guns and toys
why do we love guns? if you think you don’t, you probably haven’t fired one. if you have and still don’t like them, you’re probably in the minuscule minority. but this isn’t a statistical argument for or against guns.
this is a philosophical enquiry into the nature of play. as children we love playing rough and tumble, getting dirty in the mud, splashing in puddles, as messy as possible.
it’s as if we played with the elements as much as we played with each other. just like the toys we played with as kids, the guns we play with as adults offers an alternative reality.
a piece of cloth tied around the neck could transform one into superman, capable of flight, at least flights of fancy. a twig would become a magic wand that could grant magical powers to whoever wielded it.
in the adult world, guns make a mild mannered Clark Kent into a superman, if not the Superman. guns offers the power to intimidate and dominate. the power to instil fear in others.
most adults are incapable of exercising any form of power in their lives, let alone over others and this intoxicating drug offers an ego boost, they wouldn’t be able to get else where.
manufacturers are constantly making the handgun handier and easier to use by even noobs. but what makes a gun feel great is the tactile feedback that recoil offers.
you don’t feel anything when the bullet hits a target, animate or inanimate. but you feel something when the bullet leaves the chamber and heads towards its mark. that recoil offers a sense of accomplishment.
the cold steel. the weighted heft in your hand. the ability to open it up and out it back together. the entire process of cleaning, loading, etc. forms a ritual that offers a sense of meaning and purpose.
even when we aren’t fighting a way to save our lives and that of our tribe, we’re happy to imagine that we are ready should the battle cry trumpet across the skies. that recoil rattles and wakes the soul in a primal way.
returning to one’s primal nature is a return to innocence. indigenous tribes hunted with intention and compassion, only killing the weak and only as many as needed for the survival of the tribe.
the hunt was part of a community experience, where one group hunted together, another shined the meat, yet another cooked it, and all enjoyed the feast that followed.
hunting offered a right of passage for boys to be included as men in the tribe. it taught the value of patience, perseverance, partnership, participation and more through the collaborative act.
unfortunately, hunting today offered little if nothing of all this. guns have made the process of hunting efficient but also effectively soul less. nonetheless, it does draw people closer to that ancient experience.
if not guns, then what?
what can we do to experience that same primal play? without the hubris that guns bring to us. how can we play together like the ancients did? how can we rekindle the love for tactile exploration without guns?
these questions are yours to play with as you explore and experiment with different ways to find the same satisfaction. why are we still fascinated by nerf guns, water guns and first person shooter video games. isn’t there anything else we can do without eventually inducing the desire to hurt, kill and destroy?