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Games for Change IRC Channel

If anyone is interested in a live Games for Change backchannel, please join me on IRC #06-G4C on (irc://
Click on games for posts here about the conference, and the for other links. Also, be sure to say hello in the comments.

Games for changing cynicism

(Cross posted at Greater Democracy)

Democracy, from the Greek, demokratia, “rule of the common people”. Oligarchy, from the Greek, oligarkhia, “government by the few”.

With low voter turnout, gerrymandered voting districts, the large role of money in politics, efforts to disenfranchise opponents and drive down turnout, and the growing doubt in the veracity of vote counting, it may be useful to question what sort of government we really have, and what our roles have been in bringing about the government we have.

Going back to the Greek, I am reminded of Diogenes. Diogenes was known for carrying a lantern in broad daylight in search of an honest man. Perhaps, he was the precursor to modern get out the vote efforts. After all, so much of politics today seems to be focused on finding those voters that are most likely to vote and who support a specific candidate.

Today, we have much greater tools that Diogenes’ lantern, but perhaps the process is essentially the same. Diogenes is perhaps the best know of an ancient Greek school of philosophy known as the Cynics. Greek cynicism was an ascetic sect railing against the selfishness of people.

The cynics were founded by Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates. Another disciple of Socrates, Plato, provides us with the Socratic dialogs as a chance to understand Socrates’ thinking and method. Many of us may have read the Protagoras in school to learn about the Socratic method, but how many of us remember the topic of the discussion? One of the key points is whether or not virtue can be taught. Another Greek, Plutarch, returned to this discussion years later.

On this site, is an image saying, ‘Stop Gawking! Cynicism breeds paralyzing apathy’. Perhaps some of that cynicism comes from its Greek roots and the focus on identifying voters today. Perhaps we need to return to the issue of whether virtue can be taught, and if so, how.

Today, I will attend the Games for Change Annual Conference. Games listed on the site seek to raise awareness of important issues, Darfur is Dying, Four Years in Haiti, Pax Warrior and PeaceMaker. How effective are these tools in teaching conflict resolution and skills in spreading message? Do these tools teach virtue? How important are these games in helping our country become more democratic?

Yes, we need to identify and turn out voters, but we also need to find new ways to move beyond the cynicism that is paralyzing American politics. Perhaps Games for Change is a good starting place.

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New Media

Sunday evening at 9 PM EST, there is a U2 performance on Second Life. For more information about these performances, check out this. The folks behind this are particularly on and its European counterpart,
. You can read about the group in this post.

Then, Tuesday, I will be attending the Games for Change annual conference in New York City. To a certain extent, the U2 in Second Life is an interesting Game for Change. It will be interesting to see what some of the other Games for Change will be.

Games for Change is both Tuesday and Wednesday. I will cover Tuesday’s event, and if I’m lucky, some of Wednesday’s event. But, Wednesday is when the Media Giraffe Conference starts. I’ll be talking about politics and online videos

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Fiona, talking about Garfield

Fiona, talking about Garfield
Originally uploaded by Aldon.

See all the "Fiona, talking about Garfield" media

Fiona is a natural born video blogger. On the way home from her grandparents house, she said she wanted to make another movie.

In this clip, she talks about visiting her grandparents and going to see the movie Garfield.

This video was originally shared on by ahynes1 with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Uploaded by Aldon on 20 Jun '06, 7.35pm EDT.

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