I find that I’m constantly asking myself and others questions. I was eating some candy the other day and realized I was admiring the pastel colors. I asked myself, would I eat Jordan almonds if they were all white? Other people eat M&Ms, and would they be as attractive as a snack if they were all tan or brown? The varied colors gives the impression of variety, where there is none. And variety and color is exactly what we need. A guy on TV pointed out that the stuff that super-obese people eat, when it is piled on a table, seems to be all drab colored. The colorful (and nutritious) foods are what we evolved to be attracted to. So junk food and “light” tobacco products are put in colorful wrappers: Red, green, purple…
I looked closely at my father and asked him “Are you smiling all the time or is it just the shape of your mustache?” He just looked at me with the same benevolent gaze he always seems to have. And of course I had to answer my own question! “Perhaps it’s a bit of both…” I remember reading in Salman Rushdie’s book “Joseph Anton: A Memoir” about the difficulty he had getting some needed eyelid surgery during the time he was being protected in England while he was under fatwa. Afterwards, his friends said, “We thought you were angry all the time!” The eyelids gave him a downright diabolical expression and interfered with his reading–about the only thing he had to do all day long while in solitary. In fact, he has a sharp, very English, funny , philosophical style that belies his appearance! (Well, you know what it says in the Diamond Sutra…”Can the Buddha be recognized by means of his perfect physical body?…32 attributes? No…a perfect body is not a perfect body, therefore we call it a perfect body” But Rushdie the skeptic would just laugh at this–in my mind I can hear him now!)
Recently I returned to a game site I left 5 years ago–there is now a free player option. Few benefits, and not much to do, but I looked over my old page with delight. How detailed I was! What a lot of ironic humor I put into the gaming advice I recorded there! I had researched and written the history of the game from beginnings to the time I left. Now I can read the page as if it was written by someone else–someone who writes with as much pleasure as I do now. A man, as the sage once said, can’t jump into the same river twice. And…different river, and a different man (or woman!) I remember finishing out on the site: getting that page, those pets, those pictures, those decorations just right. And then I gave, gave, gave away all the rest that I had accumulated. Turned the virtual money into items, took a look at people’s pages and gifted them 10 or 20 things at a time. I did that with two pages. I had two distinct identities at the site: one nice in every way, which “bred” pets, and one that was a more peppery personality. Both “people” bought and sold…all the time.
After 3 1/2 years, the Universe said “ENOUGH”. I had a small hernia, the result of crossing my legs in the same position unconsciously, was 6 or 7 lbs. overweight, and was ticked off with the managers of the site. When I missed seeing a dying friend for the last time because of the game (long story) that finished it for me. It killed my enjoyment of a game that just kept getting modified worse and worse the longer I stayed in it. Anyway, at the present time I decided to figure out exactly what the attraction was that the game exerted over me all those hours & years.
When you look at some psychological phenomenon, some action, some emotion, some…anything that happens to or within you (since it all comes from the mind, after all) you first see the surface and then you can look a bit below, and then proceed downward. It’s funny to say that, because in fact, downward to base motivation is where we all end up in that process, in meaningless ego-activity, isn’t it? I decided to try the analysis on my attraction to that game, and here’s where it went.
1. Opportunity to write.
2. Participation in meaningless controversy.
3. Helping other players in the game.
4. Constructing alternative identities.
5. Accumulation, buying & decorating with ready-made units.
6. Pretending, in general.
7. Constructing little story identities for cats.
8. Tuning out the world.
9. Being able to do something effectively, but without a lot of
effort or challenge.
10. Opportunity to write…to others.
11. Opportunity to procrastinate, do something childish.
12. Activity that is at home & solitary & sedentary.
13. Creating a little god-like kingdom I can control.
It wasn’t drug or alcohol addiction or violence, but it sure as hell looked like an addiction at the time. It had drawing power–unbelievable drawing power. So when people talk about the difficulty they have resisting cell phone calls during any and every activity, or getting free of “EverCrack”, I, with my innocent little-kids & teens webtoy which is not even classed as a game, can understand exactly what they mean! And there might be other layers to this attachment, which may occur to me later, possibly to do with having pets that simply don’t die. (I have had so many real pets, and eventually–of course–they all die.) Anyway, enough for today.