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The Machine is the second in a trilogy of songs reflecting on gaming in general. The first being The Mirror. It is my personal challenge to entitle the third song The (something beginning with M), which does limit things rather.
I wrote The Machine after another long day sitting at my computer, my eyes and my hands being the only parts of my body that moved all day. Sometimes I come home from work and wonder what a machine like me is meant to do with things like sofas. My body is still carved in its hunchbacked sitting posture, fingers poised out in front of me like a t-rex. It takes a while for that tension to melt, if it ever does.
The song is about the way we are plugged into machines in general, including gaming - but not exclusively, and how far this takes us from our bodies, which is maybe our aim. Somehow our bodies, our humanness, can feel all too limiting at times. We are embarrassed of them often, by the noises and smells they make, by their urges and impulses, by the way they are constantly decaying. We like to think that these things aren't happening, and we certainly hide them from each other if we can.
In days of old we used to escape our bodies by living in the mind, through lofty philosophy and spirituality. These avenues are still open, but we've also created much more entertaining ways. We can fly and travel to other realms, we can jump off cliffs and be the biggest, strongest person imaginable. Who would want to limit themselves to a meagre human body, when we hardly have to be in it at all?
And this, I'm guessing, is a large part of what makes us miserable. Bodies want to be lived in. They want to taste and touch and smell, to move and run around and experience. And they have a whole range of emotions that are constantly flooding the system. We think we are cleverly side-stepping emotions by switching on to something else but our bodies are still feeling everything, and they will find a way to let us know. Underlying anxiety, illness, insane appetite. In my case it's a juicy spot (right between my eyes).
Most of all bodies want to connect. We do a lot of our connecting these days on the Internet. I have had some of the most profound connections in this way. There have been times when sending a message, or receiving one has been a total lifeline. And yet it's completely disembodied. This doesn't take away from the heart connection, but the ultimate challenge is to connect with someone when both bodies are in front of each other. It's amazing how difficult it is to be truly real with someone when they are there in the room with you.
Aloneness is a very important human experience though. We are alone. No one will ever fully know what it is like to experience everything as we have experienced it. In some ways I take great delight in this. Cycling home in the dark with the trees whispering around me, feeling my fear and my exhilaration, a delicious experience all of my own.
And yet I want to tell you about it, I want to tell you everything, and I'm not the only one. We're all blogging, and twittering away like mad. We want to share, we want to be seen, we want to connect, in our aloneness. It's one of our most basic human needs.
This is what I wanted to name in my song. I don't want to be alone. It's not about having a boyfriend/girlfriend (which is why I used Daisy dog as my love interest instead of some dazzling man - more about that in my next post), boyfriends/girlfriends come and go, and even if they don't then it's still not healthy to make them your sole connection. I'm interested in real connections, embodied ones, connecting ourselves to everything, not just machines.
At the moment my web site is being built and I'm putting a section on there where I want you to upload any of your creative work. I want to see you. And I'm up for using the machine to take us further into our humanness.
Right, I'm off to dance the night away, shake this t-rex out.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: