Gaming Life

So, today Mr. Long told us in class that we should game the system and try to spread our blog posts as far as possible. He then very hastily followed up with a statement on how this project is not at all a game, but rather something sincere and real. His temporary slip, yes, maybe it was just a tangential thought, but it seemed more like a slip to me, however reminded me of life’s similarity to a game. And I don’t mean in a John Conway “Game of Life” way. We originally modeled our games after life itself. Most ancient games were used to teach both children and Adults quick thinking and improvisation in Battle, chess being the most prominent example. But by now games have evolved into something different. Our games now go beyond what is humanly possible, and while they still have some value if seen as a test of reaction speed or intellect, oftentimes they are played for the wrong reasons.

So why should we not look at life as a game. Please note that I will try to avoid another Cartesian argument about whether this is actually some highly advanced game, simply because after some time even those start to get old, and we have heard every single variation on them. So if we look at life as a game, are we loosing some sincerity in our actions, is some of the weight of our actions removed? I don’t think so. In chess an error is often fatal for ones game, but after the game all that may be hurt is your ego. In life if you make a mistake, it can oftentimes have long ranging repercussions.

So why should we look at life as a game if it changes nothing and all our actions are weighted the same as before?

Let me explain it, once more, using chess. Rarely do you see a good game being won without sacrifice. One of the most famous games ever, Anderssen’s Immortal game, leads to Anderssen sacrificing two rooks, a bishop and his queen to end up winning. So if we look at life as a game, maybe we can accomplish some removal from our actions. By seeing things from a game, a third person perspective, we are able to better analyze options and actions. I do not encourage sacrifices without thought, but I do think that we need more objectivity in a lot of events. Sometimes making a compromise is better than pushing through. With more rationale, more game-like attitudes there would be less hate and envy. Hate simply distracts from what is really important and envy is unnecessary if you are working on your own progress.

By taking life as a game, as one big fall down a rabbit hole, we are able to make better decisions based off a bigger perspective. If we resist our impulses, oftentimes we can achieve more over the long run. But we are also quicker to decide if we see it as a game, because we are bound to look at it within the terms of the game and recognizing that while sometimes a single moment can ruin a plan completely, oftentimes these moments, while embarrassing, have no impact after all.

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