To: Dr. Yitzhaq Hayut-Man
“Ethical Games”- 1
1. We are not dealing with “Moral Education”. “Education” is what happens in schools and is generally a function of the continuation of the industrial era mind set. There are many problems that are associated with the idea of morals in a setting of publically funded schooling systems that are a function of the separation of Church and state thinking.
What we are talking about is a new way of dealing with how to design, create and market “learning environments” in which ethics and moral issues are available and make up a basic part of the process itself.
2. Film is the vehicle that was the most significant way of telling our Mythos – story telling for the 20th century.
It is now computer gaming that is the vehicle through the Internet that the fundamental Mythos, Saga, Storytelling of the 21st century. This is the vehicle on a global scale through Cyberspace and is the Mythos of Cyberia.
It is important to remember that all of the players of web based computer games will be using them on computers or cell phones, or PDAs, or some new device that works on some sort of screen. The light that is used to allow this to function is “emitted light” that is primarily accessed in the brain through the right hemisphere. It is important to keep in mind that this Net Generation is really rewiring our brain in ways that never happened in all of human history.
We have gone from Web 1.0, to Web 2.0 in just a decade and from a Web 2.0 to a Web 3.0 in a few years only. This will only accelerate in time. Considering to needs of the generation of tomorrow, perhaps the primary vehicle for its creative development are the vast potentials of Computer gaming on the Web in Cyberspace.
Web based computer games is now a bigger financial industry than movies and will continue to increase in scale in the future. It is likely that the Art Form of Cyberspace is and will continue to be web based computer gaming.
It was Johan Huizinga who’s book on “Homo Ludens” - Man the Player - saw this many years ago.
Now using the Web we are always playing and learning.
It might be that Homo Ludens is the river that flows through the Cyberspace of the 21st century.
We can connect this with the theme that is found in Psalms 119 where the term “le shaashe’ạ BaTorah” is used seven times in varying forms. The term “ le shaashe’ạ” can mean: to play, delight in, enjoy with. And to use our contemporary term what we now call “edutainment” a conflation of the two words: education and entertainment.
3. Daniel Pink, in his new book “A whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to The Conceptual Age” deals with exactly what Computer games are doing.
School education deals with sequence, literalness, and analysis - Left Hemisphere systems.
In our post-post modern world, our Transmodern world - what is needed is more like the Right hemisphere type learning – which deals with context, emotional expression, and synthesis, artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.
In order to flourish in our transmodern world we need to develop learning environments that can supplement our well developed high-tech abilities with aptitudes that are “high concept” and “high touch”.
High concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft satisfying narratives, and to develop inventions and innovations.
High touch involves the capacity to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to be able to illicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the daily grind in pursuit of purpose and meaning.
Pink, goes on to suggest that we need to develop six senses: Design, Story-telling, Symphony, Empathy, Play (intertwining work and play, mixing it up to energize both), Meaning.
Computer games now can do many of these and the ethical games can do it on a much more powerful scale.
Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard, of Multiple Intelligence fame, in his new book “Five Minds for the Future”; He deals with the five minds or mindsets that each of us will need to master:
1. To know how to work steadily over time to improve skill and understanding;
2. To take information from disparate sources and make sense of it by understanding and evaluating that information objectively;
3. By building on discipline and synthesis, to break new ground;
4. By recognizing that nowadays one can no longer remain within one’s shell or one’s own home territory only, to note welcome differences between human individuals and between human groups so as to understand them and work effectively with them;
5. To proceed on a level searching for meaning and an equitable society for all humanity.
These are some of the themes that web based computer games now function on and that our project can foster and enhance on an ethical level.
One might consider that as a marketing strategy we might interest Churches and Synagogues and Religious and Spiritual communities on a global scale to offer this project as a gift or teaching tool for all of the children who go through Confirmation, Bar-Bat Mitzvah, or some sort of rite-of-passage into adulthood.
These Computer Games are not only just for kids, but also for many in the twenty-something and thirty-something age cohorts.
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See also other reflections by Dr. Moshe Dror:
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