most part never missed a meeting. I was blaming WoW for my tendency to be shy around women and my choice to avoid things based off a bias, when really I had no one to blame but myself. The truth is that I like any other monkey out there, am afraid of change. And growing up is something that really is tough to do, mostly because none of us actually grow up. We just kind of move on to different stages of self-generating drama, and complicate it with more numbers. But ultimately it’s still the same high school that we all live in.
It makes me laugh when I see these adults who claim that so and so needs to grow up, when the truth is that they go through the same kind of drama, and the way they approach it is no more mature than any other individual, there are 70-year-old individuals who still do plenty of stupid shit because the issue is that the human brain isn’t the type of thing that handles maturity well, at least not on an emotional level.
So there, I made my case with myself, and the why, ultimately Its not the game that’s the issue its Me, and I’m going to have to change me. Getting rid of the game wasn’t going to help me, it’s just an excuse to push-off blame of unwillingness to change [I suppose that’s an odd statement given that I’m going back, which isn’t a change at all]. But It’s something that gave me a social outlet and kept me happy.
And really there are only 2 goals in life: Be Happy, and have great stories to tell your kids.