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Are Video Games Actually Desensitizing Us To Violence?

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Growing up, video games played a big role in my life at times, as they were often the go to source of entertainment. Whether I was spending time with friends or unwinding on my own, there was little “fun time” spent -aside from playing sports outside -without a Nintendo or Sony controller in my hand. And for good reason, as there is no denying that for many of us video games can be incredibly fun to play.

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I still remember to this day how immersed I became in games such as Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time and the Metal Gear Solid franchise -all of which managed to preoccupy countless hours of my childhood and teenage years. To this day I still on occasion play video games and in the right environment and/or mood can have a lot of fun doing so.

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With video game console capabilities consistently improving I found myself curious to explore just how big of a role video games play in our modern society and whether or not they are having any lasting effects on those who play them.

Video Games By The Numbers

According to a dossier released by statista in September of this year global video game revenues exceed $100 billion US, with $6.1 billion of that being generated by video game sales in the United States alone.(1) These already staggering numbers become even more surprising when one takes into consideration the state of the US economy. How much of that $100 billion is being spent by families and individuals who cannot comfortably afford to buy that $59.99 game or that $349.99 console?

In terms of time -arguably our most precious resource -in 2013 the average US gamer over the age of 13 spent 6.3 hours a week playing video games -which is up from an average of 5.6 hours spent in 2012.(2)

What Type Of Games Are We Playing The Most?

kidgamingViolence, in some way shape or form has been a predominant theme in the world of video games for quite sometime. The numbers support that conclusion with the action and shooter genres accounting for a combined 51.9% of video game sales in the US in 2013.(3) Even if masked under the intentions of playing a hero whose sole purpose is to destroy a series of “enemies” to save the world, violence is violence and we seem to love to engage in it virtually.

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The top 5 selling games in the UK in 2013 are further proof that this trend is global, with 4 of the top 5 being from the action and/or shooter genre.(4) Atop that list is the latest instalment from the ever-popular Grand Theft Auto series a franchise synonymous for gratuitous violence, sexuality and mature themes -as evidenced by its M for Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

“Currently there are more than half a billion people worldwide playing computer and video games at least an hour a day — and 183 million in the US alone.” – Jane McGonigal, Game Designer & Author

So, with so much violence being engaged in virtually by so many of us worldwide is it having an effect on us? And more importantly is it desensitizing us to these mature themes? There seems to be two opposing points of view.

View #1: Violent Video Games Reduce Brain Response To Violence

A 2011 study out of the University of Missouri-Columbia looked at the long recognized belief held by many scientists that playing violent video games can cause players to become more aggressive in their daily life. The study involved 70 young adult participants who were randomly assigned to play a violent or non-violent video game for 25 minutes. The researchers then measured brain responses as they showed the participants a series of neutral and violent photos. The final stage allowed the participants to compete against an opponent in a controllable task that allowed them to choose how aggressively they would blast their opponent with sound. Researchers found that those who played a violent video game were more aggressive in their blast by comparison to those who played a non-violent game.(5)

Another study in the publication Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that aggression triggered by video games can last for up to 24 hours after the game is played -if the player continues to think about the game.(6) Thinking back on my own video game experiences I can often recall times where the game lingered within my mind long after I had put the controller down, making this study personally quite interesting for me to read about. The authors of the study noted that violent gamers often play for a lot longer than the 20 minutes they were allotted in this particular study, making it more likely that they let thoughts of it ruminate within their mind habitually.

View #2: No Causal Link Between Video Games & Violent Behaviour

Several authorities, including the US Supreme Court, the US Surgeon General, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission all stand on the side of there being no causal link between violent video games and violent behaviour. Any theories to the contrary they state are a myth, and in response have compiled a list of research to support this stance.(7)

They do advise however that individuals -especially parents -make informed decisions about what they do and do not choose to expose themselves to. Each game is subject to a rating and suggested age range, and all major gaming systems are required to have programmable parental controls.

