09 August, 2005

Fairy tales and fearful fury

The other day I got a new game for my Playstation. I had been looking for a light gun, like they use at some arcades for shooting games, and I couldn’t find one anywhere. Then I found a copy of Namco’s Time Crisis: Crisis Zone which included a GunconTM light gun. The set sold for only $59.95, and that is not much more than a regular game, so I went ahead and bought it. Other than not having the force feedback effect that some of the arcade guns have, it rocks. It adds a whole new dimension to the gaming experience that I really enjoy. I pretty much suck at Time Crisis, though. The game actually rewards you for collateral damage, meaning you get points for blowing the heck out of the environment. This concept is alien to me, because I was always taught, and taught my troops, to use the least amount of force necessary to do the mission. It is difficult to win the hearts and the minds of the native population if you have just destroyed their neighborhood in a raid that netted you four ‘insurgents’ (an insurgent being anyone who doesn’t smile and bow and kiss the ‘liberators’ feet). It does explain why we use gunships and tanks to return small arms fire. The new soldiers must think they get extra points for widespread destruction because of the ‘war as a video game’ feeling that they got from watching smart bombs missiles (anything guided is by definition a missile; a bomb is dropped. It is redundant to say guided missile.) threading their way through downtown Baghdad while the seamen or airmen who launched it were hundreds of miles away. Soldiers get closer, and are supposed to have more precision. One shot, one kill. But the world has moved on.
I am reading a series of books by a psychologist named Robert Johnson. They are called HeShe, and We. They are, as you may have guessed, about the dynamics of the male psyche, the female psyche, and the dynamics of a relationship, respectively. In them, Dr. Johnson relates a myth (for instance, he uses the myth of Parsifal and the Holy Grail in He) and then dissects it with Jungian symbology to find the lesson inside it. His concept is that a myth is to a society what a dream is to an individual. I find the books extremely interesting, because I have often looked at fables and myths to separate the wheat from the chaff. All myths have both lies and truth in them; sometimes the lies are added through mistake, and sometimes I think specifically to mislead. As Dio said, the best way to hide a lie was to wrap it in truth. Anyway, it was interesting to see it taken from a Jungian perspective, and dissected so neatly. I have never really paid much attention to Jung, I have always preferred Maslow and Erikson. But his concept of the collective mind does intrigue me, because it is parallel to the concept of an Akashic record; I think I should probably pick up a book or two by him.
It made me think of the fable, "The Princess and the Pea." In the fable, a prince was trying to find the finest princess to wed, and for some reason that I can’t quite remember, he was led to believe that he could find her by stacking 40 mattresses on top of each other and placing a dried pea at the very bottom of the stack, and then letting each of the hopefuls sleep for a night on his IHOP bed. The hopefuls all remarked in the morning how luxurious the sleep they had was, until one day someone complained. One woman, upon arising, remarked that her sleep had been disturbed by the mattress being too lumpy. In this manner, the prince found the most royal of the princesses to marry. What I think, though, is that he found the most royal pain in the ass, and I wonder what this fable is trying to teach us. It seems to be saying that the higher maintenance a woman is, the more worthy of our respect. Now I believe in maintaining a relationship, and a woman worthy of my respect is also worthy of high maintenance, but the corollary just doesn’t hold. Just because a woman (or any person, really) is high maintenance, doesn’t make her worthy of more respect than a person who is not. It may be that she is just spoiled. I prefer the type of woman that Heinlein and Rand portray much more than the helpless and high-maintenance princesses of fables and fairy-tales.

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