~ Life as a Game ~
Did you ever hear the theory that we are living in a giant computer simulation? That the universe is merely lines of code written by a higher technological body? That we are essentially living in the matrix? Enough scientists and physicists believe it could be a possibility that it’s actually a relatively respected theory. Hell, even that Elon Musk guy believes in it. I often think what would happen to our society if we eventually found out we were all living in a giant computer simulation. I mean, everything in society seemingly operated on the notion that this thing called existence was all very serious and that we must work and strive and chase success and find our way into whatever heaven it is that we were supposed to believe in. But for it to be revealed it was all nothing more than a computer simulation? Nothing more than a game without a serious purpose? Now what a glorious sight that would have been to behold. I imagined the great existential crisis speaking across the earth as the churches crumbled, economic systems collapsed and people who had taken the game of life too seriously were eventually driven to either ecstasy or suicide after finding out that none of it really mattered. I imagined the look on the faces of the likes of Trump, Putin and Piers Morgan as their ego collapsed inward on itself.
Me? Personally, I would have welcomed the discovery with open arms. I already liked to treat life as a game anyway. It was a philosophy that gave me some sort of carefree joy and one which I believed had solid grounds. I mean, when one looked at the laws of physics it was clear that the universe was essentially a singular energy system just dancing in the present moment without a clear end goal in mind. One only had to watch the waves crash repeatedly on a shoreline, or the leaves dance in the wind, or the clouds drift across the sky, or the dog chase a stick for no other purpose than for it to be thrown again. These weren’t trivial things; these were the little secrets that reality was merely a rhythmic dance of energy just flowing and changing shape for no apparent purpose or reason. Watch the change of the seasons: the leaves blossoming and falling; the flowers blooming and decaying; the stars shimmering like fireworks before they died and dissipated into nothingness. This was the reality of existence in a nutshell – a transient playing of energy which certainly shouldn’t be taken seriously to any considerable degree. Something more closely related to a game to be played, rather than some sort of battle to be won.
So let’s say just for fun that tomorrow physicists managed to conclusively prove the universe was a virtual simulation and that nothing really mattered in the traditional way we thought of it. My theory is that initially the world would lose its mind. Jobs would be quit, shops would be looted, suicides would be committed. We’d enter into an age of anarchy as a great existential crisis swept over humanity which lasted a few years. Eventually after that initial crisis was over, people would calm down and look at their situation with new eyes. With a collective sigh of relief that life was just some sort of virtual experiment, the world would return to a peaceful and loving one, everyone united under the banner of just enjoying the game while we had a chance to play it. We could nurture our environment, be kind to one another – spend our time pursuing our passions and creating art. Knowing that we were all just here for a bit of fun, we could put our trivial differences aside and make sure we enjoyed everything for the momentary game it is, rather than the job it most certainly is not.
Of course, this sort of thing has been suggested in some way before, most notably by the hippy movement or by certain Eastern philosophies which described existence more as a state of play rather than something to be taken seriously. Hinduism in particular suggested we were all the drama of the godhead, letting itself go and play all these different beings and environments just for the fun of it. There was no point to it other than seeing how far out everything could go. It was a nice thought which alleviated many common worries and stresses, and it was no surprise to me that many western people who had gone through a crisis arrived at the doorstep of such a way of thinking.
Although many people stood to benefit off this type of life philosophy, there was however a certain class of people who wouldn’t benefit from people treating life as a bit of fun. Let’s just imagine that there were people who knew the universe was a computer simulation system, but didn’t want others to find out because it would make them lose their power over others. These guardians of the game would be the bosses, the politicians, the media rulers and religious leaders. These were the people who needed others to think life was serious so they would keep anxiously toiling away in those cubicles; so they would keep donating to their churches and worshipping their gods; so they would fear for the future and buy more insurance; so they would bow down to trends and fashions because they cared what other people thought of them; so they would not go out and live their one life but compete against each other in some trivial rat race. Yes, there were many people who had a lot of power and wealth due to people taking life too seriously, and it made sense why some of them would not want people to have this state of mind. Conversely, there were also the ones out there who tried to remind you that it was all just a bit of fun and just to enjoy life as it is. These people were the artists, the musicians, the philosophers, the shamans, the jokers, the jesters. Like the prophetic Comedian Bill Hicks once said:
“Some people have remembered (that life is just a ride) and they come back to us, and say: “Hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” … and we… kill those people. “Shut him up. Shut him up. We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride…”
Hick’s speech was a piece of philosophy which stuck in my adolescent head along with many others of a similar ilk. There once was a time where I was experiencing a dark period of depression. For a long time I had suffered with the ego and the thoughts that I was failing at life and not living up to the things expected of me. Because I was still attached to taking life seriously at a fundamental level, I suffered greatly within my own psyche. But when words such as the ones from Bill entered my head, as well certain Zen philosophies from the likes of Alan Watts, I was able to let go and finally relax and just enjoy life just purely for what it was. Consequently, my depression and anxiety subsided and suddenly life became a hell of a lot more fun. This realisation of letting go from taking life seriously naturally made me think why so many had been conned into something that was tearing and twisting themselves apart. How hadn’t they also arrived at the same realisation after a few decades of running around on the hamster wheel of human existence? How hadn’t they also let go and allowed themselves to have a bit of fun? No one is getting out of here alive as they say, so ‘why so serious?’ as a certain comic-book villain once wisely said.
Now, you may think that these are just the manic musings of an existential millennial, but seriously, if you go out there and face that world tomorrow with the idea that you are merely in a game, see how different your life will become for the better. See the transient beauty of the decaying leaf, the clouds forming and dissolving in those enveloping skies, the stars shimmering high up beyond the ether before they implode on themselves. Become detached from trivial and frivolous worries that don’t deserve to occupy the space in your head. Stop wasting time doing things you feel you have to do because it’s expected of you. Imagine that all of this universe is merely a momentary playing of energy with no serious end goal or purpose. Be mindful of that fact and watch the stress and the anxiety disappear slowly; watch the trivial bickering suddenly appear meaningless; watch the world appear as mysterious and magical as it first did when you were a wide-eyed child; watch the game begin to play out more vividly and beautifully than ever before.
As some pretty famous writer once said: “all the world’s a stage, and the men and women merely players.”
Now go out there and enjoy it while you can.