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Violence in Movies & Computer Games

Violence in movies and computer games is usually socially acceptable - a kind of Social Violence - and often presented with age restrictions and warnings. The IMDb has a 'Parents Guide' for each movie.
However, violence in such media is surely excessive, overused?
As a society we have become desensitised to violence, so a movie like the cut version of Dracula was rated X (age 18) in 1958, but in 2007 uncut it is classified as age 12A (so that someone under age 12 can view it with an adult).

Does violence in such media help us at all?

It can help us make sense of the world and believe in Goodness.
Personally, I am not into hack'n'slash games or movies. Yet violence can vivify a story,  and so help us process life's struggles. Life often brings us conflicts which must somehow be handled to achieve harmony. Conflicts can be faced head-on, approached with strategy or intuition, even avoided or outgrown. Movies and games can symbolise these predicaments and bring inspiration to meet these challenges.
Anyway, evolutionarily, we are wired to be particularly interested in bad guys and horror, because it helps guide us to survive and/or defeat such threats.
So, the Devil, Sauron, Darth Vader are memorable and defeatable.
Storytelling, myth and religion all have stories where good battles evil (e.g. the battlefield of the Bhagavad Gita symbolises life's struggles).
Additionally, if we delve deeper, these characters or scenarios can represent deep, powerful forces in our psyche as well as in the wider world. We are the heroes/heroines that must battle evil to save our world and even the Universe.
We can be this protagonist in video games, or in movies we can align with:-
  • Harry Potter who kills Lord Voldemort.
  • Gandalf/Aragorn/Galadriel/Bilbo/etc. who collectively defeat Sauron.
  • Yoda, who tells us that the Light Side is stronger than the Dark Side. 
So, the Hero's Journey is more important, i.e. the deeper symbolic meaning of violence as a struggle to defeat inner/collective demons, so that Light and Goodness triumph.

It can highlight ignored issues in society, bringing them up for purification.
Example: The Accused movie highlights
society's handling of rape, and the difficulties faced by rape survivors; her first cry was for help, her second was for justice.
This can help us create world change, or campaign for it.

It can train us.
Violence has an evolutionary function.
As a human and an animal, we may need it for survival. See here. So, it helps to train ourselves.
Video games are used to train soldiers to overcome a human aversion to killing. Improved aim and accuracy are additional benefits. Children who play shooting video games also gain these skills. B
ut movies and video games can facilitate already disturbed individuals to act on violent thoughts and feelings. See here.
Movies are less useful, as much Hollywood asocial violence is unrealistic.
However, if you really want training, see here and here.

But...

Surely, we need to minimise violence?
The world really does not need excessive use of horror and violence.
There is already so much in the world: wars, slavery, poverty, abuse, genocide, etc.
Rather:-
  • "We should refrain from doing anything to increase the overall amount of suffering in the universe." (Thomas Metzinger)
  • "Love much. Earth has enough of bitter in it." (Ella Wheeler Wilcox)
  • Contribute to a Culture of Love.
So, surely, we need to use game/movie violence wisely?
  • Use it to bring meaning to internal and worldly conflict.
  • Use it as an insight into societal dysfunction, to galvanise socio-cultural change.
  • Use it as training to handle asocial violence.
And if violence and horror is your thing in a big way, surely you need to at least minimise it, and counterbalance it with co-operative and compassionate activities?
And if is your thing in a way that is sadistic and uncompassionate, perhaps you need to get help from professional psychologists or counsellors?

Also see:-

Screen Time & Children

Electromagnetic Radiation & Children

Negative Thought Forms

Other Violence articles here


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