Friday, April 18, 2008

Let the battle begin.....

The advertisements for IPL league dub the event as a “karmayudh” and show the captains in war paint and battle gear - holding spears, daggers and other assorted missiles. As the first match starts today, conches will be blown and blood-curdling cries heard.

Why should sports be promoted as ‘war’ and why should such a promotion appeal to people at all? Does it pander to the innate aggressiveness in all of us?

Why are most video-games for kids, all about killing the enemy by shooting, bombing, blasting, maiming, piercing, blowing to smithereens, etc? Aren’t we inculcating in them a destructive mindset?

What explains the idiocy of parents buying toy guns and water-pistols for their toddlers, knowing well that these can lead to aggressive conduct? Why should Lego, known for their range of constructive building blocks, come out with their toy gun series?

Is there a link between ‘playing’ with toy guns as a child and aggressive behaviour as an adult? Just as the big cats of Africa train their cubs to fight and attack, through the medium of aggressive play, are we using toy guns to consciously prepare the kids for the rough adult life, by training them to become militant and violent?.

Google search shows that a study was conducted in 1976 by Charles W. Turner and Diana Goldsmith, psychologists at the University of Utah. Children were observed playing with neutral toys like blocks and airplanes and then with toy guns. The researchers found that the children exhibited more physical and verbal aggression after playing with guns. Isn't this a no-brainer?

But, toy makers disagree and argue ( source) that today’s toy guns provide a modern extension of the role of toys in enhancing children's play experiences. They point out that children have played fantasy games involving the triumph of good over evil for centuries. Before guns, there were bows and arrows. Such ''rough and tumble,'' is often a healthy way for children, especially boys, to resolve competitiveness and form friendships.

Probably, we are all born not with just an instinct for survival, but with an aggressive drive. As the Devil in Shaw’s “Man and Superman’ states:.

And is Man any the less destroying himself for all this boasted brain of his? Have you walked up and down upon the earth lately? I have; and I have examined Man's wonderful inventions. And I tell you that in the arts of life man invents nothing; but in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself. In the arts of peace Man is a bungler. I have seen his cotton factories and the like, with machinery that a greedy dog could have invented if it had wanted money instead of food. I know his clumsy typewriters and bungling locomotives and tedious bicycles: they are toys compared to theMaxim gun, the submarine torpedo boat. There is nothing in Man's industrial machinery but his greed and sloth: his heart is in his weapons.

That sums it up well. Man’s heart is in his weapons. So, it’s war out there. All the time.


Mambalam Mani said...

Star sports did the same thing for the test series in India tour of Australia. Kumble and Ponting were shown in the costumes of warriors preparing to face-off. It was the funniest thing I have seen. And it definitely did not pander to my innate aggressiveness and all, mind you.

Hawkeye said...

And in tracing the evolution of man - and sport - from survival- hunt to sports-hunt, the anthropologist, social psychologist and author, Desmond Morris writes in his foreword to the classic work The Tribes: ``With the passage of years, (the) bloodthirsty form of ritual hunting has gradually been replaced by two new kinds of hunt: one physical and one mental. All forms of sport are either ritualised aiming or ritualised chasing or both. They take these elements of hunt and direct them towards a symbolic prey. And the tribesmen are still there to soak up the thrills. The sportsmen and their followers are the closest analogue we have today to the age-old human tribal hunters.''

Usha said...

I always thought that this aggression is an outlet which would prevent them from using it otherwise in real life.
This is interesting.

Raj said...

santhosh, all those advertisers must be cursing you.

hawkeye, true.

Usha, aggression spills over to all areas, I guess. One can't compartmentalise it.