From the Black Iron Prison
At times he heard within him a soft, gentle voice, which reminded him quietly, complained quietly, so that he could hardly hear it. Then he suddenly saw clearly that he was leading a strange life, that he was doing many things that were only a game, that he was quite cheerful and sometimes experienced pleasure, but that real life was flowing past him and did not touch him. Like a player who plays with his ball, he played with his business, with the people around him, watched them, derived amusement from them; but with his heart, with his real nature, he was not there.
His real self wandered elsewhere, far away, wandered on and on invisibly and had nothing to do with his life. He was sometimes afraid of these thoughts and wished that he could also share their childish daily affairs with intensity, truly to take part in them, to enjoy and live their lives instead of only being there
as an onlooker.
-Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
I suppose it’s not really ALL a game, but most of it is. How many things we do every day which amount to nothing much! Get up, go to work, cuss at the stoplights and cops and old pensioners out for a morning drive-and-fuck-up-traffic. Sweat all day, break for lunch, drive home. Every few weeks, get paid. Our ration of food pellets, of time on the big metal wheel, of space to burrow and make a nest in.
How much does any of it MEAN?
Well, I’m trying to tie it into the reason we’re all here. Not HERE here. Here on this website, talking about this goddess. We’re here because even a funny religion gives a sense of purpose. Even just pretending to venerate a cockroach, or a floating clip-art head who smokes a pipe, enriches our lives in some way. See, most of life, obviously, is a big game. Religion is the manifestation of the drive of human beings to try to stop playing the game. To take our ball and go home, and just you wait because I’m telling my big brother on you!
Maybe there’s more to it. PROBABLY there’s more to it! To play with that pet metaphor a bit more, I sure as hell don’t know who’s turning my heat-lamp on every day, or who sprinkles that food in my tank. But I’m not GOING to know any of that. I can guess, I can observe, I can make shit up, but until I die and float to the top I’m never going to come in contact with that all-powerful force. It remains as much a mystery today as it did when I was 7 and Santa Claus was still going to visit in a few weeks. I suspect I won’t know any more on the day I do go to that big fishbowl in the sky, but hopefully I’ll have gotten to eat a lot of really excellent algae and swim through some cool castles. With the sunken chests that open and close, and the lights and skeletons and everything!
My point is that there’s very little we do that needs to be done. You need to sleep, shit, and eat. Beyond that isn’t really any of your business, but it can be fun. Pissing all over someone else for doing something you don’t personally approve of is MORE pointless than how pointless you think what they’re doing is! So is taking offense to someone doing so. They’re not the ones buying the fish-flakes, it doesn’t matter what they think of you. Remember that it’s a game, and remember what games are for. EVEN if there is no higher power, and this is all random chance, it’s still a game. Hell, in that case it’s maybe even moreso, because nothing we do matters at all to anyone!
So, the next time someone gripes about life being meaningless be sure and laugh, if only to yourself. Of course it’s meaningless, that’s kind of the point. That’s what makes it really pretty incredible to get up every morning. You can do what you want, read what you like, sing however loud you want to, and fuck whatever you please. Just, please. Leave me alone to sit over here and be a huge, flaming hypocrite. And keep your damn fins off my mealworms!