Society Through the Lens of MMOs

I may not be a hardcore gamer, but I like to play games. I’ve spent some time looking into a lot of different MMOs hoping to find one that I can enjoy. Unfortunately, here in the West, decent MMOs are hard to come by. One of the issues that bothers me the most is the obsession with PVP. I really think that this reflects on our society as a whole. Unlike Eastern cultures, here in the West we start pushing the Us vs. Them mentality onto our children from the very start. That concept is perpetuated throughout society. As children go to school, they separate into their various groups, and create their own “in” and “out” groups…ostracizing those who are considered “out”. That mentality is continued into the workplace as employers pit workers against one another to gain meaningless trophies and awards for “accomplishments” no one will remember. As a result, we have a society full of aggressive, egomaniacle, insensitive people who are eager to “prove” themselves at the expense of someone else.

This points to even deeper societal issues. The preference towards harming others as opposed to working together toward a common goal (raiding, bounties, etc.) suggests that people don’t want a successful cooperative game environment…or society for that matter. This Us vs. Them mentality has become so ingrained in our way of life that people don’t want to change. They don’t want to work together. They don’t want a better gaming environment. They don’t want a better world. To me, that is both sad and scary.

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Optional Discrimination?

A while back I had a conversation with my SO about a friend. I was frustrated because it seemed to me like people objectified her. He responded by saying that being objectified was her choice. If she wants to be seen in a certain way, she should be able to do so. On the surface this seems reasonable, but if you dig deeper, I’m not so sure. I don’t think that minorities…any minorities…enjoy the same kind of freedoms that white men do in our society.

Imagine if one black person decided s/he would prefer to be a slave, and found a way to legally sell him/herself into slavery. How would that affect civil rights in the US? Even if it didn’t have any legal implications, how would it affect societal perceptions? How would that perpetuate existing bigotry and racism?

By that same token, one woman deciding that she prefers to be seen as less than a person affects societal perceptions of women. The LGBT community are already dealing with this phenomena. Milo Yiannopoulos undermines the entire community by supporting the conservative agenda that, by its very nature, takes rights from that community. Conservatives hold him up as a torch to justify their bigotry because he’s gay. They are very quick to say, but Milo Yiannopoulos _______ and he’s gay. Every time this happens, it becomes harder for the LGBT community to gain the rights they deserve. All it takes is one person reinforcing preconceived societal perceptions about a minority group to undermine decades…even centuries…of work towards equality.