Space Politics

Posted: March 13, 2013 in EVE Related, General Shit-Shooting

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

This morning, I’d like to talk about a topic I’ve been meaning to get to with all the rampant meta that’s been going on. And with the recent announcement that CSM applications are now open, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring it up. Politics, in case you didn’t read the title, is the discussion topic of the day.

EVE Online is the greatest sci-fi story being told in our time. Thanks to the recent dev blog with a community spotlight, I had the opportunity to check out the EVE Lore Survival Guide. Now, I am not a role-player in almost any sense of the word (except in Poetic Stanzel’s most poignant example in the intro to the Survival Guide), and I have a passing familiarity with the lore of New Eden. Well… that might not be fair, I gobble up a lot of tid-bits that I find interesting, and I did read that (God Awful) book, Empyrean Age. However, it’s rare I read the in-character news posts, or really dive into one of the chronicles.

But that’s not the New Eden story I am most interested in. It’s certainly a very engrossing story, and one that I enjoy seeing played out in the background, but I think the best real characters, and real struggles that come out of this game come from the players themselves. At no other time in history have people been able to be so actively engaged in an unfolding tale of treachery, tribulations and triumphs. It’s unscripted in such a way you could never find on today’s trashy television experiences, with their fake “reality” shows and their constant parade of shallow plots.

It’s a real story, a human story. It’s the reason I’m so fascinated with it. As a student of Joseph Campbell, I can’t help but appreciate the parallels witnessed between the myths and storylines of the major powers of New Eden, and their real-life counterparts.

Which brings me to my second point, real life, importance and triviality.

Space politics is trivial. It is meaningless, in the grand scheme of things. Like we have developed the phrase “internet spaceships,” it’s important to keep in mind, especially when dealing with something as emotionally explosive as “politics” that what we do in our pretend space-word is ultimately inconsequential to the world outside of it.

It is this triviality that also engrosses me. Working and living within the confines of the Capital Beltway, I am constantly surrounded by real world politics, with real world implications. I used to have a problem with being a complete and utter newshound. I read about politics on an hourly basis, and prided myself on being so well informed.

I was also constantly depressed. Today’s 24 hour news cycle focuses almost exclusively on the most tragic and shocking of stories, with the sole purpose of expanding its viewership. It has very little to do with really informing the viewership, and a lot to do with selling advertisements. It is tragic, and of serious concern.

So I stopped. As I got older and the responsibilities of providing for a family began to become my major life focus, I learned what was really important in one’s life, and that’s who is in one’s life.

Which is why trivial space politics is awesome!

It’s a discussion we’re all interested in, with a wide array of different positions and opinions. It allows for spirited debate, such that you could never find in any other organizations (seriously, where can you debate whether or not it’s a good idea to invade another entity and take their land ..er.. space).  Most importantly, the trivial nature of the whole thing makes it’s completely, totally, 100% OK to be wrong.

That’s my favorite part. In the end, nothing actually hinges on the decisions we make except for little pixels on a map. That’s it.

It’s the reason I LOVE having over the top villainy in the game. The Mittani is a great example of this. He has, personally, caused a vast amount of suffering among the pilots of New Eden, and for that people hate him. And he plays is up terrifically. James 315 is another one of these characters. Him running for the CSM this year has me really excited because he (whoever the man behind James 315 is) has developed a character with real, intense motivations, and he’s been actively working on bringing this terrible vision of his to light.

Who could ask for a better villain in a game like this?

I think this is the schism that many pod-pilots have with characters like The Mittani and James 315 and they forget that the people behind these characters are not the same as the characters themselves. People take the actions taken against them personally, which given the nature of EVE, is understandable. People work hard (…sorta…) building a cash cushion, or saving up for a big ship, and when that’s taken away from them, they are understandably upset.

The thing that folks should remember is that this game would not be what it is without these characters. EVE does not have some “Lich King” to kill over and over again in boring raids. We have characters like James 315, The Mittani, and organizations like Goonswarm and TEST (for those not in them). And if they are defeated (not “when they are defeated,” because that’s another great aspect of the game), the success and triumph the victors feel is a real, visceral emotion. It’s not anything you can get from striking down a named NPC.

In any case, in the coming month of so, through the CSM elections, we’re going to be getting a heavy dose of space politics. During this time, I think it’s important we keep these things in mind. We’re going to witness an event that only EVE online can bring to us, and no matter what happens, it’s bound to be an interesting one.

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

– JRD

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