How Getting Pwned Will Save the World.

“No man is an island.”  John Donne captured this sentiment well when he coined the popular phrase, but it would be 400 years until we achieved this on a global scale.  Later in his Meditation XVII he wrote: “Each man’s death diminishes me—for I am involved in mankind.”  This truth resounds with me.  We are not alone.  We need each other.  In that vein something wonderful is happening to the world, and it gives me great hope.

I recently spoke with a guy who delivers rugs to businesses—the kind that sit at the front door.  He picks up the soiled rugs and drops off the clean ones.  I’d known him awhile, and he struck me as a nice guy—another average Joe in a town surrounded by farmland.  One day he mentioned something about co-op gaming, and I mentioned that I had just picked up Borderlands 2, which my wife and I play together.

I’d hit a vein with him.  He began to talk in depth about how much he loved Call of Duty.  He told me he plays with a fairly dedicated crew of people, and next year as it turns out, they will be gathering in Hawaii to meet face to face for the first time.  There will be people from Australia there, Europe, Japan.  This had a big impact on me not because of the ability to connect, but because of this guy, or who I thought he was.  He was a man’s man, a local boy.  Twenty years ago he would have only hung out with his buddies from high school.  I don’t accept that people are inherently evil, but narrow mindedness follows when we are isolated in our communities.  Where I live, our city is centered in miles and miles of wheat farms.  We are very isolated.

Yet, here before me was a country boy, 200 miles from a major metro area, who was having regular interactions with a guy from the Northern Territory, and a guy in University classes in Tokyo named Takahashi.  He told me about a woman in Frankfurt who swears like a sailor but all ‘auf Deutsch’, and a British dairy farmer who discovered gaming later in life.  This guy is more connected to the world than 99% of the people in the world were ten or twenty years ago, and he’s just an average Joe playing video games.

What does this mean to me?  It means a lasting peace between nations.  Wars and conflict are the result of feeling that ‘the other’ is out there.  But as social connectedness draws across the globe my guess/hope is that the feeling of ‘the other’ will die out.  We cannot help but realize that the woman in Germany, the farmer who lives outside of Leeds-UK, the kid in Tokyo, and the Aussie are all just like us, decent people who depend on good friendships.

…and all that while playing a war game.  I’m not sure John Donne could have seen that coming.

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10 Responses to How Getting Pwned Will Save the World.

  1. Kristen Lamb says:

    LOVE it! I think world peace is possible with on-line gaming. If we are all shooting zombies, we no longer have time to shoot each other! :D

    I love how we can connect to all kinds of people all over the world. My life has been so much richer because of blogging and social media. I wouldn’t trade my digital friends for anything.

    • Jason Andrew Bond says:

      Thanks very much Kristen. I’m right with you. I sometimes laugh at how many friends I rely on whom I’ve never met face to face. :)

  2. Oliver Gray says:

    This is a wonderfully insightful post. I too formed some of my best and closest friendships through online gaming communities, with people from myriad and surprising walks of life. It helped me stay in touch with friends when we all went out separate ways for school. Tristram and Azeroth and Aiur and Charr were the social glue that kept us all together, made us able to hang out even when miles and miles kept us physically apart.

    To channel Donne again, I think you could argue that gaming is the compass that keeps two people together no matter how far they roam, ala A Valediction Forbidding Mourning .

    Thanks for the great read.

    • Jason Andrew Bond says:

      Oliver, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Totally appreciate it. I’m right with you. I have stayed in touch with good friends so much more readily now. Used to be people fell into a black pit. Now I can grab facebook or twitter and check in in a heartbeat.

  3. Now all we need is to get these gamers into politics. Wouldn’t that be cool? Great post, Jason!

  4. DeeAnna Galbraith says:

    Jason! Great post. I’m not a big gamer, but the sentiment is hope.

  5. I love this post. It really gave me a lot of hope for the future, and happiness today. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Jason Andrew Bond says:

      Thanks for commenting Lauren! (Sorry for the delay in my response) Been a crazy summer. There is so much negative news, but I think there is a great message in that as we grow closer with technology, the more we realize we all have similar fears, dreams, etc.

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