Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Are games like Settlers V. challenging the Hegels concept of Weltgeist ("World Spirit")?

Gaming thoughts:

Just a thought: Are games like Settlers V. challenging the Hegels concept of Weltgeist ("World Spirit")?

                  So when I was cleaning my older game stash I stumbled upon PC game Settlers V. Golden edition, and remembered about a thought I had, so I´m making it a topic. And now I am kinda angry that I didn´t made screenshots of it, so I´ll be using photos from the internet. Not actuall for this topic, but only for ilustration. Oh my god, this will be a long one... and borring. 

Brief introduction: (!Warning!: this part is borring, but you need to read it to understand :-/)

             So I am going to explain to you the difficult part first, and that is the term Weltgeist or as translated, World Spirit (personally the meaning of this term is better translated as "Thoughts an Actions of World in terms of Human Cultures and Societies throughout the History of Humankind" than the term World Spirit. Yes, IT IS diffirent from each other.)Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel was gigantic (as some people say, but I don´t like him anyway :-P) philosopher, even which Marx build on him, even though he was againts him as Tom Rockmore postulated in his book Marx after Marxism . You can briefly learn about G. W. F. Hegel by clicking here, but really briefly because he is more deeper that one can thought. He borrowed the term from his competitor and philosopher F. W. J. von Schelling, and because the term contains large understanding, it´s hard to briefly define the term Weltgeist (World Spirit). Basically what you need to know is, that the term "world spirit" indicates that all human thoughts and actions troughout the history (because humans are only ones that have the spirit that can change and shape the world) is the only universal and eternal criterion that is esential for humans. No Gods Great Plan, but only ourselves shape by the actions our society. He thinks that this "world spirit" is determined by nature, because of logic. He thought something like this (it´s my interpretation of his thoughts to make you understand this issue a bit, not his real thoughts): if the smallest parts of nature are governt by laws, and we are made off by the smallest parts as everything in the universe, our free will must be determined. He saw world as one thing that at the beginning decided to became trees and stars and stuff, but at the end trees will rott and became one with earth, stars will explode and became parts of other stars and so on. So basically universe will at the end, manifest into something. Like 2+2-3+8 will "manifest" into 9. But "world spirit", which is all thoughts, conversations, philosophies and peoples actions throughout the whole history of mankind, will manifest into a spirit of one single human being, which he thought it was Napoleon Bonaparte. After Napoleon was defeated, he was crushed, because he was Hegels proof of his philosophy, and even though, Hegel was always acting as "know-it-all", so this was devastating for him. He even thought that he was the manifestation and the end of philosophy itself. To better understand this issue, I suggest to read his books History of Philosophy, all volumes, or the book from Tom Rockmore that I mentioned earlier.
                     The Settlers V. Gold edition was made by Ubisoft. It is a strategic game where you must raise your city and form an army againts your enemy. It is placed in fictional medieval times and it has its pros and cons, I kinda like it, so if you wanna try it, go buy it. The Gold edition part adds early riffles, inns, architects and bridges to the game, but it is not necessary to know it right now.

The analogy or more like a riddle:

                      So I was playing one of the single player maps, not campaing, because I kinda hate those, and after I exhausted the mines, I rebuild the places as small villages with trading functions, so basically at that time this analogy came across my mind. 
                       Imagine a village in medieval times, let´s say in the times of inquisition, somewhere in a rich monarchic state in Europe. It is very very far from another village or town, so they must often act on their own. This village has only two entrances and is guarded by mountains around it. At each of the entrances to the village are 2 canon towers, so the village has basically 4 of these. Each canon tower needs 3 people (this isn´t in the game) to operate. In the middle of the village is a road that runs through the village and it connects both of the entrances. On the right side of the village is a Treasure-house with 7 tax-collectors. There is also a Farm with 3 farmers that provide food for the Tax-collectors, and a
House where the 7 Tax-collectors and 3 Farmers sleep. On the left side of the village there is a Cathedral with 7 monks and a Farm with 3 Farmers, which provide food for the monks and they also sleep with the 7 monks in one house on their side of the village.  Every week, the Tax-collectors  need to go to the nearest town to collect taxes from the market-place which takes them some time pretty long time to get there, collect taxes and get their asses back.                    Some monks travel troughout the country to convert people to their religion, or to support the troops, but some must stay to prepare blessings for people of their country and give sermons, so each major sides in the village have their goals and they will fight for them. Sometimes King comes to Treasure-house for an inspection, and sometimes Bishop pays a visit too. Don´t forget, they are basically separated from the outside world and one of the sides wants the ultimate control above the village. Now gather everything you know about the era and people and power and money and other stuff that you think is important variables for this village and answer these questions:

1. Who will become Mayor of this village?

2. Who will operate the cannons in the time of need?

3.Will the village secede from the King?

