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Re: Integral Video Games

  •  07-31-2006, 7:44 PM

    Re: Integral Video Games

    I'm a big fan of the Journey to the Wild Divine, which is a very interesting approach to teaching a variety of traditional wisdom philosophies and techniques for living a more wholistic life. It also uses biofeedback, which quite literally adds to the integral nature of the game. There is no violence in the game (which I definitely appreciate!), though there is some bad acting and corny music to test your patience and compassion with!

    I used this game with my preschool class, especially the rock stacking exercise, to much success. The kids really got into and understood how they could control their energy levels.

    Other games I think might well fit into the category of Integral are Sim Earth, which is actually modeled after James Lovelock's Gaia theory. The new Sim game called Spore is mindblowingly beautiful, though I'm not sure if it ever allows the intelligent species to evolve past a vMeme of Orange, but I could be wrong because I'm only basing my impression on a teaser video from the very, very early development stage that was probably aimed directly at the Orange market...

    Myst was clearly trying to be somewhat Integral, in that it presented various stages of cultures, and in it's psychological twist ending. But mostly I just mention it beause it's so damn pretty.

    As far as violence in video games, I would have to disagree that it is healthy, because in scientific studies as well as in the Buddhist philosophy, expressing anger as violence (even only in the imagination) only leads to elevated levels of stress hormones. The only healthy way I've seen to truly diffuse stress hormones is to either:

    - do productive, non aggressive physical exercise
    - "unload" one's frustrations and concerns by talking, writing, or creating art in a calm, but expressive way
    - do calming/focusing exercises like yogic breathing or meditation
    - go through an inquiry process that allows one to get at one's shadows (I like Byron Katie's "Work" inquiry, myself)
    - bring one's focus onto a "grounding" thought (mine is that my purpose in life is to alleviate suffering) that helps guide one back into one's healthy self

    However, as a teacher I know that it's important not to dismiss boys' (mostly) desires to act out their fears through pretend violence. But I'd rather that the kids use their own imaginations and open ended creative play to do this, than have a scripted game with glorified violence. I do agree with you that art is a good way of channeling ones emotional energy, but I don't see much creativity in most video games, especially where the story line is already provided. Creating them may be creative, but playing them pretty much isn't, in my experience.

    Thanks for the intreguing question, by the way!

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
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