Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Violence and computers solve problems

It is sometimes said (with bold type and a very unmistakable sense of moral indignation) that computer games cause violence.

I beg to differ.

It is not computer games that causes violence; it's all those other things we have to deal with on a daily basis. Things that in no uncertain terms teaches us that the answer to the problem is indeed violence, and that a liberal application of it will solve even the most deep seated and culturally interwoven of problems.

Take the not uncommon situation of being bullied in school. There is much to be said about it, but the one surefire way to solve the problem is violence. Either by hitting back - it is common knowledge that the bully tends to find other victims once the exchange of blows is mutual from now on - or by teaming up with others. Use of force or the silent backing of peers who can use force solves problems.

Or take the all-encompassing war on terror. Preemptive strikes, invasions of other countries and a general glorification of all things militaristic - what more do you need in terms of teaching people that the solution to problems is tied up with violence?

Or, why not, the seemingly random acts of brutality shown to Occupy protesters. It would be the easiest thing in the world to set up local institutions for the facilitation of political discussions regarding the future of things. Talking is something the human body can do just about forever without having to stop, and getting the Occupiers to talk politics is not the hardest of challenges. Yet instead, we see that the solution to the problems brought before the world is to beat them over the head with the full force of state power.

Violence, it would seem, solves a whole range of problems. Private, foreign, domestic - on all levels, violence makes problems go away and solutions appear.

It is hard not to conclude that it is rather narrow minded to say that computer games causes violence. It is even harder not to think that, for all intents and purposes, those who make such claims have a rather limited social analysis.

That might be a problem. Let's hope the solution is not given.

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