Playing role playing games (or RPGs) is something that I did when I was younger and still do sometimes today. Though, when I was younger, Dungeons & Dragons was a sure fire sign you were a devil worshiper and today playing RPGs is just on the fringe of being cool. Here is a link to a definition of min-maxing in respect to playing RPGs for those who aren’t familiar with the term. When someone sits down to fabricate a character for a particular role playing game, a min-maxer will decide what they want their character to excel at. This goal will then determine what attributes or skills for that character are useful and which are useless. For the min-maxer, the entire potential list of attributes for their character is broken down quickly into useless and useful categories. Not only does this lead to insane characters who are one dimensional and not well rounded, it props up the attitude that anything less than optimal is worthless. If the attribute, skill, or character isn’t the best and most effecient at some goal, it’s useless and should never be considered for the task at hand.
It’s not hard to see how this attitude is starting to become more and more widespread in society. Everything is distilled to black and white, useful or useless, terms. In PC games that I play, certain attributes or abilities are either praised as the way to go, or denounced as worthless and it’s inferred that you are a moron for using them. Any options you are provided with on how to play the game is quickly nullified by the community who determines the most effective choices and that is not the defacto standard. All other options are inferior for one reason or another.
I see this same attitude outside of games. Issues that our society deals with are never grey anymore. They are reported and evangelized as black or white, good or evil. There’s no wiggle room, no room for discussion or compromise. All or nothing, and if you aren’t on their side, you are the enemy. It goes for advertising, as well. Polarization of products tells us that the latest item for sale is the best and anything else is worthless.
Why bother making peace when you can turn anything into a war?