[T]he birds put my mind into a deeply Zen-like and hypnotic state, not unlike "flow" as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Maybe the people at Rovio have given us a game that is part meditation, part allegory for life. Maybe Freud would point out that my finding Zen in a game based on pig destruction signals latent anger issues.("Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly is one of my very favorite books, as I've noted before.)
And here's William Ian Miller in "Losing It" — a book I first talked about here — talking about solitaire:
Everything distracts me... I interrupted the writing of this paragraph to play a game of solitaire, and then when I lost I allowed myself to play until I won, and then one more in case I won two in a row, and then I kept on until I won two in a row. Says the ancient rabbinical Pirkei Avot: The Ethics of the Fathers, written some eighteen hundred years ago: “If a man is walking by the way and is studying and then interrupts his study and exclaims: ‘How beautiful is this tree? How beautiful is this plowed furrow?’ Scripture considers that it is to be regarded as if he has forfeited his life (or as if he bears guilt for his soul).” If the beauties of nature cannot justify distraction, what of solitaire? My offense is (as if) capital; if only I could remember which circle of hell awaits me. My will—an element of my name, no less—never strong to begin with, has become weaker. The “I am” that remains in Will -iam is thus a ghost of its former self. If William James is right, and I find that he usually is, then I am in trouble: “The essential achievement of the will, in short, when it is most ‘voluntary,’ is to attend to a difficult object and hold it fast before the mind" (italics in original).Do you use video games in a way that makes you want to explain it — like Culwell — in terms of meditation and wisdom or — like Miller — to read it as a signpost that you are walking downhill toward the grave?