And being a geek, my eyes were opened.

I don’t intend for this blog to touch on politics but it is an interest I have beyond gaming. But as I read this article over at the NY Times I began thinking about how gaming has affected my worldview. The article itself deals with the inability of Congress to compromise despite most American’s alleged desire for them to actually do so. What’s interesting in the article, is the authors thesis that American’s really don’t want compromise because they have so little of it in their own life. The reason, it goes on, is because America has become so self-segregating. We tend to hang out with people who share, support and reinforce our own views. Anyway, read through it, it’s fascinating.

So what does this have to do with being a geek you might ask. Well, one thing geeks share is being geeks. It’s not a political or religious position. We share a common interest in sci-fi, comics, gaming or whatever. And when we get together we talk about those things. As we get closer we also talk about our families, our jobs and our lives. I find that when our conversations get to that level we come from very different political, religious and financial backgrounds.

As I’ve noted, I think I’m outside the typical geek demographic. I’m a corporate banker and regular church goer. By rights, I should be out at the club or on the golf course or some such nonsense. But I’m not. Where I have free time I’m gaming, surfing message boards to be a better gamer or planning my next D&D session.

My geek related activities expose me to a very different group of people than I would experience if I restricted my circle of friends to my work colleagues. I know I’m the better for it. I am constantly amazed as I go through my work day with what my colleagues believe is “regular” or “average.” They base their beliefs on what they encounter in their day-to-day lives and it’s not the life of the average person. I think my “geek side” has opened my life up to people who are not “like” me at all. And through that experience I am able to bring different perspectives to work discussions which ultimately (assuming people actually listen) will make us better and more attuned to what the world is really like.

The more I think about it the more I realize how fortunate I am being a geek. It’s made me something of a square peg in a round hole professionally, and as a result my perspective on the world is far more balanced.

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4 thoughts on “And being a geek, my eyes were opened.

  1. I, too, have had a very similar experiences going through life. I remember many a sideways glance when I told my gaming friends in high school that I couldn’t continue the dungeon crawl as I had a 6am practice or track a sectional the next day. They didn’t like it for the most part people understood. There were giant sized advantages too: help with homework was easy to find (D&D, Chess club) , the pretty girls knew my name (Football, Track) , I knew more people in my school than most which opened doors to parties and never feeling like an outcast. This continued after high school as the PC age started and I able to explain what CompuServe account was while playing basketball with the dad of a girl I wanted to date. It all helped me become: “The Geek who can speak.” (Asking a comic friend show up at the locker room to swap X-men runs was a mistake though as it got him bullied and me benched for fighting but I really wanted that first Alpha Flight appearance!)
    Malcom Gladwell coined the term “connectors” in pop culture in his book Tipping Point. I think that states it nicely. It’s my role in our culture to take items of interest from one group to another. Example: I turned more than a few people at Conseco into Magic: The Gathering players. I know for sure that all the different groups that I am member of are richer for it. And so am I.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. My world view has been changed because of my geek friends and because of Science Fiction. Science fiction and geekery gives us a way to explore real world topics without necessarily including our world in it. We can separate the emotional aspects and look purely at the issue at hand which allows us to see the many different sides of an issue.

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