Gaming Analysis

My ideally imagined gaming scenario is this: game starts, I stumble onto an immense stockpile of resources that I use to attain dominant levels of strength and power. From there, I proceed to use my supremacy and innate skills to conquer the game and everyone in it. Done.

Yet that’s not my typical gaming experience. It’s more like: game starts, I saunter-out ready to do some damage, feeling like I’m gonna crush the competition, but I get picked apart like Thanksgiving dinner, can’t find any resources, and I hide, focusing on some non-confrontational aspect of the game.

There’s always a mismatch between what I believe I can do and what I can actually do — and this obviously leads to a lot of frustration. After all these years, I still can’t reconcile the mismatch — how come I’m not dominating and crushing the competition where they stand?

My perspective is obviously off. Everything is telling me that I’m a noob, yet I refuse to accept it. I fully realize that a subtler approach and a smarter strategy can be used when facing tough competition — but that’s not my way — I am the embodiment of supremacy, and that’s the only way I know how to win.

In other words, if I could think of a better strategy, I’d use it — duh. But for some reason, I’m provided with the perspective that I’m a thirty-foot tall demi-god with absolute knowledge and the ability to manifest my will unto the world. Perhaps I’m a tragic character like Sisyphus, forever cursed to lose despite my grandiose expectations. So what can I do about this predicament?

Well, why are you thinking in terms of competition? That’s a finicky concept that isn’t easily achieved. For starters, if one side is clearly dominant, there’s no actual contest taking place — the outcome is certain. So right off the bat, it’s clear that you want no part in an actual contest, you simply want a demonstration of strength — a charade.

And second, who says there’s even any competitions taking place? For example, it’s like seeing a man walking down the sidewalk, and you go up beside him and start walking faster until you “beat him” to the end of the block. There was no contest, you just superimposed one over a regularly occurring event.

So get the idea of “competition” out of your head, it’s dumb. It’s the same nonsense as thinking you’re a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a harsh and brutal landscape with nothing but your vigilance and skill keeping you alive. IF life had actual competitive aspects, there’s no question you’d have lost already — experienced players would camp-the-spawn and blow you to bits.

Competition in any form is an untenable situation unless there are lots of rigorously maintained rules. But that means competition has to be so regulated, that there’s barely a contest anymore. Competition is more of a choreographed dance than anything. Repeat after me: You’re not competing against anyone for anything.

What you seem to be struggling against isn’t other people or the world itself, you’re struggling with your strange ideas about others and the world you’re in. You’ve come in ready for a fight, but there’s no fight to be had. Oops, wrong place. But now that you’re here, let me show you around…

This is Earth, it’s a safe-space. Your food, shelter, activities, transportation, and companionship are all taken care of. You most certainly don’t have the ability to exist as an actual physical being in a natural world. You’re essentially experiencing the sensation of what it’s like to be an embodied being in a pseudo-physical world.

There’s no pressure here, no “survival of the fittest” — stop trying to scare yourself. Relax. Think of this not as a first-person-shooter, but as a creative realm in which you build things with whatever resources seem fitting to you. None of it matters of course, it’s more like building sandcastles that wash away when the tide comes in. You can build relationships, crafts, art or literary projects, culinary delights, businesses, technological creations, collections of stuff, libraries of knowledge, ways of thinking — there’s so much to do.

But you… you want to fight stuff? You want to struggle against some imaginary opponent? And so you setup scenarios where you’re on the losing end and thus validate your sense of struggle. In your mind, you’re the inexperienced upstart that needs to push through in order finally defeat a more experienced opponent on the field of battle. Oh, bravo… bravo….

Yet your enemy is a windmill. You’re Don Quixote fighting imagined dragons. Sorry, but the only fight you need to win is the one against your strange and outlandish thoughts. You’re projecting sinister visions onto an innocent world. The reason you never win is because there’s no race!! There’s no challengers, no finish-line, no trophy — yet you keep running as though you’ll eventually cross into a winner’s circle.

