Amusing Obstacles

In a video-game, your character is constantly confronted with obstacles and often dies because of them — or at least receives some damage. Consequently, do we consider video-games to be about “suffering”? No, we consider them to be “fun” in fact. So when considering the ongoings of “real life”, why should we consider life to be about suffering?

Growing up, I was overwhelmed by the intensity of life — this is too real, and I’m so fragile. Life was out to get me and I had to hide. But of course it was out to get me, those were the obstacles — that’s where the fun comes from!! I was just too enthralled by the spectacle to realize what was going on.

And of course this is the case. I’ve literally done nothing to ensure my own survival for the past several decades — yet I’m still here. It’s as if life keeps throwing balls at my face and I’m just too dumbfounded to realize I should catch them. I keep staring at the balls coming at me while calling myself a victim of life’s abuse.

But in games, we don’t call that abuse. Life is literally attempting to engage us in a challenging adventure. There can be no doubt about it, the narratives are everywhere and we’re not even responsible for maintaining ourselves. Notice how the body just chugs along without our intervening — the heart pumps, air goes in and out, food digests, thoughts flow through our mind like a constant stream — the whole thing is on auto-pilot, we’re just along for the ride.

So here’s the deal: yes, you’re not paranoid, life really has been out to get you — you specifically, you’re not just a statistic. And no you can’t hide, life knows exactly where you are at all times. But don’t worry, this is all in good fun. If life was truly about survival, your pitiful-ass would’ve been dead a hundred times over by now.

Life is looking out for you, obviously. But life is like a mamma-bird that keeps pushing you out of the nest — she knows you can do it, but you stubbornly refuse to open your wings, believing yourself incapable of flying. Consequently, you plop on the ground with a thud. Uh, ya gotta open those wings bro. That’s your choice, life does provide the vehicle you ride, but you gotta consent and press a few buttons now and again.

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Surprise Party

I keep hearing this message: if you practice appreciation, things get substantially better. In other words, when you actively look for the good in your circumstances, and you’re thankful for what you find, then good stuff will keep coming your way.

It’s as if you’re telling life “hey I like all this good stuff, thanks a lot, can I please have some more?”. Otherwise, if you maintain a pessimistic, complaint-filled attitude, you’re essentially telling life “hey, everything you provide for me sucks, please stop sending me stuff or I’ll keep complaining — leave me the f*ck alone!” And life-the-fulfillment-generator, ever wanting to please, does exactly as you ask.

Oh and life doesn’t go for that “do as I say, not as I do” bullsh*t. If you superficially ask for something awesome, and then think negative-thoughts the whole rest of the day, then those vain wishes won’t register with life. You gotta walk-the-walk. If you want awesome stuff, then you have to display that desire to life in the form of constant appreciation.

One important aspect of displaying appreciation, is to stop focusing on yourself. For example, if Jen throws you a surprise party, does Jen want to hear about how scared you were when she jumped out? Does Jen want to hear you criticize her choice of decorations? Does Jen want to hear about how much the cake doesn’t quite suit your tastes? NO! Of course not! Jen wants to hear a sincere “Wow, thank you Jen! This was amazing!”.

If you can’t praise the item itself, praise the effort and generosity behind it. “But Rich! I can’t find anything good in my life! Everything sucks!” Then you’re not trying hard enough. You’re being lazy. And now, the onus is on you — life doesn’t suck, you suck for being such a self-centered, whining brat. Life provides a veritable playground-of-adventure, and all you can do is nitpick. Sheesh.

And if you want to personify the creative-force-underlying-life as God, then go right ahead: God the creator, by your benevolent generosity, you’ve provided a garden for me to play within. It’s amazing, I love it! The complete immersion I feel here is incredible, I so often believe myself to be an embodied being — full of emotions and all kinds of sensations. Everyday you provide interesting circumstances with which to engage my attention. I’m absolutely amazed by the spectacle before me, the narratives go this way and that — I’m always surprised! For this gift you have given me, I in return give you my ever-present gratitude. I am honored to be here experiencing existence — thank you.

Life is Suffering

“Life is suffering” is a fundamental misunderstanding of existence. I think there’s a truer statement: life is captivating. And to be captivating, life is oftentimes hard. Furthermore, if everything is mere flickering pixels, there’s no actual body that suffers, it’s only ever a suggestion of pain — and we the consciousness can choose to accept or reject that suggestion.

For me, an engaging video-game is one that stretches my limits and beats me down. I lose often. It’s a drive to resist this subjugation that pushes me to play again and again despite my seemingly futile attempts. But then, for no good reason, or perhaps the game literally tires of my persistence, I start winning. All that anticipation finally pays off in a feeling of glorious triumph. Sweet relief comes as I finally conquer my foe. But that only means it’s time to find a new game.

