Life Beyond the Societal Meme

A few things have caught my attention in the past 36 hours, and they've conspired to make me write this. Here's your red herring for the day: I've listed them in reverse chronological order, both in the origin of the words and in my experience of them.

One of the many tasks in life.
Oliver Emberton wrote up a great little post called Life is a game. This is your strategy guide. He covers some great points, like the idea of willpower as an expendable resource and the reminder to assign your time as well as possible. Bonus: I love the 8-bit graphics.

And it makes me wonder...

Would anyone play my life as it stands now or would they give up and complain about too much grinding for minimal XP?

I read this quote from Russell Hoban's Turtle Diary, spotted on my G+ stream.
Each new generation of children has to be told: "This is a world, this is what one does, one lives like this."
To paraphrase the last sentence, our fear is that a generation of children will come along and tell us, "This is not the real world. This is no way to live." Then what will we have? The meme of society, reprinting itself in our children's minds to keep itself alive, starts changing. Maybe it breaks down in some form of sudden apocalypse. Maybe it evolves into something closer to our shining visions of Utopia. Maybe it continues unabated and ignores those that reject it, confident that it will outlast this genetic anomaly.

What if we were the ones to examine the rules of life and question whether those rules allowed us to assign our time effectively?

I like much of what Alan Watts has to say. This video is no exception.



The premise that we train for a future that never comes, that we spend our lives working in order to have the freedom to do what we want to do in the crumbs of time that remain after our careers have their fill, resonates with me. My grandfather told me he was happy he didn't have to worry about me any more after I got a "real job". That sparked a reward in my brain that I got something approaching approval from a man notoriously hard to please, but it feels like I've been set up on a corporate treadmill doing tasks that have some perceived importance to the hierarchy of people above me.

It feels fake. I keep looking for hidden cameras.

Is this why we're drawn to play heroic PCs?

Heroes break molds. They're usually broken somehow as part of their backstory and regarded as something Other. They don't fit. They exist largely outside of society's code, or are quickly driven out so they have the freedom to do what needs to be done. They write their own rules and can't understand how anyone can live "safely" under the status quo. Heroes challenge and risk and change everything, confident in their ability to overcome whatever issues fall out of their choices.
Superpowers not required.

Heroes change the world by sheer force of will.

Doesn't that sound better than writing another SQL script? Isn't that more rewarding?

Then again, in the words of David Bowie,
"We can be heroes just for one day."

Thanks for reading.

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