Take a breath and realize the truth of this situation. The world can’t be the way you believe it to be. The reason things don’t work out for you is because you’re completely wrong about how things work. It’s NOT because you’re “losing” and need to “train harder” and “overcome” a whole bunch of “obstacles”. You’ve come for a battle and you’re trying to force one wherever you can. Instead of that nonsense, simply accept the world as it is.

Stop looking for a fight — although as we already established, you’re actually looking to put on a display of strength solely to evoke feelings of supremacy — a silly game of pretend. But it’s not working because it’s dumb and goes against what’s already established here: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” It’s done, they won, now have fun.

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Compelling Purpose

If you’re spending a significant portion of your time simply reconciling with life, perhaps you’re barking up the wrong tree? In other words, maybe you’re out-of-step with life because you’re trying to do the wrong thing — like a dog jumping from tree branches trying to be a bird instead of chasing, biting, and barking.

Of course, that puts you right into the “finding your purpose” dilemma. But perhaps that’s the problem — maybe you really have to take that step more seriously?

The thing about that though, is that I see so many people compelled into a certain path by internal or external forces — they have no choice, they’re simply directed down a path and they readily follow it. I’ve been around for several decades already and I’m not sensing any push one way or another.

And the inklings I do get, just kinda fizzle-out over time. For instance, when I was a teen I was an avid weight-lifter, so much so that I went to college and studied Exercise Science. But as it turned out, I stopped growing taller and could only get mildly muscular — in other words, I wasn’t going to look like a heavyweight pro-bodybuilder. I wanted to be big and strong but it seemed like genetics wouldn’t let me.

I guess I picked the wrong path on that one. Oops. Okay so then I got into computers. I even started programming and went into software development. But oh boy, was that a struggle all throughout. I quit that stuff several times for various reasons. I go back once in awhile but eventually I get so frustrated over something that I quit again. It seems like another dead-end.

After all that, I started writing — it’s been about seven years of tippity-typing away and posting entries on this blog. But it never manifested into a career, not even close. Can you imagine doing something for seven years with ZERO return on investment? No money, no praise, no nothing — I just write for the heck of it. And whenever I try to quit, I come right back to it. Oh. Hm, so I guess I am compelled to write. My bad.

Well there you go, I suppose internal and external forces are actually forcing me down a particular path. Huh, well go figure. No offense though, but this blog is just a collection of thoughts that no one but me cares about. Shouldn’t writing be a career in which I make significant amounts of money and receive lots of praise? Something that makes my family proud to be related to me and a means for me to shower them with lavish gifts?

Yes that’s right, now having realized my purpose, I’m going to complain about it! I enjoy writing too. I like sitting in my office, occasionally glancing out the window while typing on my Apple keyboard as it wirelessly transmits characters onto my iPad. I have no complaints about the writing process — and I always feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day when I press “Publish”. But why so sparse when it comes to external gratification?

You’ve forced me down a path that I’m okay with — got it, that’s fine. But I’m still on the outside looking in — I’m not integrated into the career aspect of life. And that lack-of-career thing has been vexing me my entire life. “So what do you do, Rich?” Uhh…. But whatever, I guess I’ll keep writing and posting since that’s what I’m compelled to do. But just know that my shopping-budget is severely limited and I don’t appreciate it!

I’m sick of getting my friend “virtual presents” in which I pick out something nice, and send her a picture of it. Yes this post is actually about Mother’s Day, which is today. I have to sit there as she prepares breakfast-as-usual with no significant gift to brighten her day. Pitiful. At the very least I had wanted to get her some potted Gardena flowers and a latest generation iPad-mini — but nooo… she just gets a picture and an idiot for a husband. Psh.

At least she had a nice walk around town with her son. They also went over to buy some local honey at the farmer’s market. And like usual, she found what she was looking for — her ability to manifest the mundane is uncanny. Well that’s all for now dear diary, thanks for listening as usual. Signing-off… Rich.

