[This is part 7 of the Power of Storytelling series, and the continuation from My Personal Mordor, an excerpt from Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth, about how our negative stories can cripple us and block us from happiness and success]
Our Earth is Broken: Heroes Needed
The game designer, Jane McGonigal, who’ll we’ll discuss in more detail later, argues that the real world is broken. It doesn’t work the way it should; real life is mundane, stressful as hell, and not all that exciting. It’s the routine that stresses us out. Life has no meaning, no purpose. We get up, we go to work, we eat, we sleep, and we repeat. Where is the adventure? And that’s why so many of us are drawn to games, especially video and computer games.
In the game world we can escape our mundane existence and become heroes. We can save the Earth every day! But in the real world? There’re just traffic jams and bills to pay. No heroes to be seen.
McGonigal suggests that we should make the real world, reality, more like a game. I agree, with an addendum. What makes games great, any game, is the story. Real life should be more like a game with an epic, heroic story-line, you know, something like Hobbits saving the Earth!
What I’m proposing is that those of us who love Tolkien’s stories, write ourselves into the his story, become part of the story, or better yet, make his story part of our individual and collective story We should view our story through the lens of Tolkien’s. In this way, we can transform ourselves from Modern Humans, to Modern Hobbits, thereby saving ourselves and the Earth.
Tolkien: My Hero
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Tolkien saved my life with his books. At the time I was so low and angry and defiant that without such a story I might never have aspired to be anything but a belligerent, destructive, orc of a man, or at best, a really pissed off dwarf.
It took me ten years or more to work my way out of Mordor, but I did and that was the result of my encounter with a some Hobbits, some wizards, some Elves and ole Tom Bombadil, but you’re gonna have to wait for that part of the story.
During my dark period, my Mordor, I began to see that our world was very much like the burning scoured Shire that Frodo and his companions found when they returned from saving Middle Earth from the clutches of Sauron. What they found, much like my life in my tweens (twenties), was that their homeland had been ravaged by the greed and vindictiveness of Saruman, who had brought his own industrial version of Mordor to the once green fields of the Shire.
[Stay tuned for the turn in the story…]