Maybe our relationship with video games isn’t so simple

Every time a seemingly random act of violence occurs, our brains rely on social and cultural clues to bring some sense of reason to what is potentially unreasonable. Our brains, however, have another natural response to contradicting stimuli or irrational behavior; and that’s called “cognitive dissonance.”

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 3.44.48 PMCognitive dissonance occurs when one is aware that something is observably true (such as the unhealthy and psychologically violent online behavior associated with video game addicts) but refuse to connect the dots to other observations (such as one of these mentally unstable fatherless autistic boys going out and hurting people) due to a perceived political stance (such as the fear of being ideologically aligned with people you don’t like).

Because a lot of out-of-it politicians and boomer parents have been making connections between violent media obsessions and actual violence for decades, many people have determined that it can’t possibly be true. But, as it turns out, it is.

First, we should outline the reasons people experience cognitive dissonance when addressing this topic. People are obsessed with simple causation.
“Does marijuana use cause heroin use? No? Well, then the two can’t possibly be related.”
“If you watch Professional Wrestling, do you have a 100% chance of putting your friend through a card table? No? Well, then there must be no connection.”

When we consider studies and data in terms of black and white causation and correlation, we have a habit of ignoring the underlying data that is often not addressed by the study in question.

And that’s where we are with video game addiction…and the dark web culture that dwells in it.

America has the highest level of video game sales. So saying that other countries play video games and don’t have many mass shootings is irrelevant. Other countries have higher rates of suicide than the United States. Does that mean that suicide isn’t an issue, or that alienation mixed with video game addiction don’t increase suicidal thoughts?

Well, as it turns out, all of the studies that you see your friends referencing on social media regarding video games being a contributing factor to aggressive behavior are demonstrably and horrifyingly incomplete.

Researchers have essentially determined that normal video game use (violent or non-violent) lights up very important parts of the brain. It can help normal young people and middle aged folks engage in team work, play, feel small senses of accomplishment, and increase social activity. That’s what all of the studies you’ll hear about will explain.

Unfortunately, you’re not hearing the studies that relate to video game overuse and addiction on the unhealthy brain. Those studies are tougher to conduct. It’s not exactly like you’re going to have volunteers raising their hands saying “I’m an introverted sociopath, research me!” Nor would you necessarily want to test long-term video game use on the chronically suicidal.

Video games, because they engage the user on a participatory level, connect psychological experiences in complex ways. And the science has shown this for decades. You could have a violent reaction toward feelings of failure, a psychological connection to your online persona, or even make unhealthy real-world substitutions for digital fantasies.

If video games didn’t have psychological impact that was well-researched and considered, we wouldn’t have things like micropayments and delayed gratification in mobile games. Scientists know how gaming impacts human minds. And they know how it impacts diseased minds. Most importantly, they know that most minds aren’t diseased, so as long as we don’t talk about it, no behavioral change needs to be discussed.

The problem with wanting to have real conversations about sociopolitical or cultural data and how it impacts the human condition is that most people you observe discussing “science” are people who are woefully out of date and arrogant when it comes to actual research…

…and we tend to have an issue admitting that behavior we often engage in may actually be destructive for certain people. They will accuse you of wanting to censor their hobby, or buying into some artificial social construct that one can not engage in A without resulting in B.

The fact remains that all addictive behavior is similar with similar treatments and similar psychological profiles. However, not all addictions have dark corners of the web to which they can retreat, hole-up, and cultivate that behavior discussing kill counts and violent fantasies.

fullsizeoutput_260Of course video games aren’t solely to blame for violent behavior. Neither are movies, music or any other form of art. But to ignore the psychological impact that an unhealthy relationship with any aspect of media can have in certain individuals, and the proliferation of manipulated data to dissuade others from honestly discussing the matter, absolutely ensures that the problem will fester and grow irreparably.

 

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Haiti: Beyond Thunderdome

If you’ve ever had the retarded desire to live in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, why not visit Haiti? I hear it’s wonderful this time of year–that is–if you like that sort of thing.

By now you’re all more-than-aware of the catastrophic earthquake that rocked Haiti back to, well, let’s say on-par with Afghanistan. The people of Haiti are in some serious shit–and some people think they know why. Pat Robertson claimed that the Haitians made a pact with Satan in exchange for freedom from France.

Future generations of killing machines make efforts ultimately useless.
...future generations of killing machines make efforts ultimately useless.

You may not know it, but this is actually 100% true–and that’s why you see so many Haitians praying and asking god for help…because they just want forgiveness for their deal with the devil. Either that, or they’re trying to grasp for some kind of spiritual answer to why their families and friends have been killed, injured, or displaced.

Whether it be the work of a spiteful god or a happy-go-lucky devil, the religious destruction lies not in the quake itself, but in the inglorious aftermath. The religious community in America sees this opportunity to recruit the already-predominantly-Christian people of Haiti to Jesus’s team in their time of vulnerability. After all, in disaster there is always a chance for others to benefit.

An Christian organization in America has sent 600 solar-powered audio bibles to Haiti. How much life-sustaining aid could those 600 high-tech bibles have provided?

While one side sends hollow words of hope, others send doctors, medicine, food, clothing, and water to a society that must rebuild from the rubble.

For every well-meaning and dedicated charity existing solely for the benefit of the Haitian people, there are probably two or three dedicated individuals trying to take advantage of the disaster.

The images coming from the wastelands are only 50% comparable with those coming from a natural catastrophe. The other 50% is remarkably similar to the images we see of Iraq and Afghanistan–a desolate and abandoned society turned upside-down by war, racism, religion, and a dominant band of militants.

When the national prison of Port-au-Prince collapsed in the magnitude-7 earthquake, it was like something out of a superhero comic–the old asylum explodes and the filth poured into the streets to reclaim their territory. Police have lost control…and in the aftermath of the original quake, the explosive after-shocks have now reached magnitude-6. Even the best efforts have almost been rendered futile.

Officially, Haiti has become a clusterfuck…even more so than it already had been. What happens when a location many have described as one of the most dangerous places on Earth turns upside-down?

Survivors are fighting tooth and nail for food, medicine, and water. And the new rulers of Haiti, the criminals who had been locked up by police forces with United Nations support, are attacking and blockading those who only desire to extinguish the flames. As bodies are dragged out, more are created–a cyclical Hell that even Dante himself could not have dreamed.

Slum Lords and Gangs have seriously crippled the efforts of police, UN troops, and foreign aid workers/peace keepers. Over loudspeakers throughout the cities, police encourage the fucking Mad Max murder of weapon-wielding raiders.

Without a central authority, the country has turned on itself; and when the hopeless and injured reach out their hands for anything extra we have to offer, there are those of us who offer only the word of a god whose non-existence has left them abandoned.

AlexG/

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