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Edward Castronova
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Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2012 on Smithsonian Art of Video Games at Terra Nova
(actually Greg logged in as Ted)
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2012 on Smithsonian Art of Video Games at Terra Nova
Yep! My fault!
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2012 on Smithsonian Art of Video Games at Terra Nova
Richard said >This world is not reality, it's a fallen place >>No, see, when people create virtual worlds they try to make them improve on their reality. They don't make them miserable worlds full of woes for their inhabitants. By "this world" I meant what you call the real world. I'm not going to get into another religious debate, I can't stand the heat. If you hate what I said, just go read Tolkien's On Fairy Stories cuz it's all stolen from there.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2012 on Is it gambling? at Terra Nova
Thoreau, I wasn't aware TN was ever about anything, other than, a place to chat about whatever. It may have been about beer at some point, but that too has faded. As for me, though... some propositions I hold dear argue strongly against "game worlds are reality." I misused the word Reality too. So, to be clear...For me: 1. Reality is in heaven. This world is not reality, it's a fallen place that at times reflects a better and higher place. Reality only abides there, not here. 2. Game worlds represent our natural longing to be in that better place, the reality that we once knew but have lost, the happy place that is beyond us right now. Strictly speaking, Fantasy is memory. 3. Game worlds, as an element of fantasy in general, are really important for human dignity. But they must serves the needs of fantasy to have this importance. 4. Connections between game worlds and this world are inevitable. Just as dreamers always awake, game players encounter things outside the game. 5. To say that a thing is inevitable to some degree does not mean it is desirable or must be ubiquitous. 6. Therefore, games should be walled off as much as possible from this world. *** I don't know what Terra Nova is about, but that's what I'm about.
Toggle Commented May 9, 2012 on Is it gambling? at Terra Nova
Thanks Greg. I should look these old convos up before posting.
Toggle Commented May 9, 2012 on Is it gambling? at Terra Nova
Law and policy need to recognize the difference between a "game experience" and a "gambling experience." The problem is, will courts perceive such a difference? If there is a difference, in what does it consist? We need to come up with bright lines. Some candidates: Narrative: If the random valuable event is an element of a longer story, it is a game. If not, it is a gamble. Aesthetic Scope: If the aesthetic experience extends significantly beyond the immediate thrill of revelation, it is a game. Otherwise, a gamble. Temporal: If the event is instantiated and resolved quickly, it is a gamble. Otherwise a game. Investment: If the event requires little prior work or labor, it is a gamble, otherwise a game. Note: Mental work, research, and information gathering are common to both games and gambling. The work notion intended here involves becoming eligible for the act itself, not learning about the act and its consequences. Grinding shards, for example. Just some ideas.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2012 on Is it gambling? at Terra Nova
And after you hit the bottom of the Great Spartan Pothole, they give you a nice government job with a fat pension, paid for by Germany.
To me, killing the individual filmed here - a 12-week foetus - is child abuse. That's just the way my brain works. Please stop hating on what is, after all, at the very least a respectable ethical position, even if not one with which you agree. I would understand disagreement. Outrage? C'mon. Richard, as for general consensus: It's about evenly split (source). Pro-life has gone from about 1/3 of the population to about 1/2 since 1995. It's speculated that this is due to advances in prenatal imagery as well as the ongoing inability of pro-choice experts to coalesce and agree on a moment when cells change from "thing" to "person." Whereas pro-lifers have consistently held that the magic moment is when the cells change from unfertilized to fertilized.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2012 on Babykiller Gamers at Terra Nova
Check out this datum. According to the latest salary survey in the game industry, the average salary among "Some College" in all fields is higher than "Bachelor's Degree." For example, for programmers, College Dropout = $105,000, College Grad = $89,000. The only educational level that exceeds College Dropout is "Some Graduate," that is, Grad School Dropout. Bubble, bubble, bubble...
