Friday, December 16, 2011

Geek wisdom book: THERE IS NO TRY, DO! KHAAAAAN!


Geek wisdom goes mainstream

Hard-core nerds impart teachings of 'Star Wars' and Tolkien.

By Ethan GilsdorfContributor / December 13, 2011

it's increasingly clear that nerdy passions – fantasy books, science-fiction movies, comic books, role-playing games – offer more than good times and camaraderie. They teach life lessons – guidance for a generation of nerds raised in a less conventional, DIY, "choose your own spiritual adventure" world, nerds who are now raising Geek Crop 2.0.
This reporter is one of them. In my 1970s upbringing, my post-hippie parents never took me to church. I tried Boy Scouts and 4-H, but these groups felt old-fashioned, too sincere. Then, in 1977, as a 10-year-old I saw "Star Wars." Suddenly, the idea that a "Force" surrounds and binds us seemed as plausible a theory for what glued the universe together as any religious teaching.
I began seeking moral counsel not from den mothers or teachers, but from pop culture priests like Yoda, Gandalf, and Gary Gygax (co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons). My friends and I recited "holy scripture" from "Monty Python" and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Seeking courage today, I still repeat Yoda's counsel: "Try not. Do, do. Or do not. There is no try."

 Chris Hardwick's book "The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)," published last month, shows how the mechanics of role-playing games (RPGs) can be harnessed for self-help. The chapter "RPG Your Life" uses gaming concepts that nerd personality-types understand – such as character attributes (the six classic ones: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, charisma), weapon inventories, and experience points – to combat anxiety, lethargy, and rejection.

If all else fails, do as another friend instructs her children. When they are frustrated, instead of cursing, she tells them to channel Capt. James T. Kirk, and yell, at the top of their lungs, "KHAAAAAAAN!"


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