Today’s thought, running in parallel with the theory that, as social animals, humans naturally seek narrative meaning (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/it-is-in-our-nature-to-need-stories/).
Anyway: RPGs are a method of achieving an altered state of consciousness, which is another thing humans naturally seek out. Probably comparable to meditation, ritual, and repetition.
I’m not sure what to do with that, but it’s been tickling the back of my brain for weeks now. I think it’s one reason why I’ve done so poorly trying to mix an RPG’s ASC and chemically induced ASCs ie alcohol and recreational drugs (although I know plenty of folks for whom they are entirely compatible, even synergistic).
I know larp puts ritual and repetition to good use. Some bleeding-edge RPGs do too. I’ll bet if you look at it the right way, nearly the entire gamut of focused multi-hour make-believe activities fit neatly alongside those activities, if not directly invoking them.
“The situation is X, what do you do?” sure feels call-and-response-ish, yeah?
I think if we treat the act of roleplaying this way, the debrief period after (regardless of intensity, bleed, drama, etc.) takes on a different meaning. A method of returning one’s consciousness to baseline, maybe.
Yes yes, all speculation. I’m not drawing lines in the sand or planting flags. Just thinking out loud.
NB: What’s the over/under on how many posts it’ll take before this devolves into an argument about definitions? I’ll set it at 3 and then I’m shutting down comments.
Bonus points if we keep the morality of drugs and alcohol out of the comments. This is 100% not about that.