I’m in a seemingly eternal hiatus between 40- to 60-hour work weeks and retirement, which will begin later this summer. Once retired, I expect to have more time to devote to writing (and, probably next year, Cascade volcano exploring). I have been thinking of writing fiction but have realized that there is a gap between me and the modern audience. I hadn’t a clue why that was until I came across this today on YouTube. Wow! How can a fiction writer compete with gaming?
Well, instead of becoming whatever equivalent of a modern gamer that’s possible for a 60-plus-year-old, I instead remembered G. K. Chesterton, whose words I happened to be reading this morning:
The evil of militarism is not that it shows certain men to be fierce and haughty and excessively warlike. The evil of militarism is that it shows most men to be tame and timid and excessively peaceable. The professional soldier gains more and more power as the general courage of a community declines…The military man gains the civil power in proportion as the civilian loses the military virtues…There never was a time when nations were more militarist. There never was a time when men were less brave. All ages and all epics have sung of arms and the man; but we have effected simultaneously the deterioration of the man and the fantastic
perfection of the arms.
I grew up in a time of what Chesterton would call “big ideas” – going to the Moon, making the world safe for democracy, world peace, and so forth. This, decades after the first nukes went off. The ideas weren’t bad, but they put into practice by fallible humans, and problems happened. However, somehow, instead of newer big ideas, everything just sort of died.
Pretty soon there won’t be anyone left on Earth who has walked on the Moon.
“Making the world safe for democracy” is an ironic joke.
And the nukes are still deployed and that club is growing.
Also, here in the United States, we complain about government invasion of our privacy, but turn to that same government to save us. Back in the day, once word broke about NSA surveillance, for example, that agency and others would have been inundated by literally millions of Privacy Act requests – that’s quite a deterrent. And yet nowadays apparently Americans are afraid to draw attention to themselves that way.
Yes, our general courage has indeed inclined. And the military man has gained in civil power:
That ugly business in Ferguson, when you get right down to it, wasn’t about racism. Sure, there’s terrible racism involved, but racism has existed in the US for centuries and only occasionally has broken out in violence. I think it breaks out when society is too afraid to be decent and so the bullies gain control.
In Ferguson, all of a sudden, the cops were soldiers and armed and willing to fire on civilians. Only when the country’s usually benign security forces had reached such a state did the country suddenly wake up to the horror of it all – not while they were arming and turning paramilitary. And then, those of us who don’t live in Ferguson set the thing aside as racism and “what are ya gonna do” and went back to sleep again as best we could.
Cowardice made us forget Ferguson and guarantees that even worse will happen in the future.
So…I’ve veered off my topic quite a bit. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think gaming is going to revolutionize society in the long run. I think we’re going to get our courage back again and quit fantasizing about dramatic things and go out and do them, once again.
I’m Theravadan Buddhist, by the way. So I’m going to stick to writing about big ideas, not try to copy the dramatic fiction of computer games. Only timid people like those. I like big ideas better, just as in real life I prefer volcanoes over ordinary mountains. It’s just a personal thing, but that’s what all writing is about, too.
In the meantime, of course, there will be plenty of nonfiction here. Thank you all so much for your interest!
Front page image is from morguefile/pippalou
Categories: Random thoughts