Archive for July 29th, 2012
(Note, this is part 8 of a series called “Quantum Life,” in which I post the contents of a strange ‘guide book’ I found for a game called “Quantum Life.” It is in English, which the book calls a “Quantum Life language,” unable to capture all thecomplexities of the world as it really is. I’m not sure where this book came from). If this reads very strange to those following my blog, click the link above and look at the basic premise of this series and earlier entries. Picking up where I left off, the next section is “Purpose and Meaning”:
PURPOSE AND MEANING
After childhood the player enters what is known in quantum life reality as adulthood. However, that is simply a term that reflects the physical development of the player in the quantum life world. In reality childhood is designed to prepare the player for challenges to be faced throughout the rest of any round of play (life). The most important component is purpose. Every quantum life player has a purpose. Many fulfill their purpose in childhood and their round ends. Most experienced players, however, have a variety of challenges beyond childhood.
Purpose is a hard term to define using a quantum life language like English. In essence it is the core reason for this round of play — a goal, a particular challenge or lesson the player wants to internalize so that it is carried over to future rounds of play. It gets associated with meaning in that a player is more attuned to their purpose when they experience life as meaningful. The two are linked in a very powerful way. Ideally the quest for meaning in life (or the sense of engaging in something meaningful) should keep people focused on their purpose.
That formula — using the measure of meaningfulness in life to tell if one is fulfilling ones’ purpose — sounds easy, and care is taken between rounds of play to try to make meaning as clear as possible. However, within the game itself there are a myriad of factors that either hide meaning for create a false sense of meaning, often completely misleading the player.
Two main obstacles emerge that can prevent a player from recognizing his or her true purpose. Inexperienced players often succumb to these obstacles despite care being taken between rounds to prepare them. The obstacles are culture and fear.
Culture refers to the set of meanings dominant in a round of play. (Note: here meaning simply refers to a shared understanding about a concept or idea – in quantum life languages words confusingly have multiple meanings!) Each player is “born into” a cultural world with customs, traditions and shared understandings that they are socialized to accept. These “cultures” vary vastly over time and place, and reflect the choices made by players. As such, culture is a product of the game which often has little connection with true reality.
One challenge for players is to become critical of how culture might prevent them from achieving their life purpose. Cultures can define groups of players as inferior, certain practices as morally right or wrong, and certain goals as acceptable and unacceptable. In some cases a player’s purpose requires opposition to the existing culture. That is a challenge often embraced by advanced players.
It’s hard to overstate the ease in which players can lose sight of their purpose and fall into the trap of being hypnotized by the culture world in which they find themselves. They may realize that “something is wrong” inside, or that their life is unfulfilling and lacks meaning, but their response can be to more tightly embrace the culture, hoping that conformity to the norms of the game will bring satisfaction. While numerous lessons and experiences can still be gleaned from such rounds of play, the true purpose of that round becomes hidden and the round is ultimately unsuccessful.
Another obstacle, one that often is connected to culture, is fear. As noted earliler in this guidebook, the core cause of fear is uncertainty. Players enter this world from a world where the connection of all with all is understood and embraced. Pure certainty of meaning is a key aspect of existence in the real world (again, these concepts are hard to convey in a quantum life language). In the game there is a sense of being alone and uncertain.
As an obstacle to be overcome, fear is first dealt with by living as an instinctive creature (an animal) or a human player in physical danger. Fear becomes a response to threats to survival in the world, and as such players learn to see it as a positive force, giving them strength and awareness when necessary. However, it takes practice to take that lesson and use it when fear is a response to uncertainty in the game, especially when a player doubts his or her own worth and meaning.
Rather than using fear as a source of strength players might submit more fully to the culture in which they find themselves. Cultural beliefs often seem to comfort uncertainty by positing a person as superior to other players (e.g., a superior gender, race, ethnic group or class). This can create an illusion of security but the disconnect between the player and his or her purpose generates deep discontent and dissatisfaction.
The result is a destructive downward spiral as players try ever harder to prove their own worth and value in the game-world, and increasingly find it unfulfilling as it is ever farther from their true purpose. Such actions can reinforce cultural norms that create obstacles for other players. This makes for some of the most difficult life lessons and experiences – a player may believe he or she is totally prepared for a meaningful round of play and then emerge having “wasted” a life on material pursuits or efforts to gain power over others.
These obstacles, however, are essential to the game. Overcoming fear and culture requires self-mastery. A player must be confident enough to reject conformity as a moral good, with no need to prove self-worth through comparison to or dominance over others. That is why the game is so popular — players learn to develop the certainty inherent in real world existence even without the ubiquitous real world connections. It is, however, a much more difficult task than most people realize.
(All for today – I’ll continue to transcribe this guidebook in future blog posts!)