Sublimation is the diversion (conversion, transformation, or deflection) of aggression, destructive desires, and instinctive drives into behaviors that are acceptable to one’s values and culture. It describes the effect of superego upon one’s primitive impulses. Aggression is behavior characterized by forceful contact and communication, such as verbal or physical attacks on other people. While some cultures value aggressive character traits, most cultures discourage or punish aggressive behavior. In almost all cultures, aggression is appropriate and necessary in defending one’s self.
First-person shooter computer games are framed as good against evil. Society seems to accept the appropriateness of these games despite behavioral research showing their correlation with increased gun violence. Societies tend to tolerate any symbolic expression of overtly aggressive, risky, or destructive behavior.
Sublimation is vicarious substitution of competitive athletics, other intense physical pursuits, and computer gaming for the actual life-threatening risks of adventure, exploration, or violent conflict. Sublimation promotes genetic fitness, because those organisms which survive the longest tend to reproduce and transmit their DNA.