Premise of Pretend

You are fully within your abilities to reject this world and everything in it. You’ll suffer obviously, but it’s possible. So your job, is to simply accept this scenario as valid. Accept the simulation as actually happening. Buy into the premise it presents and have fun. Don’t overdue it though, don’t over-invest and act all crazy and super-serious.

Think of it this way. You’re a child meeting up with your friend and she starts pretending to be Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. She keeps calling you Bubblebee and telling you that you have to defeat Megatron and his evil Decepticons. But you’re like, “Huh!?” And she’s like “Come on Bubblebee!”. And you’re like, “I don’t want to play this, it’s dumb.” She’s obviously disappointed at your choice and you both sit there bored for the rest of the afternoon.

You could’ve just accepted her premise and played along, eventually having fun with the game-of-pretend. But no, you had to be a wet-blanket and ruin her good-time as well as your own. Great job, sport.

Or scenario two: you DO accept her premise but take it too far. You’re like, “Holy sh*t, Optimus!!! The Decepticons are everwhere!! They’re going to destroy us!!” And she’s like, “Whoa calm down dude, it’s just a game.” But you’re like, “A GAME?!! We’re about to die!!! Take cover!! Hide!!”.

You could’ve accepted her premise a bit more lightheartedly, and got into a groove that generated some entertainment for you both. But no, you had to turn the dial up to eleven and ruin everyone’s fun again. Great job, buckaroo.

So here’s the deal: yes you’re in a simulation that’s essentially one giant game of pretend. And just like a game of pretend, you have the ability to delve into your character — or not. It’s obviously in your best interest to get into character, or else you’ll be bored-to-tears while waiting for the game to end. But don’t take it too seriously either, it’s a game after-all, don’t freak out when you’re presented with surprising scenarios.

And remember this: just like any other game of pretend, you’re free to add your own ideas into it. You don’t have to live with the scenarios you’re initially presented with. You can morph them into scenes that suit your tastes. So if you’re not enjoying yourself, there are two things you need to check: how invested you are in the game (too much or not enough) — and whether you’re focusing on the parts you personally enjoy. Plus, helping playmates have a good time is a great way to pass the time too.

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Lighten Up

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

Lest you think this is a new or unique problem, far from it. It’s been a central theme of existence since the beginning. The message of Jesus is basically this: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” i.e. “Give-up your bad-attitude because paradise is right here and now, enjoy it!” If you read the book of Matthew, you’ll see a guy that’s increasingly frustrated by the negativity and stubbornness surrounding him. So much so, that he eventually rage-quits the game in the form of suicide-by-cop.

The take-away from the plight of Jesus should be this: Don’t be a passionate pessimist like those that surrounded him — the world God created isn’t a shit-hole that’s made to frighten inhabitants. It’s a wonderland meant to be enjoyed. And you’re being a total dick by constantly criticizing it and not even trying to have fun. Those people took life way too seriously, and Jesus essentially told them to lighten up — now, we can do what they refused to do, we can choose to lighten up.

Jesus simply walked up to the sick and said: “Hey, cut it out. Stop already, you’re going to be okay. Existence is a great experience that you should be celebrating, not lamenting.” And you know what? Those people that could only imagine their bodies as sources of pain-and-suffering wised-up and went along their merry way. But so few listened, they were so sure of themselves and their pessimistic perspective: “Life sucks, and then you die!”

It’s such a simple message too: lighten up. Stop interpreting everything in such a dark and dire way. What divine being would create a nightmare-world designed to torture inhabitants? Spoiler Alert: None, because that’d be dumb. Yet for whatever reason, inhabitants insist on imagining the worst. And being that God is giving, those inhabitants always find what they seek. But what a mockery we make of our wondrous world if that’s what we ask for. So lighten up for Christ’s sake!

Achieving Mastery

Early on, we struggle and strain against ourselves. But at some point we must recognize the self-imposed constraints holding us back. While these restraints make for an interesting narrative while anticipation builds, we must eventually accept our role and inherent abilities. We must shed the shackles and display our mastery.

And once removed, there’s an unattached effortlessness to our actions. Relentless exertion no longer captivates our consciousness. We must therefore look outward, sharing our mastery with the world. Instead of daily practice towards perfection, we simply perform for the sake of others.

Instead of believing in the difficulty of our tasks, we engage lightheartedly, we let go, allowing parts to glide into place. We trust in our talent, we trust in others, we trust in circumstances, and we trust in the goodness of every outcome. Trust allows our mind to remain unfettered, without worry, free to act in accordance with mastery.

Mastery happens when we synchronize with our surroundings — everything becomes easy. No longer treading against the current, we ride atop, rudder in hand, deftly navigating the flow. And realize, the effort underlying mastery is not directed towards the skill itself, but towards the attainment of unequivocal trust in our ability to perform — and ultimately, trust in the goodness of life.

Formalities of Life

I’m not a fan of the formal layer of life. I don’t like hierarchies or titles. I don’t like identifying people by professions or positions. I feel silly interacting with people when they’re acting out a role, it’s artificial, and I’m not skilled at playing along. And I find it odd to see woven material and other accoutrements used as symbols of status.

I’d personally like to see this layer of pretend stripped away. But I’m guessing others must love it, as it’s so prevalent and so many seem to be going along with it. For them, I suppose it makes life more orderly, perhaps easier to deal with, or maybe more entertaining. To me it just seems juvenile. I think the world would get along fine without formalized roles.

If others want to play dress-up I suppose that’s their right, but I don’t think everyone should be forced to honor their games. I don’t like being relegated to a particular role and I don’t like confining others to such limiting definitions. I think a human-being should be a human-being, that’s it, nothing more and nothing less.

I think it’s time we moved on from the game of treating others in particular ways because of contrived protocols. We’re all human-beings and every single one of us should be afforded the full capacity of decency and respect that we apply to any other. Those wishing to play odd little games can do so in a room somewhere, leaving me and anyone who so chooses out of it.

Acceptable Challenge

While it’s obvious that life sends us periodic challenges and stressors, it’s not so clear whether we can influence the types of challenges sent. In case life takes requests, I’d like to list the challenges I find acceptable and those I find unacceptable.

Acceptable:
Too many appealing choices to deal with
e.g. too many great shows to watch,
difficulty deciding on the perfect gift,
too many delicious dishes to select from,
too many fantastic toy/tool options.

The challenges associated with:
Reaching personal exercise goals.
Winning games.
Craft/art expression.
Procuring the most authentic foods.
Fixing minor issues.
Developing solutions for theoretical problems.
Understanding difficult theoretical concepts.
Deciding how best to allocate abundant funds i.e. budgeting.

Unacceptable:
Anything related to:
The legal realm or government or bureaucracy.
The medical realm or health.
Loss.
Physical violence.
Travel or transport.
Obtaining food or shelter or financial resources.
Scheduling or billing.
Weather and natural disasters.

Dear life, please be advised that these lists are not necessarily all inclusive but should at least represent a general direction of preferred stressors — also, these items should be adhered to in the spirit in which they are intended. If any unacceptable stressors are in the works, please see that they are cancelled. Thank you for your consideration in these matters.