Modern Vice: Computer Games


– You have touched upon the subject of computer games. It is natural for children to want to play games. Should this involvement in computer games be considered an illness?

– In our times, we are witnessing the following phenomenon: mankind, having exhausted its strength, has figured out new ways and methods of child education, of informing the children and introducing some manner of intellectual habit through computers. At the same time, we are becoming convinced that these inventions do not in the least justify themselves in obtaining the goal. Children are drowning in the quagmire of computer games. There is danger not only to their spiritual well-being, but also to their mental and physical health. They are becoming invalids before they have even had the chance to fully unfold their extraordinary powers. I sometimes think about how our country is not so technologically equipped (thank God), as other countries; yet every year more and more children are turning into computer Monte Christos — imprisoned voluntarily in the Chateau d’Iff of their own apartments. Their souls no longer see the living world. “The world holds no interest, and bread is not sweet.”

We are also witnesses to the terrible loss which children are inflicting upon themselves — motionless and dehydrated, they truly become patients. Certain modern psychologists kindly remind us that in 19th century Russia schizophrenia was called stony insensibility — the incapability of sharply perceiving things in the world. A person who is free from computer sickness can say together with Pushkin, “I am born to think and to suffer.”

A child who is, to the contrary, entangled in the virtual tentacles of the octopus of computer games, really does appear bloodless in the eyes of a trained specialist. He looses interest in living life, all his reactions are dulled, and he seeks no friendship with his peers. He becomes Kay of Han Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, and finds himself in the land of icy hearts, an eternal captive of the Snow Queen, playing his melancholy game of Hermann Hesse’s computer beads, repeating together with the story’s famous heroine the words, “Freedom or no freedom, it’s all the same.” He has lost the will to live. He no longer dreams about the future, he has fallen into a slavery of the most horrendous kind — computer instincts. His soul becomes filled ever more each day with aggression, pride, and fornication. All this is made even worse by the fact that it is all coming about in a hidden way — in the form of computer games.