Life knows what pushes my buttons and so, pushes them. As players we should expect nothing less. Of course not everyone has the same pattern of pushes — some are satisfied with the simple life, I’m a glutton for feeling like a loser, and some are downright freaks that bathe in blood and gore. Whatever it is, life will find a way to captivate us all.

Of course that can seem overwhelming. It IS overwhelming. It’s nuts — life is the ultimate video-game, reading our thoughts and customizing itself in a way that tantalizes us to our core, turning up the intensity until we literally think we’re part of it. You gotta admit, that’s pretty cool.

Life is SO overwhelmingly intense in fact, that even if you realize it’s only a game, you’ll STILL get lost to it. You’ll think, “Haha I got this! Whee! So fun!” — but all that goes out the window in the next roller-coaster drop. “OH SH*T!! WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT!!??”. That’s life baby, and it’s got your attention — and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rational Realization

Take a look at me for instance. Do I look like I know what I’m doing? Of course not! But that’s the good news. If I don’t know what I’m doing, yet I’m still doing it after all these years, then life isn’t a problem to solve, there’s no difficulty here. It seems like ya just have to drift, and life carries you along. Easy peasy.

Let’s compare regular life with a game of Minecraft on survival-mode for instance. In Minecraft you have to worry about hostile mobs hunting and attacking you, night itself and the dangers it brings, falling, holes in the ground and caves, food procurement, attaining adequate shelter, and a few other things.

Now realize, when I’m describing regular life, I’m talking about my own personal experiences, not things I’ve seen happen to others — only things that’ve actually happened to me. I’ve never been attacked by a hostile enemy, never had a bad experience at night, never fell from a high height (I did willingly jump and accidentally broke my wrist), I’ve never stumbled into a random hole in the ground or even a dangerous cave, and I never had to worry about appropriate shelter or starvation.

Instead, my actual problems in life have been needless-worry and boredom. As it turns out, I’ve only been imagining a fearsome and dangerous world — I have no actual first-hand experiences to backup my assertion. I’ve certainly heard some gruesome tales, but I haven’t actually witnessed any. So why do I live my life as if they’re constant occurrences? Consequently, life has been very boring. If I shut myself up in a small room and rarely leave, of course I’m going to experience boredom!!! Duh!

Therefore, if I’m a follower of logic and sound reasoning, I must cease and desist believing and behaving as if the world is a hostile environment hell-bent on my destruction. Yes, scary stories exist, but to me they must remain stories as I lack definitive proof to confirm them. After several decades, all the horrible things I assumed to be true never manifested — I should be considered the weakest of thinkers if I continue believing that life wishes me harm.

And not only is life not attempting to hurt me, but life has kept me chugging along despite my best attempts to sabotage my experience with constant complaints and a bad attitude. My creator clearly loves me and exudes infinite patience. Apparently I am a welcomed guest in this world — logic dictates that I must accept this invitation with an open-mind and with as much gratitude as I can muster. Thank you, and I apologize for my earlier negativity. Now, I look forward to the fun and the lighthearted adventure that awaits.

Painting Moods

I think the Law of Attraction is an undeniable concept in the sense that our perspective and attitude affect our perceived reality. If you’re in a bad mood, a friendly “Hello!” could be interpreted as a personal attack. But does the Law of Attraction actually cause the world to align with our way of thinking? Luckily, I believe in Simulation Theory, so from that standpoint it’s certainly plausible that the world becomes whatever we think it is.

I do have a problem with the concept of devising specific wishes though. If I’m not that creative, what am I supposed to wish for? What am I supposed to adorn my vision-board with? I don’t know what’s to come in the future. For example, current YouTubers in their late twenties and thirties never imagined the platform they’re currently succeeding on — and for some, the Internet wasn’t even a thing until much later in life.

Additionally, where does the inspiration to wish even come from? Why did someone suddenly feel like posting videos on the Internet? Why did I develop a desire to learn computer programming in my early twenties? Why is my mind filled with thoughts that I type-up and post on this blog? Who knows — yet these prompts to think, act, and desire come from somewhere.

But what we do know, is that our mood tends to directly affect our thoughts, actions, and desires. If I’m in a great mood, my particular thoughts, actions, and desires reflect that fact — same if I’m in a foul mood. So I think the goal is to cultivate the best mood possible, and then everything falls in line as we then perceive our circumstances in the best possible way.

