January 17th, 2006

wholeness, peace, night

videogames and the spiritual risks of pretending evil

blackwingedboy told me the other day (in discussing the multiple-life-path videogame Fable) that he can't play evil in those games -- like that and Knights of the Old Republic -- where your avatar has the choice to do good or evil, and suffers the consequences. If I characterize his feeling correctly, for him, it feels wrong to pretend in a mock world that "you" are evil, even when there is no "real-" world impact. I thought -- at the time -- that this reflected a deep philosophical perspective on the world akin to Buddhism, in that we cannot truly be sure what world is "real" and what isn't, and blackwingedboy's discomfort with "pretending evil" struck me as very similar to his behavior in the world: "love, under all circumstances".

How wonderful that today elwe wrote an elegant post reflecting on those very same questions and their impact and insights into religious life, from a perspective of Christian theology. It's worth following his links, especially this one to a discussion with aviendha1979 and yechezkiel, who add additional insights.

I should also take this opportunity to point at beckyb for elwe's benefit: she has a PhD in EE (pronunciation modeling!) and an M. Div MTS as well; I think you two might find each other interesting -- even if you don't always agree.

I should maybe add here that I've never played these games: my current opportunities for computer-based evil are limited to excluding others from the cluster (at work) and rolling people up into giant sticky balls of stuff (Katamari Damacy).