Repetitious Fulfillment

If you analyze life, you’ll be struck by the mundane repetition involved.

“So I just do the same thing, over and over and over again?”
“Yes, that’s right. But don’t worry, an inherent forgetfulness will make things seem fresher than they are.”

Take cooking for instance. Chop. Chop again. Chop some more. Chop, chop, chop!! Just constant chopping day after day and that’s only ONE repetitive aspect of cooking — there are many. As you analyze anything, repetition appears everywhere.

That’s life. You shouldn’t attempt to run from it, or shortcut it — but embrace it. As an aficionado of efficiency, all that repetition feels wrong to me. Yet in my own life, I’m seeing that I’ve been repetitively writing about enlightenment for seven years here.

The SAME stuff over and over too. How very inefficient. I even chastise myself for it: “Write it ONCE!!” But why? Why not write it a thousand times — some times in a subtly altered way, other times in a drastically different way. But essentially the same.

I’ve already written about repetition too!! I know I have. I just can’t remember the details. And so it goes, I’ll write a “fresh” entry in regards to repetition today. So the question becomes: do I ever get any closer to a goal?

Maybe not. Does a cook ever create a meal to end all meals? No. Despite the herculean effort involved, the cook gets right back to work the next day in order to satisfy an insatiable appetite for more food.

So by walking the path to enlightenment, do I ever get even one step closer? Maybe not. Perhaps I’ll remain perpetually dissatisfied, forever heading toward the distant light. But what’s so wrong with that?

An empty stomach is so satisfying to fill, isn’t it? Yet it’s only temporary and begins again the very next day. In a similar way, an unenlightened mind is satisfying to illuminate, isn’t it? Yet it’s only temporary and begins again the very next day.

By the power of repetition and forgetfulness, you’re provided the opportunity to relive the greatest aspects of life on a regular basis! And you actually scorn this predicament!? A foolish perspective indeed.

Don’t forget that the most efficient way to live life is to go straight to death. And a permanently satisfied stomach would be a curse, not a blessing. So don’t seek to live efficiently, but seek to savor the repetition, soaking in the same delights again and again.

Intermittent Insight

If I look back at the posts in this blog, I can easily see that I repeat the same ideas over and over and over again. That’s a testament to the fact that we’re not able to retain the things we learn. Any realizations are quickly overwritten by incoming thoughts. I come to the same conclusions every few weeks it seems, and it feels like a new revelation each time. Oftentimes I’ll read past-entries in this blog and think: “Wow! How enlightening! I get it now!”

I’ve yet to find an effective way of maintaining these ideas in the forefront of my thoughts. For example, if you keep seeing the same thing again and again, eventually it becomes part of the scenery — lost to the background. Although nowadays, it probably takes me less time and effort to arrive at the same conclusions — so at least some progress seems to be happening. But progress to where? The realization that life is a friendly place, and that my unfocused thoughts are the cause of my dissatisfaction?

That seems like an odd destination, yet it’s one I’ve been traveling to for half a lifetime. As an illustration, it’s like I’ve been thrown into a dark and creepy room filled with psychotic people grabbing at me while I’m blinded by flashing lights and overwhelmed by strange sounds — but it turns out, I’m simply at a dance-party in which everyone is kindly trying to include me in their fun. From that perspective, I can grasp that my misunderstanding and my bad attitude are the underlying cause of my discomfort.

But as pessimistic thoughts pour in, I can’t simply retain the realization that life is a party. The intensity of existence is just too high and I frequently fall back into a state of dissatisfaction. And at least for my abilities, the difficulty level seems a bit too high. The endeavors I attempt all seem to go nowhere despite the time and effort I invest. In other words, everyday is day one. Like in the movie Groundhog Day, I seem destined to relive the exact same problems over and over and over again.

