Call of Duty: are the kids all right? Parents of teenagers need not fear the latest war videogame – and stopping them playing it could lead to some classic tantrums … The annual pop-culture juggernaut which is Call of Duty has again rolled into town: this year's iteration, Black Ops, is in the shops today. Given that it's a much better game than was perhaps anticipated, that is good news for gamers. But its arrival will induce a certain amount of consternation among parents, especially of teenage boys, worried that that's the last they will see of their offspring until they emerge, all but zombified, at some unspecified point in the future. Such fears are understandable but, I would contend, fallacious. Call of Duty is not a particularly unique game – there are hundreds of other similar first-person shooters, in which the player takes on the role of a soldier in startlingly realistic combat situations – but CoD is one of the highest-quality games money can buy. Despite being developed by a different company to its standards-setting predecessor, Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops has turned out to be at least as good. – UK Guardian
Dominant Social Theme: Kill 'em all. And then reload.
Free-Market Analysis: Believing in the free-market, we are not enthusiastic fans of censorship, or generally banning information. In fact, we believe that if parents are worried about a given influence in their lives or their children's lives, they should try to widen the range of exposure. A frame of reference is infinitely preferable to reducing what is available. A well-lived life is an educated one – and one can only be educated by informing oneself widely. One does not acquire wisdom and knowledge by restricting inputs but by adding to them.
Having said this, we want to point out that these "shooter" games (see article excerpt above) – especially the ones that simulate American combat against unspecified enemies – are (cumulatively) horrible. They are easily seen on Youtube where skilled adolescents deposit their "best" games online along with commentary on various styles of killing, knife throws, etc. It is very graphic and the games themselves are graphic as well. There's plenty of blood when someone is killed and one can easily kill dozens or even hundreds in a single sitting. Some of the games end with nuclear blasts when everyone presumably dies.
Now, let us be clear. There's nothing wrong with all this insofar as socialization goes. The gameplayers themselves often talk about the bonding that takes place during a game (you can play them online) and how the games build online friendships with others who may be in different cities, states or countries. Adolescents, even children, are perfectly able to make the distinction between electrons and real people. No one necessarily turns into a violent bully because of a game. Additionally, as we have pointed out before, violence in legitimate defense of oneself, one's family or one's property is an unfortunate (or noble) fact of life.
But nonetheless we have a problem with these war games, and in the rest of this article we shall try to explain why. But in order to do so we have to start with America's continued culture of violence and ignorance – a mindset purposefully inculcated by the powers-that-be in our opinion. Ignorant and ill-informed people are easier to manipulate than those who wish to think for themselves. As the goal of the Anglo-American elite is an evermore tightly knit global government, anything that dumbs-down the public in the West and around the world is fair game. Within this context, the games act may be seen as a furtherance of mind-control.
Mind control in the West, and certainly in America, has been very aggressive throughout the 20th century and into the 21st as we have been discussing here at the Bell. There is nothing very tricky about mind control, though the alternative 'net media likes to talk up its more bizarre permutations. No, mind control is fairly simple if one controls enough of society. The way to control society of course is to use other people's money to open the coffers to truly gigantic floods of currency. The elite has done this through central banking, which allows for the printing of money out of nothing.
Once a small intergenerational, familial banking group has access to as much money as it needs, the reconstruction of society can proceed apace. The media is controlled, education is reconfigured to run parallel to media messages, business itself is reshaped to offer products and services within the parameters of the larger agenda. And of course culture and politics are easily shaped along the same lines.
One sees this most clearly with global warming (we just wrote about this failing meme yesterday) – an unraveling elite promotion that has played out under the glare of the Internet. From what we can observe, fear-based promotions are launched regularly through a variety of portals, mostly through elite-controlled think tanks (is there any other kind?) that then make their way into various academic journals and build, finally, an assemblage of professorial support.
It only takes a few professors, as we have seen with global warming, to control the entire output of the message. These professors may or may not be aware of the full-nature of the promotion (its falsity) but they must be dedicated to its propagation and willing to twist arms and bend scholarship to ensure that the given meme is presented widely and well. To this end, they control the necessary scientific journals and, as tenured professors, often become the gatekeepers of the necessary information.
Once a sufficient body of research has been built up, the meme can be disseminated to the elite-controlled mainstream media. Magazine articles are published and books are written – all controlled within the context of approved elite messaging. Finally, NGOs, unions and other groups with elite affiliations begin to agitate for "solutions" to whatever fear-based or scarcity meme is being propounded.
These agitations – which may turn violent – are covered by the elite-controlled media, thus creating a kind of sounding board or reverberation effect in which the message itself becomes inescapable. Government swings into action to attempt to solve the problem. These debates provide further messaging; the promotion feeds upon itself like a fire raging out of control. Large corporations begin to set up businesses focused on selling products linked to the meme (whether or not there's a profit in it). Entrepreneurs begin to focus on it as well, building business lines to service the larger corporations.
Now the dominant or sub-dominant social theme seems suddenly to be everywhere. There are doctorial degrees specializing in the subject; and professors begin to teach special classes. Think tanks begin to receive government money to provide more analyses; newspapers hire special reporters to cover the "issue of the day." Politicians make it their pet cause. Cable TV station talking heads get into the act; there are debates. C-Span produces call-in shows on the subject. Non-profits are even funded by corporations to further promote the messaging. Not all of this is a "plot" by any means. Once the societal mechanisms have been set in place, they tend to operate on auto-pilot.
