0127 – not enjoying games

Still publishing old stuff. Nov 2013.

Yesterday the wife went out, leaving me alone at home- which I thought would be a great opportunity to get a chunk of work done. Except I didn’t really. I actually downloaded an emulator + rom (streets of rage and genesis, if anybody’s curious.) It’s a game I spent a lot of my childhood playing. I’m pretty good at it. If I really focus, I should be able to complete the entire game on hard difficulty. The US version is very punishing in a bad way- baddies do a lot of damage. Using your power attack when it’s not ready costs very little. So the best tactic against bosses tends to be to abuse your power move. Some of the grab functionality glitches when you’re attacking multiple enemies. It’s actually not a very great game- something like minion rush is comparatively more satisfying.

I don’t know. I feel like I shouldn’t play games anymore because it’s all a lie, a farce. The only games worth playing, according to my rational mind, are games with compelling narratives like Mass Effect, Dragon Age. Things like Uncharted are thrilling, but they don’t really make me grow or learn as a person. What is it with me and this endless insistence on learning and growth, yet why do I relapse into my base pleasures over and over again?

Is that question even worth answering? increasingly I am certain that environment is all that counts- or in a less reductive sense, it is the final decider, the influencer of behaviour. I’m reading JKG’s anatomy of power and he talks about 3 kinds of power, which I’ll simplify as carrot, stick and peer pressure. The last one is the most interesting because it doesn’t require brute force (punishment) or economic assets (reward). It just requires an alternative, superior arrangement of existing elements. That’s exciting, empowering. Make quick simple modifications in your moments of clarity to set up buoys for your future in darkness.

So while I did relapse into playing the game,  I’m going to go home and delete it. Those few puffs didn’t taste good to me, I no longer get off on it. I need to clarify my mess- how long am I going to talk about clarifying my mess? I was tracking many different things on my beeminder- I still am, but now it feels a little overwhelming. Should I really be taking my guitar playing and my reading? It feels a little suffocating right now, though perhaps that’s because I’ve got a couple of other things going on in my life that’s stressing me out.

I love the idea of “order of neglect”, which is- what are the vital things you keep running when stuff goes awry? What do you do when the shit hits the fan, what do you shut down, and in what order? Clearly, I shut down guitar playing and then reading. Sleep is most important of all. Then exercise, healthy eating. Then I think should be meditation and writing, and “management”. Then comes reading.

My problem is self-evident here: I don’t meditate. I don’t write at the volumes I know I can write at. I don’t take stock regularly- I only do it when stuff starts to fall apart. So my problem is… multifaceted: wrong tempo, not enough prioritization on the meditation/writing/management. If I can commit to that- just that- then everything will be okay.

I keep talking about wanting to refactor my blog, but I’m taking way too long to do that. I’m postponing to a non-existent future. It’s a sort of escapism. What’s the littlest thing I can do to make a step forward? Get the landing page done.

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The novel begins with pain. Your stomach falls out from underneath you, suddenly, like one of those people sitting on one of those “hit-the-target-and-dunk-the-person” chairs at carnivals. You realise the world is fundamentally indifferent and very fucking unfair.

When you were a teenager you might’ve thought that the world was against you. Fuck the System. Rage Against The Machine, man! Throw it on the ground!

The truth is a little less boring and a whole lot more painful: the world is not against you. The world simply doesn’t care. Sometimes it might FEEL like the world is going “your way”, or that it might be “against you”. These are just feelings. Illusions that we conjure up so our puny brains can construct narratives that make sense.

I saw a guy tweet “My wife got in this horrible accident but was unharmed! There is a God!” Well, I’m glad she’s safe and you’re happy and cheerful, mister, but you just took a big steaming shit on every child born with horrible, painful ailments that choke them to death. Walk through a children’s hospital, meet the disabled, the destitute. You’ll see. There is no God. There is no Devil. We made it all up to feel better about ourselves.

I can’t even be resentful about it. There’s nothing to resent. There isn’t a villain to overthrow. It’s just us, we’re just glorified pond scum- miserable little shits.

Consider this- anybody can get killed. You’re just a head injury away from being a completely different person. Whatever you’re happy or sad about, you might find out tomorrow that you have cancer. I kinda wish I had cancer. More precisely I wish I could take it away from somebody who deserves a cancer-free life more than I do, someone who can bring more salvation or joy to this forsaken rock. There are thousands of kids who might go on to do great things with their lives but they never will. You know why? Because war, poverty, disease, corruption. Because humans are assholes. Nature is plain indifferent. Humans could mitigate some of the risk with science and research but most of us don’t really give a shit. We wish we did but we don’t.

I don’t deserve anything I have that’s worth having. I whine and bitch and cry about problems that others would kill to have. All in all I’m an utter waste of the space I’ve been given.

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