I got a fever, and the only medicine is more philosophy.
I want to pardon myself from not having blogged. Of course, I have nobody to speak of who is expecting anything from this blog, at least that I’m aware of, …other than myself.
Anyway, recently I have gone on a sort of “philosophical bender”. This happens from time to time in my life; I get extremely inspired by a thinker, a book, or an idea and I go mad for it, gobbling everything they have to offer. I have done this with several people so far, gobbling up their minds, learning their arguments, learning their unique and amazing ways of thinking, their strengths and limitations etc., but I do have to respect them to be able to do this.
Zhuangzi dreaming in a dream of dreams
My dearest and greatest “mind” is Zhuangzi. The Zhuangzi is a perennial love of mine and is written with such grace that to grasp at it is like trying to capture my image in the reflection of a lake by putting my hands into the water. I love this type of work. But there are indeed others who are still alive who have quite profound thoughts. Another would be Vine Deloria Jr. to whom I owe a great debt to for pushing me to what I do now (teach), but he’s not alive. He is quite beloved – and importantly so- in the Indigenous studies, but if you read him carefully he can be controversial for Indians. I won’t go into it, but his work is highly fascinating, – which reminds me I should re-read some of his work this summer.
Fun fact: Custer wasn’t a general when he was killed. There was a general that was killed by Indians though. You should look it up.
There are others of course, but the most recent one is John Gray (and he is alive!). I read an article of his where he intellectually “curb stomped” (as my friend put it) another writer, in a book review called “Humanity is a Figment of the Imagination“. From that article decided I’d buy three of his books. I’m on vacation for the first time in my life in like 3 years and it is such an amazing luxury to be able to read all day, or go the park and read without worry. So I’ve read a book and a half of his in the last couple days and watched a bunch of his videos. I can say today that I’m drawing the lines of where I fit him into my ‘multi-dimensional spectrum of thinkers’. Of ‘Western’ thinkers, it is difficult for me to find someone that I really enjoy. Most tend to treat Indigenous people, or non-Western peoples as inferior, even if accidentally, and this obviously tempers my enjoyment of them. John Gray doesn’t quite pass this test, but the opposite test is the degree to which a thinker critically looks at the Western paradigm, and he passes it with flying colors. This is why I like him so much, perhaps. He does seem to be grasping some of the Eastern stuff too, and even mentions Zhuangzi a few times in his Straw Dogs book. Even the title of the book was inspired by the early Daoist book Dao De Jing.
This one is his best seller from 2002, I believe. I’m about halfway through this one. My pet theory I’m developing is that he so is impressed by Eastern Daoist thought that he can’t help but try to bring it in, but in a Western way. Aphoristic, inspired by the Dao De Jing, but he draws on Western style of aphoristic writing style, or creates a type of hybrid.
If you have just less than two hours, I’m adding a video of him talking about the issues he brings up in his newest book (the one I just read): The Soul of the Marionette
So games have taken the back burner although at night I’m tending to play a bit of Overwatch. I also bought about four games from the Summer Steam sale. I also bought Asperite, now that it costs money. It was only 10% off, but I want the dang thing.
Ohhh yeah baby, more games I won’t play!
It is odd thought how when I get the philosophical fever, the notion of making games for me really doesn’t even feature in my thoughts. I have been recently invited to guest lecture for a course coming up in the Fall. This makes my fever even more feverish. Really if there was something about games that I would like to do, is to inspire philosophical reflection on extremely critical issues, issues like John Gray talks about, like the mistaken notion of “progress” in modern thinking, in agreeance with more cyclical views of Indigenous and Eastern philosophies, like natural world being a constant flux.
If you can just aim for those bulls-eyes, those deeply held notions, you can make something amazing, I believe. If you aim to design for specific things, like “go out and vote” or “learn how to do math”, then it will only be a piecemeal success if doesn’t hit the hearts and minds. Again though, what do I know about making games?