How Minecraft Will Stop North Korea
Imagine a world where your every decision was already made for you. A world where your place in society was predetermined, and you were not encouraged to think for yourself. There would be no personal freedoms or liberties. In this dark world, there is no adventure, and no creativity that does not benefit the state; or its leaders. While this may sound like a dystopian, totalitarian society written about in some science fiction magazine, the harsh reality is that this is the world North Korean citizens live in every day.
North Korean teenagers do not play video games. North Koreans of any age do not have access to the free internet, movies, or mainstream “Western” music. All forms of entertainment in North Korea are state produced and approved; geared toward the idolization of the state. North Korean citizens are not “free” by any sense of the word. There is such a media blackout in North Korea that there has grown a huge relief effort for smuggling items into the country like DVDs, portable video players, and other electronic, modern devices. North Koreans are simply not allowed to have these things. in some cases, death may be the punishment for owning a DVD made in America; though it apparently is a risk many North Koreans are willing to take.
We refer to those living in North Korea as “citizens”, but that may not be the correct term to describe them. “Citizen” would denote that there is a certain amount of “civilization” involved. A more proper term for North Koreans could be “subjects”, because they are subjected to the governments every wim and absolute law.
In stark contrast, the video game “Minecraft” flaunts a creative experience that is completely free and interactive. Minecraft challenges players to think for themselves, and to create entire worlds based on their imagination. Minecraft is certainly a game that the North Korean government does NOT want its subjects playing. The military Junta in North Korea does NOT want its subjects to become free thinkers; for if they were to begin thinking for themselves, they may realize the plight of their situation and rise up to defend their liberties. You see, many people in North Korea don’t know any better. They have been raised in isolation and forced to practically worship the men who run the country for more than 70 years. Most of the people alive in North Korea today have never known their country to be any different all what they know is greatest leader Kim Jong-un. They are “brainwashed” in a sense to believe that their world is an accurate description of the way the rest of the world should be.
What if North Korean subjects suddenly had access to a game like Minecraft? Though the idea may sound ridiculous, it is worth giving pause for thought. Minecraft, at a fundamental level, teaches people to be creative, innovative, and personally expressive; ‘Personally expressive” being key here. In North Korea, the government NEEDS its subjects to remain part of the group. It is the basis of the idealization of any Communist country. “Do not think for yourself, do not do for yourself. Think and do for the group”. While this sounds good in theory, it has drastic consequences. human beings are by nature unique and emotionally creative beings. Communism, and the North Korean Government in particular, aims to suppress the individual in order to render them useful and obedient only to the state.
If North Koreans began playing Minecraft, a drastic culture shift could happen. Spending time being able to create and develop their own world would give North Koreans a sense of individuality that they’ve never imagined. They might begin to wonder why the real world in which they live does not mirror the fantastical world they’ve created in the game. Minecraft, by its nature, is philosophically a polar opposite from the North Korean governments ideals.
Some people may wonder, “If North Koreans have it so bad, why don’t they just revolt?” The answer is simple: they just don’t know any better. Being subjective to the State has been ingrained in their lives for so many years, to think otherwise would be a concept they cannot fully grasp. They do not know HOW to think for themselves; at least not out in the open. Simply playing Minecraft for twenty minutes teaches the player how to think or them self. They are given a totally open world, to manipulate and build as they please. If North Koreans began playing Minecraft, it would cause a surge in free-thinking and open mindedness. For the first time in history, North Koreans would open up their minds to the possibility of change; which would ultimately cause a “domino effect” that could lead to internal revolt and an entire change of their society. If North Korean are able to change the world in a game, why wouldn’t they be able to change the world outside their windows?
North Koreans would also begin to be disillusioned from the power of Kim Jong-un. In North Korea, their is a cult of personality worship aimed at its dictators. The subjects are taught to revere the “fearless leader” so much that they almost consider the man a god. Minecraft would give North Koreans a sense of inner satisfaction and self appreciation that would distance them from the need to seek comfort and protection in worshiping another human being. Many North Koreans may adhere to this ideology out of fear. Minecraft would teach them to not be afraid. Having an open world that they can manipulate and change would start a chain reaction of rebellion in North Korean people.
It could be a far fetched prospect; that a mere video game could spark a revolution. But, every revolution begins with the true yearning of a people to be free. Minecraft can provide the freedom that North Koreans have been missing for so many years.
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