Video-games and Pop-entertainment as the Commercial Equivalent of Fundamentalist (Religious and Political) Beliefs

Fundamentalist perception of oral or written narratives (tautological, without any sense of connotation, like an automatic action) and authoritarian/totalitarian communication – ATC, which corresponds to it – is a way to transform narratives into a toy, and listening, reading or watching them into a child’s game, into a make-belief. Religious fundamentalism as a tautological perception of stories and ATC communication are the equivalent, in the area of religious beliefs and practices, of what mass-cultural perception and communication is in the secular area. In mass culture we observe the same fundamentalist tautological perception and the same type of communication that we see in fundamentalist religious perception of reality. What is perceived is identical or near identical to what is communicated – no connotation or interpretation intervene between the communicator and the receiver, no mental space mediates between what is communicated and what is perceived.

What for people who try to please God is religious fundamentalism and for the ones who try to please a commanding officer a commanding communication (CC), for mass-cultural consumer and the entertaining communication (EC) are images and goods he/she consumes/appropriates. Semantic tautology is the psychological mechanism in all three cases. And with it to people comes a fundamentalist pleasure of having precious privilege not to be occupied with connotations, to be free from the necessity to deploy interpretation with its relativity and insecurity.

It is the absence of connotation what transforms communication into a toy – into a consumed object, into pure energy of appropriation/consumption with resulting very rewarding pleasure. ATC (including commercial communication: the one between producer/seller and consumer) is a communicational aspect of the same phenomenon psychological aspect of which is tautological fundamentalism.

It is helpful to represent the instrumental form of ATC (for example, military order from higher to lower ranks) as a transitional form between religious fundamentalism (transforming religion into a toy of pop-belief) and mass-cultural entertainment. Like religious dogmas in fundamentalist perception are taken as commands – without any connotation, words and phrases of military commands and entertainment’s super-stars are taken with a passive imitation, through symbiotic identification. Religious and political dogmas, military commands and super-stars’ self-expressions are oriented on direct and immediate identifications on the part of those at the receiving end. This kind of non-critical identification is the psychological essence of the relationship between a human being and a toy. Like religious fundamentalist appropriates/consumes/identifies with the religious maxims, images and authorities, like a soldier appropriates his colonel’s order and his general’s commending and encouraging gaze, like a sport- or pop-music fan emotionally swallows/appropriates the star’s face and voice – in the same way a child makes its toy not only part of his body, but an object of his internal world.

But the age of technologically advanced toys has brought about a new epoch of a more profound fundamentalization of human communication and tautologization of human thinking about the world. High-tech toys come to children with the aura of independence from existential frame of reference; they are a goal in itself, their own world, other (better) planet. These toys are the new version of narratives (where connotation is destroyed not only subjectively, on the level of perception – through a fundamentalist [tautology oriented] psychological reaction, but objectively, through the elimination [in the toy] the existential reference, reference to the common good of the society). Communication between a high-tech toy, like, for example, video-game, and a human being, corresponds to a fundamentalist psychological code, when there is no room for otherness/dissimilarity between the sender and receiver – the more the receiver becomes identical with the game the more effective he/she becomes as a player.

While in religious fundamentalism identification with the dogma and religious authorities will always keep an inequality in the existential space, while in the army identification with the commander-in-chief will always keep inequality in real life situations, while in mass-cultural communicational relations between the star and fan and entertaining idea or image and their consumer the difference between the idol and its worshipper is blurred – the identification between video-game player and the video-game takes place inside a completely artificial communicative space. Such space doesn’t need the reality at all. In this feature of high-tech toys lies their destructive power. Now it is not only fundamentalism of toy as a narrative the problem. It is toy’s complete freedom from the existential system of coordinate, its complete independence from human life. And it means that the psyche of those who play with these toys is already not an existential psyche capable of balancing its imaginative needs by the awareness of its existential limits (the fragility of human body, identification with otherness of other people which makes us capable of developing empathy and compassion, and ability to take into consideration the vulnerability of individual and planetary life).

But now toy-me or me-toy becomes the king – not king of earthly proportions, but king beyond and above life. We are less and less interested in life and more and more are playing with super-toys – new weapon systems, incredible profits, and high-tech science. As soon as they are not regulated by life (but directed by our super-human ambitions), they are in a unique position of destroying life because they are not part of it. Our human part cannot control our toy-obsessions because the more we play with real weapons and “unreal” (super-human) profits we are weaker and weaker in our ability to improve our understanding of life and make it more refined and humane.

“Communication” between high-tech toy like the video-game and human being follows the archaic fundamentalist code when there is no semantic difference between the sender and receiver – when receiver blindly follows/identifies with message – acts according to prescription/command incarnated into the rules of the game.