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Ronnie Mado Solbakken

"Mass pessimism" as a cause for apocalypse!

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As we see in the real world, with increasing numbers of conspiracy theories, 2012 doomsday myths and more. What if the reason behind the world's collapse was not the conspiracies, aliens from outer space or the planet Nibiru crashing into us - but rather our [i]fear[/i] of these things happening. I.e. that these fears shackle us to our individual stati quo and prevents us from rising above our base surival instincts?

What are your thoughts about Matrix-like esoterics? Is it suitable for game development or can it risk passing the players by, if not handed to them? I mean, I've discussed the Matrix movies with some people who needed to see the third movie to understand that Neo was actually never in the "real world", even though it's hinted in both the first (barely) and especially the second movie (blatantly). Edited by DrMadolite
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Hmm, could make sense. If you continue the current trend of people living with personalised filtered news and entertainment, I can imagine the sense of community dissolving. Particularly if reporting of scandals skyrocketed, voting dropped, public services declined. Things becoming more tribal. Not likely, but possible.
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IMHO the number of conspiracy theories and cults is not actually increasing, it was higher in the 60s and 70s than now. But certainly there is historical precedent for mass fear motivating people to attack each other; xenophobic fear, especially combined with fear of becoming sick or poverty-stricken, has motivated many witch hunts, lynch mobs, nazi atrocities, and crusades/jihads. In human emotional metabolism fear is often converted to anger. But, intense fear and intense anger aren't something an individual human body and brain can maintain for very long. Fear and anger are most sustainable in an individual who has periods of safety and pleasure between confrontations with their nemesis. Individuals who have no such rest period either break under the stress by becoming suicidal, or become desensitized and jaded. Both of these can be observed in people living in poor economic conditions such as ghettos and slums, as well as high-stress environments like universities. However, the human survival instinct is strong, as are the desire to attain prosperity, the desire for revenge, and the moral/religious impulse to not become a villain/sinner/person criticized and condemned by others; in between these drives it's very rare for any human population to destroy itself, no matter how terrible the conditions they are in.
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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1335904226' post='4936517']*snip*[/quote]

Yeah it would have to be somewhat of a situation where society sort of gets used to a certain status quo because they're comfortable with it when compared to what's in store for them on the outside. Especially as enclavic towns go, without proper roads, electric grids and whatnot. But I think you bring a number of very good points, I'll have to look more into these things.

Cheers. Edited by DrMadolite
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Hmm, what about a cultural shift followed by a real-world upheaval? For example, if society became less and less locale based and more and more interests/belief based, based online. Then one day a bad solar storm knocks out the net and people find themselves living next to a bunch of people they don't really know or like or have any daily interaction with. Also jadedness and dehumanisation (perhaps intentional) could lead to bad stuff. A society where people live largely in VR (sorry 1980s!) could lead to very odd psychology over time. Perhaps dealing with people in the real world would cause extreme xenophobia or agoraphobia. Not being able to task-switch might become that itch that drives you mad when you can't scratch it.

Once again, don't think it's likely, but just trying to find a close enough fit. ;)
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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1335904226' post='4936517']
it's very rare for any human population to destroy itself, no matter how terrible the conditions they are in.
[/quote]

Be that as it may, an author can write about whatever they want. The Matrix has no end of plot holes, for instance. A concept does not have to be "rationally deducible from first principles in the real world" to be a viable fiction. If there are holes, you paper over them with whatever writer's tricks you care to employ. So, to respond to the OP: yes, you have permission from "the world" to write about any topic you want. It can work, it all depends on your writing.

And... The Matrix didn't partly take place in reality? Really? How do you figure? Since when did The Matrix become a 2nd order Inception?
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Fascinating idea.

For my ten pence worth, it would only work as a kind of 'deep noir' genre piece, something like Heavy Rain.

You would need a dark, investigative setting with a lot of interaction.

Could make for a brilliant twist, though, as the player eventually worked out that there was 'no conspiracy to fear but fear of conspiracy itself'.....
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