Videogames and Sociology: Twitter’s pic of the day summary (26–30)
This is the sixth round of Pic of the day RECAP (26–30). To understand what all of this is about, check out the original entry.
26 — Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse: Can we ever truly know another human being?
Not that I’m a functionalist, but what is the social function of rhetorical questions? What is the reason we ask questions that we don’t expect to be answered? Is it self-awareness of our conditions of possibility, that is, the limits of what can be thought and known in a particular epoch and cultural context? Are they pointless statements of a meaningless discourse, void of any real social purpose? Have I just posed a series of rhetorical questions myself ? In my opinion, they are quiescent screams of horror destined to silence our fears to the unknown. Or maybe it’s just an excuse to practice some cheap existentialism. So, can we ever truly know another human being? If there’s one thing I’m sure of is that you’ll never be able to truly know anyone, or anything for that matter. Not at least with sociology, monsieur.
27 — Slender: The Arrival: Can you see it?
In his reflections on the Foucauldian notion of dispositif, Deleuze described one of its dimensions, the curves of visibility, as the lines of light that let us see by forming different shapes, which are inseparable from the dispositif in question. Thus, each dispositif distributes “the visible and the invisible” (1992: 160), what we can see and cannot. It’s important to emphasise that those lines of light don’t just fall upon pre-existing objects, the light is helping to create them. Therefore, when we are faced with the question Can you see it?, we should ask ourselves if the social apparatus in which we dwell is letting us see it, whatever that is, an in what shape. Sometimes, there are things we don’t want to see — i.e. the Slenderman — but the dispositif keeps projecting those shapes in front of us. Is there any way out of it? Yes, Deleuze also delineated them: the lines of subjectification, the lines of escape. It’s the dispositif escaping from itself, breaking its regimes and boundaries. Of course, after that, new social apparatuses will be established, imposing new curves of visibility, which includes all sorts of Slendermen and other, fantastic or not, dark creatures.
28 — Dinner date: Perhaps I should give it up, move on
We tend to cling to what we think it’s true, even if we have plenty of evidence in support of its spurious nature. Most of the time it’s because we’re used to it or are afraid to change or improvise. We might come to assume the lack of truth in what we believe, but we still hang on to it. Those moments in which including the most recalcitrant constructivist endures the heavy weight of the social structure. Why do we keep doing things we know that are a dead end? Why don’t we give up and move on? It might be the hope of a highly improbable (positive) denouement. Eventually, you’ll move on or the structure will do it for you.
29 — Portal: The cake is a lie
There are white lies and half-truths. There are also blatant and downright lies. Some people would feel ashamed of telling a lie, even a harmless one; others would do it barefacedly. No matter what type or how they’re delivered, lies are told all the time and are part of our social landscape. Let’s face it, lies are a fundamental pillar to sustain the well-being of our societies. A world without lies would be as bad as one full of them. Try to be honest everywhere at any time and you’ll see what I mean. Although necessary, there are cruel heartless lies that can be devastating. Those that are pregnant with broken promises of a better future, a endless love, or a delicious cake. The ones involving cakes, those sweet pieces of heaven, are the worst of them.
30 — Aliens Colonial Marines: Caution, quarantine area
Quarantine. What an interesting concept. Like a laboratory or a heritage site, quarantine suspends the current socio-material conditions of existence. In this case, we’re not testing reality to know more about it or trying to experience what cannot be experienced any more; it’s all about controlling an epidemic. Quarantine implies, therefore, the temporary closure of a space in order to isolate an area, an ecosystem, a population. The main aim of quarantine is to prevent an outbreak of a particular disease. What if quarantine was applied to broader social aspects of reality such as ideas, patterns of behaviour, cultures, or rules? Then you realise that the social structure is a big quarantine area continually trying to hold the winds of social change. Obviously, like in all those films and video games — and because every quarantine always comes to an end, it’s only a question of time that the quarantine area is breached.
Deleuze, Gilles (1992). “What is a Dispositif?” in T.J. Armstrong (ed). Michel Foucault Philosopher. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 159–168.
Originally published at the3headedmonkey.blogspot.com.