This is how an elite promotion works, when it works well. And in the 20th century, especially, the utter control over all kinds of society's messaging gave the Anglo-American axis enormous power. If it wanted to introduce rock and roll and drugs into society, it could. If it wanted to create a pop group with worldwide fame (even if one its members died midstream) it could. If it wanted man to go to the moon, then this would occur as well (whether or not it actually happened).
In the 21st century all of this has been scrambled, and not to the elite's liking. The elite may have had a chokehold on all the nexuses of Western information – grade school academics, higher-education, general polity, non profits, think tanks, major media – but the Internet provided a neat alternative course through for alternative information. The elite dammed the river but the water found another route. And so it has continued to this day, fortunately.
However, when it comes to "gaming," elite mind-control has managed a breakthrough; it has made effective use of the Internet for perhaps the first time with same effectiveness that it brought to 20th century mind-control techniques. It is the FIRST real breakthrough that the elite has had regarding the Internet in our view. This is because gamers want to play these games on the 'Net. Mind control does not work without the "buy in" of the subject, not on a large scale anyway.
We haven't bothered to trace it, but we bet there is covert Anglo-American intelligence support or funding for companies that make some of these war games. This is because the longer that a child plays these games, the more immersed in the vocabulary of the games the individual will become. What the games end up doing is shutting down critical faculties regarding society's larger use of violence.
A young person (boys mostly) playing these games regularly is going to have a hard (or harder) time in our view generating an internal critique of his country's use of violence. The individual may be entirely peaceable, but the part of his mind that might be receptive to alternative perspectives regarding the state's larger use of formalized violence has been "controlled" by his avid use of war gaming.
The only solution to such mind control is a wider frame of reference, such as that which the Internet can provide. Since these young people are often playing these games online, one would hope that they might gradually acquire a wider frame of reference via the many alternative points of view that the Internet offers them, if they choose to look. We are not so naïve however as to believe the majority of young people in the West have gained access to the broad array of alternative media that is available, however. Perhaps they will as they grow older and the Internet expands its reach.
The issue of course is not really war-gaming so much as what society tolerates. Our elves are old enough to remember the anti-war sentiments of the 1960s and 1970s. The children of the baby-boomers that espoused such sentiments are the ones playing these shooting games on computer for hours at a time. It is in fact an intensive culture, with its own lingo, superstars and strategies; it is a full culture built indisputably around daily electronic mayhem. It may not encourage violent thinking, but it certainly suggests that violence can provide solutions.
Here is what we wish these children would spend their time on. (Follow along if you're still with us.) One of our favorite young feedbackers "Adam" recently posted a link to an interview with Graham Hancock. Hancock is the indispensible investigative writer who has spent his life establishing the phenomenon of a precursor culture, a worldwide maritime civilization that existed mostly on shorelines in great cities now submerged. For six years in the 2000s, Hancock used his own funds (he's a bestselling author) to dive off the coasts of various continents where he believed he would find the ruins of these civilizations. They were, he theorized, drowned at the peak of their glory some 15,000 years ago when the world's last Ice Age diminished and the seas filled up.
In fact, in 100 meters under water, Hancock did find evidences of these civilizations over and over, and has since then written a 700-page book about them replete with hundreds of footnotes called Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization.
You would think that the documented discovery of a 15,000-year-old civilization with clear evidence of submerged cities would cause a stir in both the scientific and mainstream press. But it has not. It is not, in our view, to the advantage of the elite to publicize such knowledge as anything that disturbs the airless certainty that the current version of civilization is penultimate one. If there are other civilizations and other ways of doing things, then people might begin to question what they are living through and why.
The questions Hancock raises go far beyond the iteration of great, lost civilizations. On both land and under water, he points out that the stones that were used for construction purposes are 75 to 100 tons and were cut with infinite care so that a knife blade cannot fit between them. There is no technology in the world today that can lift, let alone place, such megaliths. Similarly, ancient, sacred Hindu texts speak of flying machines in great detail – along with other more destructive technologies – that were available to these ancient civilizations. The supposed aircraft, by the way, can be seen topping many ancient Hindu temples, carved into the rock like elaborate and mysterious tops, mute testimony to what scripture claims once was.
Hancock goes much further (being Hancock). He postulates that the ancients lifted rocks with mind control and that the ancient Indian civilizations had ways of gaining access to alternative (parallel) dimensions and civilizations, and that this is what sacred Hindu texts are based upon. We have no way of knowing (nor currently does Hancock) how much of this true, if any. But there is clearly an ancient technology at work that humans of this day and age have not yet discovered. It may have made use of magnets, mercury and gyroscopes – or it may have been even more esoteric. But something was once well known that is not known at all today.
For Hancock, what is going on today (so he says) is a spiritual struggle between good and evil. He believes that humankind once had a way of protecting itself from its elites and from their use of money power (our term, not his) to undermine civil society and create their vision of a New World Order. That knowledge, too, he claims has been lost, bringing down the great tragedy of humanity's current difficulties. He has dedicated the rest of his life to rediscovering these ancient understandings and to fighting what he considers the current Dark Ages.
Keeping an open mind as we try to do, we'll jump to no hasty conclusions about Hancock's views (though we are aware many would consider them "far out"). We do know that Western society with its phony promotions, its incessant "war on terror" against a CIA/MI6-created terror front, its evermore expansive authoritarian solutions and – above all – a younger generation that spends its spare time bonding over murderous, electronic war games is not a very healthy society spiritually. We also believe, however, that in the 21st century the Internet will make an increasing difference in the way people look at themselves and their societies. It is, so to speak, the anti-war game.