I like public forums. I like letters to the editor. It harkens back to a time when individual members of society participated in the events taking place around them. It lends a sense of community and maintains that cohesive force that keeps people together. Of course, there are other cohesive forces that keep a group of disparate people together, but those are called prisons.
Otto von Bismarck, the
“Iron Chancellor” was an interesting guy. Hitler’s reference to the Third Reich, was building off of the legacy of what he interpreted as the first and second. And as far as the second heyday of Teutonic domination goes, Bismarck ran the store.
Prussia’s king, William, appointed him as premier and gave him a specific goal. “Ot,” Will said. “I wanna have an army. A big army. A big powerful army. Ya see, buddy, I want power. I lust for it. I ache for it. I yearn for the heady rush of being able to smack down our neighboring wankers, who are really messing with my groove, and get away with it. And I want you to arrange it. Would you like some pie?”
So to sum up the history lesson, Otto did this:
1. In a ballsy little maneuver he violated the country’s constitution and dissolved the parliament which was opposing the army
2. He provoked a war with Austria
3. He published the Ems dispatch, which was an edited conversation between the King and the French ambassador. Otto reworded it, removing any conciliatory language, and ended up with an inflammatory article which he knew would get under the foreign government’s skin. Thus he precipitated his next war, with France.
4. He rallied the Germanic states and unified them against the French threat. The actual war was only a device to get what he wanted: In 1871 William became the German emperor.
What’s this got to do with ORPGs? Well the Stream of Thought is all about drifting until you bump into something that spins you off in a new direction. Yesterday my stream hit the rapids and my kayak is already prone to taking on water. Stick with me.
I was in a game. (‘In’ is the right word here, because I wasn’t actually playing but I was taking part in the ongoing synergy which is online gaming.) I was having a conversation with my vassal, when one of the wee ones strolled up and asked me for help getting to a particular destination. I pointed him/her/it in the right direction, told him/her/it which path to follow, which translocators to take, and what landmarks he/she/it should expect to see. This was apparently not good enough and the wee one asked me if I would personally guide him/her/it. I tried to
reply. I wanted to say, “I’m a little busy right now. Sorry. Good luck, tho.” But instead of that, I made a typing mistake, which often happens to those who try to type too much at once. My reply was nevertheless quite simple.
I was amused by my koan-like reply. I imagined that the wee one would
immediately go take a flying satori and come back a better person for it. I was wrong. The wee one replied back, “Yes you, butthole.”
I was disappointed by his/her/its lack of any sense of adventure. One of the fun parts about having a virtual landmass to explore is that you have a virtual landmass to explore. The fun is in getting there and your sense of accomplishment is based on how little help you needed to do it. Discovering something on your own is the best. You can maintain the illusion that you are the only one to have seen it. Directions and coordinates are less fun because the novelty is tarnished by other peoples’ involvement, but to actually be led
by the hand to a new location doesn’t sound like a good time at all. At least to me. Everyone has their own way of doing things though.
But mostly I was intrigued by this one’s ingratitude and self-importance. How dare someone not drop what they’re doing and help me, when I need it? Just precious. Normally, I don’t mind seeing people who are self-centered. There’s nothing wrong with looking out for number one. Just don’t get buried in number two when your self-centeredness intrudes on someone else’s.
It was shortly after this, that I recalled the recent Iluvatar post. His actions were also motivated by selfish reasons. When you are self-absorbed,its easy to agree with the ends-justify-the-means point of view. The consequences of your actions on other people mean considerably less when you really don’t care about them. I thought his actions were rather hypocritical, but that, too, comes easy to a self-centered personality.
Its not hard to believe that this selfishness is a recent phenomenon. Some see the loss of civility and manners as just a part of the current state of affairs. Some believe that when any animal population grows too large that there are natural mechanisms to counter it such as disease, increased violence, and dissent. But these problems have been around for much longer than that. Even Jesus the Nailed God, who many believe was the most compassionate and self-sacrificing individual who may have lived, once got pissy with a fig tree and cursed it when he couldn’t find any fruit on it to eat. (Since He was also Jesus the Miracle Caterer, such a destructive act is even more significant.)
The upshot of all this, is that it is preparing people for the next cultural breakthrough. These are society’s growing pains. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs and those eggs are societal conventions. So the next time some inconsiderate brat aims for some assistance and finds that “butthole” totally misses the mark, remember that he may be the next Otto von Bismarck, looking to build an empire.