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Dialogue of Cultures
Violent Videos And
The high school murders by a "Counter-Strike"-addicted 19-year-old in Erfurt, Germany on April 26, 2002, renewed and sharpened the call by Helga Zepp-LaRouche for an international ban on such games. This was echoed by other German political leaders and experts. It is available on the Schiller website, along with background analysis by experts.
Lyndon LaRouche has received many e-mail protests from younger and other persons attempting to defend those games which they play and design. Virtually all have tried to place the blame for the "new violence" by schoolchildren, entirely upon their parents, exculpating completely the makers and marketers of killer videos.
LaRouche has sent the following general reply to all these protesters (adding specific rejoinders to some). It is an important discussion foras he notesall four of the living generations affected by this growing crisis. Click here for related articles.
On the Question of Video Game Violence.
Today, I have received a passel of e-mail messages on the subject of my exposure of the role of point-and-shoot video games, of types which were originally designed for military traininggames which have played a well-defined role in fostering the rising tide of "new violence" among minors. The well-documented recent case in an Erfurt, Germany high school, reflects a demonstrated connection between habituation to such video games, and slaughters such as that at Columbine, or Erfurt. The complaints against the conclusions of the experts, of which I am one, are not only groundless, but often exhibitions of wild-eyed, specifically juvenile types of hysteria. However, there is hope for those young people, if they could step out of the grip of the brainwashing-effects which such games induce, and examine their behavior in the adopted role of a bystander.
Therefore, I shall reply to your objections in two parts. First, I shall present a categorical description of the specific conditions which lead growing numbers of children and adolescents, in the U.S.A., Japan, and Europe, into the state of mind which the deadly potential of all point-and-shoot video games represents for the all-too-typical victim of membership in that generation. This first, generic portion of my reply to you I shall repeat, in reply to any message related to the same point. This must be undertaken at some, unavoidable length, but is more than worth the effort, since there are so many who have been victimized by that brainwashing, and since the possibility a future civilized nation depends upon liberating the victims from that grip.
Second, I shall address some of those points which are more or less specific to your statement, omitting reference to matters which do not warrant such attention.
The Generation of Vipers
On the first count, nearly every U.S. adolescent, in particular, today, needs to be jolted into recognizing the kind of mental pit into which his or her entire generation has been dumped. Some such victims have escaped from that pit; most have not. Some would-be critics of my warnings are partially correct, when they insist, that they are members of a group whose families were too impoverished to provide the seeming luxury of what is deemed, usually with juvenile hysteria, as the "games which popular people play."
It is true, that even without habituation in such games, there are social factors affecting most individuals of that same generation, factors which foster effects which are related to the same pathologies specific to those victims which are video-game players.
That said, the typical victim of video-game-playing pathology today, is a member of the fourth of four generations of living Americans. The first, the dwindling remnant of those born prior to 1914. The second, the generation born during the 1920s or early 1930s, the generation typified by returning veterans from World War II. The third, the generation of the children of the second generation, typified as the so-called "Baby Boomers." The fourth, the generation dominated by the children and adolescents born to families of the "Baby Boomers"; the so-called "no future," or "punk" generation. The latter two of these four generations could be regarded as typifying our national "American tragedy" of today; the widespread hatred among the fourth generation for their parents' generation, is the underlying social phenomenon which makes the spread of point-and-shoot games so infectious a factor in spread of what, in functional terms, a crucial, widespread mental disease among today's youth.
The most immediate, most serious intellectual problem of the "no future" generation, is the destruction of the quality of education in pre-school, primary, secondary, and university programs today. Typical of this spread of mental disorder, is the fact that the universities to which parents sent their offspring, at prices in the order of $50,000-a-year and so on, include institutions which asserted their right to graduate pupils without requiring any significant competence in the ideas of "dead, white, European males." Pupils about to graduate from secondary schools sometimes weep, saying that they realize that they really know almost nothing from matriculation in today's secondary schools, excepting the rules of role-playing. Sending an adolescent member of the family to schools and universities of that sort, does not express the intention of developing the student's knowledge, but simply the social status attributed to the student, and the student's parents, by the fact that parents have spent so much to educate such littleness of minds.
Nothing I have just written on the matter of these four generations is untrue. In fact, it is very important that this be recognized; but, it only scratches the surface of the deep and deadly threat to civilization by mass-mania around juvenile intoxication, which point-and-shoot video games imply for the future of humanity as a whole. What is most important for the continuity of any form of actually civilized life, is less what one generation does to produce the conditions of life of the successor, than what it may fail to have done.
What Is Culture?
Although I have earned a published record, over thirty-five-odd years, as the most successful long-range economic forecaster of my time, my principal scientific accomplishment has been in defining a scientific approach to the role of Classical forms of artistic culture in determining the generation and assimilation of economically-significant scientific progress. This is summarized in my published comments on the coincidence and differences between Vladimir Vernadsky's definition of the Noösphere and my own approach to the same topical area.
