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    Senior Member Iriohm's Avatar
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    Default The Loss of Innocence

    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...
    "Quiiri ath metahn i'ashei?"
    Chronically Gephyrophobic

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iriohm Bladewalker View Post
    How many of you have played Dragon Age: Origins?
    I did. It's an awesome game, I loved it, mostly because of the characters. I still have a few more pathways to explore. The Dwarf Noble opening was a nice twist, and the Human Noble opening was heart-wrenching.

    The point is, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
    Pretty much... although it might also twist and warp you, so you have to be careful. We develop coping mechanisms when we can't deal with a particular life stressor, and sometimes we pick coping mechanisms that hamstring us for later psychological growth, so we have to unlearn them once away from the stressor so that our arrested/diverted growth process can resume properly.

    I hope that simple truth doesn't bollux the rest of your idea here.

    The moral of this story is, I am now equipped to deal with the emotional trauma of a zombie apocalypse.
    That's really good. When the zombie apocalypse becomes imminent, please drop me a line so that I know where to find you. (And don't forget the 56 rules!)

    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.
    You're ... quite an interesting person!


    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.
    Okay, here is the deal from my perspective, and I'm torn on it.

    I think innocence is a great thing. It means an absence of trauma and needless pain. You know how muscles are built by essentially tearing them, so they grow in stronger configurations? And how if you stress them too much, you can tear them in unbeneficial ways, which makes them WEAKER, not stronger? And how working out can actually be pretty painful, but you push forward because ou believe the outcome will be positive? Losing one's Innocence is like that, I suppose, in some ways. It can make you stronger, but it will be painful, and it might also damage you in terrible ways. I don't think innocence should be venerated, but it's not a bad thing.

    In terms of my life experience:

    My mom was so innocent she was like a sheep among wolves when she left home, and I directly blame my grandparents for not preparing her for dealing and surviving within reality. Their religious idealism did not make allowance for realism, and my mom was a victim waiting to happen. She married a lifelong alcoholic and spent the next twenty years being victimized by him -- either she allowed herself to be used or she reacted in ways to protect herself that were damaging to herself, because she had no training and no experience.

    Because I had to grow up with an alcoholic father and dysfunctional/victimized mother, I lost my innocence very early in life. I can possess a kind of simpllistic idealism, but I also have an enormous sense of reality and having to accept whatever seems to be real... and maybe I have my parents to thank, though not in a positive sense. It made me into a very strong individual -- resilient, resourceful, insightful, experienced, unfazed -- but at the same time that loss of innocence and the inability to trust my parents wounded me terribly, and I'm still recovering from the damage, and some of the things that kept me alive upon the loss of my innocence also made it hard for me to have intimate relationships of my own. So it was good and bad. I don't know what is better. I guess I like being strong and understanding so much about life, but I also mourn my lost childhood and feeling very alone as I worked through it all.

    Now, the next generation: As I worked through things, I had to make changes in my life that impacted my own children. I hated doing that and wanted to avoid it at all costs, but in the end I had no real choice -- the best option for them and me in the long run was to make the changes and ride them out. My children are all responding differently and the INTP is doing the best because he's looking at it as a life experience he needs to accept, and he's extremely mature for his age; the others have had a harder ride; and I mourn the fact that they cannot have a "normal" childhood, since I never got one myself... but the difference is that, rather than them having to go it alone as I did (which led to some poor coping mechanisms being developed), they still have me to help and guide them as much as possible.

    So I think I'm saying that probably the process of maturity involves losing innocence (so that one can accept and learn how to deal with reality, which is not so innocent), but what makes it successful is the protective embrace of older wiser figures who can guide the innocents as they move into these areas of uncertainty and pain, and help them to develop positive coping mechanisms rather than negative ones.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Senior Member Iriohm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I did. It's an awesome game, I loved it, mostly because of the characters. I still have a few more pathways to explore. The Dwarf Noble opening was a nice twist, and the Human Noble opening was heart-wrenching.

    Pretty much... although it might also twist and warp you, so you have to be careful. We develop coping mechanisms when we can't deal with a particular life stressor, and sometimes we pick coping mechanisms that hamstring us for later psychological growth, so we have to unlearn them once away from the stressor so that our arrested/diverted growth process can resume properly.

    I hope that simple truth doesn't bollux the rest of your idea here.
    It's all in how you look at it, as it always is, though I did say it can kill you as well as make you stronger. The trick lies in mastering it without letting it master you.

