“… an art game about our finite existence and how we chose to spend it. In the game, all of life has been condensed into five minutes.”
I actually downloaded the game and gave it a try, it’s a 5-minute game and I only had about 2 to commit before I was presented with some random distraction. I was transported into a world of giant pixelated objects that I had trouble making out. In my short 2 minute jaunt I did manage to hook up with a wife, that was nice, but because she followed me around throughout the game (unrealistic) it then made it more difficult to get through passageways, as I was now 2 people wide. No comment on whether that part is realistic or not.
One thing I found very interesting was the viewable screen space –
You are able to move up and down, left and right, but can only see a narrow sliver of the screen. I think that this is purposefully symbolic of the limited view we have of reality. In my church camp days I remember reading in one of our ‘quiet time’ booklets (note: quiet time is the Southern Baptist equivalent of a daily meditation) about a father and son who are watching a circus from the outside. The little boy is watching through a knot-hole in a fence and thinks the circus consists of one lone circus seal. The boy makes a comment about this to his father who then lifts him up onto his shoulders to reveal his own view over the fence. From here the boy can take in all of the sights and he sees that there is much more to the circus than the baby circus seal (adorable as they may be). The point being that our human limitations keep us from seeing the bigger picture which is visible only to the Divine (represented here by a father who makes his son watch the circus from a vacant lot).
One of the reasons I latched onto the whole video-game-imitating-life thing has to do with something I’ve put a lot of thought into lately: leveling up. In video games, once you have mastered a level you no longer have to start from the first of the game. If you’ve made it to level 3 in Kung Fu and lose one of your lives to the snake that jumps out of the basket, you don’t go back to level 1. You’re past all of that, you simply return to the beginning of level 3.
Life, as I see it, is a series of challenges that we will continue to encounter until we have mastered them. Once we have done so we will then level-up and we won’t have to contend with them any longer. And just like with the video game, when we do start from the first of the game, we’re then able to fly through the levels you’ve mastered with minimum effort. I know in the past that I’ve encountered situations where I felt like I was living in the movie Groundhog Day. Different location; same circumstances over and over. And I can’t break the cycle until I can recognize the situation the life lesson that it is. Kids don’t buy video games because they are easy, they buy them because they want to be challenged. We didn’t come into this world to fly through without conflict. We chose to be here and to face these challenges.
Right now I’m reading the Four Hour Work Week in which Tim Ferriss introduced me to the term “Eustress” which is the opposite of distress:
“Eustress is defined in the model of Richard Lazarus (1974) as stress that is healthy or gives one a feeling of fulfillment.” – Wikipedia
Ferriss argues that the more eustress you introduce into your life, the happier and more successful you will be. I agree that we need to actively seek good stress out and if we actively fill our lives with good stress then we won’t have time for the bad, also known as distress.
So, in my pursuit of eustress – and to further follow the advice of Tim Ferriss – I am going to email a famous person this week and ask them some advice. I’ll publish my email and their response right here on this very blog.