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I do believe that in all of us resides a desire to romance the blade. What I refer to by this is the relationship between humans and conflict.
Xena's blade - could be considered romantic.
If you're writing a story or a play that has no conflict, it won't be published; by anyone, anywhere. There seems to be no point to the matter. Let me supply an example of one that contains absolutely no conflict, because it's truly hard to find one. A guy wakes up, brushes his teeth, takes a shower, and goes back to sleep. Hold on, why is he waking up simply to affect his personal hygiene? Is he lazy or is it just a Saturday?
You were probably asking yourself that, or you would be if you walked into a movie theater, saw that, and then walked out. What is the point? There truly is none without conflict. In conflict, there is interest, and it's pretty obvious to me why with the lack of conflict you also get lack of interest.
Beyond colloquialisms, and back on the subject, we get back to romancing that blade. I acknowledge that not all role play involves the more violent types of conflict, but I speak not of the more serene role play here. I would, however, like to offer this sentence in acknowledgment of the rewards and general enjoyment of non-combative role play. That aside, on to the subject at hand: combat.
In conflict, there must be something that one is vying for, a goal or reward if you will. Perhaps it is a win-win situation, but nevertheless there are stakes of some form. Why else would you be involving yourself in the conflict? What better stakes to play with than the one thing that matters most to any individual, his or her life. You may say, "Oh Danny, I know people that are willing to give their life for blahtity blah blah." Well, you see it is them giving their life, not them losing it. That is a special case, and not quite the same.
So back to the idea of playing for lives. Ever since the dawning of time (or at least I'm making a good assumption about this) humans have been involved in mortal conflict. Whether it was cave clan or modern nation, blood has been spilled in the name of dominance and/or bragging rights.
What better thing, then, to have in things such as muds? At least in my theory on the subject, they are supposed to be representations of the universe that we live in. An alternate dimension where we can play out characters we couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't normally in real life. I feel no compunctions about fostering the notion of mortal conflict in my mud, in fact I find it romantic in a way. No I'm not in the cult of Oliver Stone where mass murdering is "ok" nor do I condone such things as those movies found in the "death films" subsection of the horror section in a rental store. I simply find the idea of standing for your beliefs somewhat keen.
At its essence, it is romantic. It has a very natural theme. You don't see those hyenas making friends with the vultures trying to get some meat off of their kill. Have we somehow "evolved" past the need for mortal conflict? I don't really think so, and I find absolutely nothing wrong with that need.
No, I'm not a warmonger. I don't see the point in launching a battery of missiles at some poor little island, or having the ability to drop a bomb and have a whole continent wiped clean of life. Did you see the film Fight Club? Maybe that's what we need.
No winners, no losers, no anger, and definitely no grudges. In a way, this is my Fight Club. While it may be composed of insignificant bits of information, my character means something to me. Getting my electronic body plastered against a wall or having my spleen fly two rooms away is a mental defeat to me, but, just as anything is, it's a learning experience.
That is what is so romantic about the whole notion. There truly is no losing when you know enough to learn from your mistakes. Moreover, it's fun- anything that can get your heart pounding is good enough for me. That's why I romance the blade.
May 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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