by Phil Ryan Performing Arts Director TVM
Those who live inside the ‘Gaming‘ community can have ‘re-connection’ and ‘isolation’ issues. They display heavily ‘addictive’ traits and almost withdraw from the real world preferring the online world of fantasy to the harsher reality of the real world.
Our Concert series is a half-way house if you will, to allow people ‘trapped’ in the online world to re-connect. Our environment is in effect an ‘air lock’. A safe place where regular ‘interaction’ can take place but still in the online world. It’s a short step to attending a real world concert or artistic event. It is in a way a ‘pre-experience’ if you will.
Attending a concert with friends, chatting with new people, keeping to a timetable and most importantly listening to music (dancing if they wish) is a great link to bring people ‘back’ into a real world interaction.
Families, siblings and parents struggle to deal with or understand with the withdrawal of their loved ones. A common problem is their inability to understand their loved ones ‘addictive’ behaviour. Those in the gaming world often say ‘no-one understands me’ and feel that anything they say is of no-use. And when concerns are expressed they are ignored.
It is an extremely sensitive and difficult problem.
My experiences at The Big Issue (The magazine sold by Homeless people) showed me that people often need a ‘common bridge’. In the case of many homeless people they had fallen outside of society for many reasons. They then found themselves virtually trapped in a ‘world’ of nowhere to live, no money and very little or no ability to change their circumstances. Psychologically their initial ‘depressions’ were compounded by feeling abandoned, unwanted and powerless. The ‘real’ world looked to be an impossible place to ‘re-enter’.
By coming to a Big Issue Outreach office people were quickly able to create their own income stream. That gave them ‘power’. Further as part of an organisation and a group they found other services and importantly ‘ideas’ became available to them. Their ‘new’ experiences gave them back a sense of a possible reality and themselves. They‘re-connected’ to this world by having a ‘safe’ place. I am not suggesting a complete similarity between the two problems. But the ‘bridge’ part is where they converge.
Our virtual world is as close to reality as many of those ‘lost’ inside the gaming world will ever encounter. As they say the journey to recovery just takes the first positive step. This positive step will take you to a concert arena. Technically just like in the ‘real’ world, with all the familiar sights and sounds. You can even meet your family and friends there. Which means friendly faces who users didn’t think understood them, can partially step into their ‘world’. A level playing field if you will.
One unique step. Onto the bridge. Careful and considered. The possibilities are amazing.