Speaking of that movie, this is an excerpt from my analysis of it:

When Phil clung to the legacy of his past, he tried to use people for short-term gain — ultimately leading to boredom when there was nothing left to attain. And when he was feeling trapped by a futureless path, Phil couldn’t enjoy the physical world anymore and eventually sunk into suicidal despair.

But by shedding the past and future, focusing only on the instant he was experiencing, Phil was able to find the fun. Despite constant repetition and guaranteed predictability, Phil extracted enjoyment from wherever he could. Within infinity, I don’t believe constant improvement is the point — the point was to develop a means to enjoy the moment.

And once he was able to appreciate the present, there was nothing holding back happiness. Even if he had sat in a park feeding pigeons, I think his loop would’ve ended — it was more about the mindset rather than good-deeds. Because again, within eternity, self-improvement and knocking-off the rough-edges can only go-on for so long until you become a polished sphere.

End of excerpt.

So like Phil, it seems like I’m also required to go through incremental improvement at an uncomfortably slow pace. When I was younger and heard about the concept of enlightenment, I always envisioned an instantaneous flash of infinite insight. But perhaps it’s more of a gradual polishing. Day after day, we rub a bit of the roughness away, eventually producing a shinier surface from which light can reflect. Why so slow? Why not — where else do you have to be?

Thoughtful Existence

If life is a simulation, thoughts are the controls — and those controls are difficult to master. Therefore, you have two options: practice mastering the controls OR get comfortable with crashing.

One of the toughest aspects of “thought” is the constant stream — you’re not given time to get a handle on things. New thoughts wipe-out old ones in an instant, and you forget everything you realized moments earlier.

The challenge we face here on Earth is NOT physical survival. If you could give that concept even a moment’s analysis, you’d see how obvious it is. Our challenge therefore, is becoming proficient with the controls.

Imagine you’re walking through an empty field. And whatever you think magically manifests right before your eyes. You begin to get paranoid and start thinking about wolves. Suddenly a wolf-pack appears and chases after you. You think of safety, and a building appears. You run in and lock the door. You imagine hunger and your stomach immediately rumbles. If only you had food. You turn and see food sitting on a table.

In the previous scenario, you can notice how severely responsive (and thus unwieldy) such controls can be. Yikes. Now imagine there are competing thoughts as well as delays mixed in — how the heck are those conditions going to factor into the output? So perhaps you can appreciate how hard it is to operate the thought-based control mechanism.

Why have such a difficult-to-control mechanism in the first place? Well, if you’re a bodiless being, what else is there but pure thought? You’re formlessness given form, there’s no other option but to think your way through, there’s no hand-held controllers when you lack hands.

And the constant stream of thought is most likely the mechanism that provides continuity. You’re being hit with a barrage of story elements to process — otherwise you’d be sitting in blank-space trying to manually come up with the next scene. Instead, scenes and scenarios and all sorts of ideas are just thrown in your face — creating a somewhat consistent narrative to captivate your attention.

So here’s where we’re at: you’re a bodiless being with an awareness. That awareness is subjected to a constant stream of thought that takes you on a wild ride through the fun-house. You do have an ability to focus your attention and alter your perception of what you’re experiencing — but that takes awareness and practice. What makes it even harder, is that you have little ability to retain things once you figure them out — new thoughts just keep coming, wiping out whatever you attempt to retain.

You have two ways by which you can improve your experience. Buckle-down and practice refining your focus. In short, you’d maintain focus on the things you do like, while removing your attention from things you don’t like. Or, you could adopt an attitude of pure acceptance, appreciating everything that comes your way — in short, fighting against your sense of revulsion and attempting to love everything. Or perhaps a bit of both? The approach you take might come down to personal preference. Good luck!

Everyday Ideal

If the world is a simulation, why isn’t everyday ideal?

Some common arguments:

Appreciation argument. “If everyday was awesome, you wouldn’t appreciate it! Duh!” This is a flawed argument because we enjoy meals EVERYDAY. Some people even eat the exact same thing for breakfast every morning and STILL appreciate it. Not to mention that we often keep the same people in our lives for DECADES and still love and appreciate them even though we see them EVERYDAY. Plus, people have an inherent forgetfulness anyway — once we forget, it’s new again!

