How to survive moral outrage
lessons learned from Dungeons and Dragons
When I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was eleven years old, I hid this from my parents.
At the time there was considerable moral panic around the game. According to some, Dungeons and Dragons led people away from god. The game led people away from a righteous path. People campaigned to have Dungeons and Dragons banned.
Engaging in fantasy play it was said, would result in Satanism, Witchcraft, suicide, pornography and murder.
Yikes. I spent a lot of time running around pretending to be a chaotically neutral halfling thief. I have never to my knowledge been into worshipping Satan, encouraging suicide, pornography or murdering. As for witchcraft? Sure, I’ve sacrificed a goat or two to the wave gods in order to ensure a good surf season. Hey, who hasn’t.
While playing D+D, I developed a lot of really great skills. It’s a game based on cooperative problem solving, creative lateral thinking and dice rolls (probability and statistics)
But the cops, the self appointed moral authorities are desperate to take up residence in your brain.
The moral panic didn’t only come from the religious types. Apparently ‘sinful’ and ‘problematic’ are synonyms these days.
Dungeons and Dragons, like any other cultural artefact was a product of its times. As such, it is now considered by some to be fundamentally racist, sexist and therefore shouldn’t be played by anyone unless it becomes more inclusive.
No matter what they do to that game, it will never be inclusive enough for my mom. Unless of course they find some way to get rid of all of the fantastic elements and turn it into a role play version of ‘love it or list it.’
No matter what you do, like or think, you will likely never be morally pure enough for the fanatics at the extremities.
They will make every attempt to fill your heads with shame-cops, hell bent on having you live your life their way.
Is Dungeons and Dragons satanic? Maybe.
Is Dungeons and Dragons racist? Maybe.
If you go looking for racism and Satanism, you’ll likely find either and both.
If you go looking for fantasy, cooperative meaning making and creative, lateral thinking based problem solving, you’ll likely find that too.
The same goes with the people you meet everyday.
The church and ivory tower will both attempt to assert authority over your pleasure. It’s how they control you.
It’s up to us to find the authority within ourselves, to trust what we think is good about something and to cast these joy vacuums into a portal of irrelevance forever.
It’s like the old saying goes:
When it comes to smiting kobolds, I can do it all day long.