How many of you have played Dragon Age: Origins? No matter. For those of you easily bored by winding tales, skip the next paragraph...or stop reading entirely, actually.
In that game, you (the player) consume what can and will be described, in the interests of preserving the surprise, a potent magical beverage that is by many definitions evil; like, to the point of being the very essence of corruption. Assuming you survive this process, you become immune to said evil (unlike the "peasants"), and thus uniquely capable of combating it, and of saving the world from it (naturally). This, however, is but one, game-based example of a much wider principle. It works the same way with disease, and, one realizes, with virtually every other form of corruption known to human-kind.
The point is, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
In keeping with this reasoning, I decided a few years ago to adopt a process of intentional exposure to such corruption, mastering it, and storing it away in my growing repertoire of just-in-caseries. Let me give you an example:
I bit-torrented the demo to Left 4 Dead (a theoretically legal process; long story) and began playing. Over the next few hours, I was led on a wild roller-coaster ride composed of equal parts awesome and suppressed panic as I gunned down boatload after boatload of zombified people, all of them very fast (it's true; another long story), and very angry. This game scared me pretty badly, especially considering it was about 5:00 in the morning when I decided to go to bed, a bed very much lacking in fresh supplies of AK-47s. However, I continued playing it the next day, and the next, slowly getting used to the fear, the panic, and the...excessive, shall we say, amount of blood and gore associated with mowing down a hoard of undead.
The moral of this story is, I am now equipped to deal with the emotional trauma of a zombie apocalypse. You may say that games are not real, and that anything you learn there doesn't count, but I will only reply that I am much more equipped now then I was, or than the average bystander is, and that is what counts in the long run. You may also say that zombie apocali (plural for apocalypse) are exceedingly rare, and also not possible. I will combat this by saying that zombies are one of those things that everyone says won't happen, until they happen, and then whose eating my 700 RPM death-storm of lead fury now? Besides, even if zombies don't rise up en masse, I'm still prepped for the similar trauma of good old, regular retarded levels of violence (the kind with no zombies), and I get to play an awesome game in the mean time.
My point here is that violence can actually be beneficial, depending on how one views things, which brings up the second part of this discussion: people who think loss of innocence means loss of morality. This is, admittedly, true in many cases. Who hasn't heard of the people that abuse networking systems just like this site, hiding behind veils of anonymity as they insult and demean their peers. The problem, apparently, is that many people treat NPCs like so much trash, simply because they can. After all, they're two-dimensional (figuratively) character controlled by the computer; it's not like they have feelings to hurt. Unfortunately, this tends to carry over into multi-player, where the poor in-game social skills, and the innate protection afforded by anonymity, combine to result in a person that's not at all fun to play with, or to socialize with in any real way.
However, that argument assumes that the player treats the characters poorly in the first place, and generally does not conduct themselves how they would in real life (or IRL, for people who have no time to spell...or read..."in real life"). This is not true of all players, and especially not of me in particular.
You see, my imagination is active, and my heart is large; a painful and debilitating combination. I have to yell (in a loud, manly fashion) during doctor appointments to distract myself from how much pain I think I'm about to be in just so I can sit still long enough for it to be over, and it's never as bad as I think it will be. I've befriended strangely shaped rocks, eaten food I hate because it "looked cute", spent twenty minutes nursing bees back to health with sugar-water, and treated popcorn kernels with faces drawn on them as kindly and respectfully as if they were human. I now imagine that you can imagine how I treat game characters, and, indeed, the game world in general. When I play a game, I'm there, and that translates not into becoming a real world jerk, or a real world sociopath, but a real world champion of the people. Strike that: hidden champion of the people, more like, due to a very not-at-all-changed level of anti-socialism.
But all this is distracting us from the heart of the matter: whether or not intentionally sabotaging an innocent nature is a desirable thing. I would say that it ultimately depends on the person, and whether or not the person in question is "you" or "someone else", though that's just me talking. The way I see it, inability to cope with violence and conflict makes one unfit for "deployment" in the world we live in today, and will probably keep living in well into the future. If you can't tolerate corruption, you become a burden on someone who can, and if there's one thing I don't like being, it's in someone else's debt. I said once how I find wide-eyed innocence irritating, and it's for this very reason; the innocent manipulate their would-be guardians. You can't even blame them for it, because they have no idea they're doing it.
Opinions? Thoughts? Submit them now.
EDIT: I now question this wisdom of putting this thread in the NF-specific forums. Innocence is kind of an NF thing, so...