It could be argued that the reason we haven’t advanced further as a race is because so much of our energy and resources are directed toward developing better ways to kill the enemy. I’m not the first to have thought the only way we’ll ever come together as a species, setting aside differences, is if we’re monstered by a threat external to our planet, uniting us as a species against another species. Preferably a common mortal threat with a rapid agenda.
A while back people worked out that human productivity can be enhanced by taking work and turning it into a game. Gamification of mundane and repetitive tasks makes for happier people and greater productivity. So, with that in mind, it may be that the only way we break the back of global conflict, global warming and the like is to somehow convincingly anthropomorphise the problem. Make global warming an enemy, for example. Give it a face. Not in a propaganda sense, but in a ‘face that I can smash’ sense. An ‘enemy we can rally against’ sense. Just as if we were being invaded.
Sodded if I know how we’d do that. But it seems to me that if we replace ‘aliens’ with ‘global heat death’, or ‘foreigners’ with ‘man’s inhumanity to man’, maybe we’d get somewhere.
And then I look at Kony2012, (which I think in a very real sense is duplicitous and risks replacing a problem people have already made good progress on… with a brand new problem), and realise they may have actually done that. They’ve given a problem a face, and the world’s woken up a little (or so it seems at this early stage). I realise we can’t do the same thing for global warming. Unless, one by one, we target the world’s biggest polluters and give each of them a face. Every story needs a hero, stakes, and a villain. The hero is you. The villain is them. The stakes are something you care about. With Kony it’s the boy Joseph.
Give their crimes a face, and a personality, and a history. Anthropomorphise the companies, and their victims. People need to see an effect from their actions, and quickly. With Kony it’s Joseph’s face, or updates, or another video. It’s the age we live in. Seems to me a tight chain of reward is key. Anyone who’s ever played through a game on an XBox 360 just for the Achievements (Gamerscore) probably knows what I mean.
It’s one thing to join a global pile-on against one shitheel in a jungle, and another to take down a phalanx of the world’s most powerful institutions, but there is definitely SOMETHING there.
Since the start of the year I’ve been busier than I’ve been in ten years (books, films, video games). Will post something here as soon as I can.
Also, the site has to migrate to a new host by the 25th. I’m hoping for a minimum of disruption when that happens.
As a thank-you, here’s one of the best animated shorts I’ve seen in a long while, and relevant to the post. Enjoy.