February 17, 2014

It's All A Game!


That's right, folks; in case you haven't figured it out yet, 
it's all a game. Life, that is. And I'm not trying to be flippant.
 This is a truth I finally faced many years ago, but it's hard to convey it to other people who haven't got it yet.

To spell it out, I'm saying that all the various systems we've devised over the centuries, and that have come to define our civilization-- they're all games. As in artificial constructs of the human mind, developed for a number of purposes, most having to do with money in one way or another. If they didn't start off as games, they eventually became full-blown games. Let me illustrate.

Take the main institutions of our societies-- religion, economics, government, education, arts, sports and entertainment, the military and police; that just about covers the gamut. They are all mere fabrications of human imagination. There is nothing ineluctably 'natural' about any of them, as we've come to accept them. Sure, we need governance of some kind; we need an economy of sorts; we enjoy the arts and entertainment; we instruct our younger generations in some fashion. But, here's the thing-- none of those institutions must exist in the forms we've developed.

Due to the degeneracy of the human psyche, we made them all into games... but we don't want to acknowledge that fact, so we pretend that they are the way they are by some natural process. We treat them with a seriousness they don't deserve.

What is a game, anyhow? It's an artificial, created environment in which players participate, generally competing with each other, according to established rules of play, in order to gain some recognized reward. Isn't that exactly how our institutions function?

Take the military for example. We are led to believe that every nation must have a military for 'protection.' Well, fine; nothing wrong with defending your turf. But, is that what happens? No; the army is one of the most obvious games. The players are rigorously ranked according to rigid rules of hierarchy. To advance, a player must demonstrate various leadership traits. These traits are best demonstrated in war, which is the ostensible raison d'etre of military. Therefore, any pretext for engaging in battles is welcomed, if not precipitated. The losers of this game are usually killed or injured. I didn't say the outcomes are frivolous.

The education game is one that we all are familiar with since it has been made mandatory in most countries. After a few years of the daily conditioning, we learn the rules-- how we are expected to behave, and what we are expected to 'know' and regurgitate back to the already-programmed instructors. It's another rigid system, with rules galore, mostly meaningless rewards, but taken very seriously by all. As if to reinforce the foolish lesson desired by our controllers, we now have 'graduation ceremonies' complete with silly mortar-board hats for kids going from kindergarten to grade one. What they are teaching us, dear people, is deference to authority, and swallowing the 'accepted wisdom' of every facet of knowledge.

The economy is a colossal game which started off with the good intention of being a means to distribute wealth in an orderly manner. We have made it into a covert casino-- which is an ultimate, obvious gaming house. In the global, economic casino, the 'house' has rigged the bets and the machines so that they collect almost all the wealth. They allow a few lucky blokes to win a small pot every so often to keep the common folks invested in the games.

Under unchecked corporate capitalism, the global economy has become a virtual pyramid-scheme. Think of it; it's completely predicated on the expectation that more rubes are going to continue to join the frenzy of consumption and spending in order that the earlier players can continue to reap 'profits' from the cycle.

Numerous spin-off games have been generated from the original, simple economy. The stock market is perhaps the prime example. And if you think to disagree, then step it up a notch to the derivatives markets-- pure gambling on what may or may not occur days, weeks, or months down the road.

Religion seems to have been one of the original games. I don't believe it started that way. God may very well have revealed himself in some circumstances to our ancestors. In fact, our early forebears may have been much more attuned to the spiritual aspect of reality than we are today, in our overwhelmingly artificial, technocratic society. (So don't be too quick to dismiss the 'hidden reality' that is beyond your present ability to perceive.) But, it wasn't long before the opportunists saw the opportunity in a situation calling for belief in an unseeable dimension. Installing themselves as go-betweens, these religious shysters modelled their institutions along the same lines as all other human agencies, devising titles, roles, rules, and so on. Perfect.

Don't misunderstand-- I'm not saying some games aren't serious or useful. But even those that appear to have genuine function have been perverted by the born gamers to be another avenue to riches, fame, or power for themselves. If you can't play the game well, then too bad for you.

Perhaps this essay was triggered by the latest Winter Olympics, since they represent a prime example of my thesis. Here we have a whole, global institution revolving around the simple notion of getting athletes together from many nations to play games. There's now an enormous bureaucracy involved in planning, organizing, promoting, and staging these events. The sums of money involved are truly staggering. Yet, it's all about nothing more than gathering people together every four years to compete for metal trinkets. To illustrate the artificiality of it all, we now have alternating summer and winter games, so there is a big extravaganza every two years instead of four... double the fun, double the profits! If that's not enough, each Olympiad now has an associated 'Paralympic Games,' for athletes with disabilities.

The point about everything being a game is that we needn't mentally invest them with such solemnity, such power over our lives, as if they mean more than they really do. It's very unfortunate that the Powers that Be have convinced virtually the world that it matters if someone is awarded a damn Oscar, or an honorary PhD, or a Nobel Peace Prize (to belong to a class that includes 'peace-maker' Barack Obama, the war-monger president).

By programming all individuals to 'jump for the jelly-beans' (as one professional counsellor put it) as required to succeed in all the societal games, our controllers achieve a number of goals. Competing in hollow games keeps us perpetually pre-occupied with worldly, materialistic matters that saps our time and energy from seeking spiritual values. It focuses our attention on the physical stuff of life, rather than on working towards peace, total health, equitable distribution of wealth, and other higher, nobler goals. It hides from our soul-eyes the fact that life should really be about love and co-operation, than competition and worldly success. Playing these games keeps us divided and individualistic, exactly as proposed by the Darwinian, biological model.

Unlike the games of our childhood, the fabricated institutions of the adult world can be harsh, deadly sports, bringing mayhem, misery, and mortality to millions. We clearly saw this in the 20th century. We are seeing it again in these early years of the 21st. I predict right here that we will not live to see the '20s, barring divine intervention. The puppeteers behind the scenes have set in motion forces that, in multiple combination, cannot be turned back, and that are bringing destruction to the entire planet.

Sad to say-- it's game over, fellow players. Make your peace with the Creator while you can.

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