As far as the Law of Attraction goes, I think specific wishes and daydreams are fine in the sense that they’re painting pictures that elicit positive moods and emotions. If I see myself as a champion archer splitting arrows on the target, I’m filling myself up with triumph — I don’t necessarily want to be Robin Hood though. So in that sense, I don’t think I should be tied to my exact wishes and daydreams — they’re simply throw-aways that assist in cultivating a particular mood. Some visions might manifest as depicted, but so what as long as the good times keep rollin’. Which they will, by definition, if I maintain a positive attitude.

Losing is Fun

When you play a video-game, you typically want to perform well and win. But the funny thing is, that if you performed well and won EVERY time, the desire to play that video-game would diminish quickly. In other words, you love intermittent reward. You don’t want to be a pure force of dominance, you want to have your ass handed to you time and time again.

Like in everyday life, you don’t want the person that’s too easy to please — you prefer ’em hard to get. You want to work at it, chip away until you’ve won them over. You don’t want everything handed to you, you want to apply your abilities and expend effort. You say you don’t, you say you want everything easy, but you’re full of sh*t obviously.

So here’s the deal: if life didn’t hand you your ass every now and again, you’d complain about how boring everything is — that’s a fact. What interesting narrative do you know of where the main character isn’t challenged in some way? There’s always something to stir the pot, always an issue to be resolved.

Think about it, you’ve been going around bad-mouthing life for giving you a hard-time when it was only obeying your wishes. Of course life would give you all the goodies you desire, but you don’t want that, do you. Instantaneous attainment is boring, there’s no point. You want that slow anticipation-filled storyline with all the ups and downs.

Video-games, books, movies — these are nothing without obstacles to overcome. Appreciate these barriers — they’re the very thing that makes life fun. The wrong thing to do is see them as ruining your experience — THEY ARE THE EXPERIENCE. If you were to personally design a game or write a book, of course you’d introduce obstructions and problems and setbacks into the narrative.

Listen, it’s easy. When an obstacle comes, deal with it — that’s what it’s there for — as an opportunity to do something different. Don’t complain about the break in routine. If your life went along without variance you’d be crying about how monotonous it is. You NEED constant stimulation in the form of tests and challenges.

Now get in there, and show ’em what you’ve got!!

American Style

I’d say what makes America, America, is reckless radical optimism.

How are we gonna get there?
F*ck it, we’re already out the door!

First there’s the Pilgrims:
John: Hey, you know what’d be better than all these old fogies tellin’ us what to do?
William: Um, moving to an untamed wilderness and starting our own God-based society?
John: YES!! We’re totally on the same page bro!
Henry: But how are you guys gonna survive? You’re like a businessman or whatever!
John: Huh? I can’t hear you bro, I’m already on a boat halfway to America….

Then there’s the Founding Fathers:
Samuel: You know what’d be better than all these royal asshats tellin’ us what to do?
John: Startin’ a war and implementing our own government??
Samuel: You read my mind cousin!
James: How the heck is that gonna work!?
John: LOL! We’re just gonna wing it brah!
Samuel: Too late to worry now! Shots fired!!

And how about those plantation owners:
Rhett: How are we gonna get all this work done Bo?
Bo: Well, we could just kidnap folks from a remote location and force them to labor without wages.
Rhett: Won’t they object?
Bo: Nah, why would they, prolly love us for providing jobs!!
Rhett: What about the long-term ramifications?
Bo: Can’t hear ya! Already halfway to Africa!!

And there’s the Civil War guys too:
Henry: What if we free them by sending hundreds of thousands of armed men down there?
David: Um, won’t they fire back?
Henry: Are you nuts! What could go wrong!
David: Um, hundreds of thousands of people could die in the process…?
Henry: Preposterous!
David: And what about the aftermath? Maybe if we looked at England’s method of….
Henry: Huh!? I can’t hear you over the cannon I keep firing!!!

And of course there’s foreign policy:
Allen: You know what might help the ongoing strife in that non-english-speaking country…
Dick: Sendin’ weapons and troops…?
Allen: You know it bro!
Dick: Well at least it can’t hurt!

And what about space travel:
Tim: I’m thinkin’ we strap y’all to a rocket and fire it up toward the moon… whaddya say?
John: Haha, yeah whatever.
Neil: I’ll do it!!

And electing the president:
Adam: Who should we elect as president?
Bruce: Maybe we nominate the best and brightest and follow that up with a rigorous selection process?
Adam: Nah, go with the guy that electrifies the crowd!
Bruce: Yeah that’ll work too!!

This is no criticism by the way, simply a characterization. If you’re wantin’ to pump the brakes, then you might not be much of an American. If you’re ever faced with the question, “Should I do this?” — stomp the accelerator — the answer is always “Yes”! If you’re thinkin’ ’bout potential negative consequences then you’re doin’ it wrong! Things are gonna turn out awesome, always!!