Things you can do instead of play Recovery:
Donate to Food not Bombs, or learn about your local chapter and how to volunteer: https://foodnotbombs.net/
Research a local Mutual Aid Society and find out how to join.
Go to https://democracycollaborative.org/ to learn about systemic change, community wealth building, and democratic ownership.
Go to https://dsa-lsc.org/2018/12/31/dual-power-a-strategy-to-build-socialism-in-our-time/ and read about Dual Power and the role it can play in building a more equitable society.
Read the incredible story of Moms 4 Housing https://www.kqed.org/news/11842392/how-moms-4-housing-changed-laws-and-inspired-a-movement and learn more about eviction defense. Bonus: look up the Autonomous Tenants Union Network at https://atun-rsia.org/ and consider joining, donating to, or starting a local chapter.
U.S. Residents: Go to https://toolkit.climate.gov/#case-studies and read a success story about climate resilience in your area.
In short, if you want to read a brick of text, there are better bricks out there. I agree the public discourse, especially the media discourse, is not being realistic about the problems we face. So what. Find something worth doing. That's real activism. Calling this activism, and understand I say this meaning absolutely no disrespect to the author, is horseshit.
Recovery is a world file created for the purpose of dispensing an extended philosophical treatise. Like many things in the modern community compared to the old ones, this is an exceptionally high-quality example. The treatise itself lays out its points in a well-structured manner, with extensive citations (including a post-play reading list), illustrations, scripted sequences that are even labeled like a professional program (which is not common in ZZT since board memory is at an absolute premium), and even a framing device that returns as a bookend to emphasize a point. All in all, the presentation is excellent and serves well to deliver the world file's message.
That brings us to the message itself, which is informed by global warming, a global pandemic, severe economic inequality, and a variety of other issues plaguing the world in the year 2022 (when it was published) and weighing heavily on the minds of many. Through the framing device of a rehabilitation program for patients addicted to "hope", its intent is effectively to disabuse the audience of the notion that the world can be saved, because regardless of what fast solutions those with power and influence propose to help fix the problems that our world has, the increased complexity of human civilization naturally leads to its needs in turn increasing in complexity, and therefore the strain in attempting to meet those needs will lead to its inevitable collapse no matter what anybody does.
While there's no doubt that the author did exhaustive research in this area, what with the reading list, citations and quotations; and directly identifies their work as "activism", the real question is whether this kind of message is helpful. The problem is, much of the population of the year 2022, especially on the social media platform Twitter, is hammered every day—sometimes every hour—by bad news, to the point that the slang terms "doomposting" and "doomscrolling" were coined to respectively describe posting and consuming such bad news at a relentless rate. There is no doubt such bad news is what resulted in this world file—but the thing is, 99.99% of this bad news concerns things that are well beyond the audience's control, such as matters of war, the issues of global warming, or the problems of government in states far away from where they live. To focus on such things, as doomposting and doomscrolling encourages, is to blind oneself to problems that are within their control and their ability to correct. What is sometimes hard to admit is that the path to solving a problem starts at the bottom; one may not be in a position to realistically affect a state, national or global problem, but they are in a position to help solve a local problem, whether by helping an activist movement (even as little as giving it money to conduct its activities), or even starting one. As is often the case with such movements, the act of activism at a local level serves to help grow the movement until it gains the influence to be able to affect a problem. The process of getting there, as with many things in life, is slow—but only by pure dedication can one possibly get the result that they seek. The point of doomposting and doomscrolling, whether those involved in it are conscious of it or not, is effectively to stifle the sort of activism that would help the world in the long run before it even begins.
So, not only is the message of Recovery not helpful, it is actively harmful to human civilization. In its effort to deliver a rebuke against the sort of blind optimism and "quick and easy" solutions that are frequently proposed to help the world's problems by those without the knowledge or understanding of where to start, it itself proposes the quick and easy solution of just not doing anything about it at all, and allow the world's problems to become worse than they are. It is safe to say that you should skip this one.
Reviewed: Mar 21, 2023
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