Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Matt's question

From: Scott David Gray <>
Date: Mon Dec 5 14:17:12 2005

  And, really, what is the big deal if people *do* want to
play video games or watch TV? Is this really a worse way to
spend one's time than browing at a museum? Than listening to
music? Than enjoying any sort of art?

  Three of my house-mates (there are six of us altogether)
are QA for Turbine. So, they are paid, proessional, video
game players. That is their job. They love their work, and
provide something with aesthetic value to others. Is this
less valuable, honest work than producing film? Than editing
text? Than painting pictures?

To quote Marshall McLuhan:
  "The student of media soon comes to expect the new media
of any period whatever to be classed as pseudo by those who
acquired the patterns of earlier media, whatever they may
happen to be.
  Or, in other words: TV and video games are different media
than music, movies or books. Not innately lesser. If you
can't understand what others are getting out the new medium,
at least don't begrudge them or deny them that media.

  I have never seen *any* evidence that television
negatively impacts anyone. None. And I worked for years in
the field of psychology. One of my dearest friends has
worked for years on the interesting phenomena of *play*, in
the immediate aftermath of watching media, being influenced
by the contents of that media -- and has been working hard
to debunk the pop-psych frauds that like to suggest mistaken
headlines from this research "link between violence and

  Really. What is the *evidence* for all this stuff that
people just *assume* when they talk about TV and games?
  Where does the claim that TV is "something that is not
good for his brain development" spring from? Or that, at
least to some people, games aren't "more interesting" than
something else? Or that "if it's the same game for a month,
they'll want to throw the whole system away?"

  This stuff is just such a red herring. Really. TV and
video games are the latest proxies for debates about what
(if any) media should be controlled *for* one group *by*
another group.
  Debates that have been going back for years. Debates that
are older than the bonfire of the vanities, in which
churchmen burned books such as the decameron, and art, and
perfumes, on the claim that such "vanities" led people away
from God. Debates older than the Council of Nicea, which
decided what views and opinions needed to be repressed by
christians. Debates that go back to the ancient practice
that only particular castes (priests and scribes) should be
*allowed* to read and write.

  For the record, I personally love the mediums of video
games (playing "Civ IV" now, and "Psychonauts" now),
television (watching "Lost" and "Monk"), film, most fine
art, most dance, music, comic books, conversation, poetry,
and prose. I have only the barest reckoning of the way in
which messages are conveyed through the medium of modern art
or through ballet -- but the fact that *I* am ignorant does
not mean that I should claim (as some fools do) that modern
art is *bad* for people.

On Mon, 5 Dec 2005, Tay Arrow Sherman wrote:

> Hey, Evan!
> Yeah, you hit the nail on the head.
> I knit with that video-game intensity... and write like that, too. I'm
> no stranger to the delightful lure of the video game, but at the end of
> the day it's really not THAT fun unless I'm under the weather and my
> just brain isn't up for something more engaging. If my life is pretty
> interesting and healthy, I'm not in that state of mind very often at
> all.
> When I see someone else doing their work, the work they love, it
> *always* inspires me to create.
> Best wishes,
> Tay
> On 5 Dec, 2005, at 12.48, Dr. Evan Hughes wrote:
> >      Dear Matt,
> >
> >      One way children learn about mastery and the time it takes to get
> > there is by being around other children who have mastered something
> > them self. I just watched my sister in a dance performance and the
> > emotion that came up was about me becoming a better chiropractor
> > and practicing more kung-fu. I'm sure when she's getting adjusted, or
> > watching me do kung-fu she is thinking about practicing dance moves-we
> > inspire each other.
> >
> >       I feel that something is only difficult if 1-You're worried
> > about looking foolish and 2-if your not having fun/you haven't found
> > the joy in it. When you find something that is your passion and you've
> > been inspired to it, the difficulty becomes a reason to practice more,
> > not the other way around-this is only true however when the desire is
> > found from the inside out.
> >
> >       The "price to pay" of forcing the energy of a child in to
> > practice something according to an authority's will can be seen by
> > looking out your window-depression runs rampant, people are scared of
> > losing their jobs because they can't see learning anything else, how
> > many people hate their jobs for that matter!? Broken homes because the
> > parents where doing what they thought they where suppose to do for
> > years-had kids-then figured out that they need to live their truth,
> > and how many people do you know that have a master level of any skill
> > other then their career(If they even have that?)
> >
> >       Now, lets look at the alternative; If our children are allowed
> > to find along the way that thing inside them which can not be taught,
> > that thing that says "I can be anything I WANT to be, all it takes is
> > time." Poof. They start the path. No, it's not a perfect path, but
> > what a chance they have! These are the Einsteins, these are the Ludwig
> > van Beethovens, these are the Gandis. Being without passion and doing
> > what your told is always an option-and you don't need to start this
> > option early in life.
> >
> > "Or destroy a child's sense of his or her own power in life?" I think
> > that's the key Matt! I've never seen ANY student fail out of college
> > because of stupidity. I've seen a number people fail out college
> > because their emotions got the better of them-they wanted out on a
> > sub-conscious level and didn't have the personal power to say no! The
> > same is true of business/careers. Now are there some children who will
> > find it within them regardless of the crap we try and pull as
> > educators? of course. Human beings always find a way. It's what we do.
> > The point of SVS is do as little interference as possible to an
> > already perfect system (self discovery) and watch what happens.
> >
> >  What happens if you enforce a practice regiment from the outside in,
> > is the child/student will do what is required and nothing more. What
> > if your child was allowed to play video games for as long as they
> > liked? How long would they play?  3 hours? 4 hours? 5 hours Straight,
> > no breaks, running to the bathroom and getting back as fast as
> > possible and no food/water... "Are you tired honey?" "No Mom, I'm
> > playing." Now, if you will, take that inspiration, intensity, focus
> > and passion and add it to a skill or ability of CHOICE. THAT, is the
> > power of freedom-of the mind that is.
> >
> >     Hey, if you don't want your kids to play so many video games and
> > put their focus in to other things, tell them Dr. Hughes says you need
> > to practice the same game *every day* for 1 hour to develop hand-eye
> > coordination and mental focus to avoid the affects of ADD. If it's the
> > same game for a month, they'll want to throw the whole system away...
> > just you watch. Please don't use my first name however so I can walk
> > the SVS campus without being killed : )
> >
> > Evan (SVS alumni)
> >
> >  
> -Tay
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--Scott David Gray
reply to:
Prayer, the last refuge of a scoundrel. 
-- Lisa Simpson, the Simpsons
Received on Mon Dec 05 2005 - 14:15:29 EST

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