I love video games. At times, I think I may love them too much. Staying up later than I should, being exhausted at work, ignoring those around me, etc. If you experience any of these signs, maybe you, too, need to take a step back and make sure you’re still aware of reality.
Whenever I realize my error in becoming too engrossed in a game, I remember a parable from my college days. It’s the Buddhist parable of the burning house. You can read the whole thing if you want, but I will summarize:
The house of a rich man spontaneously caught fire. The man quickly ran out of the house, but realized his children remained inside, engrossed in their games. Realizing this, the man shouted to them, “There is a cart of great treasure out here, so come out and you can totally have it!”
“Oh, sweet, Dad. Here we come!” And they left the house to find a banging cart all filled with awesome stuff like white bull bullocks and shit. But most importantly: they left the house safely.
Now there are different interpretations on the meaning of this parable, but I will only bore you with one: we are all in that burning house right now, and the teachings of Buddha seek to get us out before that shit collapses. Now I am not suggesting that you should become a follower of Esoteric, Mahayana, or God forbid Soka Gakkai Buddhism, but I think this parable has a very real application when aligned with the issue of loving your games a little too much.
Let’s break this down by element to make it easier to understand.
So we gamers are the children. We are totally engrossed in something, unaware of the negative impact it may be having on us, or will be having on us very soon.
You’re joking, right?
The Burning House
Yea, that is the negative impact — the looming danger. It could be deadlines that won’t be met, goals that will never be achieved, or hours that will never be slept. Naturally, in our state of engrossment, we are oblivious to this.
This represents all the things that you alone are stopping yourself from achieving. Do I sound like a fucking infomercial or what right now? Hell, there may be things you haven’t even thought of on this cart, like becoming the new voice actor for the Aflac duck. Basically these are things that are better than the things you think you are enjoying.
This is a tough one, but try to follow me. The father represents anyone on the outside, looking at your hunkered mass and shaking their head. Odds are they have reached out to you, but you totally couldn’t hang out because your Linkshell made plans to hunt a hyper notorious monster. If you get that reference, then it may already be too late for you… just kidding! It’s never too late.
So what can you do?
- Create something. Something you could look at and say, “Damn, I made that.” I don’t care if it’s a blog post pointing out everything wrong with what I am saying right now, or if it’s a boat in a fucking bottle. Maybe you’ll find you enjoy making boats in bottles more than gaming, maybe you’ll get a job putting boats in bottles. Maybe you’re the best person in the whole world at putting boats in bottles.
- Learn something new. Find something you know absolutely nothing about, and learn all you can. With the Internet, you would be amazed at how quickly you can be a relative pro on just about any topic.
- Exercise. I am not gonna claim for a second that all gamers are out of shape, because that’s a dick thing to say. But odds are good that you could use more exercise — just about all of us can (with the exception of The Situation, cuz his abs be off da chain, see below). Exercise is also a great way to have some…
- …Quiet time. When is the last time you went for a walk? How long can you go without whipping our your phone and checking texts, tweets, or your state-of-the-art fax machine? When things are quiet, you may just start thinking for yourself, and you may just learn a thing or two about what you really want.
So there you have it: how to escape the burning house. You may be wondering why I am suddenly talking about deep shit like this, and not blabbering about some game like I ought to. The truth is, I’m not entirely sure. Sometimes I feel like I am only a consumer; someone who perpetuates and hypes consumption. I don’t want that to be what my blog is entirely about, so expect some more thought-provoking shit like this in the future! Now get out there and do something: there is a whole world of white bullocks out there for you to experience.