Sight – A Disturbing Vision And A Disconnect With Reality #edcmooc

All life is a game. SIGHT is a disturbing representation of a mind distorted by gaming. A mind so addicted to gaming that it treats life itself as a game.  A sort of “gamification” of life, if I may use the term that is being floated by many of the EDCMOOCers over the last one week.

SIGHT portrays an individual who is so addicted to gaming that he views everything that he does as part of a game. It is almost as if he is in the game itself as a character, and living his gaming avatar. Everything for him as about scoring points, be it an imagined sky-diving freefall or chopping of cucumbers. Here is an individual with a mind that imagines everything that he does as occurring in a game, and all his actions are “moves” designed to add more points. It’s all about winning trophies and badges.

Watching this video reminded me of an article by Dr. Kimberly Young , an internet addiction expert. I had come across this article a couple of years ago, and went looking for it again today. In this article titled “Poor Social Relationships Linked to Video/Online Gaming Addiction”, she says “A large part of gaming is about making social relationships. Gamers often make friends with other gamers and it is these friends who may even first introduce the gamer to the game. Ultimately, online gaming is a social activity. Most online games include copious amounts of chats, allowing players to interact with each other in the guise of the characters they represent. The social aspect is a primary factor in many game addictions. Many people are lonely, have never felt like they belonged. People get a sense of belonging in the game. In some cases, it provides the only friends they interact with. Gamers can become hooked on this social fantasy world.”

She further goes on to say that “Gaming provides individuals with an outlet for their imaginations. They are drawn into the virtual fantasy world of the game and they internalize the game as a real place and others characters are seen as real people and not fictional characters.”

SIGHT, therefore is a disturbing portrayal of life affected by gaming addiction – an individual so badly affected that he seeks perfection even in his imagination. An example of this is his “perfectly Visualized” landing in the sky-diving scene, and thereafter, in “restarting sequence” of chopping the cucumber because one cut was not perfect. This is followed by the picking up of “points” while frying an egg !

And then there is this scene of “visualizing” the appropriate dress to be worn for a dinner date, which is almost like picking the character that one wishes to play as in the game. The icing on the cake is the dinner date scenario itself, where the “date” is being assessed by “mental apps” that define her difficulty levels, matching her as an individual to her “profile”. The entire conversation is about the “game” which apparently both of them are playing. It is hardly a social interaction between two real people – it is more like a move against counter-move between two game characters.

And then the finale where the girl realizes that the whole evening has been “rigged” – a manipulation using a dating app, and is walking out, when our man switches to another “strategy”, where the film ends.

Bizarre ? You bet.

We humans may have perfected the art of electronic communication over the years, but when it comes to our inter-personal communication, we don’t seem to have progressed much over the centuries, and technology may have, perhaps, made it worse for us. Gaming and internet addiction is for real. It is a phenomena that is affecting a lot of people globally. People tend to get hooked to whatever it is they enjoy – be it internet, be it chatting, be it gaming or anything similar. “Net Junkie” is a reality. People get so addicted to technology they forget that there is a real world waiting for them on the outside.  They tend to withdraw more and more into their virtual worlds, and connect well with people, or characters, in their virtual worlds. But when it comes to human relationships, they are a disaster. Such people, when deprived of their gadgets or computers, actually develop what psychologists refer to as “withdrawal symptoms”, similar to those being treated for drug de-addiction.  I know what I am talking about- Been there – done that. Scary !

A fellow EDCMOOCer and member of our PLN, Monica also voiced similar thoughts in her blog-post titled “Are we inside or outside ? That’s a good question !”, where she says “It’s really dangerous to lose our real identity in the real world. We have many aspects to enrich our lives and if we are involved only in one space, we will lose other chances to experience different lifestyles. This dystopia video does give me an alert that we can’t live inside our own world. Technology makes it easier to create amazing digital space and we should accept it because of the convenience. Only the issue we should clearly recognize is how we arrange our position, inside or outside?”

Too much of everything is bad, it is said. Same is true for the internet as well as technology. It is entirely up to us as humans to decide how dependent we let ourselves become on technology. But the question that then arises, considering that technology is all-pervasive today, is – How much is too much ?