How To Decide For Yourself

As with so many other things in the world these days I’m finding that the best solution always lies within. When deciding whether or not to expose yourself to violent video games, observe how you feel when you play them. Are they purely an entertaining experience that you are easily able to disconnect from? Or are they an escape that allows you to release frustrations, feelings and emotions?

I’d also advise to look within when deciding whether or not play video games at all. Observe your behavioural patterns to see whether you are simply engaging in an available form of entertainment or if it has become a habitual decision. Be sure to be honest with yourself when analyzing this as well, as you won’t be doing anyone a favour by masking how playing as much as you do makes you feel.

I personally do not think that video games are inherently good or bad. They aren’t for everyone, and there is a time and place for them for those who enjoy them. It’s up to us to decipher just how much and when that is, if at all.

Sources:
(1) http://www.statista.com/topics/868/video-games/
(2) http://time.com/120476/nielsen-video-games/
(3) http://www.statista.com/statistics/189592/breakdown-of-us-video-game-sales-2009-by-genre/
(4) http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/16/100-best-selling-video-games-of-2013-revealed-4265929/
(5) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525151059.htm
(6) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100920094620.htm
(7) http://www.theesa.com/facts/violence.asp

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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Alternative News

FBI Confirms Report of “Cylindrical” UFO “Moving Really Fast” Over New Mexico

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CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The FBI has now confirmed that they are aware of the American Airlines pilot's UFO report. They did not say they are officially investigating the incident any further. The incident remains a mystery.

  • Reflect On:

    The increase in UFO coverage and reporting in mainstream media is raising public awareness about how prominent and well documented the subject is. What does the reality of the UFO phenomenon mean to you? Does it change your worldview?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

On Sunday Feb. 21, 2021 a pilot on American Airlines flight 2292 from Cincinnati to Phoenix reported seeing a long cylindrical object fly very fast over New Mexico, reporting that it looked a lot like a cruise missile. Now, the FBI has confirmed that they are aware of the mysterious report but did not say whether they are investigating any further.

The pilots report, which can be heard here, went like this:

“Do you have any targets up here? We just had something go right over the top of us – I hate to say this but it looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing – moving really fast right over the top of us.”

Steve Douglass, an experienced radio interceptor, was the first to report on the incident and claimed he heard the pilot’s transmission while recording from his multiple scanners.

Initially, American Airlines did not confirm that they had information the incident had happened, but later on, they provided a different story to journalists at The Drive who pressed for more info.

American Airlines initial response:

“At this time, we do not have any indication the radio transmission was from the flight crew on board American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” an airline rep told the outlet initially.

American Airlines updated response:

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,”

On Feb. 25th, a FBI spokesperson Frank Connor told Fox News in an email that:

“The FBI is aware of the reported incident, […] While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public. Anyone who is aware of suspicious or criminal activity should contact their local law enforcement agency or the FBI,”

The Federal Aviation Administration did release a short statement regarding the incident as well:

A pilot reported seeing an object over New Mexico shortly after noon local time on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. FAA air traffic controllers did not see any object in the area on their radarscopes.

Up to this point this incident remains a mystery. It is unclear if further formal investigation is happening behind the scenes, but given what we’ve learned over our years of researching this subject, intelligence agencies tend to take these incidents significantly more seriously than they make the public aware of.

There has been a long term veil of secrecy surrounding the UFO phenomenon and only in recent years has the discussion turned more mainstream. It has been interesting to see further media publications pop up who are now taking this phenomenon a lot more seriously as well. This will continue to push this conversation into the mainstream over the course of time.

While it’s always intriguing to explore these new reports, there is decades of research and credible whistleblower testimony that fill in a great deal of ‘blanks’ when it comes to questions regarding the UFO and ET phenomenon. Indeed we know a lot more than what is being circulated in mainstream media at this time, and the phenomenon delves deeply into the field of consciousness research.