So we end up with good common sense. I take this last essay to be saying, "Look, the fact is, good people are working on important problems and they're just coming down one a particular side of the issue that you (Ted) don't like. But that doesn't mean there's a disaster in the humanities." That's fair. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
From my Inbox. Good luck!!! BEGIN QUOTE At the end of the month, the Sawyer Seminar on Rupture and Flow will hold a conference on neoliberal logics and institutional engagements with these logics. The website with all the abstracts of the papers can be found here: The info on the conference: Neoliberal Regimes and Institutions of Knowledge Production April 27-28, 2012 Room 100, Classroom Office Building, 800 East Third St. Neoliberalism has become a remarkably widespread political and economic perspective, so much so that over the past three decades many institutions have altered their practices to incorporate neoliberal principles. Yet not all institutions are adopting the same neoliberal principles, nor are these institutions all easily or eagerly accommodating neoliberal transformations. By asking how different institutions respond to neoliberalism in institutionally specific ways, we are also following Wendy Brown, David Harvey and Phil Mirowski in taking neoliberalism to be fundamentally distinct from earlier forms of capitalism. This conference will explore the uneven processes of neoliberalization comparatively, focusing on how different institutions respond to neoliberalism. Because neoliberal philosophy and policy places so much emphasis on transforming the ways in which knowledge is owned, produced and circulated, this workshop will focus on institutions that centrally engage with creating, labeling, and circulating knowledge: certification regimes, universities, corporate research parks, courts, and administrative legal regimes. Key questions will include: how have institutional practices surrounding knowledge production, management, and dissemination been reworked in response to neoliberal policies, and what new discourses or institutional logics accompany these changes? END QUOTE
I agree that the demands we place on the humanities are not the same as those placed on the social sciences. But perhaps I can propose a unified rationale for the differing demands: That the work of all these people be useful to others. In the social sciences, this would mean, offering analysis that is on-point with respect to clients and the public, as well as reasonably objective. In the humanities, this would mean, offering interpretation and guidance that helps a non-expert with three different tasks: 1) judge where to put precious time, 2) develop critical appreciation, and 3) understand the human condition. To return to the OP, if the humanities were sustained by such criteria today, I would not advise young people to avoid them. If the social sciences stressed objectivity across the board, I wouldn't be advising young people to be careful about that. So really it comes down to an empirical question. First, is my characterization of the fields accurate? Second, are the things I'm talking about the source of the outer world's general disdain for universities? So, what's the evidence of unhelpful practice in the humanities? As you know, I would offer the exclusion of alternate political views, such as conservatism, as evidence. And you ask, rightly, where's the evidence of that? You list a geneology of experts whose discourse is itself simply leads to a rejection of a favorite conservative idea, universal truth. So, as you say, a course in post-structural philosophy is not friendly to a conservative point of view. And you're on the verge of saying (I'm not sure whether you intend the implication) that the history of thinking is not friendly to it, which is close to saying, it's just wrong. Thus, why worry that smart people don't teach conservative thought? It blew my mind, as I grew older in the university, how many quite smart people and ideas were left out of the conversations I heard. I read Johnson's Modern Times and was surprised to discover that I'd never heard anything like it, nor encountered anyone espousing that sort of view. There are these moments I remember. Sitting at lunch with colleagues in political science and economics realizing that nobody, not one person, thought that perhaps, just maybe, Rodney King had it coming. Or the number of times over the years when something really quite nasty and stigmatizing about religious thinking or pro-life politics has been asserted (crazy, fanatic, madmen, zealots) on, and this is the kicker, the breezy assumption that of course everyone in the room agrees. Ha-ha-ha. Or, coming to the end of Ken Binmore's two-volume masterpiece on justice, game theory, and the allocation of goods and realizing that nowhere in the books does he consider the possibility that two people might actually deserve different well-being, that is, that our choices have a moral component that has implications for our desserts. Or the time I asked a close relative, a holder of BS, MS, and PhD degrees from laudable secular institutions, whether she had ever heard any professor say anything remotely reminiscent of some right-wing rant I had just unleashed; no. I have seen hundreds of plays at and around universities; dozens of them had a political point; every one of those political points was left-of-center. Not most - every one. I have never heard