4.Will the village secede from the Church?

5.Who will have the upper hand in the village?

6.What consequences will it have on the country?

               Now give yourself a time and think about it. Don´t read further, because you are ruining it for yourself.

                  I really need to stop call it "Conclusion", because it is basically my thoughts, even they sound logical, but I make so many stupid things, that when I make something smart, it suprises me :-/.
                   Basically, my opinion can be summed into this scene from Game of Thrones:

                                                   If you cannot load the video, click here.

                           Now think. By this video you will say my answer is that the monks will have the upper hand. Will they? If you think about it, the real power in the village is in the hands of Farmers by providing food. But for a common peasant wich is in minority, even they are 6 farmer in the village, they are separeted by bigger groups into halves so if the monks and tax-collectros make a deal, they would be basically enslaved. Yes, Monks have the upper hand, because for everybody that dosen´t believe in God, will be burned alive back then, but the Tax-collectors can also threat people for not paying taxes and sending them to prison or even bribe them to do stuff, even illegal. So what your answers were?
                              Basically I am saying that Hegel was wrong and I am prepared to be eaten alive by Academics in this field. The manifestion of World Spirit   doesn´t depends on the history of human thoughts and actions, because those are immidient responses to surroundings of human being to survive. Even though you can see something like World Spirit  happennig when people are dying out, but it is an illusion created by the basic sense of survival. I am saying that linking thoughts troughout the history as something that people are making alive as some sort of creature is nonsense. The actions and thoughts are temporal and they can been seen like that, but people continue develop ideas because the era which they live in is changed by the time they start to develop the current idea, and it isn´t necessity that the idea is true. So people have this "false continuity"  when they enter fields of study, but they must think of them as groups, not timeline if they want to disover something new.
                             In our today society we went through lot of ideas and "-isms", like Donatism, pragmatism, racism, nacism and so on, and yes it shaped our world, but for example, if few of us were sent on other planet with nothing, we will start from the begging, because there will be no reminders of our past as humanity. There is no such thing as World Spirit as a summary of actions of every individual, but as I call it, "Spirit of One", that can influence another, and then a influenced group of people can make a mark on our History which others can study and depend on because of their basic survival instict that can become power-hunger. This "Spirit of One" is constant due our consciouness, and will be till our evolution dosen´t say otherwise. This "Spirit of One" dosen´t have history, because it lives now, in every human being and is separated from others. It only has a development (as adding and adding a lego brick to make a tower), different in every individual (someone could tell "embrace your inner child", but it is our behaviour that went into our unconsciousness, we didn´t become mature, we just stopped using some traits of our personality and started to use the ones that we discovered learning.), and it is different also because of Einsteins relativity, where time for everyone isn´t the same. That last one was because of our mentality, it takes time to develop, so if you see someone behaving stupid, be calm. It takes time :D.  
                                 We are all born as empty shells, and we all learn to hate if we choose to. That´s why social simulators are often wrong in their solutions with deeper problems, because they don´t count with the extras of human nature, that even we didn´t discover yet. You can see that by my questions about the village you were making schemes to answer them correctly. But on which variables you depend on? We were shaped by what we learned and we shaped our needs by it, but don´t forget, it´s also vice versa.

                     So at the end I must say that, power resides were mans needs reside, they are the shadow on the wall. Now you can start again and think about questions, but in term of needs of villagers. You will see that your answers will be clearer and much more likely to happen.

                   So after this borring shit I am not expecting someone to survive it to the end. But if you did, please let me in the comments or twitter, or facebook what are your thoughts and answers.
                   See ya next time ;-)


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