Saturday, November 03, 2007

Play the game

Simulation and simulcra. Reality TV. Blogs. Second life. Facebook. We live in the age of escapism and creating our own existential experiences. Much of this may be a positive expression of our desire for something more. For transcendance. For imagination. But a lot of it just seems to be about avoiding facing up to how things are.

I was disturbed on the train to Cornwall last week. A passenger joined the train for a short while with a loud voice you couldn't help but overhear. He was in the army. He talked about various things and then said: we're told to pretend we're in a playstation game, its the only way our consciences can cope with killing.

Maybe I'm naive, and I'm aware that soldiers mustn't be freethinkers because they must do what their commanding officer says. But it seems like extreme escapism from the reality of what's going on. He also noted that they have to remember that the rest of life isn't the game, which is a relief!

But what if I did the same in my job? Student evangelism turns into sim-missionary? Managing my team turns into football manager? Can a Christian leader have a dualistic mindset, playing a character at work and then being someone else at home? Longterm I'm not sure what the psychological effects will be for a soldier. Short and long term a lack of integrity and consistency is deadly for a Christian leader. I don't want to play games.

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