Boring argument. “It’d get boring to do the the same awesome stuff over and over again!” Uh, not really. We often love routines and hobbies as well as revisiting stuff we’ve forgotten about. And again, not only do we eat food everyday, but often multiple times throughout the day — and we’re not bored of eating yet.

Higher-highs argument. “By having lows, it makes our highs even higher!” Oftentimes when people are sick they say “I’ll appreciate my health as soon as I’m better!!” — yet when we get better, we go right back to the daily grind, forgetting our vow of appreciation. In other words, we forget too quickly to even remember the lows.

Outside influence argument. “If it wasn’t for other people, my life would be perfect! Other people ruin life!” If you already believe that the world is a simulation or a dream, then this argument isn’t true because we create our own reality. The interactions we have with others are directly based on our thoughts and intentions.

Teaching lessons argument. “I’m put through difficult experiences in order to learn lessons.” What lesson is learned from Pac-Man? Game playing is typically about having fun — and the things we learn in video-games aren’t usually applicable to human-life because the universes are completely different. So if there’s a place beyond this universe, who’s to say the lessons are transferable? Plus, if players have been playing round after round for thousands of games, then what’s there to learn? And again, if it wasn’t for our forgetfulness, we would learn lessons VERY quickly — yet as it is, we repeat the same mistakes throughout the SAME life.

Some less common arguments:

Lack of mental discipline. “My wandering mind is so turbulent and unfocused that I create a chaotic life for myself.” This is an interesting argument — and there are those that’ve had life-altering epiphanies that subsequently experience a very blissful existence afterwards. So when the mind is calmed and aligned with life, things really do improve.

Lack-mindedness. “I can’t have that!! That’s impossible! This is a world in which I have limited abilities and limited access to resources!” Another interesting argument. I’ve seen a few interviews with formerly successful people that couldn’t handle it, they essentially gave up and toppled from their top-spot. And of course I’ve heard many unsuccessful people putting hard limits on themselves. There does seem to be a correlation here.

Guilt/shame. “I’m imperfect. I’ve done too many wrong things. I’ve hurt someone. I’m an embarrassment. I don’t deserve happiness or success.” Again, I’ve seen enough interviews with regular-folks on talk-shows where this seems to ring-true. Some people truly seem to be punishing themselves for certain sins they feel they committed — and they refuse to allow themselves any bit of happiness or success.

Masochism. “I want to experience pain. I want to suffer. I want to struggle. I want real challenge and a whole lotta discomfort!” I’ve seen plenty of interviews with people reflecting on their struggle through life — whatever they do, they’re struggling. But of course, I’ve seen plenty of other people that aren’t struggling — they’re casually sauntering through life. This means that struggle is NOT an inherent factor of existence — it seems more like a preference. Some people want a raw and gritty challenge whereas some don’t.

The world is inherently cruel. “Bad things happen because this world is mean.” This can’t be true because there are too many counter-examples of people having great lives. The underlying factor of success more likely lies with the individual player rather than the world itself. Plus, a game isn’t “cruel” if it’s performing its purpose: fulfilling the wants and wishes of the player. If the player asks for pain and receives pain, is it the game that’s cruel or is the player simply a masochist?

The world is inherently hard. “Difficult things happen because the world is designed to be hard.” This might be true. Let’s face it, some games are hard to play. It’s possible that the gameplay of Earth is so difficult that it’s easy to perform poorly and get overwhelmed and ultimately frustrated.

Conclusions:

So to answer the question: If the world is a simulation, why isn’t everyday ideal? The answer seems to be: your thoughts are the controls, and you suck at controlling the mind. If you want an ideal day, your mind has to be focused on the ideal — not wandering this way and that.