I recently received permission to release my full, raw, interview for the Dr. Steven Greer’s latest film ‘Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind.’ In it I cover my perspectives on discerning mainstream coverage of the UFO subject, the societal and cultural implications of the phenomenon, and what it means for humanity as a whole. You can watch the full interview exclusively on CETV.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Alternative News

Global Food & Farming Issues: Dr. Vandana Shiva Slams Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg & Monsanto

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Physicist, environmental activist and renowned author Dr. Vandana Shiva explains modern day global food and farming issues. There are links within the article to her very informative work.

  • Reflect On:

    When organic agriculture has shown to be the best way to feed the world, why do giant corporations insist on taking over and doing things their way? Why do they have so much sway over government policy?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a renowned author, environmental activist, and physicist. Shiva founded Navdanya, an international movement started 30 years ago in India to defend seed and food sovereignty and small farmers around the world.  Navdanya pioneered the movement of seed saving and seed freedom, which began in response to the crisis of erosion of agricultural biodiversity and introduction of GMOs and patents on seeds through intellectual property rights (IPRs) and so-called ‘free trade’ agreements. It has long fought against biopiracy, the patenting of indigenous knowledge by self-interested multinational corporations and won cases related to Neem, basmati rice and wheat in India. Navdanya promotes a new agricultural and economic paradigm, a culture of food for health, where ecological responsibility and economic justice replace the present greed, consumerism and competition which have become dominant in society. It aims at regaining the common good as a foundation for a renewed sense of community, solidarity and culture of peace.

In the last 30 years, Navdanya’s research on Biodiversity based Agro-ecological farming has shown how Agroecology can increase nutrition and health, as well as farmers incomes while rejuvenating soil, water and biodiversity and enhancing climate resilience. They have a membership of more than 650,000 farmer families in 22 states of India. According to Navdanya:

The COVID public health crisis and its resulting economic devastation have accelerated calls to respond through the ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism through embracing the fourth industrial revolution. For food systems, this would mean a ‘food systems transformation’ where all areas of the food supply chain are further centralized, digitized, and mined for data in the false names of ‘public health’ and ‘economic recovery’. This push is now being supported by international organizations and world leaders who stand hand-in-hand with big corporations’ desires for further agrifood system concentration. This translated to a more aggressive push toward false solutions of farms managed through artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms, precision farming, fake foods- such as lab-grown meat, synthetically produced oils, and breastmilk- robot pollinators, biofortification, gene drives for more advanced forms of GMOs, and digital sequencing genetic information (DSI) of agro-diversity.

They recently put out a very informative report titled “Gates to A Global Empire.” Be sure to check it out. I suggest you read a recent article written by Dr. Shiva (her twitter account) titled, “Indian farmers’ 30 year struggle against corporate globalisation and 40 year struggle against the green revolution.” Her books are also a great resource documenting the takeover of seed and the immoral and unethical actions of big corporations, like Monsanto, in India and all over the world.

The clip below is from 2019 but it’s still very informative.

 

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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‘Big Short’ Investor Michael Burry Warns Central Governments Could Squash Bitcoin

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CE Staff Writer 6 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Well known hedge fund Michael Burry feels that Bitcoin could be squashed by the "legally violent, heartless central governments" who won't allow Bitcoin to stay decentralized.

  • Reflect On:

    Our societal structures, like the economy, are certainly in question as many continue to lose faith in them. Is the path towards a better future through cryptocurrency? Could humanity dream up a world without money?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

You might remember the famed hedge fund manager Michael Burry from the film ‘Big Short,’ his character was played by Christian Bale. He is best known for forecasting the 2008 financial crisis, and he made billions from that bet. In a recent tweet, Burry has suggested that governments could “squash” Bitcoin (BTC) in a coming inflationary crisis due to further pandemic stimulus.

Burry also feels that further regulation of the decentralized currency could hamper BTC’s performance in the long term. With one of the main motivations behind cryptocurrency’s like BTC being that they are intended to operate outside of government control and regulation, you can bet that the millions who invest in crypto intend that it stays that way – out of the governments reach.

