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  • Curriculum and the Dream Paradigm

    - Stephen Schafer

     The Psych-ecology

    Explanation of the principle: (Focus of Identification)

    The term Psych-ecology applies to a world of patterns that can be navigated with the medium of symbolic language.  It is a term I use to elicit a reality of metaphor, psychology, and science.  The dynamic patterns of the Psych-ecology are derived from the ancient principles of Hermetic philosophy, Gnosticism, and symbolic language. The term is meant to elicit the field of Psyche-dynamic thought forms and metaphorical-emotional resonance.

    Metaphor must be understood as the quintessence of the human reality-the very medium that makes human culture possible.  It is axiomatic that the patterns of metaphor are the patterns with which humans construct their reality-including the digital reality.  Suggestions and proofs of this fundamental law of human reality can be found throughout philosophy, literature, and science.  "In the beginning was the word," is an explicit statement of the law.  Figuratively paraphrased, the statement signifies that the beginning of the human perception of reality was the human fall into duality or separation in which "words" (the media) became necessary.  In this state of being, humans were constrained to use symbolic language as a medium of communication about what is real.  The parable in which God tells Adam to name the creatures in the Garden is another instance of the principle.  The metaphorical significance of the parable might be that by using symbolic language to name things, humans assist God in the creative process.  Whatever might be, it is axiomatic that humans create their world with symbolic language and the dynamic of symbolic language is metaphor.  Qualitative metaphorical resonances and quantitative mathematically formulated proportions are consistent with one another and constitute the seed patterns of human perceptions of reality.  So, the term psych-ecology is meant to convey the mythical, metaphorical, mathematical, and scientific authenticity of the dream paradigm.  In short, it refers to an eminently practical methodology for understanding reality as an illusion.

    In the age of quantum physics, cybernetics, the media, holography, and massive multiplayer online games (MMOG) humans are already familiar with the real-life change in perspective from a solid four dimensional reality to a unified field of psyche/physics in which all of our old habits of mind have become obsolete.  One important consequence in this change is a vastly expanded and inclusive range of communication; i.e. anyone can be accessed instantaneously from anywhere in the world.  This is just one example of the quantum leap in our collective realization of the integrity of the human family and the world.  When, finally, we realize this integrity in other dimensions of human psychic function, we will have successfully accomplished the paradigm shift.  The process is ongoing and usually gradual, but whether the process is slow or fast, this increasing inclusiveness is the story of the evolution of human consciousness.  It is the story of the mythical Journey of the Hero in which the psychological perspective of the hero changes from the persona (the relatively selfish person) to the more comprehensive and less self-centered perspective of the soul (psyche).  The significance of this quantum leap in human quality resonates infinitely and touches everything in the unified field of psyche. The crisis of personal and collective responsibility and personal and collective governance is a crisis having to do with the collective focus of human attention.  If the collective persona of the U.S. is poised on the brink of a quantum leap from a self-centered focus to a more enlightened, mature, and inclusive focus of attention, the interactive game curriculum could serve as a springboard. The key to focus of attention can be understood as an intensive physical-psychological interactivity, and because of their essential interactive component games are a state-of-the-art medium. 

    Given the parameters of the emergent reality and the urgent need to prepare students (and the population at large) to survive and navigate that Psych-ecology, interactive digital games appear to offer the most timely and cost-effective potential of any alternative.  If the medium is the message, the message of a game curriculum would be the expansion of a student's perspective or enlightened focus of attention.  I am not advocating that game play replace all other forms of pedagogy.  Rather, I am arguing that games should be considered as a core element of curriculum and should be considered a priority for research and implementation.  Using broad theoretical strokes, a curriculum game could incorporate:

    • A data base saturated with correspondences
    • Comprehensive access to human knowledge via the internet
    • Sophisticated psychological parameters of dream analysis


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