    That's really good. When the zombie apocalypse becomes imminent, please drop me a line so that I know where to find you. (And don't forget the 56 rules!)
    Yes, maam! Or, wait...there are fifty-six rules? I've only come up with seven:

    1. Don't let them bite you; keep them at arms length if at all possible. Bites are a death sentence.

    2. If they do bite you, tell someone, even if you wait right up until the moment of change. At that point, you're dead anyway, and you're words will help prevent more death.

    3. Keep an eye out for newer/better weapons, and practice with the ones you do have. Practice makes perfect.

    4. Keep moving, and stick together. The enemy is slow, both physically and mentally, but they're strong, and there's a lot of them. Speed, mobility, and teamwork are your only advantages.

    5. In the event that you hole up somewhere, know where the exits are, which positions are most defensible, and which potential weapons you can create with the supplies at hand. Be as prepared as possible for as many situations as possible; that's what rest stops are for.
    Personal Note: The tops of apartment buildings are a good place to rest: they have very few entrances, which means an easily defensible position; they have objects to hide behind and rest against; they provide a location easily seen from the air, in the event of rescue; and the zombies can barely stand, so it's unlikely they can climb walls. About the only necessities they lack are protection from the elements and an escape route; bring a tent, and a rope, if possible.

    6. Keep an eye out for radios, telephones, televisions, and any other means of communication as a means of keeping up to date on the apocalypse, and, more importantly, of getting word to the authorities that there are still people alive in your area.

    7. Do. Not. Panic. Panic spreads, and it increases chances of fatality exponentially.
    Personal Note: If you panic too much, as much as I hate to say it, we may have to shoot you; it saves you the painful death of getting eaten, and us the painful life of having a loose cannon screwing up our plans for survival.

    You're ... quite an interesting person!
    Don't I know it.

    Okay, here is the deal from my perspective, and I'm torn on it.

    I think innocence is a great thing. It means an absence of trauma and needless pain. You know how muscles are built by essentially tearing them, so they grow in stronger configurations? And how if you stress them too much, you can tear them in unbeneficial ways, which makes them WEAKER, not stronger? And how working out can actually be pretty painful, but you push forward because ou believe the outcome will be positive? Losing one's Innocence is like that, I suppose, in some ways. It can make you stronger, but it will be painful, and it might also damage you in terrible ways. I don't think innocence should be venerated, but it's not a bad thing.
    No, it's not; it's the neutral state of the universe, in fact. The idea is not to destroy innocence, but to successfully repair your own after encountering corruption, thus affording you resistance to said corruption, and, concordantly, the power to prevent that corruption from hurting the innocence of others.

    In terms of my life experience:

    My mom was so innocent she was like a sheep among wolves when she left home, and I directly blame my grandparents for not preparing her for dealing and surviving within reality. Their religious idealism did not make allowance for realism, and my mom was a victim waiting to happen. She married a lifelong alcoholic and spent the next twenty years being victimized by him -- either she allowed herself to be used or she reacted in ways to protect herself that were damaging to herself, because she had no training and no experience.
    That sounds familiar. My mother's a rather down-to-earth INFP with an inability to say no, and my father's something akin to an ISTP with an ESTJ parent, make of that what you will. Not as bad as yours, I'm sure, but similar, at least.

    Because I had to grow up with an alcoholic father and dysfunctional/victimized mother, I lost my innocence very early in life. I can possess a kind of simpllistic idealism, but I also have an enormous sense of reality and having to accept whatever seems to be real... and maybe I have my parents to thank, though not in a positive sense. It made me into a very strong individual -- resilient, resourceful, insightful, experienced, unfazed -- but at the same time that loss of innocence and the inability to trust my parents wounded me terribly, and I'm still recovering from the damage, and some of the things that kept me alive upon the loss of my innocence also made it hard for me to have intimate relationships of my own. So it was good and bad. I don't know what is better. I guess I like being strong and understanding so much about life, but I also mourn my lost childhood and feeling very alone as I worked through it all.
    I play host to a bizarre form of "psycho-masochism", in which I feel guilty, and have to make up for it; without actually knowing what I'm guilty of. Due to this, I expect I have a rather differing perspective of what constitutes too much self-sacrifice for the potential gain, in this area especially. Scars tell stories, I say; I want to help people, but any advice or comfort I offer feels cheapened if I haven't experienced an equivalent level of pain.

    Now, the next generation: As I worked through things, I had to make changes in my life that impacted my own children. I hated doing that and wanted to avoid it at all costs, but in the end I had no real choice -- the best option for them and me in the long run was to make the changes and ride them out. My children are all responding differently and the INTP is doing the best because he's looking at it as a life experience he needs to accept, and he's extremely mature for his age; the others have had a harder ride; and I mourn the fact that they cannot have a "normal" childhood, since I never got one myself... but the difference is that, rather than them having to go it alone as I did (which led to some poor coping mechanisms being developed), they still have me to help and guide them as much as possible.

