Winning games, losing life

If our society had a canary that fell silent when the air became noxious, it would be the young men trading a job and family for video games—and saying they are happier for it.

Many young men between the ages of 21 and 30 have opted out of the workforce and are spending increasing amounts of time playing video games. Yoga source palo alto schedule But they’re not depressed washouts of the new economy. Daily yoga routine youtube Surprisingly, they report being happier than both working men their age and older men out of work.

Lawrence Summers, former World Bank chief economist and U.S. Youtube videos kundalini yoga basics secretary of the Treasury, wrote recently that he expects virtual reality to entice greater numbers of young people to opt out of the job market, if current trends continue.

Erik Hurst, a macroeconomist at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and Alan Krueger, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, are citing research that video games are now so enticing they can keep men from going to work—and presumably, these men like it so much they don’t mind the stigma of living in their parents’ basement or on social welfare.

It’s a recent and profound change. Yoga exercises for beginners dailymotion In 2000, out-of-work, low-skilled young men were generally discontent. Yoga blog deutsch This is no longer true—though it remains true of older out-of-work men who are presumably less inclined to reach for a game controller.

Krueger’s paper “Where Have All the Workers Gone?” notes that older unemployed men show “low levels of emotional well-being throughout their days and … derive relatively little meaning from their daily activities.”

For younger, lower skilled men, it can be more difficult to find work, but researchers are starting to believe this is not the only thing keeping them out of the workforce. Chair yoga exercises hip replacement And the allure of more immersive video games would also seem too simple an explanation, as few things as complicated as human behavior and changing social norms have such simple explanations. Svaroopa yoga Cynics and Skeptics

The fact that young people today also have a deep and abiding cynicism and distrust of society at large may be making it easier to turn their backs on it.

This cynicism among young people was documented in Harvard and Gallup polls last year, and researchers at the University of Georgia and San Diego State University found that between 1972 and 2012, Americans became significantly less trusting of each other and less confident in large institutions, including the news media, business, religious organizations, the medical establishment, Congress, and the presidency.

It’s easy to paint a scenario where young people are repelled by a society they perceive as corrupt and enticed by video games that are ever more alluring. Pure yoga hong kong locations The sad reality, though, is that video games aren’t exactly uplifting the young people drawn to them.

The American College of Pediatricians warns that online pornography can increase callousness toward women, make men think lightly of rape and infidelity, and steer them away from marriage and having children.

The allure of these online indulgences is primal and appeals to our most primitive human desires. Yoga symbols dictionary Think about the palpable sense of power and viciousness one can experience when killing in a virtual landscape. Exhale yoga venice ca We tend to make light of conscience, but people still have a base level of morality, and we pay a price in terms of our own self-regard when we take pleasure in things we’d otherwise consider vile.

Part of the allure of video games and online indulgences is that they offer a defined world where people can try, fail, improve, and succeed. Bikram yoga The path is clear, exciting, and achievable, as opposed to a real world that looks ever harder to “level-up” in.

In an emotional sense, video games become a surrogate for achievements in the real world. Ananda yoga center nepal And because many games have a social component, they also satisfy the need for some kind of community. Triad yoga greensboro schedule Game Versus Gamed

I once interviewed a young man who has successfully navigated the new digital economy. Sadhana yoga hudson He exemplifies what it takes to succeed in the world today: being self-motivated, entrepreneurial, and willing to take a risk.

He built a company selling custom auto parts he has manufactured in Taiwan. Shanti yoga He’s also an amateur futurist, watching trends and making predictions.

Like many, he sees today as a time of unparalleled opportunity for those with the skills and character to make it happen. Exhale yoga venice But for those who don’t, it’s not so bad.

He posits that in the near future, a person could spend their days in virtual reality, taking no notice of the squalor they may live in, and sustain themselves on relatively cheap and easy to prepare protein drinks.

Welfare housing, or even living on the street, might be a palatable existence if one can strap a smartphone to their face and be anything, anywhere, with anybody.

Most people, though, would likely wonder at the dignity of this kind of life. Yoga in indianapolis It may even prompt them to ask, “What does human existence mean if we are reduced to endless digital distraction?”

We’ve made it as easy and shameless as possible to indulge in our most base desires and we’ve done it so well that economists are working to measure its impact on the labor supply.

It’s considered old-fashioned and almost offensive today to talk about morals or self-restraint. Yoga nidra meditation art of living We live in a time when happiness is its own reward, and if you can get it cheaply without hurting someone, we are generally OK with it.

That’s because it’s more like a drug than meaningful satisfaction, more distraction than real joy. Sahaja yoga centers in india Worse, virtual reality may even damage the character of our society.

Meanwhile, neuroscientist Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin has used MRI machines and sensors to do research on practitioners of meditation, including Buddhist monks.

He and others have discovered the tranquility that comes with aspiring to compassion is closely connected to contentment and other positive emotions. Ananda yoga dunedin According to brain activity, those who embrace suffering as an inevitable part of life and aspire to enlightenment are the happiest people in the world.

While we might deride the young men who spend their days playing video games in their parents’ basement, it’s important we do more than weigh the economic cost of lost workers. Yoga therapy seattle We need to consider how our society has failed to convince these people that this world is worth making an effort to be a part of.

Because if we don’t pause to look at the world we are creating, and the alternatives we are offering to those who don’t want it, the basement each generation descends to could be deeper and darker than the one that preceded it.