Who will be the leader of competitive gaming? Esports needs self sacrificing individuals trained in the art of aretē.
The Espots Revue, Episode 7 with our guest David “BowmanShoota” Bowman, the Esports Yogi and visionary of the Esports Meditation video series on YouTube and @Bowmanshoota on Twitter.
Listen to The Esports Revue Podcast Episode 7
Origin of “Esports Jesus” AKA Esports Leader
This conversation started last week while discussing what criteria an individual would need to lead the building of a healthy gaming community. Check out “Building Healthy Gaming Communities – The Esports Revue Ep. 6” for more context. We coined the term “Esports Jesus”; moving forward we would like to be more inclusive and refer to these people simply as esports leaders.
Our Esports Tribe (Recap)
If you want to get the most out of this podcast, watch this video from Seth Godin at Ted ED, “The Tribes We Lead”.
Some quotes from Seth Godin on “The Tribes We Lead”:
“You can tell when you run into someone from a tribe.”
“It turns out, that it is tribes, not money, not factories, that can change our world…that can align large numbers of people.”
“You don’t need everyone…you just need to find the true believers.”
“Organize people who want to talk about something.”
“Most movements…are about finding a group that’s disconnected, but already has a yearning. Not persuading people to want something they don’t have yet.”
“What all these people (leaders) have in common is that they are heretics. Heretics look at the status quo and say, ‘this will not stand. I can’t abide the status quo. I am willing to stand up and move things forward. I see what the status quo is, I don’t like it.'”
“Who exactly are you upsetting? If you’re not upsetting anyone, you aren’t changing the status quo. Who are you connecting? For a lot of people that is what they are in it for…the connections that are being made. Who are you leading?”
“You don’t need permission from people to lead them. But in case you do, here it is. They’re waiting, we’re waiting, for you to show us where to go next.”
“Do me a favor. Start a movement. We need it.”
Criteria for an Esports Leader
It is most important to first define the criteria for a leader. Are there any additional characteristics needed uniquely by an esports leader?
- Change the status quo (challenge everything)
- Build a culture (secret language)
- Curios (asking questions)
- Charisma (being a leader gives you charisma)
- Commitment (devout and self sacrificing)
- Concrete (thick skin)
- Clear & concise
If you can think of any other criteria, please let us know in the comments.
Famous Thought Leaders
History has seen many different world-changers. How are all of these people the same? What makes them “famous thought leaders?” What aspects of their life’s work can we adapt to create a positive example for esports? What aspects of their life’s work should we leave behind?
Aung San Suu Kyi
If you someone else comes to mind, please feel free to contribute in the comments.
The Logos and the Mythos
Carl Jung was the first philosopher to expand on Aristotle’s modes of rhetorical persuasion (Ethos, Pathos and Logos) because he found them to difficult to classify. Instead, Jung created a dichotomy to better explain the rational and irrational or logos and mythos.
The concepts of mythos and logos is extremely well explained in this article from Journey to the Sea: “When discussing this distinction to consider the Greek words from which our English words “logical” and “mythical” have been derived, logos and mythos. Both Greek words can be translated as something like “story” or “account”; mythical thinking and logical thinking both provide an account of the world, but they do so in very different ways. Those using logical thinking approach the world scientifically and empirically. They look for explanations using observable facts, controlled experiments, and deductive proofs. Truth discovered through logos seeks to be objective and universal. Those using mythical thinking, on the other hand, approach the world through less direct, more intuitive means. A person might gain poetic insights into the nature of the world by seeing a caterpillar emerge from a cocoon or watching a full moon rise as the sun sets. Truth discovered through mythos is more subjective, based on individual feelings and experiences.”
Mythos & Logos in the Thought of Carl Jung
The “Mythos” Over The “Logos”
“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in which Robert Pirsig discusses his Metaphysics of Quality (MoQ). One concept, “mythos over logos” is not fully explored in Pirsig’s book. This quote from Robert M. Pirsig, better encapsulates the “mythos over logos” argument.
Sophism in Esports
The sophists were teachers and intellectuals in Athens and other Greek cities in the second half of the fifth century B.C.E. In return for compensation, sophists offered young wealthy Greek men an education in aretē (virtue or excellence). These sophists were an integral component that contributed to the positive growth of public discourse in ancient Greece.
A majority of the remaining texts about Sophism were left behind by Aristotle and Plato. In their description, Sophists were unscrupulous deceivers that detracted from discourse. Unfortunately, since the texts of Aristotle and Plato are so prevalent in modern philosophy, it is difficult for your average googler to find anything informative about Sophism. One article, from the Internet Encyclopedia on Philosophy explains:
“The low standing of the sophists in Athenian public opinion does not stem from a single source. No doubt suspicion of intellectuals among the many was a factor. New money and democratic decision-making, however, also constituted a threat to the conservative Athenian aristocratic establishment. This threatening social change is reflected in the attitudes towards the concept of excellence or virtue (aretē) alluded to in the summary above. Whereas in the Homeric epics aretē generally denotes the strength and courage of a real man, in the second half of the fifth century B.C.E. it increasingly became associated with success in public affairs through rhetorical persuasion.”
Aretē, as taught by the Sophists, threatened the status quo of the aristocracy. It allowed for the common man to ascend the ranks of democracy through rhetorical persuasion. The teachings of Sophists like, Protagoras and Gorgias were revolutionary for the middle class citizens in ancient Greece.
Aretē in Esports
Aretē is a greek term that means excellence in the management of one’s own affairs. Initially, aretē was most commonly used to describe feats of strength or manliness. Moving into the sixth century B.C.E. it was much more common for aretē to represent excellence achieved in the public sphere through the art of rhetorical persuasion. The ability to speak and lead through speech became the most direct path for upward mobility in ancient Greece.
Aretē in esports is currently represented by a number of personalities, but it has not been formally defined. The word professionalism is thrown around quite often, but it does not capture the specific nature of what qualities are necessary to be a leader in esports. Aretē (excellence) is a much more
It is important that we begin to define aretē in esports. How does an individual get the most out of their time in esports? Who in the competitive gaming scene is able to be an esports leader?
Without any clear goal in mind, it is nearly impossible to reach true success. Sophists helped the middle class men in sixth century B.C.E. participate in the public forum and debate. The Sophists opened the doorway for many middle class men to grow beyond the middle class. In the competitive gaming industry, who represents the Sophists? (AKA Who represents the opportunity for middle class esports citizens to reach the top?)
Aristotle and Plato hated the Sophists due to the famous Philosophers’ positions at the top of an aristocracy. They felt threatened by the middle classes rise to power through rhetorical discussion. Who in esports represents this status quo?
The Sophists were positive example for everyone in the middle class. They lived their teachings and taught through their experiences. What positive examples are being set in esports? What characteristics do you admire in positive esports thought leaders?
The Forgotten Midnight Ride of William Dawes
Paul Revere is known to most Americas as the man that rode a horse for miles to warn “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Unfortunately, most people forget the efforts of a similar horseback rider, William Dawes.
William Dawes effort is explained in this History article: “Dawes sped west and then north through Roxbury, Brookline, Brighton, Cambridge and Menotomy. Unlike Revere, who awoke town leaders and militia commanders along the way to share his news, Dawes apparently let them sleep, either because he was singularly focused on getting to Lexington as quickly as possible or because he wasn’t as well-connected with the patriots in the countryside.”
Many historians point to Dawes’ inability to “rouse the troops” was due to his poor public speaking ability and lack of charisma. (Aretē, if you will.) Revere experienced more success in spreading his message due to his well-connected nature. Because many of the militia commanders knew Paul Revere, they listened and responded.
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