September 5th, 2020

Eric 1stDiv, Triumphant

Playing the Game

Global Chat and Online Forums are a wondrous, yet frightening thing; you can learn so many new ideas, helpful hints, and gain previously unthought of perspectives on a great many things while simultaneously discovering not only the worst of humanity, but also pervasive beliefs predicated on mind-blowing ignorance amidst a coalition of dismissing different, yet equally valid new or different perspectives. The dichotomy can be overwhelming to those who thrive on epistemology, and, if I'm being honest, likely comforting to those who don't. Then again, being able to perceive, acknowledge, understand, and practically apply the knowledge that some do, and some do not, seemingly further compounds the chasm between those who gleefully embrace completely radical ways of piecing disparate pieces together, and those who not only cannot, but willfully choose not to do so, for reasons they themselves do not even understand, even when others may, much to the chagrin of everyone involved. Unnecessarily long sentences asides, we not only see this same scenario played out over and over again from a global level, but all the way down to its microcosm in our own communities on a personal level. And it permeates everything.

I was reading a series of tweets recently which had challenged (for me) some fundamental truth in a way I'd never before considered. I found it radical, unsustainable, and foolish. I knew immediately which of my acquaintances would support it, which would balk at it, and of those two groups, which within each would either not know why they held the opinion they did, or would proffer to know absolutely and without question. Not knowing why you hold a opinion or knowing exactly why you hold an opinion both can be problematic if one is not open to questioning it, or worse, believing it is the only valid opinion. I wondered why I considered the tweet's subject fundamental, or unsustainable, or foolish - was it because that was all I knew? All I had ever experienced? Was it because of how I was raised? How my parents were raised? How their parents were raised? So much has changed in the last several hundred years and the last several hundred years before that I wondered why we still cling to demonstratively incorrect assumptions which may (or may not have) been valid generations prior. I still vacillate between willful ignorance or objective synthesis being key to intrinsic happiness. The answer is likely as varied as the opinions on the matter.

In that same vein, I've been playing a new video game. While every aspect of this game is distinctly incommensurable to the previous games I've played, a common thread amongst its base persists - there is only one way to play the game - their way; despite the innumerous combinations of gameplay or reasons for playing. On the surface, it is absolutely harmless to come across someone who hasn't yet pieced together the array of uniqueness from which is borne, among other results, true innovation. Or joy. Or satisfaction. Less harmless when that opinion is rooted in such a way it cannot be swayed with equally valid variations. Yet we run across it again and again and again in our families, our friends, our communities, and our (admittedly woefully limited) ascribed ideologies. But that's the thing about intrinsic happiness I suppose; some require variety, others, a prescribed, unalterable path. My concern isn't with that difference, rather those who believe theirs alone irrevocable/sacrosanct/incontrovertible.