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He is worshiped as a god by the Cult of the Damned and the Scourge
The sporting cult was consciously violent. The headmasters frowned on tennis and other ‘effeminate’ pastimes, and the rough-and-tumble encouraged on the field extended even to the spectators (Crotty 2001, 50; 87). In 1905, after, a school football game between Wesley College and Melbourne Grammar descended into an all-in brawl, Melbourne Punch explained: “The lad who can give and take blows in an hour of excitement and trial is likely to make a stronger man and a better one for the world’s work than the other who has been carefully nurtured on the lines beloved by old maiden aunts, and who shrieks in anguish from all contests involving hard knocks.” (Lemon 2004, 145).
Langer, Jessica. 2008. The Familiar and the Foreign: Playing (Post)Colonialism in World of Warcraft. In Digital Culture, Play and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader, edited by H. G. Corneliussen, H. and J. Rettberg. 87-108. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
and use them to create the Cult of the Damned Thesis
Kücklich, J. 2009. “Virtual Worlds and Their Discontents: Precarious Sovereignty, Governmentality, and the Ideology of Play.” Games and Culture 4(4), 340-352.
Kerr, A. 2007. “From Boston to Berlin: Creativity and Digital Media Industries in the Celtic Tiger.” In MyCreativity Reader: A Critique of Creative Industries, edited by G. Lovink and N. Rossiter, 109-122. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.
world of warcraft cult of the damned thesis
Yet sporting violence was not, in and of itself, intended to cultivate martial skills. No headmaster suggested that techniques developed on the football field or the cricket pitch possessed a direct military application. Instead, the giving and taking of blows helped distinguish the playing field from the world around it. Precisely because everyday life was insipid and bloodless, the physical clashes of a manly sport mattered: these bloodless frays developed the character necessary for the ‘world’s work’.
The new, communicative, ecological play derives then from the failure of either truth-play or simulation-play to answer the fundamental questions from which they have arisen: the questions of death, suffering, personhood. To open the boundaries between self and other, natural or human, is to reintroduce the temporal dimension, to free the post-self to both the pain and the glory of its shared temporality. Without the endless present of the Deathless, the time of the game might be freed from the closure of destiny that governs our archetypal games of patience and backgammon, the same closure that governs classical narrative construction tailored towards its ending. Yet even in dismantling the borders between self and environment (the green world or the human environment of the city) it retains from its forebears the rule-governed structure of artificial play. This is what makes such technologically mediated, communicative play fundamentally different from the Edenic carnival, and renders it human because it becomes again communicative. While the task of cultural studies involves of necessity the description, analysis and critique of actually existing worlds, to retain the utopianism that shaped its beginnings it must also confront the utopian dimensions of cultural practice. The emergent forms of cultural play are one way in which we can undertake that part of our work. To escape the playpens of corporate culture, we need more than celebration of what is—that is the job of advertising and public relations. We need also to register the critical utopianism that shows us how we might produce a future, rather than the indefinite continuation of the timeless present.
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there was the cult of the damned.
The transnational culture of corporate simulation-play is configured around the solipsistic individual. The regimes of both truth and simulation depend upon a divorce between self and environment and an opposition between them, the former submitting itself to a larger external truth in regimes of representation as well as absorption, the latter denying the very existence of what it regards as other to its own representations. This summary of the analysis is not, however, an adequate reason for undertaking it: as the eleventh thesis on Feuerbach has it, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point is to change it” (Marx 1975, 423). So the first step towards a new form of play would be to try to negate this opposition of self and environment, not by stressing irrational body against rational mind (itself only a mirror image of the dominant form) and so challenging the privilege given to mind, but to negate the distinction between self and environment by attacking the concept of self.
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A similar process of negation is involved in the genesis of the form of play which it seems dominates corporate culture. We are still involved in techniques of absorption and in a bounded and timeless playworld, but now the goal of play is self-realisation in the face of a more thoroughly alienated environment, both natural and human. The players seek neither to meld with others nor to subordinate themselves to a greater external environment, but to ratify their existence as separate, definite and defined individuals. Such play is simulation because it involves the abandonment of the sense of truth. Losing the sense of some reality beyond the self, the self loses its sense of depth and becomes superficial, a creature of surfaces. Yet it retains from the spiritual disciplines of truth-play the timelessness of the eternal playworld, its abstraction from mundane space and from the rigours of history, rigours which include the players’ own deaths. Suffering and death were already excluded from the world of truth-play: that was the point of meditation. Truth-play and simulation-play share, in this way, an abstraction from the body, a kind of mentalism stressing the separation of psyche and soma, with the body reduced to an element of that environment which has become external to the self. But where the environment was the great container of the not-self in truth-play, simulation-play is simply another void against which the player strives in the effort at self-realisation. The external is even more external now than it was in the regimes of science or religion.
whether that be a Night Elf Priest in World of Warcraft ..
For the purposes of argument, and without pretending that we have some privileged access to the origins of play, let us agree that once upon a time, either in infancy or lost in the history of the species, there existed a natural form of play. Natural play we would consider to have certain basic properties, following the ideas of Huizinga, Bakhtin and Gadamer. Such play would be extravert, involving the player in the environment. It would involve the exploration of time and space without boundaries or rules. Somehow, over the ages, and through who knows what shifts of emphasis and in response to what travails, there emerged the spiritual play evoked still in the game of patience. Here almost every aspect of natural play has been negated. The extravert has become introvert. Play comes to be defined by its common boundaries with the mundane. It has abandoned the exploration of time and space in favour of a timeless present. There, in the newly bounded playworld, it pursues truth, in the sense that play becomes an instrument of meditation, a pursuit of self-loss in an external entity, whether that be God, mathematics or the deck of cards. Of course, the self itself has histories and indeed geographies. The self that was lost when Bacon proposed that reason should subordinate itself to nature rather than dogma is a different self to that which Gautama Buddha sought to release from the mire of illusion. Yet the techniques of meditation and truth-play are deeply similar in structure: to lose the old certainties that define the self in an oceanic truth.
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