Speaking of tribalism… August 14, 2014Posted by shaunphilly in Skepticism and atheism.
Tags: Babylon 5, chaos, Dark Tower, Ingress, order
So, due to the pecking and poking of some people I know, I downloaded Ingress yesterday. I’ve known about the game for a little while, but didn’t get it immediately.
If you don’t know what Ingress is, look it up. It’s a game played with GPS smartphones, and is based upon a science-fictiony story-line based upon some “transdimensional intelligence that may be infiltrating our dimension through XM Portals.”
Aside from all the background story, it’s a game about claiming territory by use of phones in order to maintain control of areas and, metaphorically, people. But instead of playing sitting at a computer, you have to physically go to locations to play.
So, since I love walking through the city anyway, it seems like something which might be fun.
Fictions, Factions, and Fractures
The Enlightenment are defined thus:
Faction attempting to help the Shapers infiltrate Earth. Followers believe that the Shapers bring a powerful Enlightenment that will lead to an evolution of humankind.
And the Resistance is defined this way:
Faction defending the Earth from the Shaper ingression. They are seen by some as being fearful of change or progress, but the Resistance is firm in its belief that it is protecting humanity.
I admit that I felt some affinity for the implications of both sides of this game, but as someone pointed out to me last night, my love of The Dark Tower might make me lean towards the Resistance. Anyone who knows the series will know why, but briefly: powers within that fictional universe seem to be using the powers of the Tower in malicious ways, while claiming to be bringing order and peace. Roland and his ka-tet are the Resistance against these attempts. I, obviously, side with Roland Deschain, of the line of Eld.
But at the same time, I have previously considered myself more of a Vorlon than a Shadow, even if ultimately I side with John Sheridan. And this got me thinking about the forces of chaos and order, and I re-discovered, in a new way, something about myself.
Order out of Chaos
Having had so many tumultuous emotions most of my life, I have craved order, rationality, and structure. For so many years, I sought to bring together the forces, impulses, etc within me into a structured, controlled, and rational whole.
But you can’t structure chaos, at least not from the beginning. Chaos, when unleashed, is too messy, too complicated, too undefined to be stacked and sorted, and so it’s often best to let it make a little bit of a mess. And then it struck me; all those years of trying to put everything away in their correct places have built up a very strong and useful strength of creating order out of chaos, so why was I afraid of the chaos?
Why not allow my emotions to flow freely? Why not allow the creativity to just flow, unafraid of whether it was good, worthy, or structured correctly? I didn’t need to edit or govern my emotions and creativity as it came out, because I’m really good at doing that after the fact.
My emotions are not dangerous, in themselves, but when they are restricted, governed, and held back they become a problem. My creativity is not bad, but when it’s restrained and given too intentional a shape, it’s not as raw and vulnerable.
In short, I need to trust myself, because what is inside me is not a monster, not stupid, and not unworthy. What is inside me is interesting, caring, and sometimes beautiful. All these years of governing what fell through the portals of myself has been a kind of voluntary censorship. It will take time to retrain my instincts to do less of this restraining, governing, and controlling, but I think it’s a worthy goal.
Oh, right, Ingress….
I went with the Resistance. Not because I necessarily believe that the “Shapers” are trying to take over and enslave us. This is not a conservative reaction of fear against what might be an actual change and enlightenment. I chose resistance because all of my life I would have made the other choice, and this time I don’t want control to win.
I want a little chaos. I want a little Shadow. I want a little Resistance of the order I’ve enforced on myself for so many years, because I know that if that control is worth utilizing, I already have that muscle toned. I want to strengthen my muscles of resisting that order.
Also, which side you choose doesn’t really matter. The game cares little for the science fiction behind it.