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I bought a video game that I can’t play. I bought a social video game which I avoid playing because I don’t want to hang out with my friends. The game only allows you to play online with people, and I bought it, knowing the last thing I want from a video game is a social experience. A competitive, team-based, ostensibly social experience.

I think that, in the minds of my friends who play it, because we are on the same team that it is considered a cooperative game; however, team sports in my opinion, whether they are physical or not, drive everyone into a bestial froth of comparison and compromise. You see, good play is good play. Once a strategy is found that seems to work, everyone uses it, so good strategy is meaningless in the face of good tactics; that is, only players who are good in and of themselves can execute any particular strategy better than others. When you are dealing with casual — and by definition, mediocre — athletes (video athletes are thing now), then following a particular strategy doesn’t necessarily increase chances of winning, and decreases the “fun” in play, because you are now stuck in a command-chain system and locked into somewhat robotic behavior.

I remember a time when I was playing advertising league softball, and there were some competitive people on the teams. I am a natural athlete, by nature of good genetics. Always healthy. Faster and stronger and taller than the average person, with a propensity for quick learning and very quick reactions due to my hyper-vigilance. But, I don’t care. I only want to have fun.

To this end, I would sing glam-rock anthems from the 80s while I sat in left field where balls are never hit. Except that day, when my former best friend and roommate came up to the plate. He hit a soft fly ball right to me. I was under it. I knew I had it. In that split second as the ball came toward me, all of these thoughts came to me before the ball. “I’ve got this. I can help my team. I can prove that I’m not a dope to them, and to the other team. It’s early on; this will be a huge confidence booster for the early part of the game. He will remember that I am capable. He won’d see me as only that loser that her thinks I am. He’ll have to confront the thought that I am more than I have been made out to be, if even for a moment, before he dismisses me again. He needs this. He needs it more than I do. I don’t want to drop this…”

I dropped it. It hit my glove and hit the ground, and I threw it feebly to third base to stop him getting a double. I don’t think I dropped it on purpose, exactly, but I threw away the competitive feeling of those first few thoughts in favor of my typical apathy toward winning.

This instance, I think, sums up everything about me. Due to my upbringing, I am always considering lines of consequence. Sometimes, this can take the form of empathy or selflessness, but in reality, I fear consequence. What makes these thoughts acceptable in some form, and what wins me to people’s hearts, is that this usually favors other people. They get something out of it, even if only momentary satisfaction. On the flip side, however, people tend to view me as weak because — and I genuinely believe this is because of how I look — they want someone like me to be a domineering asshole. When I’m not, they assume it is not a choice, but a character flaw. Thus, I myself have begun to see empathy as a weakness that I cannot afford, if I want to have any care for my own self-worth.

Is this the hardest lesson of a wannabe Buddhist living in a capitalist society? That self-worth hols such value in the west, yet Eastern thought would seek to abolish self entirely? How can one give up any desire for success and still intend to help people, or continue to live at all? To live is, in essence, the most selfish thing one can do. To believe that one is entitled to drain the resources of others could only be the result of the belief that one is WORTH it.

This is what happens when I have a day off.

Filed under: Ennui | | Comments Off on Overwatch

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