Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Who Broke Reality?

This book captures the reality of our children's gaming rituals. Even though I'm not all the way through it, my head is about to nod off of my neck. 

It doesn't just resonate with me, it speaks a truth, in a language I can understand, that my son has been telling me in his teenage version through hissing and sneering when I ask questions about his gaming friends, whether or not they are "real" friends. 

He is insulted because what I am questioning is his ability to tell real people from fake ones. What he says in his enigmatic way is that most of the fake people he encounters are in real life. 

Wow, sounds like me at 17. We read in the back of teen magazines that someone else who was stranded in the midWest and loved Depeche Mode was looking for a pen pal. 

Then I had my first online bestie before my son could speak. She was a real friend, even after I met her IRL. And she wasn't the last. My oldest online friendship began over ten years ago. We send gifts back and forth across many countries, I've collected some of her husband's art. I owe her an email, as a matter of fact. 

In reading this book, an analogy has come to me that explains the parenting gap that gaming has filled:

The mother cat for thousands of years has brought a mouse to her kittens for training, to teach them survival. 

One day, all the mama cats had some wild catnip and decided to bring flowers home to their kittens instead of mice. They started a cat coop and played games with no losers, where everyone who participated received a mouse made of bran.

After the next generation created cat simulators, their kittens hacked the simulators to bring them simulated mice so that the kittens could play fun games that honed their survival skills. 

They learned to survive, even thrive. All was restored to the ancient way. And they never ate bran again. 

How does this relate to art and creativity? 

A portion of my son's generation is creating an entire world. Think about it. Perhaps read the book. Please listen to the future. They're onto something.

My son's fractal artwork will be on display in the gallery soon. >