Critique.AI

AI is the two-faced god that will do anything for you and the opposite for someone else.

Ask AI if Slavoj Žižek Is Right That Video Games Are Self-Care

Ask AI if Slavoj Žižek Is Right That Video Games Are Self-Care

Explanation

The bold parts of the text is the prompt, and the rest was written by the AI. If you’d like to support this project, please buy me a coffee.

Advanced AI was invented by soviet communists to help humanity  better understand itself and the world. Let’s use it for that purpose, instead of merely for the purpose of selling better ads and to better manipulate the population. For this post, AI also created the images.

Prompt

In the book Absolute Recoil, philosopher Slavoj Žižek writes, “It is all too easy to denounce devotion to computer games as a pathological obsession representing merely a compulsive enslavement to commercialized pop culture. But when one observes teenagers in, say, Seoul engaged in a collective game for several hours or even days, one might rather admire them as an exemplary case of dedicated self-discipline and concentration on an activity which brings joy — something like today’s version of the spiritual exercises elaborated by Loyola. Or, to put it in Foucauldian terms, the only real alternative to being controlled and disciplined by anonymous social mechanisms is a no less ruthless self-discipline and training. Such participation is simultaneously a matter of extreme rational self-control and a profoundly ecstatic experience — when I act, the Other acts through me, and in this sense I act “with the grace of God,” as Loyola puts it.”

When we consider the fact that young people today are born into a world where most birds and insects have died in the last several decades, and where the effects of climate change already include vast, constant, and innumerable natural disasters as well as human suffering on an incomprehensible scale, it’s easy to see Žižek’s point.

Response From AI

The games that we play can be a form of escape from the reality of our situation, but they can also be a way of training and disciplining ourselves for the difficult tasks that lie ahead. In either case, they are a form of spiritual exercise that can help us to find joy in the midst of suffering.

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Given the context of exponentially increasing disasters plus the fact that so many young people are becoming overwhelmed and withdrawing from public life, one of the greatest existential threats to today’s young people is not just climate change itself, but despair.

In a world where the future looks increasingly bleak, it is more important than ever to find ways to cultivate hope. Games can be one way to do this.

When we play games, we enter into a voluntary contract with the game designer in which we agree to follow certain rules in order to achieve a specific goal. This contract is similar to the social contract that we have with our government, in which we agree to follow certain rules in exchange for the protection and provision of the state.

In both cases, we agree to give up some of our freedom in order to achieve a greater good. And in both cases, we can find ourselves feeling trapped and suffocated if the rules become too restrictive or the goal seems unattainable.

But games also offer us something that the real world often does not: a chance to start over. Whenever we feel like we’re stuck in a rut, we can simply reset the game and try again.

This is not to say that games are a perfect substitute for real life. But they can be a valuable tool for helping us to cultivate hope, resilience, and perseverance in the face of adversity.

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Therefore, perhaps some good advice we could give to young people struggling with executive dysfunction in the face of constant, pervasive, and escalating disasters — particularly within the capitalist context of feeling pressured to somehow “earn” one’s right to live in the world by working depressing, pointless, and undervalued jobs — is instead to take some time out to play some games.

It might not seem like it, but games can be a form of self-care. They can be a way to relax, to escape the stress of the real world, and to find joy in the midst of suffering. And they can also be a way to train and discipline ourselves for the difficult tasks that lie ahead.