[ExI] The point of emotions

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Apr 22 16:11:01 UTC 2008

At 11:38 PM 4/22/2008 +1000, Stathis wrote:

>People do all sorts of terrible things to characters in
>computer games because they don't believe they have feelings, but only
>*act* as if they have feelings. Myself, I eschew such behaviour, but I
>won't call those who enjoy it sadistic.

Any such discussion risks lurching into essentialism. Arguably 
sadistic is as sadistic does. It seems plausible enough to me that 
doing terrible things to imaginary characters (something novelists do 
a lot, for their own motives and the delectation of their readers) is 
a form of displacement of their own real urges toward entities in the 
real world. That's all rather abstractified, but I'm trying to keep 
away from overly concrete Freudian notions like "You want to 
fuck/possess your mother and kill/displace your father". Almost 
everyone has such urges and enjoys gratifying them, as the box office 
makes clear. So using a pathognomonic term like "sadistic" is 
probably unwarranted and misleading. But something along the same 
dimension is being activated and rewarded.

Damien Broderick

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