Three words -- "Disconnectedness defines danger" -- reduce the complexities of why we go to war to one simple truth: Disconnectedness from the global community is a dangerous thing. This meme of disconnectedness came from Thomas P.M. Barnett, writing in Esquire magazine, March 2003, "The Pentagon's New Map". Controversial yet thought provoking, Barnett soon expanded his keen observations in a book published by Putnam-- again titled, "The Pentagon's New Map - War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century."
I had the distinct honor of working with Dr. Barnett, introducing him to the personal medium of blog, with the goal to further the reach of his message. And it was exhilarating to watch the reception grow, with additional media exposure coming from main stream, public and citizen sources -- i.e., Greg Jaffe in the Wall Street Journal, David Ignatiusin the Washington Post, Brian Lamb at C-SPAN (BookNotes), Gail Harris at NPR (On Point), Bryan Preston (Junk Yard Blog) in an email interview, Alex Steffen at World Changing. But, what about feedback? The party started, but we wanted more than just a celebration. We wanted a conversation.
Posts and comments in the blogosphere helped. Sparked by email responses from readers, I often wondered the question, What would be a good way to attract people to a simple conversation, "Disconnectedness defines danger?" Could we then discuss our responsibility to create community connections around the world? What sort of venue, to quote the mission statement of WGBH Boston, might "educate, inspire, and entertain, fostering citizenship and culture, the joy of learning, and the power of diverse perspectives?" Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of interesting possibility: Gaming as public media platform.
"Gaming as public media platform" was the topic of a breakout session I participated in, during the second day of Beyond Broadcast 2006. We had lively discussion in our small group and I was pleased to learn that both PBS and BBC are exploring ways to deploy online gaming, designed to meet their mission statements. You can read the wiki to see the discussion as well as some great links to resources.
For me, I see a MMORPG designed to allow participatory experience in learning to make global connections. The goal? Experiment in a virtual world, influenced by current events in-game and then be inspired to try it in real life. Educational, inspirational. Now that would be a conversation worth creating.
Postscript: Jim Moore and his articulation of the "Second Superpower" was also an early influence on my thinking about the game. See Second_Superpower on Wikipedia.