The Balboa Program
I’ve heard it argued before that the reason why S&M is beneficial to society is because it lets people exercise fantasies that would otherwise manifest in some other way against non-consentual ‘partners’. Same goes for video games, martial arts, etc– the idea is that if you don’t have the opportunity to express your inner ‘darkside’ in a consent environment (where everyone around you is there for the same reason) then you will end up lashing out in a non-consent environment.
Which is completely different from the idea that videogames make you violent. This idea is quite the opposite, saying that the exercising of violent fantasies is a means of theraphy.
I think there’s a cutoff line of course, and there’s a method to every bit of madness. Not that I’m into S&M. But I’ve made two observations over the years, which seem to be pretty consistent: those who don’t play sports, videogames, or other ‘violent’ activities at all tend to have pent up frustrations that manifest in other ways. Sometimes it’s lack of self-esteem, a sense of powerlessness– sometimes it’s that seething, unidentifiable anger which people start to call depression, even though really it’s actually a sense of disconnectedness between one’s internal subconcious desires and what they’re forced to do in the real world.
On the other hand, people who delve too deep into ‘violent activities’ tend to become so immersed in the medium that they never learn to function in a peaceful way. These people are agressive, maybe stick their feet in their mouths, or maybe in general just have a hard time appreciating the quieter moments of life. Even though violent activities give them an output, it becomes more than an output– it becomes a way of life that self perpetuates and fosters an even greater need for more output. It’s like an addiction. (And I think this is the group that ‘anti-violent entertainment’ promoters are really targetting).
I’m no psychologist, but that’s what I gathered from all the people around my age and older that I knew.
Now that I’m working with kids, it’s like going back in time to see how things were before they got complicated– and I see it. I see how the kids go in two different directions— the frustrated silent ones, or the frustrated aggressive ones. Both camps have their ups and downs. And ultimately, the ones who have the easiest time are the ones who figure out the golden rule: moderation.
Therin, I think, lies the entire challenge of education. To impose upon a class of mismatched personalities a system of learning. If they’re too aggressive, you need to pacify them. If they’re too quiet, you need to bring them out. But what’s a method you could use, without seeming hipocritical to your kids?
(….this post will be continued when I have more time.)
(Magician’s choice and environment simulatiors)