Echoes of Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" in the Australian Defence Force's search for a new generation of officers..
I remember back in the 90's when a co-worker introduced me to the novels of Orson Scott Card and Ender's Game. This novel was beautifully written with vivid imagery and characters that elicited an emotional response from the reader. I think what struck me the most with this novel, and this is what has made it so memorable for me, was the thematic use of the destruction of innocence and using the cleverness of children to turn them into strategic thinkers through the use of simulated games. As I read, the undertone of violence became more and more disturbing, especially as the reader gradually became aware that what the children were doing, was no longer a game. The protagonist, Ender, finally destroyed an entire race of beings whilst thinking that it was a simulated strategic game. When he realised the truth, it almost broke him.
There has been a lot of conflicting research into the desensitisation to violence through repeated exposure to violence and an increase in aggressive behaviour. However, violence is not the topic in this post...it is how the use of games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, has caught the attention of Australian Defence Force and their means of recruitment. The ADF places advertisements on sites that review popular first-person games and promote the "adventure of life in the military"(Courier Mail, Call of Duty: Real-Life Diggers, 24 Mar 2015). Of course this seems logical, and intuitively, is a reasonable place to advertise or promote a career in the Military.
The Courier Mail also reports that the Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert said, "gaming sites were actively targeted by recruiters because they attracted people with an interest in complex scenario based computing". Well, this is reasonable and on the surface is a logical surmise as Roberts further goes on to say, "people involved in gaming [are] adept, fast thinkers, very natural with technology and they're used to complexity". All great attributes to have and a valuable skill set. However, he went on to say, "If we can find someone with the right attitude and aptitude, we can train them to do anything".
Robert's comments on the attributes of these first-person gamers reminds me of the rationalisations in the novel Ender's Game. As a teacher, I know that many of these first-person gamers are children sitting in our class rooms from year 5 and up. I don't know whether it is right to be able to "train them to do anything".
What do you think?
Hi! Welcome to my Soapy Conversations about Soap and AllSorts of other Topics! I live in NSW Australia and I am a mother of five, Grandmother of Five and I sponsor seven children through Compassion Australia. I love making soap, reading, teaching English, and being an Advocate for children and women living in poverty.
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