an academic say "I am opposed to abortion" in polite company. I have however seen an academic (a social scientist) call a doctor a "dick" and start a fistfight because the doctor had the temerity to say that doctors, not the state, should decide which poor people should receive free care. It's moment when I teach the concept of aesthetic judgment and find that my undergraduates have never encountered the possibility that some things in the arts may be better than others, that some voices may actually deserve more of our time, that not all moral arguments are equal. I could go on. Maybe it's just because I'm persnickety, but gradually the ideological conformity I experienced (socially, you know, over beer and coffee) made me more and more interested in the things all these people were ignoring. This went along with the modernist turn in art, music and literature which, to me anyways, seemed to gradually give over any idea of beauty, compassion and, most important, an orientation to the infinite. Its replacement by post-modernism just exchanged oppressive emptiness for a series of not-funny jokes. Frankly, it all kind of ticked me off. It's one thing to disagree with ideas; it's another to ignore them or laugh at them. Anything being ignored and ridiculed with such universal and constant effort is probably worth a look-see, I thought. When you look and see, you find a tradition of thought that goes back a very long way from which Descartes and Kant dissented quite possibly erroneously. And yes, this is possible is it not? Is it not possible that 200 years of philosophy has been sadly mistaken? To believe that *because* post-structuralism is active today, that *therefore* it must be better than Aquinas, is to commit one's self both to progressivism in history as well as the economists' bane, panglossianism. Mucking around in all this, it has struck me that very little being said today is new at all. What academics today take for very settled, very obvious, very true (though not named as such) positions, has been said many times over the past 2,500 years. Nonetheless, the ancient tradition, the old line of thought, persists. The evolutionist in me (as well as the church-goer) thinks this is not an accident. Think about it. In 500 years, will anyone be a Straussian? Will anyone read Derrida? Now contrast that with Augustine or Maimonides. Think about the sustainability of ideas. Can a consciously biased social science persist? Can a humanities that denies the infinite persist? I don't think so. And this is precisely the moment we are in, it seems to me: The moment when the intellect's dalliance with ideas of nothingness, even though sustained as a community and an institution for a half-century, eventually comes to an end. There's no future that way. Thus the world, ever-busy and filled with people seeking meaning and a quest of some kind, is turning its back. My advice to the young is simply, tap the world on the shoulder and remind it that some of us, the younger ones, do have things to offer: Guidance, discernment, and hope.
Then again, I just read in the New Criterion this gem from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor at Columbia University. Begin quote I have said that the “singular,” as it combats the universal-particular binary opposition, is not an individual, a person, an agent; multiplicity is not multitude. If, however, we are thinking of potential agents, when s/he is not publicly empowered to put aside difference and self-synecdochize to form collectivity, the group will take difference itself as its synecdochic element. Difference slides into “culture,” often indistinguishable from “religion.” And then the institution that provides agency is reproductive heteronormativity (RHN). It is the broadest and oldest global institution. You see now why just writing about women does not solve the problem of the gendered subaltern . . . End quote
I also should stress that clearly the family is the main factor determining whether a person has the strength, ability, and resources to put together a good life. Compared to family effects, the effects of policy and culture and schools are quite minimal. It's been funny to observe over the course of a lifetime how policy analysts, media scholars, pediatricians, politicians, and cultural critics, all these smart people in the different areas I've had the privilege of meddling, spend so much of their time and energy debating what to do, all while ignoring or, more often, shunting aside the family. The attitude seems to be "Yes, yes, yes, we know the family matters. But we can't do anything about the family. We CAN do something about Head Start. Or No Child Left Behind. Or whether there's violence in the movies or in games. Or whether our schools promote neo-liberal ideology [shudder]. So let's focus on all that." Meanwhile the family crumbles. Shunting aside the family is both unwise and tragic. It's unwise because the family mediates all these other policies. There's no point in offering a new policy or a cultural criticism if you're not including family effects (and associated personality structures) as part of your analysis. And it is tragic because what we do can actually affect how strong families are. Our policy and culture since World War II, in the west, has been to weaken the family. We now reap the results. Yet we blame World of Warcraft for drawing in people, even though those people have been raised in a cultural and interpersonal wasteland.
