Piracy gave me a future | BoingBoing Offworld

I don’t particularly like the way the author conflates stealing physical objects with copying digital media, but I definitely agree with this sentiment:

Some, perhaps most, people in industrialized countries have the luxury of seeking out media they care about and stories that speak to them, and they can afford to support that work with their money. But for others like me, it can feel like a seemingly insurmountable struggle. To live even in relative poverty deprives of you new ideas; it deprives you of the tools and education you need to escape. In the most severe cases, it locks you out of society—out of voting, out of socializing, and out of connecting with others. Poverty is often cyclical because it traps its victims in intellectual dead zones. We know that without stimulation, without challenge, the mind, like the belly, starves.

I don’t pirate games anymore, and I don’t support pirating games if you can afford to buy them. But when I needed it, piracy gave me hope. When I considered dropping out of high school, giving up on my future, and damning myself to repeat the cycle of poverty, I was able to look back on the sea of literature and countless games I’d downloaded for answers and inspiration. They not only helped me realize that I wasn’t as alone as I thought, but allowed me to develop the fluency necessary to start making informed, critical works of my own.

I wasn’t just taking the easy way out by pirating, because the way I had to travel wasn’t easy any way you look at it. I was trying to equalize a playing field that I knew was stacked against me. Piracy helped do that, by giving me access to art and books and games that allowed me to better myself, and inspired me to become who I am today.

Piracy gave me a future.