Games, in all their nuances, have become an obsession for contemporary societies. In a sense, we are lost in the dialectic between winning and losing, and dominated by a need to take part in all games by taking sides with the players when we cannot directly intervene ourselves. We could divide our life-experience between the games we play, on one hand, and the games we watch, on the other – the latter being what unites us to a culture.
In this voluntary desire to watch all games, we have become more childlike than we were in previous centuries, and we are dominated by a peevish, childlike will to win, peppered by a hatred of losing. Of course, this creates weak and geeky characters.
We desire strong sensations and X-treme sports are fashionable, but in general, most of the more dangerous games are played out in the virtual landscapes of the plasma-screen reality that our younger generations so willingly drown themselves in.
Living the game is a vulgar way of experiencing life, and our civilisation is a tasteless one. Lost in the virtual miming of authentic being that is the game, human beings are forfeiting their own authenticities in favour of the ultimate purposeless rituality of playing. Competitiveness may be a good incentive for children, but the adult should be able to find a better reason than winning a game to motivate him or her – isn’t that partly what differentiates adults from kids?
In certain respects, our obsession with games is a logical one, for it is the game that is being offered over and over again by the civilisation that we operate within. By playing or watching we are merely swallowing that which is given to us on society’s platter. It is hard to say ‘no’ to the only thing which is constantly and abundantly being fed you. Of course, we quickly get addicted. Once we are addicted, as in all addiction, it is very hard to break the habit. To do so we have to see the dangers of the patterns we are following. Nevertheless, our absurd obsession with the game does become apparent when we see how repetitive the compulsion is.
Each time the game is played, it is basically the same as every other time. All games are confined by finite rules that are unbending, and because of those rules, the only differences allowed are variations of what is the general repetition of the same game over and over again. Only creativity can give any meaning to the game, and only art can save us from the repetitious mitigations of our souls that playing and watching games inflicts on all our societies.
Art, in fact, is a transcendence of the game obsessed society, and games are a vulgarisation of our creative and artistic instincts.