Imagine a remote-controlled airplane: if you keep jerking the controls all over the place or you’re not paying attention — if you’re not keeping it steady, you’re gonna crash — whereas if you make appropriate adjustments and keep the plane stable, it’s going to be a smooth flight.

“BUT, why do some people receive epiphanies that essentially make their minds easy to control?” The few people I’ve seen interviewed that’ve had this happen, had complete breakdowns prior to their “enlightenment”. In other words, they gave up, and this was the drastic step necessary for them to continue.

Whereas with near-enlightened people, people that got good at mental discipline through years of practice — it seems like they still work at controlling their thoughts. In other words, it never ends: the train can still fly off the rails if you don’t keep a steady hand on the controls. It gets easier to control with practice, but vigilance is forever necessary.

Focus is on manual-control — that’s the free-will we’re provided. If you fail to focus, you’ll crash. If you find that type of chaos fun, then great, there’s nothing left to do but enjoy the wild ride. But if you don’t like it, you’ll need to work on your focus. Apparently, the manual-focus is a primary component of existence — at the very least it allows you to feel fully immersed. But if you completely give up, auto-pilot WILL kick in and you’ll be able to continue life — but with a less than organic feel to it.

I think we can say with some certainty that life IS hard — it’s truly difficult to maintain a steady course. All games have a particular level of difficulty and Earth is no different. The thoughts constitute a bucking bronco, a beast that’s near-impossible to contain. Can you do it? Are you up to the challenge? If you’re able to rein-in the turbulent mind or even just go with its flow, a great and satisfying life does seem possible.

Idyllic Imaginings

In an ideal world, what would a typical day be like for you?

I’d wake up well-rested and energized for the upcoming day. My body would feel great, ready to perform. There’d be love in my heart for how much I appreciate the world and everything in it. I’d enjoy my shower and the sensation of rushing water on my skin. And after dressing, I’d admire the outfit I donned today.

As I head over to breakfast, “Good morning!!” would be heard all around as I enter the room. I’d eat a small but delicious meal while chatting with my adoring and adorable family. When it was time to go, we’d walk as a family to school, laughing all the way. Then I’d continue the walk with my wonderful wife, soaking in the delightful morning.

I’d stroll the town with perfect posture and a refined gait while under the shade of trees, as birds tweeted sweetly overhead. Once home, I’d sit in my office working on something significant. I’d write words so profound that I’d vibrate with excitement. And when I press “Publish”, the words would also overwhelm an admiring audience. “Life changing!! Astonishing!!” is what they’d say.

After that bit of work, I’d take some time to envision and reflect and meditate. During that time, I’d experience an enlightening moment in which I’d feel as if the secrets of the universe revealed themselves to me in an instant. Every breath in meditation would feel as genteel pleasure while air flowed through me, a vessel of pure and holy light.

Now time for my large meal of the day. A decadent spread of a particular theme chosen by my wife. She loves to cook and her love is forever the secret ingredient. Will it be South American fare today? Perhaps the flavors of Africa!? Whatever it is, it’s a delicious delight that fills the belly and satisfies the soul.

After such a gastronomical event, I relax with a movie. I browse the selection and easily find a suitable masterpiece — the characters are interesting, the plot intriguing and ultimately uplifting. Following that, I spend some time with my son who regales me with the wonderful day he had at school before we work on a fun project together.

Not long before bed, I browse the Internet and watch many various videos that inform and entertain. I witness the burgeoning technology that will soon usher us into a technological wonderland. I watch the flying contraptions, the autonomous vehicles, and the robotic dogs. I grasp that the future-is-now and how casual space-travel is becoming science-fact.

As it’s time for bed, I lay my head down and drift-off effortlessly to sleep. I sleep the entire night through while having the most fantastical dreams that never fail to amuse. At times I feel myself flying like a bird as I travel to far-off and distant worlds, experiencing another life within each and every dream.

So my question is this: if the world is a simulation, why isn’t everyday like that?