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6-02-2008 @ 4:56PM
I didn't read the whole Escapist article, but it seems like lots of comparisons are being made in these posts to theater. The key differences in roleplaying and the dramatic arts, ancient Greek or otherwise, is that roleplaying is like acting with yourself and other participants as the audience, and with a bunch of rules/guidelines instead of a wrote script. In that sense, it relies more on the imagination and creativity of the players. In truth, it seems more analogous to a phenomenon far older and more omnipresent throughout even other species: the playing of children. Much has been written about the adolescent need to play, from a psychological/sociological standpoint. In human children, as well as say lion cubs, the 'role' being 'played' is usually some more powerful, idealized version of the self, i.e. an adult, or heroic version of the parents.Perhaps what has changed in the latter 20th century is a greater need for more codified system for these roles in our imaginations. We don't have as many idealized epic myths in our standard media, and at the same time we don't have the same kind of rites of passage into a real life role of even demanding physical labor, to say nothing of heroic warrior.
6-02-2008 @ 5:31PM
That's an interesting way to look at it.It may be somehow related to the fact that in modern society, people have signficantly more 'free time' to fill in, and that generally, we stay 'younger'. Many people are still studying into their late 20s, whereas back then I guess you'd be considered an adult around 16.This general sense of freedom may be a factor in keeping modern people younger, and more prone to 'play'.
6-02-2008 @ 5:57PM
It seems true that modern societies consist more of 'grownup children' than in past eras, however in other ways even young adults must deal with a far more complex world. What we really miss are the rights of passage. A really good source on these subjects is Joseph Campbellhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_CampbellHe built on the work of C.J. Jung, and was considered a world authority on mythology. Don't remember him referring to the RPG phenomenon specifically, but it certainly is a relevant subject to his work.
6-02-2008 @ 5:59PM
Doh, *rites* of passage, not rights. That's a whole different subject...
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