Creating meta-narratives as a hypersigil within a larger ARG scenario, for personal and societal transformation
Cinematic technique was used in ancient times in temples, (often using autonomous mechanical devices to provide seemingly miraculous results) and played a major role in many of the ancient mystery traditions. Immersive and interactive narratives and participatory experience has been used to create altered states of consciousness and altered experience of reality as far back as history can be traced and arguably into the animal kingdom where young animals often use play to develop skills and develop behaviors that can serve them later within the narrative structure of their pursuit of survival and of life itself. Some para-psychologist suggest the state of mind entered into when one is provided with input that is beyond comprehension or that confounds a currently held belief or limit, is a key to manifesting further results that can only be described as paranormal or “beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding”. With this in mind we suggest that psychodrama dealing with the limits of understanding are both the controlling and creative forces that work on the population of humans as social creatures, and that understanding this mechanism of creation and control allows for the willful translation of reality.
Watching dramas playing out by proxy in a theater, arena, or coliseum, was understood to allow vast populations to be placated such that they could succumb to an otherwise boring, uneventful, and non-dramatic life while getting their emotional fix by voyeuristically watching others experiencing life and death dramatic conflict. “Give them bread and circuses” became the motto for keeping the masses entertained and for teaching them the virtues of loyalty and vices of courting dangerous and revolutionary ideas. This would go a long way toward retarding any uprisings or revolt against a system of containment that sought to utilize the masses as a mechanism working towards a broader centralized nationalistic or cultural goal.
Plays and drama as an art form eventually became the method even to provide subversive social commentary about politics, religion, and to experiment with virtues and vices of archetypal characteristics, and even to teach by example the power of certain cultural norms and taboos, providing a sort of programming template for the human population. As technology progressed and provided a means of recording these scripted performances, allowing for mass distribution and enhancing the ability to alter and use trickery to create illusions of reality, cinema became perhaps the popular and powerful medium for these narratives.
When people saw the first grainy and silent moving pictures, one of the first reported effects on an audience was to react as if the scenes on the film were real. There was a particular scene depicting an oncoming train and as this train approached the cameras vantage point, many in the theater ran away for fear of being struck by the oncoming train…
Before their exposure to this new medium, no one had seen anything like this and the results seemed like some strange magic… Man has since increasingly learned to distinguish what is real as well as to create psuedo-realities that wade through “the uncanny valley” on the verge of seeming real; or at any rate are real enough to create a visceral reaction or to suspend disbelief. Real enough so that if one so chooses, they can in effect lose themselves in the content being played out in front of them.
For roughly the last century, cinema has represented what is arguably the most highly evolved medium for presenting narratives, but cinema seems to be giving up ground in the same way print media and broadcast media are giving way to the more interactive format of social media and collective content curation… in this way games as interactive narratives, are quickly evolving into a whole new medium that can encourage audiences to become authors and spectators to become participants. Closing the circle so to speak and creating a “hyper-meta narrative” whose hero is the protagonist that becomes the author, the player that becomes the game designer.
The concept of “language games” was popularized by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein as a way to understand the underpinnings of culture and the cultural motivations that sway the behaviors of any given member of said culture. Understanding the underlying game mechanics inherent in these language games and narratives that form the backdrop of our subconscious motivations can be a very empowering realization. Playing new language games by creating our own meta narratives where the individual acts as both the subject and the author or the player as well as the game designer can allow us the opportunity to override or “hack” the cultural conditioning and to become a mindful director of the application of will that both creates the narrative content of dreams, and plays out in the subconscious associations with your perceptions of the world as well as the emotions, reactions, and ultimately behavioral choices that form how you interact with the world around you. In short we create games that allow players to change their worlds and change themselves in accordance with their own values, and a means of understanding the cultural template without being constrained by it.