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2012 on On Second Skin at Terra Nova
But seriously, he offers a powerful critique. I'd still rather game than chat, though.
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2012 on Movies Stink at Terra Nova
Augustinian Neoplatonism ftw!!!!
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2012 on Movies Stink at Terra Nova
@inklink: Labyrinth the game is interesting precisely because of what you note: There are no winning strategies, for either side. The game is an exercise in frustration. There are "victory conditions" but no sense whatever that you have imposed your will on a situation or left the situation better off. Is it "real"? No, of course not. But it is a far more accurate encounter with the actual state of affairs in the Middle East than any story I've read, news or otherwise. As for the ability to manipulate simulations: Yes, that's true. Economists build models and then torture them to get the results they want. So let's say - it's not impossible to lie with a system, it's just a lot harder. Think of it this way: Because a model or simulation of a system has to work, it has to meet a certain level of internal consistency. The requirement of functioning forces your assumptions to work together. Now, you can indeed put a bunch of assumptions together to produce something odd. BUt that's hard to do than simply writing down a tale in which odd things happen. Think about it: Isn't it a rather common trick among writers to let a miraculous unknown factor suddenly shift a narrative? We often grumble about that; we often say the narrative would be better if the surprise came from the removal of our own prejudices or the like; sometimes we really like it, we really like seeing God or the Devil step in and do their thing. My point is that, getting a miracle into a story is a lot easier than building a machine that does miraculous things. tl;dr - it's because systems are more engaging than stories.
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2012 on Movies Stink at Terra Nova
Speaking of adaptation: Games are great for teaching systems. Systems might be more important than stories. How about this possibility? What if the critical adaptation for homo sapiens was not sharp teeth or a long neck, but a cognitive apparatus that could understand the ecosystem as a system. System mastery is our gig. Well, stories are one way of teaching others about system mastery, warning us about edge cases and establishing norms. But play and simulation are far better. Don't tell people anything. Just put the person in the problem. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Put a man in the strategic position of the fish and he becomes an aquaculturist who feeds thousands.
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2012 on Movies Stink at Terra Nova
@Emma: Movies are fine, all stories are fine. I laugh and I cry; it's better than Cats. But look around and count how much time you spend with the narrative form of art as opposed to sculptural forms, or musical, or liturgical, or my favorite, games. We're a cultural of tales. Too many tales, and too many of them are too tall. Susan Blackmore argues in The Meme Machine that we do all this chatting because our brains are well-adapted to copying and propagating memes. Given that cultural jungle, being a good meme-propagator is culturally adaptive. So cultural evolution is pushing us into being better and better chatters, which is fine I suppose, so long as it doesn't exclude other things.
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2012 on Movies Stink at Terra Nova
@Greg - A lot of this is motivated by a renewed interest in board games over the past 4 years. They are such good teaching tools, really good for teaching systems in ways that no narrative form can match. As I became more and more convinced of the power and elegance of the face-to-face game format, it started to grate on me that so much FtF time is spent chatting. Of course my wife the therapist says that chatting is a game. OK. Then my point is, why are we playing one game over and over, when there are so many others? I'm beginning to see this as a crisis of game literacy. We only know one way of interacting. We don't play music together any more, we don't dance, we don't perform rituals. Bleh. I'm just harping on Huizenga now. You get the drift.
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2012 on Movies Stink at Terra Nova
Yes. It's called "Diplomacy." Let's play some time. A quicker alternative would be Dixit.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2012 on Movies Stink at Terra Nova
Well, all of this is old news if you're a gamer. If you're not, and many are not, the idea that people in a game would concoct a market manipulation scheme is actually interesting. Yes, even a decade or more after these things first started happening in virtual economies.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2012 on Goonswarm Shocks EVE Markets at Terra Nova
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2011 on Notehall: RMT Comes to the Classroom at Terra Nova
I see both sides to this issue. There are good reasons to be in favor and good reasons to be against. Mobile
Toggle Commented Dec 13, 2011 on Notehall: RMT Comes to the Classroom at Terra Nova