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It is interesting how SURVIVAL is a basic games condition. Suppose we were having tea and a group of armed enemies barged in. And they say, "We are going to murder you and rape your spouses and take all your things." And we said, "All right, then."

So they say, "You can't say that!" You've got to jump up and start fighting and drag us off to the gallows and hang us for the criminals we are. You can't just say, 'All right, then', you've got to want to SURVIVE" So we say, "All right then."

"Nor," they say, "can you say that. You've got to oppose us. You've got to struggle and resist. We can't have fun if you just agree! We must have OPPOSITION (How else can we win or lose?)" So we say, "All right then".

"That does it," they say. "There's no point in raping and pillaging unless people resist. How can we WIN?"
"Now," we say, "You shouldn't give up so easily. You have to PERSIST to have fun. You have to keep going (which is also SURVIVAL)."
"Sorry", they say. "We forgot about that. To get our fun we need to PERSIST which is also called SURVIVAL.
"Now how are you going to feel if we rape your spouses?"
"All of them?", we ask politely, "even the secret ones?"
"Mm! And smash your computers ... " they say eyeing us for some reaction.
"All right", we say.
"And trample on your stick insects."

"Leave the stick insects out of this!", we say, "They haven't done you any harm ..."
And we jump up and drag them to the gallows and hang them for the criminals and murderers they are. Just before we finish the task, they say merrily, "So when we found something IMPORTANT to you we got you to play our game. Why are stick insects so IMPORTANT to you?"

"Actually," we say, "we haven't got any stick insects (and don't particularly like them) but decided to assign IMPORTANCE to them so we could play this game."
"Thank you." they say as we flip the trapdoor open.

We regard SURVIVAL as very important, but it derives its IMPORTANCE from the desire to have a GAME. No survival, no game, no fun. So why do we SURVIVE (or wish to SURVIVE)? We want to have a GAME because we want to have fun! GAMES require SURVIVAL and PERSISTENCE (which requires OPPOSITION).

There is no inherent reason why we should want things to persist except that PERSISTENCE is essential to having a GAME. And having a GAME is essential to having FUN (or ATTENTION and ADMIRATION).

Some GAMES do not seem to be FUN at all. For example, the GAME of sickness, the GAME of poverty, and the GAME of war. But would we really play them and continue to play them if there weren't any FUN at all?

And what about the GAMES of I-can't-help-it, It's-not-my-fault, It's-your-fault!, I-am-not-the-cause, I-am-not-responsible, and I-don't-have-any-choice? Aren't these some of the basic GAMES needed to play the others?

How can we play the game of victim if we don't also play the game of I-can't-help-it?

One view of Buddhism is that we try to stop playing games. We extinguish desire and wants (which are based on SURVIVAL, IMPORTANCE, and PERSISTENCE) and achieve a state of nirvana.

The game of war is extremely popular, at least as a spectator GAME. Any politician who wishes to be popular should start a war. The majority will love it. A minority will start a wonderful GAME of opposition. Everyone will watch television!

Yet at the most mundane levels too we play our GAMES for fun. When we are hard-up for a good GAME we will play a bad one. I suppose it may be that GAMES are played not only for FUN, but also to gain ATTENTION and ADMIRATION. These are certainly qualities of the GAME of war!

At the mundane level we play the GAMES of making-someone-look-stupid, wind-up, leading-someone-on, flatter-and-get-what-you-want, etc ....

As spiritual beings we are great GAME players. And at base, GAMES involve SURVIVAL (or PERSISTENCE), and gaining ATTENTION.

Let's create a GAME and get everyone watching or participating! (Must be our motto!)


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Most Recent Revision: 4-Apr-99.
Copyright 1998, 1999 Ken Ward,
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