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How do we play the Game of Life?

Posted on 01 March 2014, 15:52

I don’t usually post other people’s blogs here, but Michael Prescott’s article, “Commitment to the game,” (below) resonated with me more than usual.

I do indeed think our physical life is a game; it’s our game. We can get immersed in it, not realising it’s a game, (I’ve done that), and we can sit back and observe. (I’ve done that too). These days, if I contemplate which way i’m leaning, it’s probably to the latter, because the hunger for material stuff I once had, and the emotional judgments I used to make, have diminished since I accepted it’s all a game.

With increased computing power, we will soon be able (if not already) to participate in a computer game where we will find it difficult to differentiate between the game and our physical reality. To me, the computer game - the football match; they are all games within the game, and now i’ve come to terms with that, I can’t get so excited about them as I once did. But the flip side is, the game called LIFE has become much more exciting, because every move - every thought, contributes to the overall score.

Our emotions suck us into to the game. Fight or flight, love and hate, all contribute, and make the game more interesting, but if we don’t learn, we might find later that we haven’t played the game well.

Imagine you are playing a computer game and there are 10 levels. You start at level 1, and having completed it, you get to the next level, even though you are unaware of what’s there. You navigate through level 2, hoping you will make it to level 3, and so on.

If you were unaware there were 10 levels and only aware of level 1, you would probably play the game differently. For instance, let’s assume the object is to save as many people as possible but every time you kill someone, even if you might save someone or some people as a result, you lose some points.  If you were unaware of levels 2 -10, you might use up all your points by the time you get to the end of level 1 because you killed people, even though you saved people along the way, and as a result, you cannot proceed to level 2; at least not in this game.

Unfortunately or fortunately, we don’t know the rules of the game called LIFE, so we all play it a bit differently.  The materialist doesn’t think level 2-10 exists, so he or she might use up all their points by the time they get to end of level 1, and having discovered there is a level 2 (the astral), they might find they’ve played the game badly and have a lot of work to do to get through level 2, which might even involve starting a new game (reincarnation) and going back to square one.

The ascetic or the mystic, knowing it’s a game, might renounce all worldly goods and emotions, not wishing to take part, but then why are they here? They might get to the end of level 1 and find due to their inactivity, they haven’t accumulated enough of whatever it is they need to progress through level 2 either.

The question is, what are the rules of the game, and what is the object of it?

The object of the game has to be to learn from it, and never forget it is just that - a game. But what are we supposed to learn?

Could it be that, just as we have evolved physically, the bigger game is for us to evolve spiritually, from lower animal, to higher spiritual being, so-to-speak, and the game called LIFE helps us do that?

So the question for all of us, must surely be, what’s the best way to play the game?

Commitment to the game by Michael Prescott.

In an earlier post I mentioned Roger Ebert’s epiphany, during his last days, when he reported to his wife, “This is all an elaborate hoax.”

In somewhat similar vein, transpersonal psychologist Stanislov Grof wrote a book called The Cosmic Game (which I admit I’ve never been able to really get into - but I like the title).

Increasingly I see this life as a kind of game, hoax, charade, simulation ... call it what you will. That’s not to say it isn’t real. It’s just not the final, ultimate reality.

After all, a video game is real. You’re not imagining it. It just isn’t quite the same kind of reality as the computer you’re playing it on. A hologram is real, too. It’s a real image, not a hallucination. But a hologram of an apple doesn’t possess the same kind of reality as an actual apple.

The interesting thing to me is that people have different degrees of commitment to the game. There seem to be two extremes. On one end of the spectrum are people who are very lightly attached to this reality. They tend toward mysticism and what psychologists call dissociation. Often they are hyper-sensitive by nature, repelled by the coarseness of physical existence. They experience real pain in even the most minor disagreement. They avoid the rough edges of life - political battles, career struggles, personal crusades.

At the other extreme are people who are fully committed to the game. They are playing hard, and playing to win - or at least to survive. These are people who rarely, if ever, think about their own mortality. They enjoy the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of competitive striving. They like a good fight (though in some cases, only if it’s a purely intellectual fight). They tend toward philosophical materialism and, often, materialism in the popular sense of acquisitiveness.

Each extreme has trouble understanding or respecting the other. Mystics find materialists shallow and vulgar. Materialists see mystics as impotent, deluded dreamers.


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