ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
 
  Login Using Facebook
Twitter
 
     

The New Ascetics

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 04/21/19 at 03:49 PM CT

This weekend, while Jews the world over celebrate the avoidance of a plague by the smearing of sheep’s blood on their door lintels, and Christians celebrate the agonizing physical abuse, torment, and death heaped upon the god-man at the center of their mythology, here I am thinking about games. But really, I’m thinking about games AND religion.

As a Classicist, there are actually very few times when I’m NOT thinking about religion from an outside, unattached perspective. With great dismay, I see all the time how stupid people do stupid or horrific things in the name of Faith. Indeed, the thing that first dislodged my own faith, and placed me on the True Path of heathendom, was a college course I took as a sophomore on the writings of the early Church Fathers. The Christianity I grew up with was supposed to be a faith of forgiveness, freedom from fear, and the end of superstition. What I read about in the Church Fathers was, instead, a Christianity steeped in anxiety, superstition, and dread. How did one know one was a good enough Christian? How did one avoid the demoniac and blasphemous experience of daring to actually live in the corrupt world while waiting out the Final Countdown?

One of the earliest answers to these questions of existential angst came in the form of ascetic monasticism. Prior to the codifications of monastic orders by individuals like Benedict and Francis (no, not the two most recent popes, but the monks after whom they named themselves), for several hundred years, the monks of Christianity bore a far more striking resemblance to the terrorists of ISIS than to the quiet, contemplative, bookish, and service-based lives of the Benedictines and Franciscans.

I recently read a quite delightful book, cataloging much of early Christianity’s dirty laundry, entitled “The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World,” by Catherine Nixey. The 14th chapter, subtitled, “To Obliterate the Tyranny of Joy,” after a quote from Church Father and asceticism fanboy, John Chrysostom, goes into detail about the miserable and disturbing lives of early Christian monks, the so-called ‘Desert Fathers,’ quoting liberally from a primary source, entitled “Apophthegmata Patrum, the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.”

What is a monk? “All toil,” according to the Desert Fathers.

How should a monk behave? “Despise everything,” according to the Desert Fathers.

How should a monk live? “Do violence to himself in everything,” according to the Desert Fathers.

These do not sound like the ideas of people who are purely confident in their love for their god-man, nor in his love for them. These are, instead, dangerously unhinged people with something to prove and a massive chip on their collective shoulder. These were men who would stand on a pillar or hold a large stone in their mouth for decades, eating nothing but weeds and locusts (and occasionally stolen sacrifices from Olympian temples, for, according to our ‘friend’ Chrysostom, “There is no crime for those who have Christ”), all in the name of proving how much better they were at doing Christianity than others who merely attended weekly gatherings or wasted their time in the pursuit of charity.

No, the ascetic monks knew they were better than other Christians, and this mad self-confidence oftentimes led ‘lesser’ Christians to seek them out for their incredible wisdom and guidance.

Do you see how this relates to games? Do you know who the modern-day ascetic monks are?

What if I told you that the prevailing ascetic wisdom of the Desert Fathers and their ilk could be colloquially and idiomatically translated as “git gud”?

Yes, the Souls Trolls and H.A.R.D. Heads, as well as those who embrace the Bad Face of nostalgia, are gaming’s new ascetics. In a community that should be about having fun, creating shared experiences, exchanging ideas, examining art, and any number of other positive activities, the new ascetics are only interested in punishing themselves, and getting others to follow their lead. They exclusively subject themselves to the worst, most tedious, self-abusive experiences gaming has to offer, hubristically reveling in their ability to overcome, and insisting that ALL gaming should be like that. They loudly proclaim that any gamer who isn’t willing to subject themselves to the same level of metaphorical mortification and who isn’t able to overcome it if they do, is trash.

Their elitism, married to their self-loathing, makes modern ascetics insane. The fact that their dubious accomplishments are looked upon by any other gamers with admiration makes them dangerous. Like their forerunners, the new ascetics want nothing more than to obliterate the tyranny of fun, and expect the rest of us to thank them for it.

Share:    
MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed
Comments
0 comments
Name: 

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   



 

Bloggers

Previous Blog Posts

Archive

All Posts

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

 
Log In
 
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me
 
 

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

L.A. Noire game review by Megadrive
Portal 2 game review by Megadrive
Destiny 2 game review by Nelson Schneider
Oxenfree game review by Chris Kavan
Shadowrun: Dragonfall game review by Nelson Schneider
Murdered: Soul Suspect game review by Chris Kavan
Kirby Star Allies game review by Chris Kavan
Shadowrun Returns game review by Nelson Schneider

New Game Lists

Games I Own: PC by Nelson Schneider
Top Xbox 360 Games by Megadrive
Top Game List by SIngli6
Games I Own: PS4 by dbarry_22
My Backlog by Chris Kavan
Backlog by Matt
Top Nintendo (NES) Games by Nick Barry
Favorite Cooperative Multipla... by Jonzor

 

 

 

Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us

Jobs

About us

SiteMap

 

Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use

Privacy

Hitfix.com

Amazon.com

OVGuide.com

   
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?