This essay delves deeply into the origins of the Vietnam War, critiques U.S. justifications for intervention, examines the brutal conduct of the war, and discusses the . Awesome article, Daniel, and thanks for the plug:) One thing that Realm of the Mad God exemplifies - at least for players who are aware of its permadeath rule - is that the clearer and the purer your game is about the primary emotions it generates, the more players who seek these emotions out will appreciate it. THE DIALOGUES OF LUCIUS ANNAEUS SENECA BOOK I TO LUCILIUS ON PROVIDENCE+. Why, though there is a Providence, some Misfortunes befall Good Men. Exactly how I feel too. Though I did not fully understand the madness that is humans driving a car in a city as a transportation method before I took my drivers licence course. Lifting the Veil An Investigative History of the United States Pathocracy. Researched and Written by Timothy M. Silver. Published in “I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America.
Shadow Emotions and Primary Emotions Not all emotions are created equal. It is a distinctly different thing to feel sad while reading about a dying mother than to actually feel sad because your mother is dying.
The former is a shadowy reflection that we intuitively understand is not immediately threatening. The later is raw, primary and life changing. I've yet to see existing terminology for this phenomena, so at the risk of stepping on existing toes, let's use the following labels. The emotions we feel when partaking in narratives, art and other safely evocative stimuli Primary emotions: The emotions we feel when we are in a situation with real perceived consequences.
The closest I've seen to this being described elsewhere is something called the Somatic Marker Theory. When we face complex and conflicting choices, we may be unable to decide using only cognitive processes, which may become overloaded and unable to help us decide. In these cases and others , somatic markers can help us decide.
Somatic markers are associations between reinforcing stimuli that induce an associated physiological affective state. The first is the 'body loop' which corresponds closely to primary emotions. The second is the 'as-if body loop' which corresponds to shadow emotions. No doubt this is a well studied topic, so if someone educated in the neurosciences is able to provide even more accurate labels or links to additional models I'll happily amend this essay.
The distinction between these two classes of emotion may seem academic, but I find myself fascinated by a game's ability to provoke primary emotions in a manner that is difficult if not impossible for more reflective forms of media. As a game designer, I can and have put the player in situation where they experience real loss. The best a movie or book can manage is evoking a shadow of loss. Brief thoughts on memory and emotion A small bit of background is necessary to describe the mechanism of shadow emotions.
It starts with the link between memory and emotion. Perhaps a better term for 'memory' is 'lesson'. Each memory has deeply integrated emotional tags that informs us of how we might want to react if we call upon that memory in relation to our current stimuli.
When you see a dog sitting on the sidewalk, you instinctively compare it to your existing mental models and memories of past dogs. In that basic act of cognition, you nearly instantly become awash with emotions. Perhaps you feel a sense of comfort and fondness. Or perhaps a wave of anxiety passes through you as you recall the sharp teeth of past encounters gone awry. In a split second, you know exactly how you feel about that dog. One way of thinking of emotion as an early specialized form of cognition that serves a clear survival function.
Quite often you need to make a decision, but you don't have time to think about. At this moment, you are flooded with an emotional signal. It is strong, primitive and highly effective at making you either run, attack, bond, threaten or pause. Hair trigger emotions exists because more complex cognition takes time and for certain classes of decision, delays yield failure and failure is costly. If you are attacked by wolf, it likely isn't prudent to debate the finer details of how you classify canids.
Much later, be it seconds or hours, your conscious understanding of the situation kicks in and moderates the emotional response. Emotions are necessary but they are not civilized.
It is easy to imprint rapid fire lessons that trigger at the worst possible moment. A child who learns to lash out in anger as a way of surviving neighborhood bullies might have difficulty as an adult if he reacts the same way when he perceives a more subtle theme of bullying from his boss. What makes managing emotions so tricky is that such emotional triggering situations unfold before we are even aware they are occurring. Emotions are by definition lessons turned into lightning, unconscious action or inaction as the case may be.
Narrative as a means of playing emotional scenarios You cannot easily or consciously stop emotions in full activation; however you can train them ahead of time.
One method of many! The mechanism for triggering a safe emotional response seems to be primarily based off a mixture of empathy and the emotional aspects of memory that we've previously covered. When we see or read a particular evocative narrative or scene.
