When Art Encourages Accidents. . .
This is a very strange topic, one that I’d rather not discuss, especially since it strikes so close to home. But here goes: a new discovery in how my ten year old son’s not-so-innocuous hobby of playing Bike Rider downloadable games set up the mindset for a very dangerous accident.
This is how Bike Rider works: A man on a motor bike zooms left to right across a landscape. He is always at a high elevation, be it rooftops or mountaintops, and his goal is to keep his bike riding forward despite precipitous gaps that appear out of nowhere. The mindset of the game is very simply that if you get good enough a playing, you’re going to be able to keep that rider upright no matter how big the gap between skyscrapers.
Now what does Seiji do at the park on Sunday? While nobody is watching him, he gets up on an arched style monkey bars. Now he knows that the proper way to move through the bars is from hand to hand. You’re not supposed to be above the bars. But Seiji already has it in his head that moving over the bars — tightrope style or let’s say Bike Rider Game style — will be more fun. He gets up. He starts moving. His confidence builds. He goes faster. And he slips.
The next thing he knows blood is gushing from his lip. His teeth bang against the bar. He has slipped a meter and he is shrieking in pain. Thank G-d he doesn’t lose consciousness. He is okay, mended with a trip to the hospital emergency room, to the dentist, to the local doctor for aftercare. He is back at school–albeit drinking only liquids till the stitches are removed.
But I am in shock. Art once again proves to be powerful but not in the benevolent way I am so accustomed to seeing it. Art that sends a message sanctioning daredevil stunts is not only dangerous. It is addicting. This Bike Rider Game started to fill up long rides in the car. Seiji downloaded it from my Kindle so when we got home and I wasn’t on the Kindle, he started spending more and more time with this game.
The problem starts with self-regulation. Games are set up by ranking, and as you get more skilled, you go through increasingly difficult challenges. Getting more points, taking on more challenges, you start to feel almighty. You forget you’re in a virtual world. You climb monkey bars and lose the best part of your smile. Your front tooth.
Art sets up fields of resonance. When we resonate with art that uplifts the spirit, we are enticed to do more good in the world. Joy comes in giving of ourselves,our time, our money, our resources and bringing smiles through our service. But art, especially art that gushes out of screens set up for our children, sends a message that the world is a dangerous place. We must constantly watch our tail, be on the lookout for the precipice, care only about ourselves is a very dangerous vibrational field in which to operate.
Seiji is old enough to understand. I sat down with him the day after the accident with the Bike Rider Game and I asked him to show me how to play. He demonstrated. I told him exactly as I’ve written here. I share this big life lesson with you in hopes that you resonate with the best art you can find. Always.
PS I really appreciate these comments. They are helping me talk to my kids more openly than ever before about the adverse affects of the things they love to do in their spare time and to speak without emotion with your input has been an incredible gift. Thank you–and please keep those comments coming!