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The 2000's "Spirits" and "Ceremonies" -- How Immersion Fell Indefinitely

Updated: Feb 21

A beautiful city.

Even 20 years ago, life was vastly different than it is today. Nobody had smartphones; wide T.V.s were considered a luxury, and the computers, along with the internet, looked a bit funny. For more than a decade, I repressed my love for my childhood because of how nihilistic I felt back then, spending almost all of my free time playing video games alone. In fact, it was during childhood that I realized I had an affinity for the existential scale of life -- the one I now call philosophy.

I wanted to do more than just play the same games on my PlayStation 2, but I didn't know what. I don't think you could've built a good website back then like you could nowadays.

Regardless, even with all the joy I had as a retro gamer (I used the same console for over 10 years or so), something was amiss, and that something had a higher meaning. Something that could be useful to me beyond the casual joys of the first world back then.

Now that I have hundreds of content pieces behind me, written in a matter of a few years, I do miss the times where I could just play my console and forget about everything. Do you have the same feelings, as an adult?

I do have a console nowadays, but it does not retain the innocent immersion I had back in the nostalgic 2000s. Video games back then were different. Your console would not become an alternative to the arcade machines that drain your money, just to get things to improve your games. Back then, you often got the whole product and could play it all without spending an extra penny.

The entertainment of today just feels different. It feels more "capitalistic", for lack of a better word. It feels... "mechanized". I don't know if it's the nostalgic bias within me that speaks instead of myself, but things indeed seem to have felt different than they do today. The games that I bought with my own money, do not seem to be as fun as the games I used to have; many of those are the same games I might never get to play again, unfortunately.

And the same goes for movies, shows, or any other type of media. It feels industrialized, rather than having "spirit" within it; the same "spirit" that I at least felt back in childhood, as the feelings of nihilism stayed in the shadows, looking at me.

My own family wanted me to go outside and play with others. Can you believe that? It's absurd nowadays, because even the social aspect of our lives has become very embedded in electronics, instead of face-to-face. Can you see children today who play with each other instead of being glued to their smartphones? That is how much the world has changed in a span of 10, 20 years. And that time of "spirit", and "immersion" in the media one is consuming, might as well never go back.

I played some of the games they make today. They lack the "soul" I seek and can be quickly finished. Some pose no challenge, while others only bring suffering to the easily stressed, but regardless, they lack the "soul" of the old days.

Everything has been done, and is thus recycled into "new content" as if it were a language-model (AKA, like "Sentient AI"), or it gives you the other solution of repeating the same "content" over and over again, like in many MMO's. It's if you are a worker and not someone who plays a video game or watches a movie. It feels all the same, and it feels like it's there just to waste time, without any immersion.

Why do I like a bad game such as Suikoden IV so much? I'll give you an example of what I'm trying to convey. That game had many flaws, but it was the game that introduced me to the "true spirit" of digital media. It was bad, but at least you got to be someone in your own mind, and go to explore new places without knowing about them beforehand. However, with a quick reach of the hand to the smartphone' you could immerse yourself in the graphics without being distracted by your phone's notifications. Do you get what I mean?

Beyond the many distractions we have today, we could use content as a means for "meditation". Playing a game, back then, meant that you got to be in greater solitude, and, thus, in greater immersion.

You didn't have two computers (the smartphone and the home computer/laptop) to both distract you all the time, and if you wanted to hang out with people, you could do so while having their full attention. That is the "spirit" I'm talking about. Of being so immersed in something, like a show or a video game, that it could be an alternative to the original known method of meditation -- the Buddhist Zen Meditation.

You see, if I weren't a writer, I would really consider stepping out of all my social media accounts and speaking to whomever I wish, like in the old days, vocally, instead of by texting. Texting can happen anywhere and anytime, and thus it destroys your current immersion in whatever you're doing.

I don't even see why a phone must have been a computer of its own. That idea was dumb because it became something many people found themselves doing in most, if not all, of their free time. It was a dumb idea because sitting in front of a computer, or receiving a phone call, was the last days of humanity without the FOMO many of us have.

It was like a "ritual" you're having. A regular "ceremony" that organizes your life and allows you to better divide your time, your attention, and your energies, more effectively, instead of them being scattered all over the place. Everything had its time and thus, things could have their fair share of proper concentration and dedication.

I miss the days where I received a special phone call from a parent every day, each evening, not because I want to speak with him less, but because back then, when you had this "ceremony", it felt different. Like it had more "spirit", more immersion, and more importance. Here, that parents wants to speak with me, right here, right now, after the end of the day!

You could get "into the zone" or whatever, without the stress of multitasking over several devices. I miss when games didn't require you to have an internet connection just to play them, and I surely miss having no stranger have the ability to send me messages on my contemporary console, just because it is "online".

And the music! Oh, the music sure was different. It wasn't as recycled as it is today, and it indeed felt more... "spiritual", especially the one from the game I told you I really liked.

One of the many reasons I live in solitude, is to try and restore the times I had in the 2000s, when I was alone while my mother was sleeping, and I could do whatever I wanted after homework as done. You may call me childish, but at least I get to live the kind of life I want. I don't see what's wrong with that. I still work on Philosocom like you want to.

And indeed, when you're a hermit who isn't filled with piles of meaningless text messages, videos, and photos, you get to do things you would've otherwise had a harder time doing. Do you see now why I get to write so much? It's the depth that was amiss from my life so much before my philosophership...

It is because I get to be alone, just like when I was a child. No physical friends, no hangouts, or any other distraction, other than the occasional visit of a family member. That is how I solve the infamous writer's block -- by re-creating the environment of the period when distractions were less common.

Anyhow, that is the ultimate flaw of having so many things within our immediate reach; we get overwhelmed, we get tired, exhausted, and the things we once liked, have their experience decrease in quality. That is at least what I can report from my own example as a human being in a world that has been vastly changed by newer technology.

The only reason I am connected to the world as much as I am is to spread my content further across the world. I just have to be where all the potential audience is, you see, even though I have my own restrictions.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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