The game of life is hard, mostly because it’s so easy to forget that we are still playing.
The first six to eight hours we spend sleeping, and then we dedicate at least the same amount of time -if not more - to our jobs (or classes for those who are still studying) and then finally we can focus on the crux of the game: What makes you happy.
The problem is that very few people remember that part as there are a lot of tasks and distractions that suck the oxygen out of the remaining available hours.
Cooking, washing dishes, commuting, buying groceries, going to the gym… Just to name a few.
After a long day of work and a large list of tasks, most people just want to sit down on the couch and relax… Maybe watch some dopamine infusing program while they’re at it.
And that dear reader, is the biggest trap of the 21st century.
Like most hunters, the ideal scenario is catch your prey is when they are most tired and beaten down. When their instinctive responses are compromised and their decision making is merely defined by escaping the most immediate perceived pain.
That’s why many boar hunters work in groups, with a team dedicated to wear out the animal, both physically and mentally, scaring them and putting them under duress for a long period of time.
This is done with the purpose of guiding the animal them to an ambush where the other group of hunters are already waiting for them locked and loaded.
In distress, the prey is meanwhile busy trying to escape the most immediate perceived threat without even realizing that they are being let to the ultimate trap.
Before internet came around, television was the perfect hunting spot for modern mindhunters.
Whether it’s Cold war, or the Golf war, or the war on drugs… You know when is the best time to push their divide and conquer agendas? After work, preferably after dinner.
Mostly, they prey on people who are already angry and desperate. They target people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired and they give them an invisible enemy to channel their negative emotions against.
Balance that with the stealthy - or overtly - evoked sense of superiority over the targeted group, and you have yourself some new believers who are now fully invested in your gospel.
Place a man under that type of brainwashing for a few weeks, and he’d look forward for that dopamine shot after a long day of work.
They can’t wait to get home and complain about those Soviets, or Mexicans, or conservatives or liberals or whatever the flavor of tribalistic anger they were sold.
Or better even, watch some eloquent preacher aim all that hate and anger towards a group of human beings who did nothing wrong but being from a different “group”.
“Transference of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel. It's catharsis. He absorbs their dread with his narrative. Because of this, he's effective at proportion to the amount of certainty he can project. ― Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective.
Now you’re 80 and your knees are weak. You back hurts like hell and you spend most of the time horizontal looking at the ceiling while day-dreamingly time-travelling to a time when you were once younger, brighter and full of energy and determination.
There you are, in bed. In your head, you’re creating so many scenarios where you are able rewind the hands of time. You imagine how it’s like to follow up on all those projects you had, and the things you loved to do, or learning those skills you were passionate about.
But you realize that you gave up on all of that because you fell in the trap, and the trap tricked you. You gave importance to way too many insignificant things.
These things were gratifying for an instant and the dopamine shot made you feel good for a moment, this is all true. But then again, this came at the cost of your own dreams and aspirations.
Tragic yet so relatable.
Somewhere along the way, you forgot to focus on what makes you happy, because you were busy being trapped on the trending topic of the moment defending your tribe’s collective view, while loathing the opposing tribe.
Maybe this is you, maybe this is me.
The worst part of all, is that these things will never stop, so you have to learn to look the other way and focus on the game. Your game.
Clinton had a blowjob from his secretary... So what? Some baker dude refused to make a cake for some gay couple… So what? Trump slept with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal? So what?
In hindsight, would you rather be pursuing that what you love the most? Or being led but the quintessential grapevine?
At every moment, you have a choice. If you spend your time and energy chasing that daily dopamine shot you may forget to play the game of life.
Don’t forget to play… Because it’s your story.