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Thursday, October 11, 2012

games


A long time ago we were all just points of light – call it whatever you want – zipping from star to star. Things were simple. There were many of us, but the games were simple.

Then all this boundless space got boring, so we narrowed it down. We put in delineation and sharpened the rules.

Weary of forever knowing everything and being able to be everywhere instantaneously, we gave ourselves some arms and legs to move around with, and a set of eyeballs to goggle at the infinite. This enormously reduced the scope of anyone’s knowledge and mobility, and so entered the need for analysis and computation. How else were we going to know what the other might or might not do.

Prediction was now the name of the game, and, well, some were just better at it than others. Entire social hierarchies were erected based on one’s ability to predict. From the elite and visionary at the top, down to the numskull and schlemiel on the street, prediction was everything. So in essence, what had become out-of-fashion and boring many eons earlier was now once again the only thing that mattered.

But all these bodies roaming around had to get by one way or another, and single-handed prediction just wasn't good enough in this complex game. And so they worked it out that in groups they had a much better chance of making it. Within such groups there was a distribution of skills that could never exist singly in one human being. Thus entered economics, industry and war, and thus we had the interplay of large forces that guided whole societies up or down. Generally down.

In balanced conditions it worked out pretty well, and the game remained “fun”, so to speak. But soon “prediction” came to be simply imposed by authority, and so it was no prediction at all; it was just brute force and mechanics. And eventually, like everything mechanical, it got boring.

But beyond these very large groups, there were also smaller groups that formed around the need to preserve the race by procreation. A family would often emerge (and much pleasure could be derived from one) but not always, because soon sex itself became a vector all on its own, used widely and at every level of society to enthrall, entrance, entertain, titillate, amuse, coerce, sway or otherwise persuade the elite and the moron alike. A force like magnetism, or old school psychokenesis, it had the power to make an elite into a moron, but no power to turn a moron into an elite. Hence the widespread propagation of pretty-faced morons.

From there on down, interpersonal games reached levels of complexity never imagined, overlain with a spectrum of emotion and a register of human behavior so vast as to be nearly unpredictable – nearly, but not completely. What seemed like a game of chance to the many who lost, was not so for the very few who won. But most of them employed no prediction at all, but treachery, trickery and deceit, passed off as prediction. 

So there we were, dragging around a hundred and fifty pounds of flesh, plus or minus, including the various appendages meant to facilitate the functions of living. But at long length, all this began to feel like a drag, and much nostalgia and sentiment was expressed for the old zipping-around days. And thus began the effort to be points of light once again, to be in one place and everywhere at the same time, to know everything at the press of a button. And so we had the internet and so we had emails whizzing around furiously and so we had a hundred gadgets to finger and goggle at, and all these things did a decent job of it, and often had a similar effect, but - let's face it - they never quite cut it.