The working-point of relevance here, is the fact that the functional difference between the human species and all lower forms of life, is those cognitive powers which exist as a potential of the individual human mind, by means of which experimentally valid universal physical principles are discovered, and by means of which knowledge of those principles is transmitted within and among societies. Without that distinctive characteristic, the living population of the human species could never have exceeded a total of several or slightly more millions, on this planet, under changing conditions prevalent during a period of the recent two millions years. Thus, a competent definition of "culture," signifies the transmission of increases of the human species' "ecological" potential to exist, across cultures, and through successive generations.
As Plato emphasizes in his Timaeus dialogue, in his time, several causes for the collapses of cultures were known to him, partly through the work of Egyptian historians of that time: great floods, such as that caused by the cumulative melting of the great Eurasian glaciation, which struck the Mediterranean and Black Sea about 12,000 years ago; tectonic effects such as the great explosion of the Aegean island of Thera; and self-inflicted disasters of mankind. Ultimately, we would expect that progress in science would enable mankind to deal more effectively with so-called natural disasters; in the meantime, it is social catastrophes, such as that which took control of the U.S.A. during the second half of the 1960s, which represent the man-controllable forms of the worst disasters threatening civilizations. This latter is the nature of the social-intellectual catastrophe which hit the "Baby Boomers" as they were emerging from childhood, during the middle through late 1960s. This is the root of the willful catastrophes which the people of the U.S.A. have created for themselves, and their adolescent offspring, today.
That is the root of the conflict, approaching hot hatred, which today's "punkers" express against their "Baby Boomer" parents, today. That is key for understanding the gravity of the threat which point-and-shoot video games represent among the predominantly uncultured, and cognitively deprived, digital computer-like minds of increasing rations among children and adolescents today.
Look at the relevant social process of cultural transmission, or decadence, from the vantage-point of my experience.
Under normal conditions, the pivotal feature of cultural transmission occurs within the bounds of what is identified as "the extended family." The degree to which cognitive forms of transmission of ideas of principle occur, more or less, within the bounds of the extended family, tends to favor higher levels of intellectual and moral achievement among children of such families. The emphasis on cognitive training in primary and secondary schools and universities, functions as an extension, in the alma mater, of the relatively best standard of intellectual life within the family. In my case, such family relations reached directly into grandparents born during the 1860s, and to a personality often brought to life at the family table, a great-great-grandfather born at about the same time as Lincoln.
When we combine that family-centered notion of culture with the examination of life in earlier and foreign places in history, and render history comprehensible through reliving ancient and more recent discoveries of universal physical principles, we may achieve a practical sense of what culture really means, and what individual morality really means.
Against that background, the crisis of the 1960s brought about a general, negative cultural revolution in both the U.S.A. and in globally extended European civilization generally. This pro-Malthusian, "post-industrial," "rock-drug-sex counter-cultural" revolution, became an increasingly hegemonic cultural trend among those "Baby Boomers" whom increasing rations of the "no future" generation have come to hate as those who have deprived the coming generation of adults of the right to have a future. It is a literally "dionysiac," existentialist quality of hatred.
These are the circumstances within which the impact of point-and-shoot video games must be understood. It is not merely the killing of people. It is the dionysiac act of killing of civilization.
Email Dialogue with a 17 year old Video
I've been reading some of your statements on video games. While i agree that the balme can't be placed squarely on parents, but I think some of it should be though. It's up to game developers to responsibly market the games to the appropiate audience, retailers to make sure kids aren't getting ahold of the games, and the parents to at least supervise what their kids are up too. But i think banning the games entirely is a bit extreme. I believe that violent games don't create violent people. Instead I think people who are simply violent for one reason or another. I'm 17 and have played all sorts of games since i was 2. I've also played a lot of violent games. But I'm a very peaceful person. I've only struck someone one time when I felt I was in physical danger. If games had such a drastic effect on people i think we would see much more violence then we do now. I also believe that the amount of violence has only increase din proportion to the population. It's the presses covereage of violence that has increased. There were still shootings in the 1950's, but there was still a "you cant even talk about that on television" attitude. Also, there isn't a way to effectively ban a form of entertainment. In fact, many people believe games are transcending form a form of entertainment, to a form of interactive art. And there are millions of people who consider themselves hardcore gamers, but you dont hear about it. N'Sync can sell 2 million copies of a CD and it makes the front page. Diablo 2 sells as many copies, BEFORE it even releases, at twice the price but you dont hear a thing.
Basically what I'm getting at is regulate the games. Make sure people who are 1. to young, or 2. Mentally Unstable or violent, don't play these games. The reason older people (basically anyone over 15) play these games and have fun is because it sucks you in to another world. We aren't a bunch of violence for pleasure wackos who's dream it is is to kill and maim innocent people. In fact most violent games give a big sense of good vs. evil. Sure some are the other way around but the point of it is to try somthing different. Give gamers a different experience. And most of the kill without reason games aren't successful. the sucsessful oens are the ones that give you damn good reason to shoot the enemy, somthing more then because he'll shoot you first
MY REPLY IS:
- - Lyndon
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