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Gen Y and spirituality and games and online….


Reading Peter Sheahan’s book “Generation Y, Thriving and Surviving with Generation Y at Work” again, I ended up skipping through looking for the one-liner about a survey finding Generation Y as the first generation to acknowlege the PC as having a soul. I couldn’t find it to quote here, did I imagine it? Ah well, it got me thinking…

GamerDad has a great article on spirituality in online roleplaying games – including this piece from Lord British, Richard Garriott himself:

Richard Garriott received a lot of fan mail from his early Ultima games; a lot of them were from, in his words, “religious extremists protesting the very idea of role-playing games.” This was during the early 80’s, back when Dungeons & Dragons was being blamed for all sorts of societal ills, like Devil worship and teen suicide. Garriott didn’t dismiss these letters; instead they made him think about the content of his games, and more importantly, the context of his game world…

…The goal was perfection, to become the Avatar for Garriott’s imaginary world. This internal and highly moral quest for virtue and redemption became the theme of all the Ultima games that followed.

Which begs the question, as humanity evolves (towards perfection? Godhead?) is the next step in creating in our own image, creating machines that can think? Obviously artificial intelligence is part of that evolution but Are You There God? (It’s Me, HAL) goes further:

Techies and theologians are talking about the spiritual implications of the Web, robots and virtual reality—and they think business leaders should too.

Even MIT’s artificial intelligence (AI) lab once had a divinity-school PhD on staff serving as a theological adviser to its humanoid robots.

heh I knew my (unfinished) degree in religions of the world would come in handy one day *rolls eyes* Anyway, here’s the booklist – and Business Leaders in particular should take note!

But beyond that, executives should also devote some time to contemplating the really big-picture potential of technology: How can it be used to build a better society? It’s time to expand our ideas of what it means to be a socially responsible business—and to start with the computers sitting on everyone’s desk


At a personal level, I have a few questions. Is my cute little SilkCharm, – who dashes in, wielding a magic sword to fight the good fight and die (all too often!) heroically, – a pixel version of my higher consciousness? Is cyberspace a world created by Word(s) (and a few gazillion 1s and 0s) and are toons the disciples and followers? Is that why I love avatars and virtual pets soooo much?

The April Reboot poll “”OMG! Generation Y is Redefining Religion, Identity and Community,” (summary)

According to the survey, many 18-to-25 year olds express their faith in informal ways that are either communal or individualistic, such as praying before meals (55%), talking with friends (38%), or reading religious magazines, books, and newspapers (33%).
While they enjoy “a genuine attachment to religious life,” younger people are “more disconnected from traditional denominations than their older counterparts … [and] favor more informal ways to practice their faith as opposed to attending services, classes, or formal activity,” the report says.

“The results send a clear message: Demand for meaning and community is there, but few in Gen Y are finding it in churches, mosques, or synagogues,” Bennett said. “The question now is whether established institutions will adapt or innovate to meet this generation’s particular spiritual needs.”


Having observed both organised and impromptu non-demoninational gatherings on forums, in games and in chat rooms, I concur that spirituality and searching is inherent in the “ItsAllAboutMe” Generation and that community is the unifying principle. And there’s absolutely no way I’ll force my avatar SilkCharm to change her armor for a pretty dress and to sit in an online church every Sunday morning. >.<

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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