Will Online Gaming Addiction lead to Artificial Homeostasis?
This article is based on discussion and opinion. It is not at all intended as medical advice or in any way to be used as a guide for any medical steps. If you have any medical questions raised by this article, please consult your doctor.
Homeostasis – The maintenance of relatively stable internal physiological conditions (as body temperature or the pH of blood) in higher animals under fluctuating environmental conditions
Netstasis – The maintenance of stable internal physiological conditions in humans while connected to the internet.
There’s a lot of noise at the moment about online gaming, and how it can lead to being addicted to their ‘alternate lives’.
The article above refers to a “South Korean man who died of heart failure after playing a game called “StarCraft” for 50 hours at an Internet cafe.”
The thought occured to me last night after listening to a presentation from my wife on the various means of administering pain medication (not a warning of things to come) that there may be a link between gaming addiction and ‘Matrix-like’ immersion in internet gaming.
The first question I asked her was whether you could buy IV (intravenous) equipment privately. She wasn’t sure, but it appears you can. So this solves what was probably the main problem for the South Korean man, who probably died because he didn’t have enough fluids.
So, now gamers don’t need to move to drink, but what about food? Food probably wasn’t the reason the SK guy died, as we can go for long periods without it, but if we’re talking about true ‘netstasis’ you’re going to need to get food. According to my wife (I can’t believe I chose this conversation over sleep) you have two options, both utilising feeding tubes:
1. Nasal Passageway – We’ve also seen people with these while in hospital or nursing homes. The tubes go through their nose and into their stomach so they can be fed automatically. This is considered to be a temporary solution.
2. Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) – In this method, you have a tube put right into your stomach. The disadvantage of this is that it is a surgical procedure with possible side effects. However I was surprised to hear that it can be fairly permanent. For instance one inserted, you can walk around and live a fairly normal life. It’s a bit like having a power outlet installed on you, plug it in and you’re away.
It appears that the tubes required for this are available also.
So where does this leave us?
We have the technology to allow you to sit playing computer games almost endlessly (as long as the levels of your IV and feeding tubes are maintained). The only thing left to do is sleep, which can be done when needed at your desk.
So how far are we from placing ourselves in cocoons, loosing our ‘real-world’ consciousness and living our entire lives in an artificial world created by computers? I would argue not far at all.