Saturday, October 24, 2015

Monopolizing Life

Saturday morning Monoply at the dining room table. My opponents are 10,9 and 6 - I'm the banker as usual. The game is haphazard at best. It seems I mostly focus on reminding them it's their turn otherwise the game stalls. Today while making change for a $500 bill I realized they don't check me when I do transactions because they trust me. I could cheat so easily but why would I? They aren't obsessed with winning so how pathetic would it be if I was, especially to the point of cheating? The 6 year old throws $500 bills down when he is getting out bid at auction even though the last bid was $76. Yeah, $76. They like to pull the one dollar increments which makes me mentally groan and laugh at the same time. All of them have obsessions with specific properties that kind of suck, like the utilities. Clearly they lack a passion for the point of the game. And that's where I learned a lesson today. 

Our Monopoly games usually end by me winning or us all agreeing to quit because I'm so far ahead and they are bored. While I'm not obsessed with winning, I make "good business decisions" hoping they will learn something. If you don't play with any drive or understanding of what it takes to win, Monopoly could go on just about forever. "No risk, no reward" is the mantra of competitive players because truly it's the only way to win outside of insane luck or cheating. That's when it hit me - this game is a reflection of what's wrong with most societies. We win when we've achieved an exponential amount more than someone else. Many times this requires the purchase price of other people's humanity, though you can't take theirs without giving up some of your own. 

Why are we so obsessed with winning when there truly is enough for everyone? Most people bristle at that thought because they imagine that means they have to provide for lazy bums. The truth is that many people have little because of circumstances - mainly lack of knowledge, opportunities and hope. Most "hard working" people feel anger towards the implication that they have a responsibility to the poor because they have a mentality of lack. When you've had to break your back to achieve tenuous security and status, you aren't inclined to give some away to a perceived freeloader. It's not your job to provide for those who have the capacity but lack the desire to succeed; however, our own pursuits should be tempered with empathy. We all have a responsibility to lift up those less fortunate. I would never condone taking away what someone else has worked for legally and ethically no matter how unpleasant they were. I do believe no one really needs billions of dollars just for themselves. I understand that Monololy is just a game and would get boring if it went on forever but it's the principle that is being demonstrated. You need to be luckier and or more ruthless than everyone else to be considered a success. 

I'm not competitive with my children, but I would be much more inclined to be with adults. I don't want other people to think I'm stupid or some other pejorative. Most people validate themselves based off of a comparison to other people. Personal merit should be founded only in the degree that we are being authentic. We try to distance ourselves from those perceived to be below us to feel closer to those we look up to. Ironically, many we aspire to be like are looking down on us in self-congratulating judgement. Achievements rarely make you any happier as a person because our measuring system is uses the whims of others opinions on which you have no control as the standard. 

Am I making a big deal out of a game? Probably, but we have big problems in our world that are based in ideas encapsulated in the heart of this classic board game. Lifestyles grow from ideas that have been repeated enough that they are like dye in wool fibers. No man is an island. Everything is connected. If, for example, you want inexpensive products, someone probably is suffering in a much worse standard of living for that to happen. That might seem like a contradiction to what I'm trying to say but it's not. It's the conflated, Ponzi scheme of our society. CEOs want to keep making their profits so they use our delusion that we are only temporarily embarrassed millionaires to reel us in. If we buy their products we will feel less embarrassed. Since the CEO isn't willing to give up any numbers from the bottom line, the discrepancy has to be filled somehow - always taken out of the backs of someone already downtrodden. 

Many hands make light work. I believe that if we lifted people up, we would all eventually have to work less. Yes, it sounds like I'm being delusional believing in utopia but if we don't change our mindset, nothing will change. I was listening to a podcast where a man was asking people two simple questions. 1. Do you believe we will ever be free of war? 2. What do you base answer one on? Eight to nine out of ten people say no, war will always be with us. Their reason? It's just human nature. Change your nature, choose to think differently. Evolve. 

No comments:

Post a Comment