We tap into our own related stored memories Synthesis: We simulate what we might feel in this particular situation Conscious understanding: We process the resulting safe emotions from a safe distance. Now imagine that you read about the dog sitting on the sidewalk. You can confront your anxiety with crystal clear understanding that he cannot hurt you. You activate your empathy and simulate how you might feel if the dog were in fact in front of you. Now you roll the emotion around and savor it, examining it from multiple angles.
Perhaps you become comfortable with the idea that you don't need to immediately run away from all dogs. By storing this revised impression, you slightly moderate your future emotional reactions.
In a biological sense, this is a surprisingly inexpensive method of practicing how to moderate our emotions. Instead of placing yourself in potentially mortal danger, you can instead read about what it while sitting in a chair. The training that occurs is not perfect, but I suspect that it helps. There is a wide body of experimental research that shows how emotions are differentiated through a process of psychological response and then the application of a cognitive label.
If you can practice labeling a rush of adrenaline as bravery instead of fear, you may be able to successfully alter your emotions in real world situations. Though by no means proof of this theory, it is suggestive that many popular fictional and artistic works are highly focused on evoking emotion and chains of strong drama. Situations that are risky, expensive or socially compromising regularly find their way into the evocative arts and enable us to practice those scenarios in a safe fashion.
Shadow Emotions The relatively safe emotions that result from consuming and simulating evocative stimuli are what I'm calling shadow emotions.
A shadow emotion is by no means a 'fake' emotion. Your heart rate increases, your palms sweat. The patterns of the past carry echos of real emotions and your body responds accordingly. However, you know intellectually it is a carefully controlled experiment. Despite hysterical claims to the contrary, humans appear to have a surprisingly robust understanding of simulation vs.
Shadow emotions are by no means completely safe. Distance matters when role-playing stored emotions and the more closely you simulate the original event, the stronger the response.
All this leads to many of the common techniques found in making powerful drama or art. This list is by no comprehensive, but it is a good sample of the practical tools available to a craftsman interested evoking shadow emotions: Richly describe salient stimuli Layer multiple channels of stimuli Target commonly shared emotional triggers Love, Death, Triumph, etc Create coherent chains of context and causation to facilitate easy simulation Personalize the stimuli to better match the emotional history of an individual.
As an artist, a story teller and a game designer, I've used all of these and they are far less mysterious than many would presume. When such techniques are well executed, you'll increase the intensity of the evoked shadow emotion. The word 'evoke' is key since our concern is more about using a signal to trigger emotions that already exists.
As such I think of these techniques clumped primarily into methods of simplifying processing our evocative signal or methods of increasing strength of that signal.
Shadow emotions absolutely exist in games.
AmblesideOnline's Annotated Charlotte Mason Series
In fact, the game industry spends ludicrous sums of money attempting to ensure that high end console titles are as good at evoking shadow emotions as media such as movies or books. This expensive pursuit will continue because humans crave shadow emotions as a path to more effective emotional cognition. Game developers, as paid schmucks making disposable and consumable media, have an economic incentive to fill this need. It obviously isn't real, but you do feel something. These are shadow emotions in action.
I remain unimpressed, but perhaps if we render those skull fragments at a higher resolution, AAA games will one day achieve something deeply meaningful. I spend large portions of my day observing game players. Some of this is observation of others, but there is also a peculiar detached observation of my own reactions to a particular game or prototype.
Repeatedly, I see sparkles of emotion that seem to have different roots than shadow emotions. A player might become frustrated that they don't understand a particular level layout. Or they may feel anguish when their character suffers permadeath in Realm of the Mad God.
Or they may feel elation at finally getting the long tetrimino necessary to clear four rows in Tetris. I would make the bold and perhaps unsupportable claim that these responses are not a reference to a past emotional experience. Instead they seem to be derived from much more primitive circuitry.
Where do emotions originally come from? Not all are reflections of memories past. There are means of creating emotions from scratch. Consider the sense of anguish that one feels when the character you've built up over many hours of dedicated play dies for all eternity. This system, permadeath, is quite uncommon in many modern games, but thousands of players go through the process everyday in the game Realm of the Mad God.
As a designer you can think of this experience in almost purely mechanical terms. A player invests time and energy into accumulating a resources and capabilities inside a defined value structure. Despite the coldly mechanistic nature of the system, the player feels intense anguish. It is a raw, primordial thing that courses through your veins and makes breathing difficult. There is really nothing playful or distant about this emotion.
The magnitude and newness of the loss directly correlates to the intensity of the experience.