    So I think I'm saying that probably the process of maturity involves losing innocence (so that one can accept and learn how to deal with reality, which is not so innocent), but what makes it successful is the protective embrace of older wiser figures who can guide the innocents as they move into these areas of uncertainty and pain, and help them to develop positive coping mechanisms rather than negative ones.
    No, not losing it, keeping it, where others might lose it.

    "To retain innocence in the face of corruption; a hybrid nature, capable of switching between either at will, that they may answer love with love, hatred with hatred, and become the line that separates the two."
    Sorry, the poet in my head felt like speaking up, so I let...him? The point is, this is the ultimate goal of such self-sabotage. I won't lie: it takes strength to survive, and guidance as well, though not necessarily in the form of a loving mentor.

    "Si'yr math ohm ahni, ari jhasa, sobeth ahge'yr khima, eliur niri nedai."
    "In the wake of corruption, most break, others become, but some preserve."

    I changed my signature, so you can all know now what this one means. It ties into the discussion anyway.
    "Quiiri ath metahn i'ashei?"
    Chronically Gephyrophobic

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pixelholic's Avatar
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    Since you quoted a game that plays with innocence (Want a real shock in Dragon Age btw? Play a female city elf...) I'll suggest another game that I think looks at innocence (and its loss)

    Ever play The Path?

    You don't really play it so much as experience it. It is modeled after the Red Riding Hood fable and in the game you guide a group of sisters one by one to grandmother's house. The only rule in the game is to stay on the path, and the only way to "beat" the game is to break that rule. If you make it to grandmother's house, you lose. To "win" you have to find the wolf, and when you find the wolf, you die.

    I won't detail what the wolf is but it's a very interesting take on the idea of innocence.

    The thing about innocence is that losing it is not zero-sum, you gain something in its place. Dragon Age addresses this well. I actually got into an argument with a friend who was saying the game isn't a good RPG because there isn't some all powerful enemy but you instead are sort of facing a force of nature but I don't think the game is attempting to recreate the heroic ideal of the champion overcoming a big bad. Instead you give up what makes you human in order to stop a force of nature that can never be truly quelled. I could get into a big Nietzschean essay about how this follows the ideas of the Will to Power and giving up a part of yourself in order to become something "better" but I'm out of it and doing like nine things at once. (In fact, you've given me an idea for an essay that I want to write now.)

    But check out The Path

  5. #5
    What is, is. Arthur Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    I lol'd.
    INTJ | 5w4 - Sp/Sx/So | 5-4-(9/1) | RLoEI | Melancholic-Choleric | Johari & Nohari

    This will not end well...
    But it will at least be poetic, I suppose...

    Hmm... But what if it does end well?
    Then I suppose it will be a different sort of poetry, a preferable sort...
    A sort I could become accustomed to...



  6. #6
    Senior Member Iriohm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    Since you quoted a game that plays with innocence (Want a real shock in Dragon Age btw? Play a female city elf...) I'll suggest another game that I think looks at innocence (and its loss)
    One of my favorites; ripping that smirk off Bann Vaughan smug face...just awesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    Ever play The Path?

    You don't really play it so much as experience it. It is modeled after the Red Riding Hood fable and in the game you guide a group of sisters one by one to grandmother's house. The only rule in the game is to stay on the path, and the only way to "beat" the game is to break that rule. If you make it to grandmother's house, you lose. To "win" you have to find the wolf, and when you find the wolf, you die.

    I won't detail what the wolf is but it's a very interesting take on the idea of innocence.

    The thing about innocence is that losing it is not zero-sum, you gain something in its place. Dragon Age addresses this well. I actually got into an argument with a friend who was saying the game isn't a good RPG because there isn't some all powerful enemy but you instead are sort of facing a force of nature but I don't think the game is attempting to recreate the heroic ideal of the champion overcoming a big bad. Instead you give up what makes you human in order to stop a force of nature that can never be truly quelled. I could get into a big Nietzschean essay about how this follows the ideas of the Will to Power and giving up a part of yourself in order to become something "better" but I'm out of it and doing like nine things at once. (In fact, you've given me an idea for an essay that I want to write now.)

    But check out The Path
    Already have, though I don't own the game, and as I keep saying, if done right, innocence is not lost, but rather reborn.
    "Quiiri ath metahn i'ashei?"
    Chronically Gephyrophobic

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