Your Life Goals are not My Life Goals

Life is not Monopoly.

Monopoly is the kind of game where you get to pick a little model, a dog, or a top hat to represent you, and then everyone takes it in turns to move around the board. Success is measured in only one way: Money. Funny Money. The one with all of the money at the end wins.

Life is not Monopoly.

There is a tendency in modern society for everyone to assume that we are all playing the same game. That we all have the same win condition. That everyone’s win condition(s) are the same. Family, Money, Children. That these win conditions are what everyone should be compared too.

People are tricked into believing this, because like so many MMO’s, we are all playing on the same server. We can see everyone else’s character, and we are all stuck by the same set of game mechanics, rules, and laws. For many people, this means that we must be all working to the same set of win conditions.

It is this frame work that mean that people feel that it is necessary to point out how far ahead of the ‘game’ they are to all those around them. Look at me, I’m winning.

“Your Job earns 15K? well, yes, mine only gets me 21K…”

The problem is that we’re not all playing the same game. We’re just in the same world. My goals, are not your goals. We might have the same set of achievements available to us (Get Married: Achievement Unlocked, Get a House: Achievement Unlocked…), but that doesn’t mean that we all want them.

The best analogy here is that we’re all playing different character types. You’re playing, say, a Money Grabbing Bastard, and I’m playing, say a Filthy Hippy. This means that sure, I can Get Married, and get the bonuses that go with it, but they don’t have as many bonuses for my character. In fact, having money isn’t going to get me as much life XP as it would for your Money Grabbing Bastard. You can also get the achievement “Went To Glastonbury, and do not remember”, but you wouldn’t get anything out of it.

The problem with the Media, with Television, and with the appearance of popular culture is that everyone is playing Basic White Male as a race, and Money Grabbing Bastard as a class. Except that we’re not. In the last update, the worked out that gender is predominantly irrelevant to most achievements, and so is race. Our Character Model can (and should) look however we damn well please, because that shouldn’t stop us from getting the most important achievement “Happiness”.

Society would be so much better if people were just honest about it.

We’ve all had conversations where we say things like “I’ve just got achievement X, I’m so psyched” to have someone respond with “Oh, yeah, but I got X, then Y.” generally in a dismissive term. For them, they are far ahead of you in the game, and they are showing how much better they are at it. What they fail to understand is that achievement has a completely different meaning, and requirement for your Race/Class/Goal combination. If everyone just realised that, when someone shares their achievement, it’s because from their perspective, their character, their goal, it’s a big thing, not a challenge, not an attack, not a test to see who’s winning, but simply wanting to share with a friend their achievement, and everyone just damn well celebrated the world would be a better place.

Life is a game. It’s not competitive. It’s generally co-operative. Sure you can play it competitively, but mostly your playing against yourself, or your own imagined competitor. Even those who seem to be playing the same game as you, are playing a subtly different version, with different difficulties and side-quests.

That’s why someone gives up a career to live in Borneo. That’s why someone else works in a job they hate. They are playing a different game.

We can help each other, we can show other people cheat guides. We can give in-game money, support, and products to other people. We can show them the routes we took. We can give them all the advice about the things we’ve learned. For some it will help. The core mechanics are the core mechanics. We can’t however demand that they chase our goals, because that’s not their game.

If you are one of those people that believes that this game of life has only one set of goals, one set of win-conditions, and are instant that that’s the game everyone should play, stop it.

Seriously, Stop It.

Your ruining the game for everyone.

~BX

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A Sermon on Mark 13:1-8

Here’s a recording of the Sermon I preached this morning based on the Gospel Reading of Mark 13:1-8.

Feel free to read the full script, in PDF here: Mark13-1-8-LightAndDarkness

You can also hear the Sermon, including the Gospel Reading here.

Please any comments that you have on this post. All feedback helps improve my sermons for the future.

Thanks,

~Black Xanthus

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