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The Person / Position Paradox: once more, with avatars

[ by Charles Cameron — a follow up to my previous post — and it’s not religion that’s the alternate reality this time, but games ]


I just posted a long and potentially contentious post about what I called a person / position paradox: that of the member of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and chairman of the US House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, Rep. Paul Broun MD (R-GA), who said recently:

that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell…

And he meant it.


Well, while I was writing that post, this little gem (above) crossed my bows (ht Paxsims) — so perhaps you’ll permit me to poke a little fun at a member of the other US political party.

It seems that Colleen Lachowicz, Democratic candidate for the Maine State Semnate, is also Santiaga, Orc Assassination Rogue in the game-world, World of Warcraft.

Questions arising:

Does that make her more representative or less?
what about the fact that she plays at level 68?
is that a representative level to play at?
and an Orc Assassination Rogue? really?
or is she just a candidate who happens to be a gamer?

The image above comes from the Maine GOP, btw.


To look at this minor contretemps from another angle: how far are we from religion, here in the land of Orcs?

The great literary critic Northrop Frye in his Anatomy of Criticism writes of:

great art using popular forms, as Shakespeare does in his last period, or as the Bible does when it ends with a fairy tale about a damsel in distress, a hero killing dragons, a wicked witch, and a wonderful city glittering with jewels.

Frye is not knocking Revelation here, though one might at first think he is: he’s assigning it to a literary genre, as one might assign the Psalms to poetry, Kings and Chronicles to history, or the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles to biography. The Epistles, after all, are already classified as epistolary works. And — give the man a break — he’s also placing it in the same realm of great art as Shakespeare.

How far, then, do you suppose CS LewisNarnia — or Tolkien‘s Middle Earth, with its Elven folk Firstborn of the Children of Ilúvatar — might be from the World where Colleen is an Orc?


How much room can we concede to imagination in our “real world”?

And Dante‘s voyage took him through the three realms of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, didn’t it, and according to the Apostles Creed, Christ’s Harrowing of Hell took place between his death and resurrection.

So my next question would be:

When will we build and play the games of Paradise?

4 Responses to “The Person / Position Paradox: once more, with avatars”

  1. Mr. X Says:

    interesting question. I’ve often thought of Senor Equis as an online avatar, if you will, in a game with some nasty other gamers on Twitter. But I keep wanting to hang the  controller up like a kid who’s played too many video games.

  2. Michael Robinson Says:

    When will we build and play the games of Paradise?
    Those ‘games’ began some long time ago: the English view of the landscape garden as ‘paradise,’ see my prior comment of almost exactly a year ago.  Much discussed is the thought of John Evelyn in his own garden at Deptford.
    A quick search at one of the encyclopedic Garden History sites gives many links to gardens across time and cultures constructed in the paradise tradition

    In the western Christian tradition is not a daily reading of the Offices through the year of the Church calendar — particularly if the mind is aided with visual illustrations as in a Book of Hours —  also a ‘game of paradise’ ?

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    Indeed, Michael.
    And on the same shelf to the right of my desk as Hesse’s Glass Bead Game and Huizinga’s Homo Ludens, there’s a copy of Bernhard Lang’s book, Sacred Games: A History of Christian Worship (Yale, 1997), with an epigraph from Plato:

    We should pass our lives in the playing of games — certain games, that is, sacrifice, song, and dance — with the result of ability to gain heaven’s grace…

    and another from Romano Guardini:

    Such is the wonderful fact that the liturgy demonstrates: it unites art and reality in a supernatural childhood before God. … [Worship] has one thing in common with the play of the child and the life of art — it has no purpose, but is full of profound meaning.  It is not work, but play.  To be at play, or to fashion a work of art in God’s sight — not to create, but to exist — such is the essence of the liturgy

    At play in the fields…

  4. ken cowan Says:

    Re: Gardens
    If you’re not acquainted, may I commend to your attention Robert Pogue Harrison, a Stanford professor. In addition to a number of Youtube vignettes on gardens, his (book-length) essays, Forests and Gardens are brilliant.
    Re: Games of Paradise
    I have some dim recollection about Robert DeRopp’s Master Game coming full circle, in that the Game is your life, the Prize is your life… And Alan Watts turning everything into a game… the divine play, the leela of the Lord.
    Chop wood. Carry water.
    So, how far is the world I live and play in from Middle Earth or Narnia or Earthsea? How far from the world of Joseph K. or a clockwork orange?

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