The Charity of Gamers
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 28th Oct 2011
It is surprising how much information can be conveyed in a simple and brief phrase; take the phrase "In these tough economic times" (1) as an example. Hearing it or having it said to you instantly evokes specific and detailed images.
Despite the fact that it is a very general and even vague collection of words, that phrase has the effect of instantly communicating images that are connected to it by popular culture, largely thanks to a combination of the tremendous amount of news coverage that has been given to the consequences of that bad economy, the fact that it is not an isolated event as it is being experienced daily all over the world, and of course the very real, very personal, often heart-wrenching impact that it has had on individuals the world over.
In fact it is credited with spurring positive reactions and improvements in addressing the needs of those individuals harmed by the economic downturn by a diverse selection of entities, organizations, individuals, and social groups. Later in this article we will focus upon the efforts of gamers as one of those social groups, and the many opportunities that you have to participate in these efforts, but to better understand just how pervasive the impact has been upon society as a whole, you need only examine the public efforts that have been undertaken by municipalities (2) all over the world to understand how serious and widespread the issue has become.
Spanish-American philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás -- who is probably better known to you by the name under which the vast bulk of his writing was published, George Santayana (3) -- has a large number of observations and quotes that are historically associated with him, but the most well-known of these is without doubt his observation that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Not only is that philosophical maxim widely quoted, it is also one of the most often miss-quoted and improperly attributed comments in the history of the written word (4), being frequently falsely associated with the Greek philosopher and mathematician Plato (424/423 BC-- 348/347 BC), who while he was a student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle, did not in fact originate this aphorism.
George Santayana's well-phrased words provide us with an excellent hook upon which to begin this article and to build upon the very basic concept by linking the present state of affairs with the most recent historical equivalent -- The Great Depression -- and how the lessons that were taught during that dark era in the history of the world, and how those lessons are being used today.
While this article is not about Santayana, there are some interesting if unconnected threads to his life and his personal philosophical outlook that very nicely fit into its subject, so if you will forgive me I mean to digress on a brief trip into the life and times of George Santayana, and visit with other related factoids, perhaps the most interesting of which is the revelation that Santayana was a gamer -- or he would have been classified as a gamer if the world in which he lived in had contained that social group, of this I have no doubts.
I will try to keep this as brief an interlude as I can manage, but as you read on you should quickly grasp why I thought it was both interesting and appropriate for this article...