In a now deleted series of Tweets, Michael Burry stated some intriguing opinions about Bitcoin and potential government interventions:

I don’t hate BTC. However, in my view, the long term future is tenuous for decentralized crypto in a world of legally violent, heartless centralized governments with lifeblood interests in monopolies on currencies. In the short run anything is possible – why I am not short BTC.

Burry claiming he is not ‘short’ on BTC means he is not betting that its price will fall significantly anytime soon.

One of the major reasons Burry feels governments could squash BTC is due to coming inflation as a result of more pandemic stimulus. “In an inflationary crisis, governments will move to squash competitors in the currency arena. $BTC #gold,” he said.  As you can sense by Burry’s words, he feels governments will do anything in their power to maintain control over their own currencies, and protect them at all costs, regardless whether it’s what benefits people most or not.

In his recent string of tweets he discussed Germany’s path to hyperinflation in the 1920s. He currently sees America’s economic trajectory to be similar to the post-World War I climate that eventually led to a 320% monthly inflation rate in the country.

If Burry is right about the upcoming inflation and the governments potential regulatory actions on BTC, this will be the 2nd time in recent years that he predicted a seismic shift in the US economy.

“People say I didn’t warn last time, I did, but no one listened. So I warn this time. And still, no one listens. But I will have proof I warned.” – Burry said in a tweet.

Modern Structures Are Failing

This inevitably brings up the discussion of our current way of life when thinking about our societal design. Does a capitalistic economy really create a world where people can thrive? Does it inspire big business and governments to think about people’s well being first? Or does it motivate them to think of profits first? Perhaps it’s our underlying worldview of competition and separation that causes us to create society in this manner? Either way, history over the last 30 years has shown us that financial crisis’ are happening at a faster rate, each time pushing more and more people into a lower socio-economic class while the few become richer. Aside from available spending money, think of how this affects people’s basic ability to survive and enjoy life.

COVID-19 served to make billionaires even bigger billionaires, while the average person struggles to get a job, feed their family and make basic payments. Is this a world we want to live in? Does this truly feel like what we’re capable of or are we being convinced to accept something because someone said so?

Are we really to support the idea that governments should regulate cryptocurrency, a means of exchange that is outside their control? What’s the motivation behind their regulation? As faith in our institutions crumbles year after year, is the culture within governance feeling their increasing loss of power over the people?

I don’t intend to write a lengthy piece deeply exploring the ins and outs of our economic model and why it’s not serving the people, I’ll save that for another time. I sense that the questions I’ve posed will already bring up thoughts and feelings within you that tend to ‘know’ our current ways aren’t working to help people thrive, perhaps that’s enough.

Where I’m curious to push the envelope a little further is in the question of why do we believe that we need currency and exchange to begin with? Why must our economies work the way we do? Have we really chosen to ask this question? Or have we accepted the limited and dishonest historical belief that “we tried everything else and this is best?”

A radical idea to consider I know, but one I invite you to imagine for just a moment. Given all the the incredible technology we have available to us today, can we really not imagine a society where money is not required? Given the emerging information in post material science that is telling us a different story about the nature of humans, can we honestly say we are simply competitive and warring animals still?

For just a moment, set aside the judgements someone might cast upon you for considering that we could live in a world without money, things like “that’s socialism!” or  “That’s communism!” If you were tasked with the project of coming up with a way to live in our world without money, how might it look? How would we go about creating that type of community?

Aside from what we’re commonly told, human beings are incredible, with extraordinary abilities to connect, build community and solve problems. If we changed the conversation from “that’s never going to be possible” to “how might we actually go about doing this?” that innocent little shift allows us to be open, sense possibility and activate our creativity, even if it means we aren’t going to take action right away.

I’ve been doing this sort of work and asking these questions my whole life – professionally for 13 years – I don’t hold the naive position that all of this can just happen on its own or that we don’t require deep questioning of our current worldview, I recognize all of this is necessary. What I am saying though is, if we don’t begin to think and explore down this path, we can’t ever make things ‘better.’

So what are you choosing to do? Accept the world as it is today? Or are you open to imagining a world where people can truly thrive?

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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